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Everything You Need to Know About Marijuana

Last updated on: Monday, 18 March 2024

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If you or a loved one need help in finding the appropriate marijuana rehabilitation program, do not hesitate to call us, and we will give you the options best suited for your needs.

The recent legalization of Marijuana in Canada has placed marijuana in the spotlight, and what many people do not realize is that marijuana can become addictive; for those who want help, DRS is there. Like any other substance, marijuana can be abused, and it is essential to know there is help and there are people who understand this and can help them become connected with others who can help them through the problem. People available can speak with you and help you find the right treatment option, whether it is an outpatient center, counseling or therapy, or residential treatment. Do not let an addiction go untreated simply because it involves marijuana; contact DRS for help.

Cannabis is a plant, and there are a couple of different types of cannabis plants, along with hybrid plants, that people grow. Marijuana comes from drying the flowers, leaves, stems, fruiting tops, and seeds from the plant. The primary psychoactive component in Marijuana is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, and this is the chemical that causes the euphoric effects and why the drug is used recreationally. Marijuana, next to alcohol, is the most widely used drug in Canada, and there are diverse age groups of people who use this drug. With the recent legalization of marijuana, it is illegal for minors or teens to use, purchase, or sell the drug, and the legal age will either be 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory. The use of marijuana with large amounts of THC in it will cause adverse short-term and long-term effects, and marijuana can become addictive, especially with the daily heavy use of the drug. Addicts will typically always incorporate marijuana as a drug of choice because it is inexpensive and will mellow an addict out.

An addiction to marijuana can be effectively treated, and most people who have a problem with marijuana will tend to seek outpatient treatment, counseling or therapy. DRS can provide the necessary resources and help to ensure an addict or a family can locate suitable treatment programs.

Marijuana and Food-Related Behaviors and Disorders

Eating disorders and overeating are common problems for many people, and it is widespread where marijuana is part of the overall equation. An eating disorder is defined as a mental health issue and overeating can happen to anyone under a variety of different circumstances. However, it has been confirmed that the THC in marijuana does stimulate an appetite, which is why marijuana users tend to eat immediately after smoking marijuana. What is interesting about this is that marijuana is being used to treat eating disorders because it will lessen the anxiety that a person has around food. After all, eating disorders are often associated with anxiety disorders; nevertheless, there is still much research and discussion around this. Some believe overeating caused by marijuana leads to binge eating disorders, but some research does show the reverse may be true. There is much research that shows that overeating and binge eating among youth will lead to the use of marijuana. Binge eating among young adults does cause significant health problems that can bring about obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety, and these symptoms are directly connected to substance use with marijuana to cope with the problems. Overall, if someone feels their eating habits are becoming a problem, it is best to speak with a doctor, and if someone feels their marijuana use has caused an eating problem, it is also optimal to speak with a doctor.

Marijuana and its Effects on Testosterone

The THC that is found in certain strains of cannabis does affect a variety of different hormones that are regulated by hypothalamic functions in the hypothalamus in the brain. When looking at marijuana and testosterone, there have been numerous studies done surrounding the arguments about whether it lowers or increases testosterone; there have been no conclusive studies or evidence proving either, and the consensus is that cannabis and testosterone do not have a ‘bad relationship’, but these studies are on-going. Normal testosterone levels vary widely, and the amount of testosterone running through a person’s veins fluctuates rapidly based on several factors. For example, the time of day, whether a person has just eaten, if they have worked out, how much sleep they get, etc. Out of all the studies that have been done with short-term and long-term or heavy and casual marijuana use, testosterone levels were shown to increase or decrease. Cannabis is an unpredictable drug because of the varying amounts of chemicals that the plant produces. Each person using cannabis will experience something different, and in this case, with testosterone, smoking marijuana may decrease testosterone in the short term or may increase it. Still, testosterone levels will return to normal within 24 to 48 hours.

Marijuana and the Neurotransmitters in the Brain

Neurons are cells that process information in the brain, and chemicals called neurotransmitters allow neurons to communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters will fill the gap or synapse between two neurons and bind the protein receptors, which enable various functions in the brain and body to be turned on or off. Foreign chemicals such as THC, which is one chemical found in commonly used recreational cannabis strains, will mimic or block the actions of neurotransmitters and interfere with normal functions. The brain already has groups of cannabinoid receptors, which affect mental and physical activities, and these receptors are activated by anandamide, which THC mimics and activates neurons that cause certain effects physically and mentally. Dopamine neurons, for example, do not have any cannabinoid receptors, but marijuana does cause an increase in dopamine indirectly, making the user temporarily feel good. Cannabinoids in marijuana do not act on dopamine neurons directly but do act on the endocannabinoid system within the brain, and cannabinoid receptors are found in many areas of the brain that have dopamine neurons. Marijuana activates CB1 receptors on GABA neurons, which do have cannabinoid receptors, but essentially inactivates them, causing the dopamine neurons to become disinhibited and more active. Overall, cannabis with THC in it will make someone temporarily feel good and modify the neurotransmitters in the brain, making them feel happy.

Marijuana Causes Anxiety, Forcing People to Smoke More

One of the primary psychoactive ingredients in marijuana is delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, and this chemical acts differently with everyone who uses it, and the current mental state of the person using marijuana will have a role in how someone responds to the drug. Because marijuana does cause perceptual changes, it can cause a person to become agitated or anxious. THC will produce euphoria, relaxation, perceptual alterations, time distortion, and the intensification of ordinary sensory experiences, thus leading some individuals to experience anxiety and be agitated. One of the most common side effects of occasional marijuana use is anxiety and panic reactions. Many studies surrounding the chronic use of marijuana show it will increase the risk of developing depression and anxiety, particularly the interaction between marijuana and dopamine levels and marijuana use among young people. THC in recreational marijuana is a powerful psychoactive chemical, and there are direct links with this chemical causing anxiety. And because medicinal marijuana is available to treat anxiety, many people suffering from anxiety smoke marijuana. However, curative marijuana is designed to have higher concentrations of CBD or cannabidiol, which is another cannabinoid but not necessarily psychoactive. But if someone is worrisome because of the marijuana with THC they are consuming and then use more marijuana with THC, they will become more anxious.

Marijuana Smoke Leaves Behind Carcinogenic Toxins in the Lungs

The smoke from marijuana contains several known carcinogens, and the tar left behind contains all the chemicals that are linked to lung cancer; a marijuana cigarette will also deposit four times as much of that tar as a tobacco cigarette because marijuana smokers tend to hold the smoke longer in their lungs. However, despite many marijuana smokers suffering from breathing problems because of the smoke, and marijuana smoke is harmful to the lungs, many studies have not been able to place a direct link between marijuana smoke and lung cancer despite varying results. Most of the individuals who develop lung cancer and are marijuana smokers are also cigarette smokers, and some studies believe that the antitumoral effects of the cannabis plant could counteract the tumor-initiating or tumor-promoting effects of the carcinogens within the smoke of cannabis. Marijuana smoke does damage the human lungs and has been linked to chronic bronchitis. The smoke from marijuana has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which leads to respiratory difficulty. The carcinogens left behind from marijuana smoked, when the dried marijuana is burned, will damage a person’s lungs and leave behind carcinogenic toxins.

Marijuana Use and Motivation

The question has been asked many times: does using marijuana increase or decrease a person’s motivation? Unfortunately, no exact answer can be given. Motivation is simply having a strong reason to act or accomplish something or providing a reason to act in a certain way. There are many studies that give information about dopamine and motivation, as dopamine is released when human beings are doing things that make them feel good. The dopamine reward system is directly connected to learning and memory. Many people believe there is a strong link between the brain’s reward pathways and those that respond to marijuana because THC does activate the CB1 receptors, causing a rise in dopamine, possibly causing someone to become briefly motivated until the high diminishes as it is only temporary. There is also much research that revolves around long-term and short-term cannabis users as it relates to dopamine levels in the brain. Many older studies and current studies talk about Amotivational Syndrome, which describes the loss of the drive to work, socialize, and attain success. Some other studies link lack of motivation in marijuana users who started using in childhood and who also developed mental health problems because of early childhood marijuana use. Unfortunately, all the studies that are typically done are observational, and overall, cannabis use will impact each person differently depending on a variety of underlying physical or mental circumstances connected to the person and the strains of marijuana being consumed.

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

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