Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
Cannabis is the infamous plant from which marijuana is derived. It is dried, ground up, and smoked in rolled paper or in a pipe. Another popular form of marijuana are edibles, which are usually a brownie, chocolate bar, or even a gummy bear made with the drug that generates the same effect as smoking. “Dabs” is a Marijuana concentrate that produces more intense highs and comes in many forms of its own. One is a wax-like substance that is smoked in vaporizers; another is a crystallized body not unlike hard candy that is also vaporized; a viscous liquid; hashish, which is usually a small brick of packed cannabinoids; and THC oil, to name a few. Marijuana has many street names. Some you might hear are: pot, dope, dank, ganja, grass, Mary Jane, and reefer.
Uses of marijuana
Marijuana is used recreationally and medically (in certain states). Historically, marijuana has helped myriad folks with stress, anxiety, pain, and a loss of appetite. For some people, marijuana has even been life-saving. Recreational users are looking for its calming effects, cognitive stimulation, and a high, of course.
Effects of marijuana
As a psychoactive drug, Marijuana is a drug that frequently transforms your perception. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the chemical compound that produces the drug’s effects. Depending on a slew of variables, marijuana affects its users differently. These factors could be any combination of brain chemical makeup, the way the drug is consumed, or the strain. It’s important to remember that smoking marijuana creates a more short, fast-acting high than swallowing it. Since dabs are more concentrated forms of THC, the effect can be instantaneous and last for hours on end.
Common effects of marijuana are:
- Happy feelings
- Soft hallucinations
- Increase in appetite or “munchies”
- Reduced anxiety and tension
Virtually no risk for marijuana overdose exists, although the drug does make up the second highest rates (following cocaine) for visits to the emergency room caused by illicit substances, most of which are caused by accidents that happen when the users are intoxicated.
Positive effects of marijuana
- Nutrition: THC and CBD are some of the strongest antioxidants. Weed helps to alleviate the damage done by breathing in harsh chemicals called oxidative damage.
- Lower Average BMI: Although marijuana makes the user feel hungry, it is excellent at digesting food, working your metabolism faster.
- Comfort From Serious Diseases: More and more studies are showing that diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, epilepsy, and PTSD might all be connected to a cannabinoid deficiency in the brain. Marijuana’s supply of cannabinoids stabilizes the chemical imbalance, many times working miracles.
Short-term negative effects of marijuana
- Paranoia: Everyone’s heard that weed can relax you, releasing the tight grip of anxiety. And while that is true, smoking too much can completely turn that around. Smoking excessively or being careless with an incredibly high THC strain can make you paranoid of things you’ve never thought were frightening before.
- Disorientation: You’ll remember THC is a psychoactive drug. For those who are new to using, this does feel strange and uncomfortable. Disorientation can feel like you’re living in a dream or a movie — not reality. It can feel like you’re watching yourself in a movie outside of your body. Many find these feelings uncomfortable. After exposing yourself more to cannabis, the discombobulation leaves. Others find the disorientation joyful, optimistic, and happy. It truly depends on the person as everyone reacts differently.
- Racing Heart: Cannabis has been known to increase the user’s heart rate and it does for the first three hours after smoking, especially the first. Although the user is five times more likely to have a heart attack, this probability is only marginally higher than the risk of having a heart attack during strenuous exercise or during sex. The reasons for the racing heart are still uncertain as it could be a collection of reasons, possibly leftover pesticides or carbon monoxide from the burning.
Long-term negative effects of marijuana
- Tar Buildup: As with all plant-product smoking, tar will build up on your lungs from the burned plant particles.
- Loss of REM Sleep: Weed smokers do more deep sleeping but less REM sleeping or Rapid Eye Movement sleeping. The most brain activity in sleep occurs during this cycle as well as vivid dreams. Although still contested, many scientists believe REM sleep is for addressing unfinished thoughts had during waking hours and the areas that secrete serotonin and histamine.
- Possible High Risk For Adolescents: Since the adolescent brain is still developing at least until 21 or 25 years of age, it’s best young people don’t smoke weed often so as to avoid integrating it into the development of the brain and planting a dependence. Because the brain already produces its own cannabinoids, this should only be acceptable for those with an endocannabinoid deficiency. The most worrying issue right now is that adding unnecessary cannabinoids may invite the brain to develop psychosis, which you’ll find out about in the next point.
- Possible Psychosis (Highly Controversial): Recent research is showing that those experiencing psychotic episodes are just more prone to psychotic behavior. Similar studies show that marijuana is helping to ease the psychosis in schizophrenics.
Wesley Boyd M.D., Ph.D. at Psychology Today reports that Marijuana can be addictive, despite the mild physiological effects of withdrawal after chronic use — slightly elevated pulse, irritability, to name a few. These symptoms are especially mild when compared to the severe withdrawal effects of other drugs like alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opiates. Even those who for all intent and purposes are smoking marijuana for most of the hours in a day don’t experience much withdrawal symptoms. Dr. Boyd emphasizes that although marijuana withdrawal symptoms are mild, this fact does not denote a lack of addiction. This is because addiction is not simply being physically dependent and experiencing physiological effects after a sudden cessation. What does denote an addiction is compulsive, partially uncontrollable behavior that appears to be intensifying over time.
Dr. Boyd makes it a point to say that there is, of course, a difference between a casual user and one that he labels an “almost addict.” These people don’t meet all criteria for addiction but are certainly experiencing problems in their life due to their drug use. Most who smoke marijuana are moderate users, using after the primary duties of the day are done with and not placing major responsibilities at risk, weakening their job performance, or otherwise. Most don’t meet these lengths but for those who do, marijuana is undoubtedly an addiction.