For some it’s a way to relax, for others it’s an escape, and for the most effected it could become an obsession. Marijuana isn’t that dangerous if used once or twice, however routine exposer can result in dependency and addiction.
How is it addictive?
Research has found that close to 9% of people who use marijuana are dependent. This percentage is increased to 17% if they began when they were teens and 25-50% if taken daily.
Addiction begins when your natural neurotransmitters are replaced with large amounts of endocannabinoid from a marijuana plant instead. The cellular walls in your body are largely made up of fat which attracts the THC in the plant and can linger for weeks or more depending on how frequent your usage. A study conducted on the risk of becoming addicted to the drug found almost 1 in 10 people will become addicted an estimated 4 years following their first encounter. There were also withdraw symptoms found when trying to quit.
What are the effects?
Over time constant introduction of endocannabinoid into the system is believed to influence and change your brain activity. There is also debate in marijuana’s involvement with autoimmune disease, inflammation, psychiatric disorders, memory loss, brain damage, as well as contributing to seizures.
In one study, Long term side effects were found to morph the neural connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain which is thought to cause poorer internal communication. Lower IQ’s were also determined to be a direct result of extended marijuana use. Intellectual performance was more greatly decrease the younger the participants started and in those with prolonged usage.
There are certain types of cannabis which are being tested for uses reducing nausea and increasing appetite; as well as potential for extracting parts of the plant to aid in fighting off some cancer cells. As of now these remain only theories and are still very much in the experimental stages.
Who is most at risk?
It is not yet clear which users are at risk to become addicted or contract serious side effects. Some studies believe people with an existing chemical imbalance, past turmoil, or are currently under high volumes of stress and are unable to manage it, are most at risk.
What can be done to prevent addiction?
A simple solution is to just walk away. Although there are some side effects if you choose to quit abruptly, they are not lethal and can be managed with a little determination. But for those that use cannabis as part of their regular routine; that may be easier said than done. If you fall into the latter category, there are councilors, therapy, and other treatments available.
With the legalization in 2 U.S states, usage of the drug continues to grow as does the evidence of long and short term side effects. It isstill widely misconceived to be safe for daily consumption and in some cases believed to be good for the body. Mounting studies have concluded however, it is highly likely there are numerous adverse symptoms associated with continued long term use.