- Around 3.8% of the global population, or 188 million people, are recreational marijuana users.
- Approximately 30% of people who smoke cannabis could develop some degree of marijuana use disorder.
- Adolescents, who start using marijuana before they turn 18, have 4 to 7 times bigger odds of developing cannabis use disorder.
Marijuana is a legal substance for recreational and medicinal purposes across Canada, Uruguay, South Africa, certain states in the U.S., and Australia. But just because it’s legal, it doesn’t mean people can’t abuse it.
On the contrary, marijuana abuse can have serious repercussions on overall health. If left unmanaged, it can turn into an addiction. Reports show that around 4 million individuals in the U.S. developed a cannabis use disorder. But, only 7% to 8% of them sought treatment.
According to experts, the problem lies in the perception of this drug. Many people focus on its medicinal benefits rather than its addictive properties. In other words, they underestimate it. Although cannabis has outstanding therapeutic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antipsychotic, and anti-epileptic compounds, it can still be abused.
In fact, 5% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 had a cannabis use disorder in 2016. Those who start taking the substance early on are more susceptible to addiction. Here you will learn everything you need to know about marijuana abuse, including facts on drug testing and detox that will prove useful.
Marijuana Abuse and Effect
When it comes to smoking marijuana, people don’t feel like there is a limit. For many, this is a benign drug with no actual backbone. Since it’s much weaker than heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine, it has become a widely popular substance.
In the United States, well over 94 million individuals admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime, making it the top most used drug on the market. Others use marijuana due to its medicinal properties.
According to research, cannabis can alleviate insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, and even neuropathic pain. It has shown extreme promise in treating numerous health issues. But, when a person becomes dependent on the substance, they are more likely to take very high dosages.
They can inhale too much smoke, which can make their lungs feel tighter in the morning and trigger a cough. However, when you abuse the drug, whether it’s to boost your mental or physical health, you’re only doing more harm than good. It’s like adding salt to an open wound.
The reason is simple. Marijuana is a psychoactive substance. It can alter your perception. According to statistics, 10% to 30% of marijuana smokers can experience dependency. Around 9% become addicted to the substance.
Marijuana is known for triggering effects of:
- Pleasant euphoria
- Increased sensory perception
- Lessened anxiety and stress
- Increased appetite
- Changed perception of time
Its psychoactive properties come from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the main chemical compound that creates these effects. Its effects are by no means universal. Instead, marijuana can influence the system differently for each individual. It depends on how the substance is consumed.
Smoking the product creates temporary and faster results than consuming it orally. Due to their high THC concentration level, dabs create quicker and immediate effects that can last for a long time. So, if you eat the product, these effects will be delayed. Since cannabis needs to pass through the digestive system, it will deliver less THC to the bloodstream.
People who want to get faster and lasting effects tend to abuse the substance. They want that “high” to create stronger results. So, they either mix it with alcohol or other drugs or take too much marijuana on their own.
If you or anyone else in your family is struggling with cannabis addiction, visit a marijuana rehab center for men in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), like Stonegate Center. Here, you can consult with experts on how to manage the addiction and live a healthier and happier life.
What Causes Marijuana Abuse?
Substance abuse starts with dependence. When a person continues to take marijuana despite experiencing a clinical impairment, that’s when people abuse the product. For those who’ve abused the substance, it becomes incredibly difficult to quit.
Marijuana abuse is often linked to comorbid mental health issues, such as anxiety disorders and mood changes. The anxiolytic and sedating compounds of the THC can impair thinking. While the rewarding effects give people a reason to self-medicate.
Marijuana abuse creates a strong need. When you don’t give in to these cravings, that’s when the body experiences a range of different withdrawal issues. Such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Poor appetite
The abuse, however, will turn into addiction when the user can’t stop taking the drug, even if their substance abuse is affecting their job, school, or romantic relationships. Around 10% of daily marijuana smokers become addicted to the substance at some point in their life.
How Does Marijuana Abuse Affect the System?
Users experience various psychological and physical effects of the drug. Some of these effects are positive and beneficial for the human body, such as pain relief and heightened sensory perception. That also includes increased dopamine release, glaucoma relief, reduced vomiting and nausea after chemotherapy.
But, those who smoke high THC levels too often can develop numerous consequences. Here is a detailed guideline of the negative effects that happen to the body the moment the drug enters the system.
- Impaired Judgment
Regular marijuana use can cloud your judgment and encourage you to make risky decisions. Studies indicate that there’s a strong correlation between marijuana use and risky behavior. It can alter your sensitivity to consequences, which plays a main role in your risk-taking.
Another study also supported similar results. Marijuana is similar to alcohol. It can impair your decision-making and lead to euphoria. In this state, immediate pleasure becomes a top priority, while the impact of consequences is minimized.
What that means is that when under the influence, people tend to participate in risky sexual activities. In 14 to 18-year-olds, greater cannabis use was linked with reduced condom use. Many chronic users reported having unprotected intercourse.
But, there is more.
THC alters the way the brain receives and processes information. Therefore, heavy marijuana users have impaired learning and attention in the first 24h of discontinued use. The drug has been linked with residual neuropsychological effects.
Heavy smokers display more drastically impaired judgment than light smokers. According to research, chronic marijuana users perform very poorly, especially when they have a complex decision-making task. Based on the results, chronic users lack a functional response to monetary losses in the areas of the medial frontal brain.
This is a key component that diminishes their capability to make strategic decisions and solve complex situations. This could explain their inability to take part in productive and successful decision-making strategies.
If you need to get your addictive behavior under control, a marijuana rehab center for women in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) can help. Their staff can show you ways to learn and manage the cravings and overcome that addiction.
- Reduced Brain Development
Marijuana use in teens causes decreased cognitive function. Teens who smoke the drug often lose around 5.8 IQ points by the time they become an adult.
As a matter of fact, recent research found that cannabis use had a more negative impact on cognitive development in teens than alcohol does. Those who engage in heavy use typically display a disadvantage in neurocognitive performance, brain functioning, and development.
|Education||Current heavy smokers||Former heavy smokers||Control subjects|
|Education, high school||29%||13%||0%|
|Father’s education, high school||46%||50%||38%|
|Father’s education, high school||61%||40%||58%|
|Household income||Current heavy smokers||Former heavy smokers||Control subjects|
|Parents’ income less than $30,000||25%||44%||18%|
Data collected from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that people who abuse marijuana for a long time had lower education and income levels than controlled subjects. Scientists examined 180 volunteers to study their cognitive function.
Sixty-three of them were current heavy cannabis smokers, 45 were former smokers, and 72 were controlled subjects. The controlled group smoked marijuana at least once in their life. However, they didn’t take the substance more than 50 times in their lives or no more than once the year prior to the study.
Current heavy smokers took marijuana at least every day for 13 years, seven times a week. While former smokers didn’t smoke over 12 times in the last 3 months prior to the study. All the volunteers were between the ages of 30 to 55.
Based on the results, people reported lower education and income than controlled users. These were the consequences of heavy cannabis use. What most teenagers don’t realize is that their brain is still in the developing phases. Therefore, when they abuse the drug, they can have reduced memory, poor attention, decreased intelligence, and verbal ability.
That’s why it’s crucial to recognize drug use in younger patients and give them the treatment they need. By stopping the heavy use, people can regain their learning and memory functions. The sooner you react, the better. With the inpatient rehab center for marijuana abuse in Texas, you can give that person the support they need.
- Memory Problems
Continuous use can affect the brain’s ability to create and store new memories. Current research indicates marijuana intoxication could temporarily distort or change short-term memory processing. It hinders the signaling pathways, which are crucial for storing memory.
Experts believe THC changes the way information is processed in the hippocampus. Although the product can offer plenty of benefits for neurodegenerative illnesses, like Alzheimer’s, or epilepsy, abusing the product can have the exact opposite effect.
Just as drinking plenty of alcohol can damage the brain, frequently smoking marijuana could result in long-term memory issues. The longer a person abuses the product, the bigger the risk for concentration and learning difficulties.
One study found that young cannabis smokers have thinner frontal and temporal cortices. Both of these are areas in the brain that help with memory. Basically, the smoking habit can get in the way of your daily life, especially when you’re trying to learn or perform.
- Weakened Immune System
High levels of THC can suppress the immune system. In heavy smokers, it can damage their immunity and make them susceptible to diseases. Although the drug is packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, when abused, it can alter your immune responses.
In animal trials, white blood cells exposed to THC displayed decreased capacity to proliferate an infection. Certain animals experienced a fewer amount of antibodies and impaired cell activity.
Research indicates that in people with sexually transmitted diseases, this could be an even bigger problem. Based on limited data, it is possible that smoking the drug will add an additional burden to the immune system in an HIV-infected individual. The more they abuse the product, the bigger the chances of damaging their immunity, reproductive, and cardiovascular system.
- Mouth Burning
Some smokers can burn their throats and mouths when smoking the product. But, it’s not uncommon to experience other adverse effects, such as a dry mouth and irritated throat. In most cases, the throat doesn’t just get dry after use. The body also develops a cough, which can irritate the system even further.
When you breathe in the hot smoke, the heat tends to dry out the nasal and throat passages. The substances present in the smoke start to enter the body. These substances are cannabinoids, aromatic terpenes, and toxins. The cannabinoid acts as a chemical messenger that stimulates saliva production. While the heat dries the throat and mouth, letting the toxins irritate the system.
- Lung Irritation and Damage
Cannabis smoke is quite similar to tobacco smoke, experts explain. Smoking the drug can lead to lung hyperinflation, significant airway inflammation, and elevated airway resistance. The reason for this kind of damage is pretty straightforward.
The smoke in marijuana is packed with tar and volatile chemicals. It features well over 450 chemicals, some of which can cause coughing, phlegm build-up, wheezing, and lung damage. As a result, those who abuse the product or use it frequently become susceptible to chronic bronchitis.
Certain trials indicate that because marijuana suppresses the immune system, it may also boost vulnerability to lung infections. Particularly pneumonia in individuals with an immune deficiency. For those who have a lung problem, smoking cannabis can worsen their breathing.
The drug is known for causing bigger air sacs, known as bullae, probably in individuals who abuse the product. It may cause shortness of breath. For example, if a person has asthma and they smoke heavy doses of marijuana, they could experience an asthma attack.
That’s why it’s best to avoid the drug if you have a serious lung disease. If you need proper treatment for cannabis abuse, book an appointment at an inpatient rehab center for marijuana abuse in Texas, such as Stonegate Center Creekside and Stonegate Center Hilltop. This is the smartest option to get your health back on the right path.
Marijuana Drug Testing
- 40% of hiring managers perform a marijuana drug test on their employees.
- In regions where cannabis is legal, 58% of employers still have a cannabis use policy.
Drug testing for marijuana is a highly debated topic, especially in regions where the drug is legal. Federal law doesn’t demand drug testing for non-federally regulated companies. But, some local and state governments are enforcing laws that regulate drug testing.
Employers have the right to keep a drug-free working environment. That’s why many companies will do a drug test on their employees. The biggest difference between marijuana and alcohol use is how they are detected in the system. Alcohol won’t remain in the system for a long time, while cannabis will.
People can fail a drug test after smoking cannabis. The active THC compound lingers in the bloodstream and will test positive on a drug test. Testing shows that they’ve used the substance in the last couple of weeks or days. Although testing positive doesn’t mean that the person is currently impaired, it can still cause problems among employers.
Also, “on-the-spot” tests can be used to determine the current impairment of that individual. This allows lawmakers and employers to determine whether that person can function properly. However, there aren’t any such tests, yet that could indicate the marijuana levels in the system with such accuracy. That’s why it is essential to understand the marijuana detection windows before you do a drug test.
Cannabis Detection Window
- Alcohol can leave the system in just a couple of hours. While marijuana can still show up on a drug test days to even weeks after use.
Drug tests are designed to detect THC levels. This is the chemical found in marijuana responsible for creating a “high” effect. The amount of time THC remains in the body or shows on a drug test will vary based on multiple factors. Such as:
- The user’s body fat
- Smoking habit
- Amount of smoke the user inhales
- Sensitivity to the drug test
That’s because of the way the system metabolizes this lipid-soluble chemical. THC binds itself to the actual fat, which lengthens the time it takes for the body to eliminate it from the system. The typical detection window for one cannabis cigarette is around three days. However, the detection window can vary depending on the smoking pattern.
Studies show that for people who smoke cannabis:
- The first time, the drug test can detect it for around three days.
- 3 to 4 times a week, the detection window is often one week or 5 to 7 days.
- On a daily basis or more, the detection window can last well over 30 days.
The drug test will also vary based on the type of testing the user does. For example, marijuana in the urine can be detected for 3 to 30 days after the last dose. While in saliva, it can last for around 24h. However, hair drug tests are a lot more sensitive. They can identify THC for 90 days after the last dose.
Blood drug tests are different. They can detect the chemical for 3 to 4 hours. For someone to fail a marijuana drug test, they would need to smoke small quantities of THC. The research found that regular smokers and heavy users have bigger odds of failing a test than those who only use the drug from time to time.
Factors That Impact Detection Window
Everyone’s body is different. Whenever it’s under the influence, it can react in a unique way. The same thing applies to the detection window. But, to fully understand the detection window, you would need to learn about all the factors that can influence it.
- Dose of THC – The effects of the lipid-soluble chemical are cumulative. When someone smokes the substance a couple of times over the course of a few days, they will have higher doses of THC compared to an individual who has smoked once. The strength of the dose drastically affects the detection window. For instance, those who smoke only once will quickly remove the chemical from their system. While users who constantly expose their body to high THC levels will test positive for a long time.
- Sensitivity – Sensitive tests, like saliva and hair drug testing, can detect tiny doses of THC. Even though you used the substance some time ago, it can still show up on a drug test.
- Body fat – The fat in the body stores cannabis. The higher the body fat, the bigger the concentration levels it could metabolize. As a result, the system will need more time to metabolize cannabis than a user with less body fat.
- Dehydration – Hydration is a key component for a healthy body. But, you also need it to flush out all the toxins from the system. When you don’t drink water or expose the body to dehydration, it will drastically affect your drug test.
- Physical activity – Exercising won’t have a major effect on the way the system metabolizes THC. But, it could prove useful for speeding up metabolism and digestion. Plus, with regular exercise, you can keep the body fat in check, which could come in handy for flushing out the chemical.
- Metabolism – Users with a fast and properly-functioning metabolism eliminate the lipid-soluble chemical relatively quickly. For the test to be negative, it’s a good idea to work on your metabolic rate.
Do You Need Detox for Marijuana?
Marijuana detox seeks to eliminate any traces of detectable THC. This is the first step to a healthy recovery. People get access to capsules, drinks, chewable, mouthwashes, and shampoos that can help pass a drug test.
The problem is, many people don’t know if they need a detox. When a user develops an addiction or dependence on the drug, they can experience uncontrollable cravings the moment they run out of the drug. They are also prone to violent outbursts due to abrupt discontinued use. No matter how hard they try, it is difficult for them to quit.
These reactions are a clear indicator that you need a detox. They are a part of the withdrawal process. Withdrawal is a natural reaction to the body flushing out the toxins from the system and people can develop irritability, chills, depression, headaches, and trouble sleeping while this occurs.
According to experts, this is the marijuana withdrawal syndrome. Even though the drug is not as potent or dangerous as other substances, withdrawal can happen. When it does, it means detox becomes necessary.
Do note that detox is only a small part of the recovery. You also need to do a thorough health evaluation, treatment, and aftercare planning. A marijuana detox center in North Texas can help you make all the necessary arrangements important for detox.
Symptoms Duration After Detox
The withdrawal symptoms can last for a couple of days to even weeks after detox. During the first day, people tend to have trouble sleeping. They can feel irritated and anxious. Problems such as these can last for a few days. But, once it gets to the third day, that’s when the cravings kick in.
Users can develop chills, stomach pain, and intense cravings. During this period, the symptoms become very powerful and difficult to deal with. After the fourth day, that’s when the adverse psychological effects really make an impact.
Some individuals develop depression. That’s why it’s crucial to undergo detox at a proper facility. Medical professionals at the inpatient rehab center for marijuana abuse in Texas will help you get through this process. This is a great way of easing the symptoms and allowing the body to move on without the substance.
How Long Does Marijuana Detox Last?
The timeline for detox varies from person to person. Some may need a couple of days to recover from the symptoms. While others, particularly those who’ve abused the substance for years, will need weeks to get their body back on track. If you need medical detox, then you should expect the procedure to last for some time until you’ve successfully accomplished your goals.
Patients who abruptly stop taking the substance can heighten their symptoms. It shocks the brain into thinking it can’t have the necessary chemical. In cases such as these, withdrawal appears sooner and in full force.
The detox process will focus on each segment of your withdrawal, regardless of how intense it may be. During detox, the primary goal will be to help users heal as comfortably as possible. Once the detox is complete, patients get access to proper treatment, which is tailored to their needs.
Does Marijuana Detox Require Remedies and Medications?
While certain medications can help patients detox from dangerous substances (like methamphetamine or opioid) easily, there aren’t any unique medications used for marijuana withdrawal.
No medications can stop the marijuana cravings. However, doctors can suggest medications to treat specific symptoms of withdrawal. To achieve successful treatment, patients need to take deliberate and meaningful steps towards recovery. They should contact experts, participate in support groups, and find their passion for achieving long-term recovery.
But, there are some tactics that can make the withdrawal more bearable. Experts suggest eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
Based on research, healthy food plays a fundamental aspect in a person’s health. Not only for their physical but psychological health as well. Supplying the digestive system with a healthy dose of nutrients promotes brain function.
During the early stages of withdrawal, a patient with a normally functioning digestive system who nourishes the brain develops fewer symptoms. In other words, eating healthy could increase your odds of recovering faster from substance abuse.
Simply put, when you pair vitamins, minerals, and nutrients with healthy exercise, you will supply the body with enough fuel. That fuel can make the withdrawal symptoms more bearable, and the body can recover quicker.
If you need additional advice on detox medications, it is best to consult with an expert. Medical experts at the inpatient rehab center for marijuana abuse in Texas can answer all your queries.
Marijuana is a well-known substance. But, because of its health benefits, countless users overlook its addictive properties. The fact is, people can develop an addiction, especially when they abuse the product. The longer they abuse it, the more it impacts their physical and emotional health. For a constant abuser, it’s not uncommon to develop lung irritation, damage, and a weak immune system.
Whenever they do a drug test, they can test positive for the substance. That’s where detox is important. The moment you flush out all the chemicals from the system, you can give the body a break it needs. This is the first and most important step to a full recovery. Remember, as long as you recognize the addiction; you can overcome the problem. The information listed here can help you learn exactly that.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction as well as the pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center’s status at the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content creation. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.