A great deal of research has been conducted on marijuana in recent years. It has many risks and one should be aware of the long term damage it causes to our health. Young generation is abusing marijuana without knowing the consequences. They also tend to combine it with other drugs and risk themselves to developing tolerance. There are so many rehabilitation centers these days, which treat addiction on outpatient and inpatient basis. There are also half way houses and residential treatment centers for addicts, which provide psycho education and offer individual and group therapy to individuals, using substances such as cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. These centers also focus on the mental health issues of the individuals as chemical dependency could be a result of mental health problem too and vice versa.
1.Psychological effects of marijuana use
Potency and size of the dose determines the intoxicating effects of marijuana. Large doses of marijuana could cause rapid shift in emotion, poor concentration, fragmented thoughts and impaired memory. Extremely high doses could result in hallucinations and panic.
The major active chemical in marijuana has been named delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Since 1974 this country has been getting marijuana supply from countries like Columbia, Mexico, Jamaica and it has been found that the THC level of marijuana found in these countries is ten times stronger than that sold earlier. Cannabis contains more than 400 compounds in addition to THC. These compounds and THC exert psychological effects in conjunction with one another.
2. Marijuana has been found to interfere with cognitive functions:
Several tests done on marijuana users revealed intellectual impairment. For example, digit-symbol substitution, reaction time tests, repeating series of digits forward and back ward, arithmetic calculations, reading comprehension and speech tests, revealed that the marijuana users did not perform as well. It appears that our students who are using marijuana are at risk of affecting their learning potential. Students who are using marijuana, believe that it gives them stress relief and they continue to use it. However, in the long run, it impairs their cognitive faculties and learning, as demonstrated in the research literature.
Some studies have found that marijuana use can also impair complex psychomotor skills necessary for driving. Most of the accidents on highways involve driving while intoxicated. Marijuana use can also impair manipulation of flight simulators. Some performance deficit can continue even when the person is no longer high. Therefore, it is important to get professional help and not ignore the issue.
3. Somatic Effects of Marijuana:
Some studies have indicated that marijuana use can also affect fertility. Male chronic users of marijuana had lower sperm counts and less motility of the spermatozoa. Another study found that negative effects on sperm could be greater in young smokers. Studies done on female users of marijuana also yielded consistent findings. Marijuana use affects ovulation and can also affect the development of fetus. Some studies done on squirrel monkeys to whom the drug was administered, revealed that marijuana can be detected in the milk production and thus raising the possibility that nursing mothers may pass its effects to their babies. Therefore it is important to exercise caution and refrain from using marijuana if one wants to bear children.
4. Miscellaneous Side effects of the use of marijuana:
Other side effects of use of marijuana are dry mouth, itchy eyes, increase in appetite and high blood pressure. In addition, it can also cause cardiac problems as one gets older. Moreover, long term use of marijuana can also affect lung functions. Smokers inhale marijuana more deeply and retain it in their lungs for much longer periods of time. Drug users also tend to lose their vital capacity of expelling the air following a deep breath. In addition, marijuana contains 70 percent more benzopyrene, a cancer causing agent, and 50 percent more carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons than the smoke from the regular cigarette. Additionally, marijuana use can also increase susceptibility to infections, specifically a serious form of pneumonia. Marijuana reduces the antibacterial defense systems of the lungs.
Marijuana can be also addictive as it has been demonstrated that habitual use of marijuana can cause tolerance. In some studies, it was found that when subjects abstain after a period of heavier than normal smoking, they experienced withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nausea, and diarrhea. Evidence from other studies indicated that the combination of alcohol and marijuana impairs perception, cognitive functions, and motor activity more than when either drug is used. It also increases the heart rate and makes eyes look red. Marijuana can enhance the effects of other drugs like barbiturates and amphetamines.
In this way, we see that the long term use of marijuana can be detrimental to health and it is important to be aware of the potential damage it does to our health. Interactive force of THC is very complex and also inadequately understood. More research is needed to address this area. One should try to seek professional help if the drug use is not being controlled. Drug abuse and alcoholism are complex psychiatric disorders with obscure causes, and the best approach to treatment is uncertain at every stage. Diagnosis is not easy, and relapse is very common. The first step in treatment is recognizing and then acknowledging the need for help. Drug abusers often are in denial and they tend to rationalize, minimize their use and also blame others for their problems. Drug users are also often ambivalent about their drug habit and are often unwilling to change it. It is beneficial to attend self help groups like the Narcotic Anonymous in conjunction with outpatient, inpatient, and residential treatment depending on the severity of problem.
Hypnosis can also help address addiction to marijuana. Please visit our Blossom Hypnotherapy page to learn how hypnosis can help reduce symptoms of Anxiety disorders.