All About Marijuana

Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol; THC for short. Here is a good marijuana treatment center.

Marijuana Addiction Examined

Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in a pipe. It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. Since the blunt retains the tobacco leaf used to wrap the cigar, this mode of delivery combines marijuana's active ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Marijuana can also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor.


Marijuana Addiction Test

These questions might help someone decide whether they are addicted to marijuana
   


Marijuana is a Potentially an Addiction Problem

THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in cannabis. Like any other powerful, mood altering substance, people who are prone to chemical dependency can become addicted to marijuana.

Some people can use it occasionally and then leave it alone for extended periods of time. take or leave it and have quit for long periods of time.

The thing about marijuana is it is very subtle. You can use it daily, for extended periods of time and think nothing of it. Yet the person has become completely dependent and doesn't even realize it.

The bottom line about Marijuana Addiction

Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite its known harmful effects upon social functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which make it difficult to quit. These withdrawal symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2-3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.

Watch a 4 Part Series on ABC's Night line on Legalizing Marijuana

ABC News: Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

 
Part 1 Part 2

ABC New: Marijuana Be Legalized?

 
Part 3 Part 4

Should Marijuana be Legal

There are places like California, Oregon and Alaska where it is decriminalized to possess small quantities, for private use. So what's the problem?

The problem with marijuana is, like any other drug, can become the focal point of a person's life. All of a sudden you want to get high before or during anything and everything. Your life begins to revolve around smoking marijuana. Like alcohol, it can be used responsibly and occasionally, or it can get out of control and cause serious problems.

Some people are "addicted" to marijuana and try to rationalize or justify using it. Like any other drug, marijuana can become the focal point of your life.

Much has been written and several states have considered changing their laws to decriminalized marijuana. Some counties allow people to possess small amounts Here is a good marijuana rehab treatment center.

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Read What Dr Mohammad said about marijuana

Medical Marijuana is back in the news and continues to make a mockery of just about everyone in the field of medicine. Let me begin with the fact that the medical marijuana approval process is outright laughable and not only makes a complete mockery of the medical community by allowing anyone with a checkbook to get a "recommendation letter" for marijuana, but it also proves that even the slightest whiff of legalization brings out the bottom-feeders, who crave publicity. The system has become an absurdity and I'm anxiously awaiting someone who can convince me if it's not.

The sad reality is that medical marijuana cards aren't worth the paper they're printed on and to be crystal clear, anyone with any symptom can go to a " Marijuana Doctor" and can get what is actually called a "recommendation letter" that explains how the individual in question will medically benefit from Marijuana. The patient takes the "recommendation letter" to a dispensary and is now able to procure a host of mind-altering products - none of which have actually been "prescribed" in a traditional sense.

I apologize for the frequent use of quotation marks; however, it is critical that people understand that when discussing medical marijuana, the media and the dispensaries are using language that simply isn't accurate. For instance, it's not an actual prescription where a patient is directed to take 500 mg of a particular medication 3 times a day for a month, in fact, it isn't remotely close to an actual prescription model considering the fact that the "medication" in question isn't directed and the patient can use whatever they want whenever they want depending upon their own taste. Therefore, using the word "prescription" is not only inaccurate, but is also downright misleading.

A recent study published in BJP (British Journal of Pharmacology) showed that the potency of Marijuana is very high, while the content of Cannabidiol, which has antipsychotic effect, has been reduced to allow for greater potency. The result is an increasing incidence of psychotic spectrum disorder. In simple terms, in order to make the potency as extreme as possible, the antipsychotic elements have been genetically removed and the effects are troubling. There is no doubt that Marijuana has properties of alleviating certain symptoms such as nausea, pressure, pain, while stimulating appetite; however, if the natural safeguards built into Marijuana's chemistry are being removed, we are in for a whole new series of problems. The reality is, if you see a doctor in normal standard of care, he needs to perform a complete history and physical, perform tests - if necessary, then prescribe a structured medication regimen with systematic follow-up. In the case of Marijuana, there is no standard medical procedure performed, there's no oversight, no special training for the physicians and no guidelines. Therefore, calling it "Medical" Marijuana is a disgrace for the entire medical community and all those perpetuating the misleading notion that this process is somehow medically sound. I would rather advocate for the legalization of marijuana, heavily tax the process and utilize the tax dollars to properly and effectively enforce the law and educate our kids about the harsh realities associated with Marijuana.

Here are some basic facts: Teenagers who smoke marijuana... * Have significantly lower academic success than their peers who don't use Marijuana. * Have a lower rate of college acceptance and higher rate of overall drop outs. * Have impaired Nonrecognition, memory impairment and a host of other significant cognitive impairments. It is well-know that in predisposed individuals, Marijuana can trigger Schizophrenia or psychotic spectrum disorder. Let me share a story about one of my 17 year old patients who was referred to me by a pain specialist prior to performing invasive pain procedure to rule out marijuana addiction. He started using marijuana at age 12, didn't do well at school, finally stopped going to school when father found out about his excessive marijuana use. Shortly after, he reported excruciating "testicular pain" only relieved by marijuana. He went to Urologists at UCLA, USC and all available Urologists in his region; however, top Urologists couldn't find any pathology at all. He convinced his father to get him a medical marijuana card and his father complied, further enabling his son's behavior. After completing the patient history and assessment I gently suggested that he cuts down on his marijuana smoking at which point he screamed at me "no way!" Then I told him that your problem is not your testicular pain it's your Marijuana dependence, so acknowledge this and stay away from the invasive procedure you are facing. He didn't object and I called my pain specialist colleague with instructions to cancel the invasive procedure. As a fellow addiction specialist, he agreed and was thrilled with the outcome.

Remember, you can get a marijuana card for as little as $35 dollars and bogus claims of hair pain, muscle soreness and headaches. Before you pretend that you are in the presence of medical professionals, I am telling you with absolute certainty that you are not. Now join me in my mission to change this flawed "Medical Marijuana" system and let's save our children from the dangers of "Marijuana doctors" before things get too far out of hand.

Dr Oz's 4 Part Series on Medicinal Marijuana

Part I Part 2
   
Part 3 Part 4


While cannabis for recreational use is illegal in most parts of the world, its use as a medicine is legal in a number of territories, including Canada, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Italy, Finland, and Portugal. In the United States, federal law outlaws all cannabis use, while permission for medical cannabis varies among states. Distribution is usually done within a framework defined by local laws. Medical cannabis remains a controversial issue worldwide.

Marijuana Addiction in the U.S.

In 2008, 25.8 million Americans age 12 and older had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

  • In 2007, there were 2.1 million persons who had used marijuana for the first time within the past 12 months; this averages to approximately 6,000 initiates per day.


  • This estimate of past year initiates in 2007 was about the same as the number in 2006 (2.1 million), 2005 (2.1 million), 2004 (2.1 million), 2003 (2.0 million), and 2002 (2.2 million).

GREAT MARIJUANA DEBATE ON MSNBC!

 

More Statistics About Marijuana Addiction

Past month marijuana use among male youths aged 12 to 17 declined from 9.1 percent in 2002 to 6.8 percent in 2006. In 2007, the rate was 7.5 percent, which was not significantly different from the rate in 2006, but was lower than the rate in 2002. Among female youths, little change occurred from 2002 to 2004, but the rate in 2007 (5.8 percent) was lower than the rate in 2002 (7.2 percent).

The Effects of Marijuana Addiction

THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabis receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the "high" that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabis receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabis receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.

Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that marijuana's adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a sub optimal intellectual level all of the time.

Research into Marijuana Addiction

Research on the long-term effects of marijuana abuse indicates some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term abuse of other major drugs. For example, cannabis withdrawal in chronically exposed animals leads to an increase in the activation of the stress-response system3 and changes in the activity of nerve cells containing dopamine. Dopamine neurons are involved in the regulation of motivation and reward, and are directly or indirectly affected by all drugs of abuse.

100 million Americans say yes to marijuana

 

The Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug in the United States. It affects memory, judgment, and perception. A dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), marijuana is usually smoked. The main psychoactive (affecting the mind and behavior) chemical in marijuana is THC (delta- 9-tetrahydrocannabinol).

The membranes of certain nerve cells contain protein receptors that bind to THC. When THC binds to these receptors in the brain, a series of cellular reactions ultimately lead to the high that users experience. Since marijuana can affect judgment, its use can lead to risky behaviors, resulting in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

THC also can interfere with the normal functioning of the hippocampus—the part of the brain that controls learning and memory. It can cause difficulties in processing information and may make it hard to remember things that happened recently. Grades can suffer. Judgment and decision making also can be affected, increasing a person's chances of getting into situations where he or she might be at risk or where he or she might put others at risk.

THC also interferes with the normal functioning of the cerebellum, which gives a person balance and coordination, and the basal ganglia, which controls movement. Since marijuana can affect coordination and the perception of time and speed, a person's performance in everything from playing sports to driving may suffer.

In fact, marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug found in impaired drivers and crash victims involved in "drugged driving" accidents.

A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or is used in attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence. Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses, including addiction, stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. At the present time, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction, and research suggests that in vulnerable individuals, marijuana use may be a factor that increases risk for the disease.

Links to more marijuana addiction resources

Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program

see Medicinal Marijuana

MSN Article and Video - the merits of medical marijuana

 

Video One - Marijuana as medicine

   
 
   
More Resources

visit marijuana anonymous websites

Marijuana Addiction Article

University of Wisconsin Health Services

National Institute on Drug Abuse

marijuana

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