Marijuana use has long been hotly debated. Its proponents have touted it as a harmless, natural, and even beneficial drug, but for every person who supports it, another opposes it. Historically classified as a Class I drug, the general perception of marijuana use has changed in recent years. It has been legalized for medical or recreational use in several states, with more soon to follow.
Marijuana is legal in Washington state for medicinal and recreational purposes, and its use is widespread, perhaps even more than tobacco. Many proponents of marijuana believe that it is not an addictive drug, but chronic, heavy marijuana use is not without consequences. If your marijuana use negatively impacts your daily life, enrolling in a marijuana rehab center can help get you back on track.
At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we understand the long-term consequences of heavy marijuana use and can help you to get on the road to life-long recovery. Reach out today to an addiction specialist to learn more about getting sober by calling 844.962.2775.
A Closer Look at the Marijuana Debate
Class I drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse. Despite this, the legalization of marijuana continues, especially for what is deemed medical use. Studies have shown that the medicinal use of marijuana can benefit individuals with certain diseases, such as cancer. Arguments for the use of medical marijuana include:
- It offers safe and natural relief from chronic pain
- It is a better alternative than opioid painkillers
- It is safer to use than alcohol, which is legal
- There is a long history of its use for medicinal purposes
- Marijuana poses no risk for overdose
Arguments from those who are opposed to the use of marijuana include:
- It is a “gateway drug,” leading to the use of other drugs or alcohol
- Heavy, frequent, or long-term use can lead to cognitive impairments
- Legalizing marijuana makes young people believe it is safe
- It carries a risk for abuse or addiction
- It is bad for your lungs, heart, and brain function
No matter which side of the debate you are on, the simple fact is that marijuana does carry the risk for abuse or addiction and that the chronic, heavy use of marijuana is associated with long-term physical and psychological health consequences. The current trend of using marijuana in vape pens and edibles compounds the risks.
The Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active compound in marijuana. It works by imitating the body’s natural endocannabinoids that control neurotransmitters that affect our moods. Natural endocannabinoids influence many body functions, including metabolism, appetite, muscle relaxation, and more. Research has shown that heavy users of marijuana have reduced levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that influences how we feel pleasure. This decreased level of natural dopamine is part of the addiction cycle, causing people to rely on marijuana to produce dopamine to feel good.
Withdrawal symptoms for heavy marijuana users include loss of appetite, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Long-term, heavy marijuana use is also strongly linked with mental health disorders like schizophrenia in predisposed people. Long-term or heavy use of marijuana can also increase the risk for:
- Chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory illnesses
- Impaired ability to drive
- Short- and long-term memory impairment
- Verbal memory impairment
- Increased risk of heart attacks or acute coronary syndrome
- Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (intense nausea and vomiting)
Regular marijuana use during adolescence has been linked to altered brain development, problems in school, social issues, cognitive impairment, and lower levels of satisfaction with life. Further, adolescents who are regular marijuana users are more likely to use alcohol and hard drugs. The best way to treat the effects of marijuana addiction is through participation in a marijuana addiction treatment program like the one at Spokane Falls Recovery Center in Washington.
Find Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Spokane, Washington
To find out if marijuana addiction treatment might be right for you or a loved one, take our brief self-assessment or call 844.962.2775 to speak with our addiction treatment specialists. Marijuana use does not have to control your life. Find outpatient marijuana addiction treatment at Spokane Falls Recovery Center today.