There is still a lot of debate when it comes to marijuana. Yes, a few states have made it legal to use cannabis, both medically and recreationally. Still, there are many states where marijuana is still against the law, punishable by time in jail. Depending on who you ask, there are just as many benefits to the drug as there are side effects.
While many say marijuana is negative and can be dangerous, just as many people will tell you how relaxing and peaceful smoking it can be. The main thing that needs to be kept in mind is that while using marijuana may be harmless, using it so much that you become dependent isn’t good for anyone. Yes, smoking marijuana can be addictive.
Marijuana alters the mind. Simply put, smoking weed changes the way we think, feel, and how we react. There are very few reports of people becoming violent while smoking marijuana compared to other drugs, but still, people don’t think the way they normally would when they have been smoking. This is proven.
One of the many compounds found in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. According to NIDA, this compound is what makes marijuana addictive. While many people are able to simply stop using the drug and never smoke weed again, there are many people who struggle with leaving the drug alone. Several ends up turning to a rehab facility, seeking treatment for addiction, and seeking help through therapy.
The DEA classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. With this classification, marijuana has the potential for being addictive and has no medical use. This can be confusing to people because there are several medical reasons doctors use for prescribing cannabis. Doctors will use marijuana to reduce pain and nausea, stimulate a patient’s appetite, as well as several other purposes. However, in many states throughout the US, marijuana remains a scheduled drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Is smoking marijuana safe?
Yes, more and more states are making it legal to smoke marijuana, both medically and recreationally. That being said, simply being legal doesn’t make something safe. It’s legal for a person of a certain age to use tobacco products. It doesn’t mean it is safe to smoke cigarettes. Some of the dangerous side effects of smoking marijuana include damage to the lungs, problems with memory, and damage to the heart. Also, doctors have no problem stating the fact that smoking marijuana puts a person at risk of depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
Also, keep in mind. At the beginning of this article, we brought up a key fact here. Whether it’s legal where you live or not, there’s a huge difference between smoking weed every now and then and getting to the point where smoking a joint is the first thing you do every morning. There are plenty of “good” things in the world that become bad if they are not being used properly. Take alcohol for example. There’s nothing wrong whatsoever with enjoying a beer or a glass of wine for dinner. That being said, there are plenty of health risks with getting to the point where you drink alcoholically. The same could be said about anything.
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How is weed used?
The most common use of marijuana is smoking it. This normally happens in the form of a cigarette known as a joint or by smoking it through a pipe. However, it’s also common to mix marijuana with food known as edibles. This is growing in popularity in several states where it is legal to use marijuana recreationally. Edibles are also common with medical marijuana for people who have been prescribed the drug.
By far, smoking marijuana is the most common. This is done both with a group of people or individually. There is not a set size or amount of marijuana that is to be used when smoking. This will differ between users.
Short term effects of marijuana
Some of the most sought after effects of smoking marijuana include feeling sedated or relaxed. While many people can get a lot of things accomplished and be productive when using marijuana, several other people have the direct opposite effect. They don’t get as much done as they normally would, regardless if it’s at work or on personal time.
They say they have a difficult time getting motivated to do anything due to the relaxed feeling the drug creates. Many people are left feeling very hungry after using marijuana. Here are a few other side effects people experience that aren’t as popular and you won’t hear mentioned as often.
Your memory is affected
Several people who smoke marijuana, both regularly and occasionally, say they have a more difficult time remembering things while using the drug. Their mind works slower than it normally would and can be forgetful. Many people will have a difficult time remembering where an item has been placed or an event that has been scheduled. While this effect will normally go away with a short period after using, they can be long-term depending on how often and for how long the individual has been using marijuana.
As well as difficulty remembering things, many people are easily confused when smoking marijuana. Again, the way the brain functions is slowed down. Information and details are not processed the way they normally are. Yes, some people can become smart, quick, and witty while smoking weed, but this typically isn’t the case. Depending on the quality of the marijuana and the amount being used, people can appear very different when it comes to how they think and react to basic statements and activities. This usually plays a role when someone is being arrested for using marijuana.
Faster heart rate
While your brain and what it does will typically slow down after using marijuana, many people experience their heart rate increasing. To make this even worse, the way they react to the condition can make the situation appear to be much worse than it is. We need to be clear about this. Anytime a person’s heart rate speeds up, one needs to be alarmed.
That being said, this isn’t always dangerous. By simply exercising, a person’s heart rate will speed up. This isn’t a reason to be alarmed. As mentioned, it’s very common for feelings to be both false and exaggerated while using marijuana. Because of this, more is made of the situation than needs to be.
As we’ve said, the brain doesn’t think as quickly as it normally would after smoking marijuana. This is most evident in the time it takes someone to react after smoking weed. Regardless if it is something they say, think or do, people who have been smoking take longer to respond than usual. Depending on exactly what a person is doing, this can be dangerous.
For example, if someone is driving after smoking marijuana, they won’t react as quickly to oncoming traffic and their surroundings. While serious injury and fatality rates are much higher for a driver after drinking alcohol compared to someone using marijuana, the cost of property damage can be just as significant with the minor accidents associated with marijuana use.
These incidents and injuries aren’t limited to driving. If you work in a profession requiring you to operate heavy equipment or machinery, smoking marijuana can be very dangerous. With the delay in a person’s reaction time, more accidents happen than usual. This is one of the reasons employers will perform random drug testing for marijuana use.
When it comes to the long term effects of using marijuana, a lot depends on how long you have been using the drug. Weed is far more potent today than it was 10, 15, or 20 years ago. The long-term effects are more serious and threatening if the marijuana you have used is more potent. This is especially true when it comes to a person’s effects concerning thinking and memory.
Also, something that is not considered nearly enough, women who are pregnant and smoke marijuana put their children at risk of memory and learning difficulties, especially during their first five years.
For men and women who are not pregnant, some of the most serious long-term effects they suffer from outside of their memory and thinking include severe problems with their lungs, making it more difficult to breathe as they get older in life.
Is it possible to overdose from marijuana?
No, marijuana is not a drug you will use and overdose from. Some serious reactions can be life-threatening including seizures. More often than not, when effects this serious are experienced, marijuana has been laced with another drug. This is more common than people think, especially if you do not purchase the marijuana from someone you know.
Also, even if you know the person you are buying the drug from, the quality and strength of marijuana differ. A lot of this is determined by the person who grows and harvests marijuana. While it may not be as serious and threatening as having a seizure, a lot can go wrong when smoking marijuana that is much stronger than you planned on using.
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What if I want to stop using marijuana? What should I do?
Answering this question will largely depend on how long and how often you have been smoking weed. For instance, if you have smoked marijuana a handful of times in your life, chances are, you won’t have difficulty never smoking again. That being said, if you have been a daily smoker for a period of time, going without smoking marijuana can be very difficult. The thought alone might seem impossible. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to stop. It simply means you can’t imagine life without being high. Anyone with an addiction has been there before.
Again, it needs to be said. Not everyone will need to take all of these measures. These are personal steps for the individual to decide on. Also, what works for some may not work for others. That doesn’t make a person weak or speak of who they are as a person. It simply means they have more of a struggle in the area.
People, places, and things
Normally, when someone smokes marijuana, it’s something they associate with something else. For instance, I know a few people who enjoy smoking marijuana when they go fishing. It’s part of their routine every time they head to the lake to go fishing. While fishing may not be your thing, there’s more than likely something you can substitute for the activity.
Maybe you enjoy smoking weed and then reading a book or taking a walk. Maybe you enjoy weed before spending time with a specific group of friends or it’s an activity you enjoy when going to a specific event. There are endless possibilities here.
If you have made the decision to quit smoking marijuana, these people, places, and things may not need to have a place in your life for a while. This doesn’t mean you any longer care for them or they are bad people. It doesn’t make a place or activity harmful. It simply means these are people and activities you associate with smoking marijuana. Because quitting is important to you, you have to make the decision that not smoking marijuana is important enough to distance yourself for a short time.
Depending on where you live, there may or may not be 12-step meetings specifically for people struggling to give up marijuana. That being said, regardless of the addiction, there are two kinds of 12-step meetings, open and closed. Normally, a closed meeting will be specific to addiction and those who suffer or have recovered from it.
That being said, an open meeting is open to anyone who would like to join. While the meeting may be specified for a different addiction, you will be able to apply what is being shared by others with your specific struggles. Say what you want about a 12-step program, there are millions of people who have been able to recover from their addictions through these programs.
If you have tried both of the previous suggestions and still can not make it through a day without smoking marijuana, it may be worth looking into a treatment facility. These facilities will usually range from three-day programs up to as long as 60 or 90 days.
You will want to decide if you are ok going to a treatment facility that addresses marijuana use specifically or if you are ok being surrounded by people with other addictions. While the number of facilities and programs focusing specifically on marijuana may be limited, the number is increasing. More and more people are willing to accept the fact that their marijuana use is beyond their control and they need help.
These are just three options when it comes to quitting marijuana use. There are plenty of other people who have been successful. Only you can determine the level of help you need and just how far you are willing to go to give up the use of marijuana.