The first step to stop any pattern of drug use is a medically-monitored detoxification program. When a substance has been used repeatedly, residual chemicals are still affecting a person’s functioning. The process of ridding the body and brain of these harmful chemicals, called detox, allows brain and body chemistry to return to equilibrium.
When marijuana has been used regularly for an extended period of time, a build up of several toxins has occurred and needs to be cleared out for any changes to be made. Otherwise, the chemicals that have been dictating decision-making and behavior are still influencing these aspects of everyday life.
While marijuana is not perceived to be as dangerous as drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, the drug comes with its own set of dangers. A person who has been using marijuana consistently over a long period of time has forgotten what it feels like to be free of the mind-altering substance. Marijuana detox can be the first step in seeing that life can be lived without drugs.
By reducing the levels of unfamiliar substances within a person's body, natural functioning can be regained successfully, and the process of recovery can begin. Marijuana detox is the first step in the process of rebuilding the lining in the lungs, repairing the airways that have been damaged by marijuana smoke, and regaining the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. As the body begins to heal, so can the mind and the psyche.
When marijuana has been used in combination with alcohol, or other drugs, detox is even more important. For each harmful substance, detoxification is different. Alcohol detox can be fatal. Opiate detox, from drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers like Vicodin, is extremely painful. Each form of detox can be medically treated, but only when undertaken in a facility with a trained staff.
Every client who presents for a medically-monitored detox program has a unique set of needs, based on which drug or drugs are being abused, length of drug and alcohol abuse, level of tolerance (meaning what amount of each substance is used on a regular basis to achieve the drug’s high), and what withdrawal symptoms are being experienced. With all of these variables, detoxing from any and all mind-altering substances should be done with medical supervision.
If you, or someone you love, is abusing marijuana and other substances, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. The team is here to assist you in finding the best marijuana detox program available. Call now!
Many misconceptions about marijuana exist, but are not founded on facts. Listed below are those myths paired with the truth about marijuana, the most commonly used and abused drug in the United States.
Marijuana Myth #1: Marijuana is harmless because it is not addictive; people who use marijuana can stop whenever they want.Marijuana Fact #1: Recent research shows that marijuana is in fact addictive. Although withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of marijuana are not as strong or painful as those associated with other drugs, the fact that withdrawal even occurs shows that the drug is addictive.
When drug use stops, marijuana users experience several symptoms, such as a decrease in appetite, weight loss, shakiness, hostility, irritability, forgetfulness, stomachaches, paranoia, and anxiety. Further information is outlined under the Marijuana Withdrawal tab.
Marijuana Myth #2: Marijuana has no negative effect on the way people drive, and being high actually allows for better concentration and better driving.
Marijuana Fact #2: Marijuana is a factor in many driving accidents and actually decreases a driver's ability to make quick, safe decisions. The drug also affects perception, so a driver's ability to concentrate and to react appropriately is slowed and disabled. Alertness, a major requirement when driving a car, is also impaired.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about 18% of all motor vehicle driver deaths involve drugs other than alcohol, mainly marijuana. A report of emergency room traffic accident patients showed that 15% of all crash victims were under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.
Marijuana Myth #3: Marijuana is a harmless drug that should be legal because it is derived from all natural substances; it's just a plant.
Marijuana Fact #3: Even though marijuana is "just a plant" it has some of the same damaging effects on the brain caused by harder drugs, like heroin and cocaine. Marijuana smoke contains harmful chemicals connected to the development of cancer resulting from the drug’s impact on the immune and respiratory systems. Also, the fact that marijuana contributes to car accidents, injuries, and fatalities like any other mind-altering substance shows its true dangers.
Marijuana Myth #4: Marijuana does not really affect a person's daily life; it just makes them more relaxed and mellow. People who smoke marijuana generally stay out of trouble.
Marijuana Fact #4: Marijuana is affecting daily life when an individual’s use progresses to abuse and addiction, which means:
- a loss of control over use has occurred,
- the person has become obsessed with marijuana use,
- the person continues to use the drug despite adverse life consequences,
- the person denies any problem with marijuana, and
- a high likelihood of relapsing (returning to marijuana use) after a time without the drug exists.
A regular marijuana user’s social, familial, relational, financial, and work life is greatly disrupted. Marijuana impairs a person's judgment, ability to concentrate, and to form and maintain healthy relationships. Repeated use can cause debilitating anxiety, depression, and paranoia at higher levels than in non-smokers.
Bottom line: a dependence on marijuana, mainly psychological in nature, majorly affects a person’s daily life. Problems are created because of the drug’s use.
Marijuana Myth #5: Marijuana only stays in your body for a short amount of time, about one week.
Marijuana Fact #5: Although the effects of marijuana only last for a few hours, the active ingredient in marijuana, the chemical THC, stays in the fatty tissue of the body for several weeks and even months when use is consistent. A standard urine test can detect marijuana in the body for a longer period of time than a person actually feels its effects.
Consequently, the brain is continuously affected by the residual THC. To stop the impact, and to break the cycle of addiction and the need for marijuana, detoxification is necessary.
If you or someone you love has a problem with marijuana, call the team at Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. Connections to marijuana detox programs and to formal treatment centers are made daily. Call now!
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug In the United States today. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that 6.5% of all high school seniors in the U.S. smoke marijuana on a daily basis, and 23% use the drug on a monthly basis. In the most recent NIH survey, called Monitoring the Future, only 20.6% of all high school seniors perceived harm in smoking marijuana.
While programs like D.A.R.E. have made an effort to educate the youngest members of our society, marijuana’s true effects remain greatly misunderstood. To make the choice to stay drug free, the actual repercussions of this drug must be more widely communicated.
The high associated with marijuana generally begins with a sense of euphoria, relaxation, sedation, and pain reduction. The effects on the body include bloodshot eyes, coughing, lung irritation, hunger, and a loss of muscular coordination. Heart rate increases, blood pressure decreases, and paranoia can set in.
A marijuana user then becomes sleepy, forgetful, and can experience distortions in color, sound, and time. Hallucinations and delusions are also possible, along with depersonalization, which is the detachment from one’s own self.
One 35-year-old marijuana user, who experienced depersonalization, shares its effects:
You can’t be there for people when you’re not inside yourself. And when you get loaded [or high] you’re not inside yourself. It’s like you remove yourself from yourself and then you’re another person.
Other short-term effects of marijuana include feelings of depression, fatigue, hostility toward others, a decrease in social activity and participation in relationships, and carelessness in appearance. For students and athletes, the effects of marijuana include a deterioration in academic performance, increased absences, and little or no motivation to participate in school activities, sports, or any physical activity, or to complete school work. Many marijuana users also report major changes in eating and sleeping patterns, most frequently an increase in both.
Repeated marijuana use affects the brain’s hippocampus, which regulates short-term memory. A 36-year old recovering marijuana-dependent man shares his experience with memory loss from his consistent marijuana abuse:
I’d be doing a job and all of a sudden I’d look up and freeze and not know what to do. I would have a handful of checks in my hand and just look at the machine for a while and think to myself, ‘What is this? What do I do with it?’ So I just stand there and think to myself, ‘Okay, it’s going to come. It’s going to come.’ And eventually it would.
THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes the high, stays in the body for several days, weeks, and even months. While the majority of people believe that marijuana is not harmful, if the levels of THC are high enough, or if the marijuana is laced with other drugs, harmful effects of marijuana occur immediately.
Repeated exposure to the chemicals in marijuana create long-term effects that are difficult to reverse and repair. While these effects are still being researched, the greatest impact from marijuana abuse happens to the respiratory system, the immune system, and a person’s mental health.
Smoking marijuana irritates the breathing passages, and after an extended length of the drug’s use, chronic bronchitis, permanent lung damage, and various forms of cancer are highly likely.
A 48-year-old marijuana smoker, with over two decades of the drug’s abuse, knows that the impact has been extremely damaging:
I’m sure I’ve done some damage to my lungs. I mean, you can’t put that kind of tar down in your system, heated tar going into your system constantly for 23 years, and sit here and say there’s nothing wrong and nothing has happened. Surely something has happened.
The immune system is also compromised when marijuana use has been consistent over a long period of time. When an illness or disease is diagnosed, the ability to heal and recover is limited. Also, susceptibility to the cold and flu virus is increased, and smoking marijuana exposes the lungs to pathogens like bacteria and fungi. The immune system is suppressed by marijuana use, so the drug can actually enhance the growth of tumors by also suppressing the anti-tumor immune response, most often for those suffering from breast cancer.
Marijuana’s impact on mental health is still being studied, but many cases of psychosis are reported from the drug’s abuse. One substance abuse counselor shared the following:
I once worked with a 13-year-old client who had no premorbid symptoms that could be identified prior to his thirteenth birthday, when his friends turned him on to a ‘honey blunt,’ which is a cigar packed with marijuana soaked in honey and dried. It happened to be very strong sinsemilla [with high levels of THC], and he experienced an acute anxiety reaction followed by a hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder, including a profound depression and an inability to concentrate. We don’t know how long these problems will last.
All mind-altering drugs have unpredictable effects that needs to be known and understood so that choosing sobriety can start from a young age.
If marijuana has caused short-term or long-term effects in your life, or in the life of someone you love, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731 to begin the healing process today!
Tolerance to any drug develops over extended periods of use. When it takes more of the drug to achieve the same high, tolerance has developed and the body and brain have become accustomed to a certain level of the drug. The ability to metabolize the substance has evolved, and now more of the harmful, mind-altering chemicals are needed to feel euphoria again.
This 24-year-old recovering marijuana user demonstrates tolerance by sharing his experience:
Originally, when we first got it [marijuana], we could smoke, say, two bong loads and just be totally stoned whereas now we have to keep continuously smoking just to keep the high going, even with the higher-potency stuff.
Tolerance is also an indicator that a drug’s use has progressed to abuse or addiction. Another indicator is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when the drug’s use has stopped for any period of time.
With marijuana, the withdrawal symptoms are less obvious than those of alcohol or opiate cessation, for example, but still have an impact on a person’s functioning, and still signal a problem with this mind-altering substance.
Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana include:
- aches, pains, and chills
- an inability to concentrate
- slight tremors
- disruption in sleep patterns
- decreased appetite
- drug craving
A 38-year-old recovering marijuana addict recalls his withdrawal from the drug:
I would break into a sweat in the shower. I could not maintain my concentration for the first month of two. To really treasure my sobriety, it took me about three or four months before I really came out of the fog and really started getting a grasp of what was going on around me.
When the presence of withdrawal symptoms indicate that tolerance to and a dependence on marijuana has developed, it is time for help. By calling Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731, you can find the right marijuana detox and treatment program for you, or for someone you love. Call now!
Treatment for Marijuana Abuse & Addiction
What are the consequences? Is something costing you more money that you should be spending? Is it jeopardizing your job? Is it jeopardizing your relationships with your spouse or your lover or your children? Are you alienated because of that? Those are the consequences [of drug abuse and addiction.]
When adverse life consequences are the result of marijuana use, the drug is being abused. When use continues, even after negative repercussions, the problem with marijuana has progressed to physical and psychological dependence, which means addiction.
At this point, a person, and his or her family and friends, must decide a proper course of action. Without intervention and treatment, all drug use, and its consequences, will continue to get worse. Loss of work, failure in school, deteriorating mental and physical health, an inability to maintain relationships, financial despair, complete isolation, and legal implications are inevitable with any case of untreated substance abuse and addiction.
Formal treatment is the best way to combat a drug addiction. To start the process of recovery, a detoxification program, and in this case marijuana detox, provides an environment in which no mind-altering substances are available, and where a trained staff of medical and mental health professionals assist each client with his or her individual needs. Through discomfort, a desire to use again, and all of the withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana, the staff will assure proper medication management, psychotherapeutic intervention, and ongoing attention.
After marijuana detox has been successfully completed, entry into an inpatient residential program offers the greatest chance of sustained sobriety. When working with a highly-trained substance abuse counselor and with peers, each client creates an individualized treatment plan, gives and receives support from fellow addicts, and can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel: a life without mind-altering substances.
Various forms of therapy and holistic approaches to healing facilitate change in recovering marijuana abusers and addicts. A commitment to recovery is made, and a new life begins. After inpatient treatment, most counselors will recommend a follow-up outpatient program as a way to continue practicing tools and coping skills, and to return to life with more freedom while still having a support system in place.
When marijuana is being abused, or used to the point of addiction, marijuana detox and treatment is necessary. By calling Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731, you can stop the progression of further negative life consequences. Call today!