Recovery Now News
  • How to Best Support Somebody Struggling with Opioid Addiction

    How to Best Support Somebody Struggling with Opioid Addiction

    Being around someone with an addiction to opioid medications can be a painful and intensely draining process. Seeing someone you care deeply about in such suffering and feeling they are wasting their lives poisoning themselves can be a huge struggle, and it may be easy to feel helpless against someone else's addiction.

  • Heroin Addiction Recovery in Zanzibar

    Heroin Addiction Recovery in Zanzibar

    How one man used the 12 step approach to change the way people look at recovery on the island.

    The Muslim island of Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean and is part of the nation of Tanzania.

  • What you need to know about Tapering off Suboxone

    What you need to know about Tapering off Suboxone

    Many people who have struggled with opioid painkiller addiction have experienced help from Soboxone, a medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone to relieve withdrawal from other opioid medication, reduce cravings, and reduce the unapproved, mood altering and addicting effects of those drugs. However, Suboxone is itself a narcotic drug, that can pose great risk if misued.

  • The Dangers of Detox from Alcohol Addiction

    The Dangers of Detox from Alcohol Addiction

    One of the most important steps in recovering from alcohol addiction is successfully making it through the process of detoxifying from alcohol and clearing all chemical dependency from your system. It is crucial for every person to get through detox before entering rehab so that they are not dealing with physical addiction but rather the mental aspects of being sober.

  • Speaking about Struggles with Addiction can Help

    Speaking about Struggles with Addiction can Help

    Addiction thrives on denial and deception, on anything that clouds the truth about your internal tensions and self-destructive habits. As an addict, you are used to lying to others about what you are doing, and hiding your substance use from others.

  • Is it Possible that Poor Sleep Leads to Alcoholism?

    Is it Possible that Poor Sleep Leads to Alcoholism?

    A recent study regarding sleep difficulties discovered a number of issues that could be associated with poor sleeping habits including binge drinking, driving under the influence and risky sexual behavior. The connection between poor sleep and substance abuse is especially prevalent in the younger population.

  • Successful Pain Management in Recovery

    Successful Pain Management in Recovery

    Methods of pain relief have never been easier, more varied, or more effective than they are today. In the past, many people would have been totally unable to function under severe chronic pain, that is now capable of being managed.

  • Binge Drinking’s Direct Impact on the Immune System

    Binge Drinking’s Direct Impact on the Immune System

    Even though young people may not feel the same health effects that adults do after drinking regularly, the binge drinking habits of adults between ages 18-34 can still significantly impact their well-being. A new study has shown that when young adults engage in binge drinking it can disrupt their immune system.

  • Is AA vs. NA Just a Matter of Preference?

    Is AA vs. NA Just a Matter of Preference?

    The Twelve-step program is both the oldest and among the most well-known programs in the modern recovery moment, and has helped thousands and thousands of people from all over the world work through their addiction and successfully journey towards sobriety. Using a model of peer support groups who work through a program together, it helps addicts seeking recovery recognize their need for help, surrender to a "higher power" (which can be either a form of spirituality, or the communal connections within the group itself), and get the strength to pursue continued healing for themselves and reconciliation to others hurt by the addiction.

  • Mending Relationships in Recovery

    Mending Relationships in Recovery

    Battling an addiction takes its toll on a person's mind, body, and spirit. Fortunately those things can be healed during the recovery process.

  • Explaining Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism

    Explaining Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism

    If you are struggling with alcohol addiction it can be very easy to feel lost, isolated and misunderstood. Our society has many misconceptions about alcoholism, and it may feel that many people simply consider your addiction a character defect, judging you or confused about why you can't simply "control yourself."

  • The Struggles Of Kicking Heroin Addiction

    The Struggles Of Kicking Heroin Addiction

    With 25 to 30 million people in America today battling a drug or alcohol addiction it's hard to believe that recovery can be possible, but it can be done. There's no doubt that beating an addiction is a hard process, one that requires work, motivation, focus, and strength among other things.

  • Coping With The Stress Of Drug Addiction Recovery

    Coping With The Stress Of Drug Addiction Recovery

    Recovery from an addiction is more than just an accomplishment - it's an ongoing process that requires focus and effort in so many ways. Without a continued dedication to doing the work required to stay sober, the risk of a relapse becomes very real.

  • Can being Active Lower your Risk of Alcoholism?

    Can being Active Lower your Risk of Alcoholism?

    Alcoholism has affected and continues to affect countless people, who come to the disease from every background imaginable. No background is immune from the possibility of this deeply debilitating and potentially harmful genetic condition that makes someone especially vulnerable to abusing alcohol seemingly involuntarily, and so it may easy to feel powerless and even hopeless.

  • The Dangers of Self-Medication for Issues of Mental Health

    The Dangers of Self-Medication for Issues of Mental Health

    It's very common for someone to use drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with emotional problems. They may not even be aware that drinking or getting high helps numb or block out the overwhelming feelings they are having until it's too late.

  • What are your Options for Treatment for Alcoholism?

    What are your Options for Treatment for Alcoholism?

    Alcohol addiction is a very intense and all-consuming problem that requires a multi-pronged plan of attack in order to know how to deal with it. A judgmental outsider may think it's easy to simply decide to stop drinking, but the truth is that alcoholism is an all-consuming disease and habit that dramatically affects all areas of your life.

  • Is A Drug Addiction Treatment Ban Responsible for Dying Ukrainians?

    Is A Drug Addiction Treatment Ban Responsible for Dying Ukrainians?

    In January, it was reported that around 100 drug abuse patients in the formerly Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea had died because the substitution treatment they had been undergoing was now illegal under newly placed Russian laws. This is only a small percentage of the estimated 800 drug users in Crimea who were undergoing the treatment.

  • The Mantra of Living One Day at a Time

    The Mantra of Living One Day at a Time

    When you encounter other people struggling with recovery, in a support group, you may often hear the phrase "One Day at a Time." By this they mean, keeping your attention on the present moment.

  • Helping Your Alcoholic Family Members

    Helping Your Alcoholic Family Members

    One of the most painful experiences in life is watching a friend or family member with an alcohol problem. It's not easy to stand by and see someone you love destroy their health, relationships, and career.

  • The Plight of the Late Bloomer in Recovery

    The Plight of the Late Bloomer in Recovery

    Achieving sobriety is all about giving someone a second chance at a healthy, more fulfilling life. That's why it's not uncommon to find many "late bloomers" in recovery.

  • Facing the Fact that You Have a Problem with Alcohol and Drugs

    Facing the Fact that You Have a Problem with Alcohol and Drugs

    The first thing you have to do to address a drug or alcohol problem is admit that you have one. Sounds pretty simple, but it's actually the most difficult part of recovery for many people. If you're quite sure that you have a problem, there are several signs you can look for.

  • What’s the Difference When Identifying as an Addict or Alcoholic?

    What’s the Difference When Identifying as an Addict or Alcoholic?

    People who attend AA meetings may feel that they must identify as both an alcoholic and an addict if they have a problem with drugs as well as alcohol. They could also feel that they have to choose one term or the other since the problems are separated in different meetings through twelve step programs.

  • Staying Connected to the Your Program with Open Communication

    Staying Connected to the Your Program with Open Communication

    One of the foundations and most important aspects of addiction recovery is for addicts to remain honest and open throughout their time in rehab. A program will not be effective for a patient if they are reluctant to engage in open communication with their peers and the therapists and counselors that are there to support them.

  • Acceptance of Addiction and Alcoholism Provides Relief

    Acceptance of Addiction and Alcoholism Provides Relief

    Addiction is a disease that can lead people to experience a powerful sense of denial for many years before they recognize their own problem. People who are alcoholics may think they have their drinking under control or that they can simply cut down or quit at any time.

  • Dealing with the Emotions that Addiction Recovery Brings

    Dealing with the Emotions that Addiction Recovery Brings

    Although it can be cathartic to finally quit an addiction, for most people in recovery there will be plenty of emotional ups and downs especially in the first few months of entering rehab. Addiction recovery is a very difficult but rewarding path for people who have spent years of their lives coping with alcohol or drug dependency.

  • Identifying with others in Recovery can Save Your Life

    Identifying with others in Recovery can Save Your Life

    Recovery from addiction can easily become an overwhelming process. It involves unlearning a habit you have spent many hours unconsciously developing. It is going without the very thing you thought you could not live without.

  • Understanding Why Addiction Attracts Lower Companions

    Understanding Why Addiction Attracts Lower Companions

    Songs, literature, and movies frequently glamorizes drug and alcohol use, often showing the "highs" and "fun" without drawing attention to the hard realities of an addicted life. This leads many people to view a lifestyle of substance abuse and addiction in unrealistic ways, assuming it's the gateway to a fun lifestyle filled with interesting people and exciting adventures.

  • How to Handle an Aggressive Person under the Influence

    How to Handle an Aggressive Person under the Influence

    Drinking and drug use can radically alter a person's behavior and character. Almost everyone occasionally has moments where they feel angry or frustrated at someone else's behavior, but most people are able to vent their anger in relatively helpful ways, by communicating with the person involved, expressing your hurt or disappointment with a supportive friend, or finding outlets to "let off steam."

  • Josh Gordon Responds to Critics Regarding Addiction

    Josh Gordon Responds to Critics Regarding Addiction

    In January, TNT sports analyst Charles Barkley spoke publicly about his concern for NFL player Josh Gordon. The Cleveland Browns wide receiver had failed yet another mandatory drug test and was moving ever closer to a one year suspension.

  • First Canadian National Addiction Recovery Summit Held

    First Canadian National Addiction Recovery Summit Held

    In an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and work toward better treatment options, Ottawa held its first Canadian National Recovery Summit. This meeting organized by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse was a part of a campaign to bring more awareness to people in recovery and give them a chance to feel that they are accepted and understood by society.

  • What Is Going On In The Life Of Kurt Busch?

    What Is Going On In The Life Of Kurt Busch?

    Recent news involving the ongoing drama between NASCAR driver Kurt Busch and ex girlfriend Patricia Driscoll now includes allegations of alcoholism and depression. In December, Driscoll testified in a hearing over an incident of physical abuse by Busch during their 4 year relationship and described him as a man struggling with severe depression who abused alcohol to deal with his problems.

  • Jon Jones Doesn’t Have a Drug Problem

    Jon Jones Doesn’t Have a Drug Problem

    Ultimate Fighting champion Jon Jones recently opened up about his drug use in an interview and discussed his time in rehab and how it impacted his life. Jones has asserted in the past that he never had a drug problem but his recent cocaine use ran him into trouble with the UFC when he was caught through a drug test.

Marijuana

Each year, 8.9%, or 22.6 million Americans, aged 12 and over, use marijuana and nearly half of all high school seniors have at least tried the drug before graduation.

Marijuana is the most widely-abused illicit drug in the United States. Marijuana is usually smoked; rolled up like a cigarette (called a joint), in a pipe, or from a water pipe (called a bong), which all effectively deliver smoke straight to the lungs. The drug can also be eaten or drunk as a tea to gain equal effects.

The active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets into the bloodstream and is carried to the brain quickly. The effects are felt right away and can last up to four hours. The brain’s reward system is stimulated, the neurotransmitter, dopamine is released, and the user feels euphoric pleasure. The drug is also impairing thought, concentration, and perception of time while inducing the high.

The desire to escape from reality, to numb painful emotions, and to experience an altered perception, with less damaging effects that come with alcohol, cocaine, or heroin abuse, for example, make marijuana an attractive drug to many people. The problem is, frequent users are not aware of the drug’s true damage and potential dangers.

History

Marijuana was originally used as food and then as medicine before becoming popular for recreational use during the 1960's. Throughout the following decades, marijuana use continued, and is still widely used and abused today.

References to marijuana use, and its subculture, are found frequently in current pop culture through music and film, and celebrities often make headlines when arrested for possession of marijuana

Rates of Marijuana Use

According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, nearly 40% of the U.S. population over the age of 12 has tried marijuana at least once in their lives. With a population of 313.9 million, 125.5 million people have smoked this illegal drug.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that, each year, 8.9%, or 22.6 million Americans, aged 12 and over, use marijuana, and nearly half of all high school seniors have at least tried marijuana before graduation.

Since the drug is so frequently used by teenagers and young adults without an understanding for how marijuana stunts the emotional, physical, and mental development of adolescents, the problem needs to be addressed.

For more information, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731.

The Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana impacts the organic functioning of the mind, body, and soul, therefore, the drug is a danger to the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health of any user.

While a marijuana smoker appears lethargic and lazy, the drug actually stimulates the respiratory and circulatory systems, making the lungs and heart work harder. Consequently, the drug can create depressant or stimulatory effects in its users.

Effects on the brain include:

  • Memory problems
  • Learning difficulties
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased paranoia
  • Increased fear
  • Emotional isolation
  • Impaired judgment

The physical effects of marijuana are:

  • Sedation
  • Pain reduction
  • Coughing (from lung irritation)
  • Increased appetite
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Intensified sensations
  • Increased hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of bodily control and muscular coordination
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Addiction

Psychological effects of marijuana are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • A loss of self-identification
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation
  • Diagnosable psychosis
  • Addiction

Chronic marijuana use makes the user very susceptible to health problems like heart attack, stroke, respiratory problems, and cancer of the lungs or throat. Further, since THC affects the same part of the brain that controls memory and focus, some people can become paranoid and anxious when high.

Studies show that 6% to 11% of all fatal accidents are attributed to the effects of marijuana. Other external marijuana side effects include legal problems, work and financial problems, and trouble sustaining healthy relationships.

Like any drug that affects the mind and body, marijuana can become addicting as the mind becomes dependent upon its presence. The brain adapts to the stimulation of its pleasure center and begins to rewire itself after repeated reinforcement in the form of marijuana use.

To find out more, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731.

Medical Marijuana

While some people truly need the medicinal effects of marijuana, the legalization of the drug’s use in many states has lead to abuse of the system.

The drug is used to treat the following medical conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle tension or spasms
  • Loss of appetite during cancer treatment or from HIV/AIDS
  • Pain from cancer treatment
  • Convulsions
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Jaundice, beriberi, and ague
  • Delayed childbirth
  • Cough relief
  • Opiate withdrawal
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Infection (as an antibiotic)
  • Eye issues, like glaucoma

The average medical marijuana user is male (70%) in his 40s (70%), and does not have a true need for the drug. In the states where marijuana is legal, through a prescription, many people have figured out how to abuse the system and obtain the drug without proper doctor’s orders.

For further information on medical marijuana, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731.

Addressing the Dangers of Marijuana

Psychological and emotional dependence on marijuana are common, but physical dependence can also happen when the drug’s use has become regular. Marijuana then has a hold on the user’s mind, body, and soul.

Based on SAMHSA’s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, data from 2002 to 2007 helps explain the trend of marijuana use among the youngest members of our population. The survey found that the use of marijuana decreased among adolescents between each survey year. For all U.S. citizens between the age of 12 and 17, marijuana use went from 8.2% in 2002 down to 6.8% in 2005, which then remained constant through 2007.

The decrease in those smoking marijuana is attributed to the increase in knowledge and awareness of the drug’s true impact. When higher risk and long-term effects were better understood by the adolescent age group, fewer decided to try, or to continue using, marijuana.

SAMHSA reports that, in 2002, 32.4% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 understood the risk of smoking marijuana once a month and chose not to use the drug. One year later, 34.9% of that same age bracket accurately perceived marijuana’s risks, and even fewer teenagers used the drug. When the potential dangers are understood, less kids smoke marijuana.

Adverse Life Consequences

With all of the mental, physical, and psychological effects outlined above, additional dangers of marijuana include the impact on one’s daily life. While marijuana is often not seen as a highly-dangerous drug, the truth is that the repeated use of any mind-altering substance will create adverse life consequences.

Many pot smokers did not fully understand marijuana dangers as they began to smoke the drug early in life, and more frequently. Consequently, many marijuana users find that the drug is interfering with school or work performance, in relationships with family and friends, in the ability to stay financially stable, and in their physical and mental health.

Over time, individuals who have become physically and emotionally dependent on marijuana, find themselves falling behind on basic fundamental life skills that peers have appropriately developed. Self-esteem problems arise, self-reinforcement abilities deteriorate, and confidence is diminished.

Why Doesn’t Use Stop After Adverse Life Consequences?

The use of mind-altering drugs is progressive in nature, meaning use will continue when not properly intervened on and treated.

Psychological and emotional dependence on marijuana are common, but physical dependence can also happen when pot use has become regular. The drug then has a hold on the user’s mind, body, and soul.

Physical dependence is marked by withdrawal symptoms that occur when the use of the drug is stopped. The body and brain have adapted to the pain-reducing effects of marijuana, for example, and when stopped, all emotional pain seems overwhelming and impossible to face. The ability to sleep is disrupted when physical dependence has developed, and anxiety may greatly increase when marijuana is not being used to self-medicate.

If you see the dangers of marijuana use impacting your life, or the life of someone you love, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731.

Dependence on Marijuana

A desire to use marijuana more often, and the need for a higher dose to experience the same effects indicates tolerance and dependence on the drug.

While marijuana does not have the same physical dependence as other drugs do (alcohol, cocaine, heroin), the substance is still highly addictive. A user becomes more psychologically than physically dependent on the high, yet the repeated use of marijuana can create the same adverse life consequences as any other substance.

When continued marijuana use creates a need for higher dosages to achieve the drug’s effects (the euphoria, the high, and the escape), dependence has developed. A desire to use more often, and the need for more marijuana in a single session to achieve the same effects (called tolerance), are the major symptoms of dependence.

Tolerance is yet another one of the marijuana dangers because it leads to smoking more often, and in larger doses, which causes more mental, physical, and psychological damage.

Are you dependent on marijuana, or do you know someone who fits the criteria? Call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731 to seek appropriate information and help!

Withdrawal from Marijuana

Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana are delayed sometimes for several weeks to a month after a person stops using the drug.

Darryl S. Inaba, director of the Genesis Recovery Center and co-author of the book Uppers, Downers, All Arounders explains his take on marijuana dependence and withdrawal by saying,

Sometimes people who’ve been smoking for five years decide to quit. They stop 1, 2, 3 days, even a week, and they (especially those who think marijuana is benign), say, ‘Wow, I feel great. Marijuana’s no problem. I have no withdrawal. It’s nothing at all.’ Then they start up again. They never experience withdrawal. We see that withdrawal symptoms to marijuana are delayed sometimes for several weeks to a month after a person stops.

A sure sign of dependence on a drug is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when use of that drug stops. With marijuana, withdrawal does not happen immediately after cessation, as it does with other drugs, like heroin and alcohol. Instead, the symptoms present themselves more slowly, but for a longer period of time.

Withdrawal from marijuana includes the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Aches, pains, and chills
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Slight tremors
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Decreased appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Cravings for more marijuana use

A 38-year-old recovering marijuana-dependent man shares his experience with withdrawal:

I would break into a sweat in the shower. I could not maintain my concentration for the first month or 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.

If you see the signs of withdrawal in yourself or someone else, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731 to find out the next step!

Treatment for Marijuana Abuse & Addiction

“I thought I could control it because when I woke up in the morning, I didn’t get high for the first hour and half. I figured an hour and a half, that proves that I’m not hooked on this stuff because I don’t really need it.” - quote from a recovering marijuana addict at a Marijuana Anonymous meeting

When any form of dependence on marijuana has occurred (physical, mental, emotional, psychological), treatment is necessary to stop the progression of use to abuse or addiction.

Recreational use of marijuana has progressed to abuse when one or more life consequences, directly connected to the drug’s use, have occurred and the person has still not changed marijuana-using behaviors. For example, if a college kid is smoking marijuana very often and starts missing classes and noticing his grades drop, yet he does not cut back on the amount of marijuana he is smoking, then he is abusing the drug.

The indicators used to determine when abuse has progressed further to diagnosable addiction are the presence of dependence in one form or another, the presence of withdrawal symptoms when marijuana use fully stops, and the following five criteria:

  1. Loss of control over marijuana use
  2. Obsession with using marijuana
  3. Continued use despite adverse life consequences
  4. Denial of a problem with marijuana use
  5. A high likelihood of a relapse, or a return to marijuana, after a period of quitting.

When marijuana use can be defined as abuse or addiction, treatment is needed. The first step in the process toward recovery with any mind-altering substance is detoxification.

Marijuana Detox

The body and brain must first rid itself of all traces of marijuana before formal treatment, true healing, and official recovery can begin.

With a trained staff of physicians, substance abuse counselors, and other medical personnel, marijuana detox is successful. Appropriate medications and therapeutic techniques make the detoxification process more pleasant.

Once the body has cleared out the remaining THC, formal treatment can begin.

Formal Treatment

The greatest problem with marijuana is the way it impacts its users’ lives. When the mind, body, and soul are all affected by a substance, that drug is dangerous. Treatment for marijuana dependence, abuse, or addiction helps those who are suffering from the consequences of marijuana.

To heal from the disease of addiction, people from all generational, economic, and racial backgrounds need formal treatment. Addiction is an ailment of the mind and body. In addition to dependence on the drug, the brain’s natural system of chemicals is disrupted. Continuous marijuana use has created new neurological pathways that affect the pleasure centers. When attempts to quit using marijuana are made, the chemical imbalances can cause major depression or anxiety. When not properly treated, users can return to marijuana abuse, or may also turn to other drugs, for relief. Treatment must address the many mind and body changes that occurred during active addiction in order to be effective.

After the completion of a medically-monitored detox program, entry into an inpatient, residential program is recommended. With twenty-four-hour care and accountability, recovering marijuana abusers and addicts live and participate in treatment in one location. An inability to leave the facility, paired with constant care, peer support, and individual counseling works well to begin a life without mind-altering substances.

After 30, 60, 90, or 180 days in inpatient treatment, most recovering addicts participate in an outpatient program. At this level of care, the same principals of recovery, and the same therapeutic approaches are utilized, but now the client has more autonomy. The commitment to stay clean and sober is needed because there is no longer around-the-clock accountability and monitorization. Clients typically do not live on-site as they did in residential treatment, so daily choices to stay clean are up to each individual.

A commitment to not using is all that is needed to begin detox, treatment, and recovery. Choosing a life without substances is not easy, but the staff at Recovery Now TV is here to help. Our team has been consistently matching marijuana users, abusers, and addicts with appropriate treatment successfully.

The daily life of someone dependent on marijuana can change. Call Recovery Now TV to find out how: 800-281-4731.

Sources:
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Uppers, Downers, All Arounders by Darryl S. Inaba & William E. Cohen
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services