As marijuana continues to be legalized across America, we will likely continue to see a steady increase in people reporting Marijuana Use Disorder. This increase is likely due to the increased potency in THC and consistency of the drug as it is highly regulated. While many individuals who use cannabis do not report using the substance in a problematic way, as most substances, there will always be individuals who struggle to consume it safely. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, just over 2 million people from the ages 18-25 suffer from Marijuana Use Disorder.
Cannabis works by releasing a psychoactive chemical in the brain called Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. THC binds to your brain’s endogenous cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain. While the regions of the brain differ from person to person, the most common areas affected are the regions involved with pleasure seeking and addiction, memory, vision, personality, and organization. However, just because marijuana affects one person one way does not mean every person will experience the same effects as their endogenous cannabinoid receptors can be located in different regions of the brain.
Moreover, substance dependency can form after weeks or months of persistent use, regardless of the potency. While it is believed that higher potency will have more immediate addictive and maladaptive effects on the brain, consistent and daily use alone is enough to create addictive patterns. After engaging in prolonged marijuana use, withdrawal symptoms can begin to occur if the individual ceases their use.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Marijuana Use Disorder include:
Declining decision making skills
Delayed reaction time
Deception about marijuana use
Using cannabis to escape from daily stressors
Increasing paranoia, fearfulness or panic
Increased appetite, weight gain
Increased irritability and agitation
Decreased ability to focus and concentrate
Engaging in risky behaviors
If you or your loved one is showing signs of marijuana use disorder, please take the first step in seeking support in your addiction. Call today to speak with one of our qualified staff.