Dr. Aaron's Blog

Cannabis Addiction And Its Effects On The Addict

March 27, 2017 Addiction, Addiction Recovery, All, Naturopathic Medicine by Aaron Van Gaver

According to recent data collected during the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2014, Cannabis is the most used drug in the United States.  Its use is widespread in adolescents and younger adults.  According to the Monitoring, the Future annual survey on drug use among the Nation’s high and middle school students, 8th, 10th and 12th graders have used marijuana steady within the last few years.

In 2015, 11.8% of 8th graders reported Cannabis use in the previous year while 6.5% were current users.  In 10th-graders, 25.4% used marijuana within the past year while 14.8% were current users.  These statics are alarming no wonder reports of disorders and addiction to Cannabis have grown exponentially within the last 10 years.  Here we take a look at marijuana disorder, addiction and its effects on an addict.

Marijuana Disorder and Addiction

Marijuana use usually leads to problem use also known as Cannabis use disorder and can lead to or take the form of addiction in severe cases.  Recent data suggest that 30% of marijuana users in the United States may have a degree of Cannabis use disorder.  Marijuana use disorder is often associated with strong dependence (a state in which the user suffers withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug).  Frequent users of marijuana often report irritability, sleep problems, mood shifts, decreased appetite, relentlessness, cravings, and/or a variety of physical discomfort that peak in the first week of quitting use of the substance and lasts up to at least two weeks.  Marijuana dependence can occur when the brain has adapted to huge amounts of the substance.  A disorder can become an addiction when the user cannot stop using Cannabis even though it negatively impacts many aspects of their life.

Effects of Cannabis Addiction

A recreational user consumes Cannabis for the effect it produces and the high the get from it.  However, continued use builds tolerance and leads users (in most cases) to consume even stronger drugs to create the same high.  Once the effects wear off, the individual may turn to even more potent drugs to treat himself of the conditions that made him or her take Cannabis in the first place.  The drug itself doesn’t lead the user to other drugs.  Recent studies in the United States suggest that 90% of cocaine users began by using substances like marijuana, alcohol or cigarettes.  Of course, not every individual who smokes marijuana goes on to use more potent drugs; many quit marijuana altogether.  A study found that youths who use Cannabis are 85 times likely to use cocaine, and 60% of the children who smoke marijuana before age 15 are likely to move on to cocaine.