Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs in the United States, second only to alcohol for abuse by young adults. As a result, marijuana rehab is becoming increasingly important for teens and young adults. Because there is a growing movement to legalize this drug, many people believe it is harmless. Nothing could be further from the truth, marijuana has potentially long term effects on a teenager and can increase the likelihood that a person will use other drugs as an adult. Marijuana treatment can recognize a problem and prevent the long-term damage marijuana addiction and long-term use can inflict. Additionally, only marijuana rehab can break the cycle of abuse that often leads to harder drugs.
If you or loved one is using marijuana or suffers from marijuana addiction, contact one of our Missouri drug rehab centers today to learn more. With locations in Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis, we offer solutions for teens and young adults throughout the state of Missouri.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried leaves and buds from the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. Other preparations include hash (a compacted resin), tinctures (often made by soaking the plant in grain alcohol), infusions (usually a combination made with butter), and oil (extracted by solvents).This plant is also used to produce hemp fibers used in clothing and rope. Hemp, however, does not have a detectable amount of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
While nearly 500 unknown and potentially harmful chemicals can be found in marijuana, scientists have determined that THC is the most responsible for the euphoria, or high, that marijuana use creates. The marijuana of today is much different from the carefree drug of the past with much higher concentrations of THC. The University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring program found that THC potency in marijuana has risen from 3.4% in 1993 to 12.3% in 2012 with some preparations having as much as 36%. This drastic increase in potency is evidence of different growing methods and presages a serious potential for addiction, which is why marijuana addition and use is such a serious problem and marijuana rehab is essential.
Marijuana is commonly referred to as:
- Purple Haze
Terms commonly used to refer to smoking marijuana include:
- “Blaze it”
- “Bong rips”
- “smoke a bowl”
How is Marijuana Used
Dried marijuana is the most commonly used form of this drug. Marijuana in this form is smoked using either rolling papers (called a joint), hollowed out cigars (called a blunt), a glass pipe (called a “piece” or “one hitter”), (“a bowl”) which is the part of a pipe that you pack weed Into or a water filled pipe that chills and filters the smoke (called a bong). Despite attempts to filter, and augment the taste of marijuana, none of these methods make it any safer. If you have noticed cigarette rolling papers, loose tobacco (evidence of blunt use, and appearing like pencil shavings), or strange glass pipes or vase-like objects in your teenagers belongings, these may be signs of marijuana use and are a good reason to seek information about marijuana addiction and marijuana rehab options.
Another method for use is through marijuana infusions. Marijuana infusions are typically made by mixing the drug with butter or coconut oil. These are then baked into cookies or brownies. This is a less common consumption method due to the slower absorption rate, but may be recognized by a young adult’s purchase of a single baked item from a friend.
Common signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction and use include:
- Dry Mouth
- Intense food cravings (referred to by users as “the munchies”)
- Red eyes
- Sweaty palms
- Dazed, slow demeanor
- Slow thinking
- Slow reflexes
- Reduced coordination
- Problems concentrating
- Reduced motivation
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Anxiety and paranoia
If you have noticed these signs and symptoms in your child, it is important to seek help and treatment. Contact our drug rehab centers for information about how marijuana rehab can help end this addiction and guide your child on the road to recovery.
The Threat of Marijuana Addiction & Why Marijuana Rehab is Necessary
THC is the primary mind-altering substance in Cannabis. It is commonly believed that THC simply creates a high and then returns the user to a normal state of being after the drug is purged from the system. However, this is not true. The fact that marijuana’s potency has increased 9 fold since the 1960’s makes the drug of today even more dangerous and addictive. Researchers have found that 1 in 6 users who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 will become addicted. There are serious developmental consequences of marijuana use especially in teens and young adults, as a result, marijuana rehab and rearmament is necessary to end long-term abuse and marijuana addiction and restore normal brain function for those who are habitual users of the drug.
THC is absorbed by fatty tissues in the body, which includes cells in the brain. This process makes music sound different, food taste different, and creates a general change in perception for the user. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. It can remain in the body for 28 days after use and can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Appetite Disturbance
- Weakened Immune Systems
- Mood Swings
With marijuana use and addiction being so wide spread, it is the number one reason teenagers are entered into drug treatment programs. In 2009, nearly 72% of drug treatment admission for youth between the ages of 12 and 17 were due to marijuana abuse. Despite all the popular myths, the addiction is real, and marijuana treatment is necessary.
Why Marijuana Addiction & Use is So Harmful Especially in Young Adults
“I believe marijuana is the most dangerous psychological chemical a teenager can use. The main reason I believe that it is so dangerous is because it seems to do so little wrong. Heroin, cocaine, and even alcohol have major immediate consequences; these chemicals skew your life 30 to 80° off track. This is why people see heroin, cocaine, alcohol etc. as “hard drugs.” I think these drugs are actually just more expensive drugs and the life effects are more obvious.
Marijuana just puts a person off 3°, which in the short term is not a big deal. Again the problem is that there are not usually overdoses, wrecked cars, belligerent outbursts, and other immediate problems caused by the other, “hard” chemicals.
The deceptive nature of 3° off is that the person using marijuana and their loved ones don’t notice that they’re off course until it’s too late. The analogy I often use is, if we were in the Hawaiian Islands flying from one island to the next, and our course was 3° off it would not be a big deal, we could visually re-adjust. Yet if we are flying to Maine on the other side of the continental US we would probably end up somewhere in Cuba or Canada. You see 3° off over a long period of time is a big deal. Someone smoking marijuana does not notice the effects right away; in fact the feeling of smoking pot is that it is much more of a “solution” then a problem for the marijuana abuser. It is a quick fix to emotional problems.
Another dangerous effect of marijuana is that it fuels a “victim” mentality. An example of this is that, pot users never have a drug problem, they have a parent problem, school problem, law problem, boss problem, and if everyone would just get off their back they would be fine. Due to the effects of THC on the adolescent brain (see Dr. Thurston’s Studies), the adolescent or young adult marijuana user presents as emotionally immature, intellectually twisted, and experientially advanced. Those contrasting aspects would cause anybody a lot of problems. Eventually, the downward spiral begins of someone continuing to smoke marijuana to fix the problems caused by marijuana. This spiral, of course, is followed by blaming others for the problems created by that cycle. Compounding the issue is a society that tells young people that there’s nothing wrong with marijuana. In fact the same people say outrageous claims like “weed cures cancer” “weed is not bad for your lungs” “weed can make you smarter”. It sounds like we’re not only dealing with a lot of young people who are 3° off but also a society that is 3° off.”
-Mike Weiland- Director of The Crossroads Program
Scientific Research Proves Marijuana Rehab is Important for Brain Health
Dr. Christian Thurstone is one of very few physicians in the U.S. who is board certified in general, child, and adolescent addictions psychiatry. He is the medical director of one of Colorado’s largest substance abuse and marijuana rehab clinics for youths. Dr. Thurstone’s extensive research indicates that youth are at an increased risk for addiction because their brains are still developing; the human brain is not fully mature until around the age of 25. He recommends early marijuana treatment, at the first sign of abuse.
“A groundbreaking, new study, published April 16 in the Journal of Neuroscience, is consistent with research showing that the more marijuana people use, and the earlier they start using the drug, the more likely they are to harm what one researcher said is ‘part of the brain you do not want to mess around with.” This study is especially important because it shows even casual, recreational users are not immune from developing brain abnormalities.”
-Dr. Christian Thurstone
NIDA’s Dr. Nora Volkow discusses marijuana’s effects on the brain, body and behavior:
Yellow areas in the brain of a heavy marijuana smoker show brain regions with the most significant abnormalities. These areas correspond with those under development during normal adolescent years, and suggest the importance of early marijuana rehab. Photo Credit: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Medical Concerns Resulting from Marijuana Use & Addiction
Despite it’s “natural” appearance, marijuana is a dangerous chemical, and any use of it can lead to addiction that necessitates marijuana rehab and treatment. Marijuana directly affects certain parts of the brain, such as those governing emotions, memory, judgment, and it alters the way a person experiences sight, sound , smell, taste and textures. Marijuana users also experience many central nervous system effects such as delayed reaction times, increased heart rate, breathing problems, coughing, dilated blood vessels, sweating, and dry mouth.
The following are some of the physical effects of marijuana on the body.
- Lungs: Cannabis smoke contains 50-70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Additionally, these carcinogens can lead to a greater prevalence of bronchitis and phlegm production leading to a persistent cough. Marijuana treatment is required to prevent this long-term damage.
- Heart: Marijuana use quadruples the chance of a heart attack in the hour immediately following use, and it can provoke chest pain and heart disease.
- Brain/Mental Health: Science has confirmed that the adolescent brain is not fully developed (especially in regards to personality, cognitive behavior, decision making, and social behavior) until age 25. Developing brains are more susceptible to the negative effects of marijuana use, and use before age 18 can reduce IQ by up to 8 points. Marijuana use can also lead to mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. In order to prevent these negative effects, marijuana rehab should be considered at the very earliest signs of use.
Contact Us to Learn More About Marijuana Addiction & Treatment in Missouri
The medical and mental problems associated with marijuana addiction and use cannot be understated. Do not be tempted to give in to popular myths. If you or someone you know is suffering from marijuana addiction or is struggling with use, it is important to begin treatment as quickly as possible.
In Missouri, contact one of our drug rehab centers today to learn more. You can reach us by phone in St. Louis at 636-532-9991, in Columbia at 573-256-8020, and in Kansas City at 816-941-4000.
For additional information on marijuana addition and rehab, see the links below:
- Marijuana’s Impact on Business and Industry (2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- Marijuana and It’s Impact on Education Is Getting High Worth the Risk? (2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- Marijuana Facts for the Faith Community (2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- Marijuana’s Direct Impact on Law Enforcement(2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- Pertinent Information about Marijuana for Medical Professionals (2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- What Parents Need to Know about Marijuana (2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- Marijuana Facts For Youth (2014) – Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Network Fact Sheet
- Marijuana Facts and Background – CADCA’s Fact Sheet
- Wagner, F.A. & Anthony, J.C. From first drug use to drug dependence; developmental periods of risk for dependence upon cannabis, cocaine, and alcohol
- Neuropsychopharmacology 26, 479-488 (2002)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Treatment Episode Data Set, 1999-2009” (April 2011)
- Neuroimages: Science & Mental Health at a Glance
- Dr. Christian Thurstone
- SAM – Smart Approaches to Marijuana