After tobacco and alcohol, the community drug and alcohol council has shown that Marijuana is the next most abused drug in the world, this is reinforced by its ever increasing rate of consumption among adolescents and teenagers, along with its growing worldwide prevalence despite strict international regulations on its cultivation, distribution, and use.
There is a current misconception about the potency of the drug, and its ability to cause addiction, with many claiming Marijuana does not cause any eventual physical addiction. Studies however, have shown that marijuana does have to ability to cause a dependency on its usage, causing the addict to suffer negative effects in both his quality of life, and that of the people around him.
What Marijuana does.
Marijuana in itself is the refined product of the cannabis plant, a plant rich in THC and CBD, both of which are the active components of the drug, as they act directly on the nervous system of the smoker in question. These two components act on the nervous system, binding to the cannabinoid receptors that exist in our neurons. They then proceed to alter the activity of the neurotransmitters being produced by these neurons, causing them to act in an abnormal manner, consequently initiating impaired motor and cognitive functioning in the user.
By binding to these receptors, they occupy the available spaces, and ensure that the body’s natural endocannabinoids are unable to bind to the receptors as they normally should. This eventually will cause the brain to stop producing the required amounts of natural endocannabinoids, which are typically essential for regulating neurotransmitter activity.
The beginning of addiction.
Many people agree that Marijuana is a highly psycho-dependent drug, as it causes the user to become psychologically addicted to its use, this is mainly due to the euphoric effect its usage is known to elicit. The psychological dependency is a significant problem; however there is also a slight physical dependence that is known to be created by the prolonged use of marijuana.
Upon constant use, there shall be a serious lack of demand for the body’s natural endocannabinoids, as the external THC and CBD will always be acting on the neural receptors. This will cause the brain to identify this surplus, and then appropriately reduce its output so as to reduce wastage, causing a reduced production of the body’s natural cannabinoids.
This means that in a situation of prolonged absence from marijuana, the body will be unable to keep up with the endocannabinoid demand of the nervous system, and as such withdrawal symptoms will present themselves. The most common of which is a deep seated depression, typically due to the lack of cannabinoid activity on the neural euphoric centers. This is only temporary; however it is important that it does not cause an eventual relapse.
Fighting the addiction.
Fighting cannabis addiction is a psychological battle, in the sense that since a lot of the physical dependence is reserved for the most severe cases, the major battle lies in the psychological craving for the euphoric and melancholic effect that can be found upon consumption of the drug. As such, the first step to overcoming this obstacle will be a change of surrounding, where the person willing to kick the addiction will try to surround himself with a willing support structure, one that is prepared to provide a healthy and nurturing environment, where there is an absence of persecution or negative bias.
The weeks following the absence of Marijuana from the system may be trying for a person trying to kick the addiction, as psychological dependencies are also a legitimate concern for addiction helpers who are trying to prevent a relapse. The consequent depression may also be a challenge, and it is important that the addict is surrounded by family and friends who understand the situation, and are willing to help out in whatever capacity to assist the addict during such a trying period.