Marijuana

Marijuana / Marihuana: dried flowers (hash, weed, pot, canibus mary jane), oils, edibles, concentrates (budder, dabs, wax), topical.

Marijuana is a drug made from the dried leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds from the cannabis plant. Marijuana is a psychoactive substance that contains THC, a mind-altering chemical that when used heavily can cause numerous negative health effects.

Marijuana can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, in pipes or water pipes, in blunts, and by using vaporizers that pull THC from the substance. Marijuana can also be added into foods such as baked goods or brewed as a tea. There are also different forms of marijuana extracts that can be smoked or eaten, which deliver a larger amount of THC and can be potentially more dangerous.

Marijuana can act as a depressant or a stimulant…

…depending on the amount of THC absorbed in the brain, the type of cannabis used, the setting of the use, and the neurochemistry of the user. The immediate effects of smoking or ingesting marijuana include sedation or physical relaxation, difficulty concentrating, a distorted sense of time, increased appetite, small to moderate loss of coordination, pain relief from certain conditions, blood-shot eyes, and impaired depth perception. High doses of marijuana can result in hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.

The long-term effects of marijuana include respiratory complications, abdominal pain and vomiting (hyperemesis), suppressed immune system function, and amplified mental health issues. Additionally, the THC in marijuana artificially stimulates the brain’s novelty center in the part of the brain called the amygdala. This makes even familiar sensory inputs seem more interesting. When an individual uses marijuana regularly, the receptors in the amygdala being overloaded by THC can become inactive. This is called down regulation. When a person becomes down regulated and stops using marijuana, things that are new and exciting may seem dull and uninteresting. This effect of long-term marijuana use can last for lengthy periods of time – in some cases up to a year.

The effects of marijuana are stronger on juvenile brains than they are on adult brains. This is especially true for memory and distorted thinking, as these are functions of the prefrontal lobes, which are not yet developed in juvenile brains.

It is a common misconception that stopping the use of marijuana does not cause withdrawal symptoms. While it is true that withdrawal from marijuana looks differently than it does for other substances like alcohol or heroin, research suggests that marijuana withdrawal symptoms do exist.  Withdrawal effects of marijuana include: depression, difficulty concentrating, aches and pains, anger, irritability, anxiety, aggression, sleep disturbances, slight tremors, and stomach pain.

Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorder consists of behavioral therapy. There are currently no medications available to assist in treating this condition. Certain antidepressant medications might be useful for initial withdrawal symptoms and to prevent relapse.