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A mind-altering or psychoactive substance, marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States and is often considered the drug of choice for many young people. Some of the commonly used names for marijuana are pot, smoke, weed, dope, Mary Jane, boom and ganja. Used for both recreational and medical purposes, marijuana can be smoked through blunts, joints, vaporizers, or in water pipes (bongs), mixed with food items or brewed as tea.

Though the medical benefits of marijuana remain unclear due to lack of scientific studies and federal regulations, patients use it for pain relief or to combat symptoms of chemotherapy. For people who smoke the drug recreationally, it is often considered “no big deal” or no worse than alcohol.

Marijuana abuse is increasingly becoming common because of the perception that marijuana is not considered risky to use. In 2016, an estimated 24 million Americans (aged 12 or above) were current users of marijuana. Characterized by the continued use of the substance despite facing clinically significant impairments due to its persistent use, marijuana use disorder can lead to problems pertaining to memory, learning, mood, and social behavior. In 2016, approximately 4 million people (aged 12 years or above) in the U.S. had a marijuana use disorder in the past year.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is obtained from the leaves, flowers, stems and seeds of hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It contains more than 60 cannabinoids, including delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its main psychoactive constituent.

It is far more potent than ever before, with the THC levels higher in plants today than they used to be. Dabbing has high concentrations of THC, around 50 to 80 percent. Edibles take longer for the effects to show, so people ingest more to feel the “high” soon, which can be dangerous.

While 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have allowed cannabis use in some form or the other, it remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). This is likely because it can still put users at the risk of addiction that would require them to seek treatment at a marijuana rehab.

Marijuana abuse: side effects

Owing to the relaxing as well as anti-inflammatory properties, marijuana is a common substance of abuse and can cause physical as well as psychological effects on its users. One significant side effect is impairment of judgment, perception, and coordination, which can be dangerous, especially when consumed before or during driving. Depending on the individual tolerance levels, the onset of primary physical effects of marijuana can be almost instantaneous when smoked and can last for several hours.

Following are some of the physical and psychological effects of marijuana abuse:

  • Red, puffy eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Euphoria
  • Mood alterations ranging from calmness to high levels of anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Random or disjointed thoughts
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Distorted perception of time

Marijuana abuse: long-term effects

Individuals vulnerable to stress, depression, mental illness or genetic predisposition are often more susceptible to marijuana abuse.

When abused for a longer duration, marijuana can have some serious side effects on its users, including the following:

  • Altered function of the brain’s reward system
  • Impairment of the brain, for e.g., that of smaller orbitofrontal cortex – the predominant region for decision-making and interpreting emotions
  • Dense cross-brain connections, which researchers deduce are the brain’s way to bridge and compensate for disparities in abnormal sizes of brain regions
  • Lower IQ scores, especially in users who started using marijuana at a young age
  • Breathing illnesses
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Possible harm to a fetus’s brain in pregnant women
  • Hallucinations and paranoia

Treatment for marijuana abuse

Owing to marijuana’s addictive nature and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, it is advisable to seek marijuana abuse treatment under supervised care at certified marijuana rehab centers only. When the drug use is stopped or reduced abruptly, users can experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, drug cravings, decreased appetite, grouchiness, sleeping difficulties and physical discomfort.

A comprehensive treatment comprises medically assisted detoxification treatment followed by behavioral therapies under professional supervision. After a successful marijuana detox treatment, the recovering patient undergoes counseling sessions and therapy that help in addressing the reasons behind the drug abuse and in learning the necessary tools and life skills in order to lead a sober and healthy life.

Additionally, marijuana treatment programs should also include treatment for any co-occurring disorders, as the untreated co-occurring illness can affect a person’s recovery and increase the chances of a relapse. In order to ensure complete recovery, one needs to undergo treatment for both the illnesses at the same time.

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Why choose Sovereign Health

If you or your loved one is struggling with marijuana abuse or addiction, help is available. Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas offers excellent, cutting-edge, highly personalized care that rests on a holistic approach to treatment.

Marijuana addiction treatment at Sovereign Health of El Paso combines a residential detox program with behavioral therapy methods, including, but not limited to, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), neurofeedback, individual, group, and family therapy. In addition to getting rid of the toxic substance through detox, the treatment focuses on patients’ overall wellness and complete recovery.

Once the initial treatment is over, Sovereign Health offers continued care to recovering patients and encourages them to continue to receive aftercare so that they do not deviate from the path to recovery and stay motivated to lead a drug-free life. Our marijuana rehabilitation centers offer aftercare services, such as 12-step programs or educational events where people can learn more about addiction and recovery, both during and after the treatment.

For more information about our rehab for weed at Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas or to locate the finest marijuana detox centers near you, call our 24/7 helpline and speak with our admissions counselors. You can even chat online with our trained representatives for further assistance.

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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie

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