Smoking marijuana has gained somewhat legal status in certain parts of the U.S. Lobbying for legality has gone on since the 1950s, when marijuana popularity began its climb to where it is today, the most widely abused substance in the U.S.
Signs of pot usage can be difficult to spot. For some, red eyes, slowed thought processes, slower responses, constant coughing, anxiety (often bordering on paranoia), and dry mouth can be present. Oftentimes, it becomes difficult to recognize whether the user is high or not.
Symptoms of Pot Addiction
Addiction is formed when constant, ongoing use has been established. The addict needs to take pot to make it through the day and will continue to use despite an increase in pot’s detrimental side effects. The chronic cough becomes more serious and noticeable; memory and thought processes remain dulled for longer periods of time.
A common sign of addiction are drug-seeking behaviors that users exhibit in their extraordinary lengths to procure their drug of choice. Pot addicts may grow marijuana plants for their own use, may steal to acquire resources that allow them to buy marijuana, and may become less motivated to function in social, educational, and career arenas that they may previously have taken interest in. They may become secretive and isolated in order to hide their addiction from those close to them.
Symptoms of marijuana addiction also include: slower reflexes, lethargic responses to stimuli, lack of focus, memory loss, slurred speech patterns, higher blood pressure and heart rate.
Lung cancer is a danger with marijuana addiction, because the effects of marijuana are more highly carcinogenic than tobacco in cigarettes. Those who smoke marijuana are also susceptible to mouth and throat cancers.
Most marijuana users do not believe that addiction to marijuana is possible, although the ingredient in marijuana that affects the brain (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) is psychologically addicting. Those who use regularly may not be able to stop their dependence on the drug and, therefore, need to feel the effects every day.
Marijuana is called a “gateway drug.” This means that the use of this seemingly innocuous, but somewhat illegal, drug allows users to begin to cross the line between drug users and non-drug users. Once that line has been crossed, the fear is the user will continue to use more dangerous and addictive drugs. This argument has kept marijuana from being legalized in many parts of the world. It is true that those who use marijuana may never “graduate” to heavier drugs. However, a study cited by Foundation for a Drug Free World reported that those aged 12 to 17 who had smoked marijuana were 85 times more likely to use cocaine. Sixty percent of those who smoke marijuana by age 15 will later use cocaine.
Addicts who crave pot and try to stop will likely suffer from the effects of withdrawal, which may include irritability, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense craving for more mary jane. Marijuana addiction treatment maybe be necessary to break the addiction cycle.