Why Is Marijuana Addictive And Dangerous?
How addictive is marijuana compared to other drugs?
There are scales comparing the relative addictive potential of various drugs. Typically, nicotine is number one on the list, followed by the usual suspects, meth, coke, and heroin. Marijuana advocates like to tell us that marijuana use does not lead to addiction. They like to remind us that no one gets addicted to marijuana and no one dies from marijuana use. While on the surface, there may be some truth to this, we need to look deeper at what is really happening on the streets when people use marijuana recreationally.
Is marijuana a gateway drug?
This is the big question. Does marijuana use lead to the use of other, more dangerous drugs? In the past, there was no doubt that marijuana was a gateway to more dangerous drug use and serious addiction problems. More recently, as public acceptance grows of marijuana as an upcoming legal drug, history is being rewritten. The “experts” are now saying that marijuana is not and has never been a gateway drug. Let us think this through. Marijuana is intoxicating. Intoxication impairs judgement. Impaired decision-making can lead to making bad choices. Hence, if a marijuana user is intoxicated, and they are in a setting where other drugs are present, the likelihood of the user experimenting with another drug is clearly increased.
Another way that marijuana use can lead to other drug use is by contamination. It is not unusual for drug users to combine drugs. In a recreational marijuana use setting, it is conceivable that a user might be given marijuana that has been combined with meth, cocaine, heroin or fentanyl. These combinations are well known and have slang names, such as a-bomb, atom bomb, amp joint, bad seed, banano, basuco, bazooka, jim jones, geek, chronic, clicker, dust, fuel, jumbos, love boat, primo, wet, and more. You can imagine, with names like these, that the marijuana gateway has a regular flow of traffic.
Marijuana addiction is real.
Any mind-altering substance has the potential to be addicting. Cannabis contains THC, an intoxicating, mind-altering chemical. When drug users ingest this substance, they get high. Getting high can lead to addiction, regardless of the substance involved. In fact, marijuana addiction is a known problem. There are even treatment centers dedicated specifically to the treatment of marijuana addiction. Currently, marijuana on the streets is known to have a higher THC content than the marijuana of past decades.
Are there withdrawal symptoms after quitting THC?
When a drug user who has marijuana dependence stops the drug, do they suffer from marijuana withdrawal? While not even close to the severity of opiate withdrawal or withdrawal from alcohol, there are some possible symptoms that occur when a long-time user of marijuana quits the drug. Insomnia, irritability and other side effects can occur when a user quits smoking marijuana. The likelihood of marijuana withdrawal is higher in a substance abuse situation where the user has been using the drug frequently over a long time period.
Is legalization of cannabis a good idea?
Many experts claim that cannabis has therapeutic benefits for many forms of illness. In states that have legalized only medical marijuana, there is some control to limit widespread use and abuse of the substance. If the drug is legal for recreational use, people with mental health issues may decide to self-medicate with cannabis. While this may not seem to be a bad idea, it is best that people who have psychiatric illness see a psychiatrist. Improper treatment of mental health illness can be disastrous.
Can medical marijuana be used to treat addiction?
It is hard to say if cannabis is at all useful as an addiction treatment agent. In Narcotics Anonymous, they refer to someone who smokes pot and claims to be clean to be on the “marijuana maintenance program”. However, there may be potential benefits to using cannabis in controlled, medically supervised settings as an aid in treating cocaine or alcohol addiction or other types of addiction. However, we must be very careful when it comes to opioid addiction. Opiates are very dangerous with a high risk of overdose death. Additionally, opiate users have to deal with both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. There are already highly effective medications that are used in medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Marijuana as an opiate addiction treatment drug is inferior to drugs, such as methadone, suboxone or naltrexone, so it should not be used in this way.