Marijuana Addiction: From Use to Dependence to Addiction
People who often use marijuana to feel “normal” may not see anything wrong with consuming other drugs while under the influence. This is a mistake. Many people choose to use marijuana for relaxation or stress relief or other reasons, including:
- Relief from mental health challenges
- Peer pressure
- Relief from tension and frustration
- Escape from boredom
- Escape from stress and overwhelming emotions
- Assuming that its harmless to try
Whether they’re simply curious or are looking to escape boredom or stress, the majority of people who use marijuana expect the drug’s high to meet their needs.
After smoking or vaping marijuana, THC enters the bloodstream almost immediately via the lungs. Typically, its concentration in the blood peaks within the first 30 minutes after inhaling. Edibles, on the other hand, move through the digestive system. They take longer to process, producing a high anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours after consumption. How a person responds to marijuana depends on the dose, strain, potency, method of use, age, and physiology. But generally, people high on marijuana tend to feel:
- Sensitive to light, color, sound, touch, taste, and smell
At the same time, THC can also have some adverse effects, including:
- Delusions and hallucinations
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
Although the high produced from smoking marijuana can last for several hours, the intensity tends to decrease after the first hour or so. The high resulting from edibles, on the other hand, can last upwards of 9 hours, with the peak effects diminishing after 1 to 3 hours.
THC, which has traveled through the bloodstream and attached itself to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, begins to disrupt physical and mental functioning. That’s why the morning after smoking or consuming high levels of marijuana, users start to experience the hangover. Mostly, users experiencing a hangover feel groggy, hazy, and lethargic. Other marijuana hangover symptoms include:
- Diminished alertness and depth perception
- Memory loss for up to seven days
- Dry mouth
- Headaches and migraines
Some people continue to use marijuana to return to their previous state of relaxation. Unfortunately, the more they use, the more the brain becomes accustomed to high levels of THC in the body. Over time, and with consistent use, the brain’s tolerance for THC increases and the individual becomes dependent upon marijuana in order to feel normal.