“It is only a herb” “It is all-natural” It is not addictive” “ It is being legalized across the world now” “Even Lord Shiva is said to have used it always” These are some of the justifications I hear from people who use or are addicted to using the products of the innocuous plant Cannabis also called, pot, hash weed, marijuana, etc. “I have an emotional connection with pot, Charlie(cocaine) I can do without, but not pot, “ said one of our clients. This clearly indicates how it had him in its grip. People who wish to justify its use like to compare its effects with the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs. The effects of marijuana are multifarious. It is a psychoactive drug, currently illegal in India. It is seen that a lot of teens from the age of even as low as 13 starts using them, many wells into their adulthood. Weed is said to be a gateway drug to other drugs as it is seen to enhance the effects of some of the other drugs especially opioids. Using one drug also enhances the curiosity and willingness to try other drugs.
Methods of consumption – as rolled-up joints, in blunts ( in emptied cigars), dabbing (Pure THC in a wax form called budded, dab where it is placed on a cool and heated by a butane lighter and inhale the fumes). The effects of marijuana are more psychological than physical. Out of the over 400 chemicals in the weed, the most potent is delta-9 THC. Which is psychoactive. More the content of THC as in skunk, the more the damage and addictive potential. In teens whose brains are still being developed weed usage causes impairment in the recall, listing things, short term memory, long term cognitive impairment. One in 6 people who try weed get addicted to it. Possibilities of addiction to it are higher when usage is begun in the teen adolescent years. It is also seen to reduce IQ by an average of 8 points when used in adolescence. We had a client who smoked so many joints a day that he had stopped going to college, had lost all interest in anything, including personal hygiene, upkeep, was apathetic to his surroundings, and severe mood swings as a consequence. Immediately after using it increases the heart rate. Some people experience a sense of calm. however, depending on the extent of use and strength of weed some users experience anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic. In the initial stages of limited usage, it reduces anxiety. As the duration and extent of usage increase it creates anxiety, it causes paranoia, at times hyperacuity of sounds which can be mistaken for auditory hallucinations, hallucinations, etc. The effect of marijuana usually lasts from 1-3 hours. if consumed in the form of cookies its effects last for several more hours. THC can be detected in the urine for even 6 weeks after the stoppage of use. Short term memory is affected. There is an apathy that develops into everything.A motivational syndrome surfaces wherein the person loses motivation to do anything constructive. This usually happens when weed is smoked in a substantial quantity for a substantial duration of time. Cannabis psychosis -heavy use of cannabis over a long period of time can result in psychoses. Driving after using cannabis has been seen to cause more fatal car crashes than alcohol as it impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time .
On discontinuing weed there can be withdrawals – Common symptoms include:
Anxiety, Depression, Changes in mood, Irritability, Stomach pains, Loss of appetite, Nausea, Headaches, Sweating, Chills, Cravings, Restlessness
Treatment involves Counseling, behavioral therapy, and with us at AH meditation too that enables one to develop an interest in and grow a life that is enjoyable and fun away from the substance.