The Pot Chronicles: Is marijuana addictive???

Marijuana, the most socially accepted drug that has been passed around over centuries. According to smokers, it lifts you into a euphoric high bringing you down right in time for the munchies. It gives you a feeling of pleasantness, heightened mood and relaxation. Making everything ok, that all your problems will blow away.

Depending on the strains such as indica, sativa and hybrid, you can either acquire a body high, a head high or both. There are also different types of ways to ingest, the most popular being smoking. Usually, the smoker rolls up the marijuana buds in rolling paper or in tobacco paper. It can also be smoked in pipes, bongs and vaporizers. Some people even get elaborate, baking pot brownies and other treats, there is even pot candy. There are nicknames for Marijuana like: weed, pot, ganja, bud, sticky, herb and loud.

There are quite a few ways marijuana is used as well as for different reasons. We have your regular smoker who likes to wind down after work EVERYDAY, those who smoke socially and then we have those who use it for medicinal purposes.

What is marijuana?

The main culprit, responsible for the mind altering effects of the bud, is a psychoactive chemical called delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol commonly known as THC. It is found in resin produced by the leaves and buds primarily from the female cannabis plant. The plant is also composed by 500 other chemicals, including about 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, also known as cannabinoids.

Recreational marijuana use has been dated back to 3rd millennium BC. Yes, there was quite an interest in altering your consciousness even back in those days. From the beginning it has faced opposition. In the early 20th century it began facing legal restrictions, that even till this day it is illegal to purchase, sale and use Marijuana in most parts of the world. The United Nations named it “the most used illicit drug” around the world.

So if it’s so common for pot smokers to lead a normal productive life, why is there so much negativity that surrounds Marijuana usage?

Refer madness

Much to your surprise, the negative ideation behind Marijuana use in America started with a low budget film that was produced in 1936 or 1938 known as “Reefer Madness”. It is an American propaganda exploitation drama, with the intent to create awareness of the impact that allowing Marijuana use can have on our society. Originally called “Tell your children”, it’s about an unmarried couple who live together and sell marijuana. Mae only sells to people her age but her boyfriend Jack decides to entice young teens in order to sell to them. He recruits a little team and off they go, reeling young people into drug use.

This film over time has become an American cult classic, because it addresses many important issues concerning drug use amongst the youth of that time. The only thing is, that they choose to bring awareness to a drug that if used positively, can have many benefits.

The benefits of Marijuana

Marijuana use, is one of those topics, that has become very controversial in the U.S, with more than 20 states legalizing the use of medicinal Marijuana. There are organizations and advocates dedicated to bringing a positive light to Marijuana use whether for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Their drive is to remove the negativity that surrounds marijuana use, so they can start addressing real issues, as oppose to like how much better it would be if Doctor’s started treating insomnia with Marijuana, as oppose to hypnotic, prescription medications for sleep, which can be quite habit-forming most of the times. Or how much easier the chemotherapy process becomes with the relaxing and calming effects of the bud, as well as the decrease of the nausea and the increase of appetite.

It can also be used to treat patients with glaucoma. According to the National Eye Institute: “Studies in the early 70’s showed that marijuana, when smoked lowered introcular pressure in people with normal pressure and people with glaucoma”.

Strains of Marijuana

Indica-
This strain is categorized as being short and bushy, suitable for indoor gardens. The high tends to be sedating and relaxing with full body effects, due to it’s high CBD content. This is actually a recommended strain, for athletes to use to relieve muscle tension and can even eliminate anxiety.

Sativa-
The Sativas are known for getting you going and energized. This might not be the strain that you might want to use for pain or relaxation, in fact it allows your creative juices to flow. It gets you talking, motivated and social. Not only that but it used for treating depression because of it’s euphoric effects.

Hybrid-
The perfect combination of both effects is Hybrid. Indica and Sativa are it’s parent plants and depending on the ratio of each, it can cause either energizing or relaxing effects. It is also very popular amongst the smokers.

Medicinal properties:

There are two active chemicals found in Marijuana, that researchers agree have medicinal value. They are the cannbidiol(CBD), which impacts the brain without a high and THC which has pain relieving properties. Research also confirms that Marijuana is highly effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis, because of the pain relieving qualities.

At times for patients that have rheumatoid arthritis, pain management can be very challenging. Researchers from the rheumatology units at several hospitals, gave the patients Sativex, a cannabinoid based pain relieving medicine. After two weeks patients started to sleep and feel better, compared to those using placebo.

The Colorado Department of Health found that only 2% of “medical” Marijuana users reported cancer, and less than 1% listed HIV/AIDS as their reason for seeking Marijuana. The vast majority 94% reported severe pain.

The negatives of Marijuana

Marijuana also has a bad side, although it has great potential qualities for medicinal purposes, for recreational users it can become highly addictive and sometimes dangerous. Research at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health gathered data from six states California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia that perform toxicology tests on drivers involved in fatal car accidents. This data included over 23,500 drivers that died within one hour of a crash between 1999 and 2010.

The researchers found that drugs were at fault for many fatal traffic accidents. Driving while impaired on Marijuana is actually a very common thing for recreational users. Since Marijuana is taken so lightly in the drug world, many users engage in activity that becomes risky when impaired. Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, which is 16 percent more than it was in 1999.

Studies show that early exposure to Marijuana, like in teen years can cause long term effects especially in the area of memory and cognition.
In 2012, an estimated 5.4 million past year marijuana users aged 12 or older used Marijuana on 300 or more within the past 12 months. This represents a 74% increase in “daily” marijuana users in the six years from 2006 when “only” 3.1 million Americans were daily Marijuana users. Some Marijuana users even have problems with procrastination, focus and concentration.

So can Marijuana be addictive?

Some say it can be others think it’s not.1 It all depends on how your body reacts to the effects of that particular strain. Or depending on the quality and the potency of the THC. Some feel energized and ready to take on the world but most regular marijuana smokers become lazy. This is when it actually becomes a problem. The procrastination with your daily task, spending all your money and changes in mood when you don’t have it available, are signs that it may be addictive. Also the risk users take when impaired also proves their inability to cope with daily living, without the effects of the Marijuana. According to the National Survey on Drug Use & Health, nearly 2% of Americans ages 12 and older have some sort of Marijuana dependence

In my opinion being drug free is the way the way to go. Now I won’t take away Marijuana’s medicinal value, I do believe it is exceptional for pain management even to treat mood disorders such as anxiety but studies do show that it creates dependency.

Addiction is not fun, it’s not something to bring into your life, it is a problem that you want to avoid. So please consider these facts before you take your next hit and remember that a healthy lifestyle can blow away more stress than smoking blunt!!

Author's Bio: 

A series of articles dedicated to the former stoners.......