With the legalization of marijuana now passing in various states, both for medical and recreational use, its use is less of a taboo than it used to be, making it inevitable that more people now use the drug. In fact, 3.43 million Americans reported using cannabis in 2020, and according to recent studies, that number is expected to almost double by 2025.
If you or a loved one use marijuana, whether recreationally or therapeutically, you might worry about questions such as how often should you smoke weed? Is weed bad for you? Are there worrisome marijuana side effects?
In this post, we discuss the answers to some of these questions as well as some of the signs of problematic marijuana use. We also offer some tips on how to escape from the cycle of marijuana abuse and addiction.
Is Weed Bad for you?
Compared to many other drugs, even legal ones such as alcohol and tobacco, marijuana carries a low risk of death by overdose or side effects. In fact, in a 2015 study, it was found that there was only one death directly related to a cannabis overdose in the United States in the previous year. That’s not to say that smoking marijuana carries no risks. Using the drug reduces reaction times and can lead to an increased risk of death in a motor vehicle accident. Another study showed that states where weed was legalized had a 4% increase in fatal crashes.
Mental Health Issues
Not everyone has a great experience when they smoke weed. You might experience anxiety, depression, paranoia or, with some of the stronger varieties, hallucinations. Long-term users can also experience chronic depression, and it may worsen any preexisting mental health issues.
Health Benefits of Weed
Since the start of the wave of marijuana legalization across the country, we’ve been told that there are many benefits you can get from cannabis or cannabinoids (CBD) extracted from it. And the simple truth is that marijuana and CBD can be helpful with:
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Reducing inflammation
- Preventing relapses in alcohol and drug addictions
- Treating anxiety disorders
- Easing GI issues like IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Of course, you should only smoke weed or CBD for these problems after consulting your physician. Unfortunately, the pain caused by many of these health problems can cause you to overuse marijuana and may lead to problem use or addiction.
Signs That Your Marijuana Use Is Problematic
We’ve all had that experience in our lives of seeing someone becoming wrapped up in their marijuana use and isolating themselves from their loved ones. This process can be quite gradual, and when it’s happening to you, you might not notice the signs. If you’re worried that you or a loved one might have problems with your use of marijuana, here are a few things to look out for:
Your lungs are intended to inhale oxygen to keep you alive, and inhaling any sort of particulates, particularly smoke, can interfere with this. If you are smoking weed every day, you may notice that you are short of breath more easily than previously. You may also experience pain when breathing deeply and develop a persistent cough.
If you were an outgoing person who used to socialize regularly, but you’re now staying home to smoke weed, this can be a sign that your use has become a problem. Similar to users of many drugs, marijuana users slowly change their lifestyles to accommodate the drug. Another example to watch for is if you have always had a wide range of friends, but now you only hang out with other smokers. The changes can be slow at first but end up being a radical departure from your former life.
Lack of Motivation
Marijuana helps you to relax, but this can reach the point where you have not motivation to do other things. For example, you might stop going to the gym because you can no longer be bothered. Perhaps you were making steady progress in your career, but it has stalled because you don’t have the motivation to put in the work to get a promotion. You may start missing days at work or school.
The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in weed has an effect on the hippocampus, the region of your brain that processes information and governs memory formation. Prolonged heavy use may cause you to become forgetful and you may struggle to remember what happened when you are high. However, there is no conclusive evidence that the effects continue once you stop using.
Symptoms of Cannabis Addiction
As with many other drugs, the slide from causal use to problem use to addiction can be hard to notice. However, there are some signs that you have passed into addiction and should consider getting help from professionals. These include:
- frequent absences from work or school for no good reason
- a significant decline in academic or work performance
- loss of interest in hobbies or activities that used to be important
- lying about whereabouts because you were smoking, or deceiving loved ones so they don’t notice how much time you spend smoking
- continued use of weed, even when heavy use has created problems for you in the past
- smoking when it might be dangerous, such as at work using machinery or when driving
- failed attempts to stop or reduce usage
Get Your Marijuana Use Under Control With Sunlight Recovery
If you are using marijuana in ways you have realized are becoming harmful or are stopping you from achieving your life goals, it’s best to get help as soon as possible. Ar Sunlight Recovery, we are dedicated to helping our clients in their journey to a life free from addiction using the latest technologies and techniques. Using either inpatient or outpatient treatments, from medical detox to group and individual therapies, we can get your marijuana use under control. Call today to discuss your options with one of our experienced team or contact us online via our secure contact form.