Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). It is the most often used illegal drug in this country. All forms of cannabis are mind-altering (psychoactive) drugs; they all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. There are about 400 chemicals in a cannabis plant, but THC is the one that affects the brain the most.
Marijuana addiction is a
phenomenon experienced by more than 150,000 individuals each year who enter
treatment for their proclaimed addiction to marijuana. Marijuana addiction is
characterized as compulsive, often uncontrollable marijuana craving, seeking,
and use, even when the individual knows that marijuana use is not in his best
interest. Marijuana addiction could be defined as chronically making the firm
decision not to use marijuana followed shortly by a relapse due to experiencing
overwhelming compulsive urges to use marijuana despite the firm decision not
to. This contradiction is characteristic of an addiction problem.
Marijuana addiction withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:
Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal first appear in chronic users within 24 hours. They are most pronounced for the first 10 days and can last up to 28 days.
Smoking marijuana decreases blood flow to the brain
Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. However, in heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.
Females who use marijuana, over time, increase their levels of testosterone which can result in increased facial hair and acne, and may adversely affect reproductive functioning in women.
In 1995, 165,000 people entering drug treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of addiction, showing they need help to stop using the drug.
Because it is part of the illegal drug trade and is the most widely used illegal substance in North America, marijuana is a major contributor (directly and indirectly) to petty crime and drug related violence.
Effects of smoking marijuana are felt within minutes, reach their peak in 10 to 30 minutes, and may linger for two or three hours.
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