For thousands of years people have used the marijuana plant in various ways: for its intoxicating affects, for industrial purposes, and even for food. In modern times marijuana has been classified as an illegal drug in practically every civilization across the globe, and its use has been banned under penalty of law. Despite its classification as a hard drug, marijuana has continued to be the most popular illicit drug across the globe. Part of the reason for this is that marijuana’s addictive qualities are not well understood. In fact, users continue debate whether or not marijuana is actually addictive. The fact is that marijuana is addictive, but in a way which can be quite different from other drugs.
MARIJUANA USES AND EFFECTS
Marijuana can be used in various ways, with smoking and vaporizing being the most popular. Other methods of ingesting marijuana include eating it and making it into a drink. The primary active component in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with other substances being secondarily psychoactive. The effects of the drug include:
- Bouts of laughter
- Intense hunger
- Altered perception of time and space
The effects of smoking marijuana may last 2 to 3 hours on average, while marijuana which is eaten or made into a drink can produce effects lasting 12 hours for more.
MARIJUANA USE IN THE UK
In the United Kingdom about 10 million people admit to having tried marijuana, with those aged 16-24 having the highest levels of ongoing casual use. It is estimated that about two million people in UK smoke marijuana regularly or semi-regularly.
Marijuana dependence has historically been difficult to identify and treat among many healthcare professionals. One of the reasons for this situation is that marijuana has generally been regarded as a soft drug, and hence fewer resources have been dedicated to studying its addictive and habit forming qualities. Additionally, those who become dependent on marijuana do not generally fit the profile of those who become dependent on hard drugs, as marijuana use is not directly related to crimes such as robbery, theft, and murder.
However, some people do become addicted to marijuana. Signs you may be addicted to marijuana include:
- Inability to stop using marijuana, even under penalty of adverse career or societal consequences
- Use of marijuana several times per day
- Use of marijuana even while at work
- Intense cravings for the drugWithdrawal symptoms, such as depression and insomnia, upon ceasing to use the drug
If you believe that you have a marijuana addiction, it is best to get professional help in order to free yourself. While joining a support group, such as Marijuana Anonymous UK, could be highly beneficial, it is also a good idea to consult a mental health professional to assist you in your journey to become marijuana free.