Marijuana

So many people come into therapy with a weekly or daily habit of Marijuana use and while I see no psychological negatives to occasional use, as with alcohol or smoking, there are other factors to consider and when used more than occasionally and to blanket feelings of emptiness, fear, anxiety or depression it turns to addiction. 

 

I have noticed that more than occasional use of marijuana often times leads individuals to not be able to complete tasks, seem non-motivated and have poor memory and concentration. There is usually an impact on performing in school, career or work in a negative way. Further, with long-term use I see a pattern of not being able to accomplish or handle much. Additionally I have noticed that people who use it for decades usually have some high blood pressure issues or other health related issues.

The following is from scientifically supported evidence of the effects of marijuana use. While as a therapist I must recognize that Marijuana is legal in many countries and medically has less side effects or negative repercussions as Alcohol and Smoking does, which are legal, I still do not feel that more than occasional use is healthy and does have a negative impact on individuals.

 

 

Is marijuana harmful?


The Short answer is yes. Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways, through both immediate effects and damage to the health over time. Marijuana hinders the user’s short-term memory (memory of recent events) and causes problems with handling complex tasks. 
With the use of more potent varieties of marijuana even simple tasks become more difficult. 

HEALTH HAZARDS OF MARIJUANA

THC which is found in marijuana changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is processed by the hippocampus, a brain component that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of senses with emotions. Learned behaviors also deteriorate.

Long-term use of marijuana produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of other major drugs.Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers.

Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers.

Symptoms

If someone is high on marijuana, he or she might:

Seem dizzy and have trouble walking. Seem silly and giggly for no reason. Have very red, bloodshot eyes. Have a hard time remembering things that just happened. When the early effects fade, over a few hours, the user can become very sleepy.

The effects of marijuana on each person depend on the type of cannabis and how much THC it contains; the way the drug is taken (by smoking or eating); experience and expectations of the user; setting where the drug is used; and whether drinking or other drug use is also going on. Some people feel nothing at all when they first try marijuana. Others may feel high (intoxicated and/or euphoric).

It’s common for marijuana users to become engrossed with ordinary sights, sounds, or tastes, and trivial events may seem extremely interesting or funny. Time seems to pass very slowly, so minutes feel like hours. Sometimes the drug causes users to feel thirsty and very hungry, an effect called “the munchies.”


Long term effects can include:
irritation to the lungs, risk of developing chronic bronchitis and an increased risk of developing cancer of the respiratory tract (more likely to do with smoking).
Exacerbation of pre-existing cardiovascular disease, as cannabis use significantly raises the heart rate.
Decreased concentration levels, reduced short-term memory and difficulties with thinking and learning (resolved if cannabis use stops).
Decreased sex drive in some people. Chronic use can lower sperm count in males and lead to irregular periods in females (resolved if cannabis use stops).
Dependence on cannabis – compulsive need to use the drug, coupled with problems associated with chronic drug use. 
Abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke. Impairment of critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning

I have noticed that in the city of Boca Raton there seems to be an inordinately large amounts of youths that use marijuana. Area’s like Lake Worth, Pompano Beach, Deerfield and Fort Lauderdale have many treatment centers dealing with addiction. While Marijuana is not a chemically addictive drug like alcohol or cigarettes, I feel that long-term use or high frequency use does have a negative impact on your life and suggest that anyone who uses a substance in great frequency or duration see a qualified therapist to figure out the reasons for the over use.

Frequently when someone uses alcohol or marijuana, they don’t realize that they are self medicating. These are drugs and self medicating is never a good idea. Think about how your life would be if you did not smoke marijuana. Would it look better? If so there may be a problem.

Dr. Lewis Jordan

Image: Paul/freedigitalphotos.net

 

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Dr Lewis James Jordan has over 20 years experience in Psychotherapy Services and Metaphysical counseling. Dr Jordan’s Florida therapy offices are located in various locations throughout South Florida. Please visit his sites regularly at, http://JordanTherapy.com and http://LewisJamesJordan.com for more information.

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