With marijuana becoming legalized in various parts of the United States for medical and/or recreational purposes, it’s important to know what you’re consuming. According to a 2017 poll conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, 52% of Americans aged 18 or older have tried marijuana, and 44% of these individuals who have tried it, currently use it. As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 30% of those who use marijuana also have marijuana use disorder; in 2015, approximately 4 million people met the diagnostic criteria for this. A mind-altering, chemical compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can treat pain, muscle spasms, nausea and more – but can also lead to dependency and addiction if not monitored closely.
One of the biggest concerns regarding recreational marijuana is the fact that it’s unregulated – meaning different strains could have varying levels of potency. In fact, researchers are still looking into potency to see if it’s related to commonly-noted side effects as well as emergency-room visits. Put simply, THC is responsible for the psychological effects experienced when marijuana is consumed.
The brain naturally has cannabinoid receptors, which are associated with memory, pleasure, thinking, coordination, and time reception – when marijuana is consumed, THC attaches to these cannabinoid receptors, which affects all of the functions previously listed. One cannabinoid from the marijuana plant, CBD, has been shown to block the high associated with THC – which is also coming into research discussions for medical and therapeutic purposes. THC ultimately stimulates cells in the brain that release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure. When an excessive of dopamine is release, the brain’s hippocampus (which is responsible for storing memories) remembers this “good” feeling and what caused it – which is what keeps people coming back for more of the drug.
Despite common belief, psychological and physical dependency is possible with marijuana because of THC. If you feel that you may have marijuana use disorder, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to learn more about treatment programs. Recovery is possible.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.