Category Archives: Marijuana Use

Ten Signs You May Be Addicted to Marijuana

10 ways to tell if you are addicted marijuanaThe evidence is quite clear now – yes, many people are becoming addicted to weed. It happens in greater numbers among those who start young, but it can happen to anyone. Once you’re addicted, the whole shape of your life begins to shift around to focus on the use of weed. You may not even realize you’ve become addicted. To find out, check your answers to these ten questions.

1. Have you abandoned activities you once enjoyed, such as sports, art, music, writing or traveling?

Research has validated the fact that marijuana brings about mental changes that can negatively affect motivation or decisions. Activities that require quick mental competence, concentration or initiative may not be as much fun any more and may be abandoned.

2. Have goals that were once important to you gone by the wayside, such as career or education?

One study from the University of Texas found that marijuana users averaged five IQ points less than those who did not smoke the drug. Another study found that teens who used the drug lost an average of 8 IQ points and that they did not recover these points when they stopped using it. A loss like this could make it more difficult to succeed at work or school. Continue reading

Withdrawal Symptoms from Marijuana?

Some People Still Don’t Think They Exist

teen pot userWill marijuana cause withdrawal symptoms if a person quits using it, like other drugs do? There are many people who claim that there are no withdrawal symptoms and that the drug isn’t addictive. You may have heard these two claims repeated over and over again.

However, both of these claims are false. There is plenty of documentation that marijuana is, indeed, addictive and that one does experience withdrawal symptoms after quitting use.

Here’s why you may have heard both claims in the same breath, so to speak. The classic definition of addiction includes compulsive use of a drug despite all the harm and destruction that results AND the presence of withdrawal symptoms when a person quits using that drug. The third characteristic of addiction is that a person will develops tolerance, which means that more of a drug must be consumed to get the same effects as before. When these points exist related to the use of a drug, then addiction exists.

Can marijuana create this condition?

Yes on all counts.

In 2012, more than 300,000 people were admitted to treatment programs to get help for marijuana addiction. (Actually, it was more than this because this number only includes people who went into publicly-funded programs.) These are people who needed support to stop ruining their lives with marijuana consumption. Since only about one person in ten who needs treatment gets it, this means that more than three million Americans were addicted to this drug in 2012.

The Arapahoe House is a treatment facility that accepts teens for treatment. They recently reported that the number of teens being admitted for treatment of marijuana addiction has risen 66% between 2011 and 2014. It’s important to note that marijuana is far more addictive for a young person than an adult. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has calculated that 9% of all people using marijuana will wind up addicted. But when use starts in the teenaged years, that number jumps to 17% – something parents should realize.

Recent Studies Provide Proof of Withdrawal Symptoms for Marijuana

There have been a couple of significant studies in the last few years that provide insight into the phenomenon of marijuana withdrawal.

In 2012, an Australia study monitored the effects suffered when 49 people addicted to marijuana quit using the drug. This group reported: “irritability, sleep difficulties and other symptoms that affected their ability to work and their relationships.”

The study also isolated the symptoms that interfered the most with their daily lives. These problematic symptoms included:

  • physical tension
  • sleep problems
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • loss of appetite.

Then, in 2014, a study followed the symptoms of 76 teens admitted to a substance abuse clinic for treatment of marijuana addiction. Of these, 36 experienced the withdrawal symptoms listed above.

What Conclusion Would You Draw?

Gradually, our society is coming to grips with the fact that this drug is addictive. Perhaps the most important element of addiction to consider is the compulsion to continue to use this drug, even though bad things are happening in your life. A common phenomenon experienced by a chronic marijuana user is seeing the harmful effects happening and not even caring, as heavy marijuana use tends to create a numbness or apathy.

Hopefully, this will clarify the subject for you. If you are using this drug, you now know what to expect when you quit. If you need help quitting and just as importantly, getting your life back on track, call us. We help people recover their ability to live productive, enjoyable lives every day.


Does the Increasing Potency of Marijuana Have any Connection to the Number of People Going to Rehab for Pot?

By now, most people know that marijuana has gotten far more potent over the last few decades. Here is a chart showing the average potency of marijuana between the mid-1990s and 2013. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, the potency rose from about 1.5% to 4% but then the growth really took off. By 2013, average potency was nearly 13%.

marijuana potency statistics

These potency numbers are obtained by testing samples of drugs seized by law enforcement. Note that medical marijuana businesses promote much higher potencies for their products, of-ten in the 25% to 30% range.

Those who feel that marijuana should be legal for everyone to use will tell you that smokers “adjust their dosage” by smoking less. If this were broadly true, then it would seem that as the po-tency went up, the number of people going to rehab would remain about the same. Continue reading

Sensible Viewpoint on the Legalization of Marijuana or Other Drugs

Woodward quote on being soberIf you follow the news about drug legalization as presented by the mainstream media, you are likely to be mightily confused. Well-paid spin doctors work overtime to fill major media, blogs, magazines, television and radio with pro-legalization messages. Messages of compassion are used to pluck the heartstrings of moms and dads – no one wants small children to suffer from seizures. Can cannabis really cure cancer? Is pot really harmless and non-addicting? Billboards, bus signs, professional speakers, bloggers, late night television show appearances, even cannabis cooking recipes infiltrate our personal worlds every day in any state where a vote is imminent or where the drug has been legalized.

At the same time, there are plenty of parents determined that their kids should stay drug-free. It’s got to be tough to maintain that position with all this media and environmental furor going on. Continue reading

Can You Die from Marijuana Use?

young adult smoking marijuanaWhen marijuana is compared to other drugs, it’s often said that you can’t overdose on pot. It’s true that there are seldom direct deaths from using the drug. There’s a couple of men in Germany who died when cannabis triggered heart complications. A woman in the UK died from a cardiac arrest triggered by marijuana toxicity. A French study stated, “Practitioners should be aware that cannabis may be a potential triggering factor for cardiovascular complications in young people,” but it stopped short of saying that marijuana caused these deaths.

So when marijuana deaths are listed, the cases above appear on the list along with a couple of deaths resulting from psychotic episodes triggered by potent doses. The point is then made about the relative harmlessness of this drug.

But there is a critically important point that is missed when calculating marijuana deaths. And that is the fact many people start their drug use with marijuana. It may not be able to be proved that marijuana use CAUSES a person to progress on to the use of other drugs, but it’s easy to show that pot use makes this transition much easier. Continue reading

Another Study Shows the Damage Done by Marijuana

teen pot userAt this point, more than twenty states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of marijuana for medical use. While we may agree that there are a few medicinal benefits to cannabis, it is obvious that all the effects of this drug are not yet known. Some of these effects are likely to be damaging – perhaps creating lasting and even disabling damage. What is sad is that many people will use this drug without a true medical justification or they’ll use it recreationally and not be aware of the harmful side of the drug.

This dual nature is not exclusive to marijuana. Drugs in general create some harm as they tend to overwhelm one system or another of the body. But when these drugs really are needed, they provide a vital benefit – so much so that the undesirable effects can be tolerated. Continue reading

Birth Defect Anencephaly May Be Associated with Marijuana Use

Washington State Investigates Increase of Disastrous Birth Defect – One Associated with Early Pregnancy Use of Marijuana

pregnant woman

This year, the news media has been reporting on the increase of a particular disastrous birth defect appearing in Washington State – anencephaly. This refers to babies born without a brain or with only part of a brain. In nearly every case, the baby dies within hours or is stillborn.

According to these news reports, a nursing instructor noticed the increased incidence of anencephaly and reported it to state officials. Parents who had babies born with this defect have been questioned but doctors have not yet found a common denominator for these events.

One wonders if the investigating doctors have read the research connecting use of high potency marijuana early in pregnancy with this event. According to a 2012 study, use of potent marijuana during early pregnancy increases the chances of anencephaly. If pot use is a common factor to this increase, this is something that young people planning families and young women everywhere need to know. Continue reading

UK Researcher Sets Record the Straight on Effects of Using Marijuana

teens smoking marijuanaIn states where marijuana is up for legalization for either medical or recreational use, it can be very difficult to decipher the truth about this drug. Those in favor of increased use describe the harmless, even therapeutic nature of the drug. Those against tell a different tale. A new study from the UK shines a bright new light directly on the damage that results from use of this drug.

The study was published by Dr. Wayne Hall of King’s College London, who has carried out this study over a twenty-year period. He reports that that this drug is, indeed, addictive and that one in six teens who regularly smoke this drug become dependent on it.

He further reports:
• Those using marijuana have twice the risk of developing a psychotic disorder
• They do worse in school
• Adolescents who use the drug suffer intellectual impairment
• A driver who has smoked pot has twice the risk of having an accident
• This risk goes up substantially if both marijuana and alcohol were used
• Smoking pot while pregnant reduces the baby’s weight at birth Continue reading

Marijuana and Employment: Positive Workplace Drug Tests on the Increase

drug-free-workplaceFor the first time since 2003, workplace drug tests took a jump. This is according to Quest Diagnostics, a company performing workplace drug tests across the country. In all, more than eight million workplace drug tests contributed to the most recent Quest Diagnostics database.

Their results showed that in 2012, the rate of positive tests was 3.5% of all workplace tests. In 2013, that rate rose to 3.7%. That constituted a 6.7% increase.

While that may not seem to be an extraordinary increase, consider this: In Colorado, the first year that recreational use of marijuana was legalized, the rate increased 20%.

And in Washington State, which also legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the rate increased 23%.

Some companies choose to hire drug-free employees and others must hire drug-free employees due to security issues, government contracts or highly sensitive job duties. Continue reading

Marijuana Impaired Driving Illustrated in Denver Car Crash

In Denver in July 2014, there was a serious traffic accident caused by a young female driver who was driving impaired. According to her statements to police after the accident, she had drunk one beer and smoked “a bowl”of marijuana before driving.

She was speeding down Colfax Avenue – a 30 mph zone – at 60 miles per hour. When she ran a red light, she crashed into another car and caused six people to be injured. She now has to appear in court to answer to charges of driving impaired and vehicular assault.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has carefully analyzed the kinds of impairments caused by the use of marijuana. In fact, their website carries the results of their analysis of fifteen different drugs and their impacts on driving performance. You can download a PDF of the entire series here:

marijuana impaired driving effects Continue reading