Is marijuana addictive? Does marijuana cause health problems? The answers to those questions have been the subject of many debates and arguments over the years. However, there is research that has proven that marijuana can indeed be addictive and it does pose health problems. But, even with the evidence from research, the subject is still highly controversial.
Although not everyone that uses marijuana will become addicted, some people will. It’s estimated that approximately 9% of the people that use marijuana do become physically dependent. That number rises to around 1 in 6 for those who started using marijuana at a young age. And, for those who use marijuana on a daily basis, that number rises to as much as half.
One study included almost 500 heavy marijuana users that were trying to quit. Of that number, around one-third started using marijuana again to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. Over 42% reported experiencing at least one of the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. And, other studies have had similar results.
Habitual marijuana users can expect to start experiencing marijuana withdrawal symptoms within around 8 hours after the last use. The symptoms are more prominent during the first 10 days. However, most symptoms start to subside within the first 3 to 4 days. The full process of marijuana withdrawal can last for up to 45 days.
The most common marijuana withdrawal symptom is anxiety. It’s one of the biggest problems especially during the first few weeks of withdrawal. While the anxiety levels are generally mild to moderate, it is constant. Many people experience drastic mood changes and behave differently. Aggression is often increased and the person may get angry much faster than normal.
Many of the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are opposites of the effects of using marijuana. Instead of feeling hungry, or having the “munchies” most people lose their appetite and barely eat anything. Instead of feeling drowsy, some people find it difficult to sleep at all. Instead of feeling relaxed, most people become restless.
Generally a loss of appetite will only last for several days after the last use of marijuana. Some people will feel constantly nauseated and some have diarrhea. Insomnia is at it’s worst during the first few days, but it’s not uncommon to have difficulty sleeping for weeks. However, sleep patterns will return to normal.
Marijuana use causes an interference in a mechanism of consciousness that causes you to dream. In most cases, the person either doesn’t dream or can’t remember their dreams. When the person stops using marijuana, dreams return when they can sleep. Nightmares are very common and they seem to be very real and vivid.
Although marijuana is certainly not the most dangerous drug, it does pose some health problems. Marijuana contains over 400 different chemicals. Just one marijuana cigarette has almost four times as much tar as a regular cigarette. During the first hour after someone has smoked marijuana the risk of them having a heart attack is increased five times. Among other things it weakens the immune system, increases a persons risk of developing lung infections.