Marijuana Addiction and Treatment

Marijuana Addiction treatments we provide in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba

What is marijuana? Some street names: pot, weed, grass, herb, 420, chronic

Marijuana (cannabis) is the most commonly used illicit substance. The psychoactive component of marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – is thought to have evolved as a botanical self-defense chemical, and is present in a subset of the hemp family of plants. Plant materials from these particular plants, rich in THC, are commonly dried and then smoked.

This drug impairs short-term memory and learning, the ability to focus, and coordination. It also increases heart rate, can harm the lungs, and may increase the risk of psychosis in vulnerable people. Research suggests that when regular marijuana use begins in the teen years, addiction is more likely: 1 in 6 users, compared to 1 in 9 among adults. In addition, recent research suggests that heavy cannabis use that starts in the teen years is associated with declines in IQ scores in adulthood.

Among the major health risks linked to cannabis use, motor vehicle accidents and cannabis use disorders, including dependence. Yes, that is right, people do become addicted to Marijuana and it is growing. Lung cancer and psychosis, two other potential risks often associated with cannabis, the researchers suggest.

How it affects the brain?

Short-term effects

When a person smokes marijuana, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. The blood carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. The body absorbs THC more slowly when the person eats or drinks it. In that case, the user generally feels the effects after 30 minutes to 1 hour.

THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals in the brain. These natural chemicals play a role in normal brain development and function.

Marijuana overactivates parts of the brain that contain the highest number of these receptors. This causes the “high” that users feel. Other effects include:

  • altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • altered sense of time
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body movement
  • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • impaired memory

Long-term effects

Marijuana also affects brain development. When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent.



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