Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, or cannabis, is a psychoactive drug that has gained popularity over the years. Initially, the drug was associated with counterculture and rebellion. However, with the legalization of marijuana in some states, many people have adopted its use.
The drug is often perceived as a gateway drug that leads to addiction to harder drugs. However, marijuana can also be a gateway drug that helps people cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Examine the factors that influence marijuana dependency.
The potency of marijuana has increased over the years due to advances in farming and cultivation techniques. As a result, people will need less to feel its effects. The drug’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, is responsible for the high that users experience. Higher doses of THC can lead to increased dependency and addiction.
According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the potency of marijuana has increased from 4% in the 1990s to over 12% in the 2010s. Some strains of marijuana can contain up to 30% THC. The higher the dose of THC, the more intense the high, which can lead to increased dependency and addiction.
2. Frequency of Use
The frequency of marijuana use can also influence dependency. Regular use of marijuana can lead to tolerance, whereby users need higher doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect. Tolerance can lead to dependence, whereby users experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the medicine. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite, restlessness, and cravings. The more frequently a person uses marijuana, the higher the risk of developing dependence and addiction.
3. Method of Use
The method of marijuana use can also influence dependency. Smoking marijuana can lead to faster absorption of THC into the bloodstream, leading to a quicker onset of the drug’s effects. Smoking marijuana can also lead to lung damage and respiratory problems. Edible marijuana products take longer to take effect, but the high can last longer, leading to higher doses of THC. Edibles can also lead to accidental overdoses, as users may consume more than intended due to the delayed onset of the drug’s effects. Therefore, the method of use can influence the risk of developing dependence and addiction.
4. Age of Onset
The age at which a person starts using marijuana can also influence dependency. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people who begin using marijuana at a young age are more likely to develop an addiction than those who start using it later in life. The brain is still developing during adolescence, and marijuana use can interfere with brain development, leading to long-term cognitive problems. Marijuana use during adolescence can also increase the risk of developing mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and anxiety.
5. Mental Health
Mental health can also influence marijuana dependency. People with mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD may use marijuana to cope with their symptoms. However, marijuana use can also exacerbate mental health problems, leading to a vicious cycle of drug use and mental health problems. People with mental health disorders are likelier to use marijuana and develop dependence and addiction.
Marijuana can be a gateway drug that helps people cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. However, the drug can also lead to dependence and addiction, mainly when used in high doses and frequently.
Factors such as the method of use, age of onset, and mental health can influence the risk of developing marijuana dependency. It is essential to be aware of these factors and use marijuana responsibly to avoid the risk of dependence and addiction.
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