You’ve probably heard of it before, even though it goes by many different names such as pot, dope, grass, jazz salad, hashish, ganja, the devil’s lettuce, Mary Jane, the reefer, herb, giggle bush, wacky tobaccy, and of course, the weed plant. No matter what the user calls it, it refers to the same thing, the harvested, dried, and cured leaves and flowers of any member of the cannabis species of plants.
This dried vegetation from the weed plant is broken up, milled, or otherwise shredded into a finely ground substance, and then prepared for consumption. The weed plant is often rolled into cigarettes or cigars by hand or used in a pipe to smoke, in order for the user to get the intoxicating effects that they seek.
Other preparations of the weed plant are now becoming more and more common as well, such as putting the weed plant into food or candy items called “edibles” that can get the user dangerously high. There are also “extraction labs” where the weed plant is processed into ultra-concentrated forms like “wax”, “shatter”, and “dabs” that are more than 90% pure THC.
The addictive potential for the weed plant has never been higher than right now, as many states across the country are legalizing this dangerous drug for both medicinal and recreational consumption. This is making the weed plant as easy to get as a beer or glass of wine. This can put it in the hands of addicts much more easily than ever before in history.
Side-Effects of The Weed Plant
Our brains and bodies are unfortunately created with the need and biological capacity to consume and effectively utilize the chemical compounds that fill the weed plant, called cannabinoids. Our bodies have cannabinoid receptors and our bodies produce and require endocannabinoids to help drive appetite and other bodily functions. The cannabinoids that are in the weed plant are nearly identical to those found in our bodies, meaning that they also have the capacity to create the same effects that may be enjoyed by consuming the weed plant.
There is little research that indicates that consuming the weed plant daily can be more harmful or dangerous in the context of side effects, than smoking the weed plant on rare occasions or even abstaining entirely. Since the federal government prohibits research on drugs as dangerous as the weed plant, there may be a host of other short-term and long-term effects that are yet to be seen.
There has been some initial research that shows a link between decreased cognitive function in those that take the weed plant daily when pitted against those who only took it on occasion or did not use it at all. The data indicates that the users who smoked heavily for years faced a potentially more difficult time with some assigned functions. This was in comparison to users who only partook in the weed plant on rare occasions, or smoked a number of times before subsequently quitting for whatever reason.
In a test that was run between two groups of weed plant users, both groups were given a word list to memorize with the intent of recalling them later. After both the heavy users and the light or non-users were given time to study their word lists, they were asked to recall the words in order. The group of heavy or daily users was able to recall one less term when compared to the control group of the non-users or former users. This indicates that using the weed plant may have a serious effect on the way users’ brains encode, store, and recall data and memories.
Abuse/Addiction Potential When Using The Weed Plant
While there is a very small portion of the population that is susceptible to physical dependence from the weed plant, it is known to be highly addictive due to forming incredibly significant psychological dependence. When people enjoy the effects and perception changes that the weed plant gives them, they begin to enjoy daily activities more while under the influence of it. This leads them to want to use the weed plant before just about any other activity, which is where many problems can begin.
One of the ways that adults maintain a healthy and functional life is to ensure that they give attention to their mental health, and make efforts to maintain their own light. Addiction to the weed plant can often result in the addicted individual cutting off or neglecting their existing personal relationships.
Another sign of potential issues with weed plant abuse or addiction is the effects it will have on the user’s financial state. Often the addicted person will begin to display problems in school or their job, often to the permanent detriment of that activity. If the addicted individual loses their job due to poor performance, they may begin a distinct downward spiral that will only end when they hit rock bottom.
How to Get Help if Addicted to The Weed Plant
Thanks in no small part to the increasing prevalence of states legalizing the adult recreational or medicinal use of the weed plant, there seems to be a large portion of the population that doesn’t view addiction to the weed plant as anything particularly harmful. But individuals that are living the struggle of addiction to the weed plant, know the reality of things.
If you or someone you know may be addicted to the weed plant, time is of the essence and they may not even realize they have a problem until it is too late. Let them know that they have a support network to help them, then begin to look for experienced treatment centers and professionals that can help them navigate recovery successfully. By creating an individual detox plan that works for them, and helping them learn coping methods for encountering triggering situations, the recovering individual can have the best chance at a successful long term recovery.