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Marijuana Plant Marijuana addiction is a serious problem experienced by more than 150,000 individuals each year who enter treatment for marijuana addiction. Marijuana addiction is characterized as compulsive, often uncontrollable marijuana cravings, seeking and use; despite the fact that the person wants to stop using marijuana but cannot. Another symptom of marijuana addiction is the individual making firm commitments to stop using marijuana followed by a relapse due to experiencing overwhelming compulsive urges to use marijuana despite the firm decision not to. This contradiction is characteristic of any addiction problem.

Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction:

  • Marijuana tolerance: Either the need for markedly increased amounts of marijuana to achieve intoxication, or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of marijuana.
  • Greater use of marijuana than intended: Marijuana taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control marijuana use.
  • A great deal of time spent in using marijuana
  • Marijuana use causing a reduction in social, occupational or recreational activities.
  • Continued marijuana use despite knowing it will cause significant problems.

People entering treatment for Marijuana addiction state that marijuana is both emotionally and mentally addictive. Once an individual becomes addicted to marijuana it develops into part of who they believe themselves to be. Avoiding their friends who do not use, the addict will gravitate to others that use the drug. Marijuana is a topic that is always on their mind, whether it is thinking about the next time they will be able to get high or where they're going to get their next purchase of marijuana. When someone has an addiction to marijuana, eventually their friends and the people close to them only know how they act when their stoned because they no longer do anything without first using marijuana. Typically, once dependent upon the effects of marijuana, the person feels that they must use marijuana to feel good and become anxious at the thought of existing without marijuana. People that are addicted to marijuana will typically take their stash with them wherever they go, just in case an opportunity arises and they are able to take a couple hits. They may even go through several dealers in order to make sure they always have a constant supply of marijuana.

The consequences of marijuana addiction to the individual usually manifest in the form of health and social consequences, memory and learning problems, problems at work or even result in losing a job. Those who isolate themselves from friends and family often put a heavy strain on relationships with loved ones. There is a vicious cycle to marijuana addiction in which these problems are often used as a rational reason to smoke even more pot. Marijuana addiction is a no-win situation that many unintentionally fall into (the drug that is causing the problem becomes the solution to the problem it caused).

Marijuana addiction is brought on due to the effect of marijuana on the user's brain. Scientists now know many facts about marijuana's effect on the body and how delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active chemical in marijuana, acts in the human brain. When marijuana is smoked, THC travels quickly through the body and into the brain where it unites with specific receptors on nerve cells. Areas of the brain with the most receptors affected by THC are parts of the brain that control pleasure, thought, memory, sensory, concentration, time perception, and coordination. It's these areas of the brain that are most likely to be affected when an individual faces marijuana addiction.

If you feel that your marijuana use is out of your control and interfering with your personal goals and happiness and you would like to stop but can't, seek help from a marijuana addiction treatment professional.

Marijuana also known ganja or cannabis is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa. The herbal form of marijuana is composed of dried mature flowers and subtending leaves of pistillate ("female") plants. The resinous form, known as hashish or hash, consists primarily of glandular trichomes collected from the same plant material.

A dried flowered bud of the Cannabis sativa plant.The major biologically active chemical compound in cannabis is .9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), commonly referred to as THC.

Humans have been consuming marijuana since prehistory, although in the 20th century there was an increase in its use for recreational, religious or spiritual, and medicinal purposes. It is estimated that approximately four percent of the world's adult population use marijuana annually and 0.6 percent daily. The possession, use, or sale of marijuana products became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century. Since then, some countries have intensified the enforcement of marijuana prohibition while others have reduced the priority of enforcement.

History of Marijuana

Evidence of the use of marijuana dates as far back as the Neolithic age, as indicated by charred marijuana seeds found in a ritual brazier at an ancient burial site in present day Romania. The most famous users of marijuana were the ancient Hindus of India and Nepal, and the Hashshashins (hashish eaters) of present day Syria. Marijuana was called ganjika in Sanskrit ( ganja in modern Indic languages). The ancient drug soma, mentioned in the Vedas as a sacred intoxicating hallucinogen, was sometimes associated with marijuana.

Marijuana was also known to the Assyrians, who discovered its psychoactive properties through the Aryans. Using it in some religious ceremonies, they called marijuana, qunubu (meaning "way to produce smoke"), a probable origin of the modern word. Marijuana was also introduced by the Aryans to the Scythians and Thracians/Dacians, whose shamans (the kapnobatai..those who walk on smoke/clouds.) burned marijuana flowers to induce a state of trance effect. Members of the cult of Dionysus, believed to have originated in Thrace, are also thought to have smoked marijuana. In 2003, a leather basket filled with marijuana leaf fragments and seeds was found next to a 2,500- to 2,800-year-old mummified shaman in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.

Marijuana has an ancient history of ritual use and is found in pharmacological cults around the world. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices like eating by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BCE, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus. Some historians and etymologists have claimed that marijuana was used as a religious sacrament by ancient Jews and early Christians. It was also used by Muslims in various Sufi orders as early as the Mamluk period, for example by the Qalandars. In India and Nepal, it has been used by some of the wandering spiritual sadhus for centuries, and in modern times the Rastafari movement has embraced it as a sacrament. Elders of the modern religious movement known as the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church consider marijuana to be the Eucharist, claiming it as an oral tradition from Ethiopia dating back to the time of Christ, even though the movement was founded in the United States in 1975 and has no ties to either Ethiopia or the Coptic Church. Similar to the Rastafari, some modern Gnostic Christian sects have asserted that marijuana is the Tree of Life. Other organized religions founded in the past century that treat marijuana as a sacrament are the THC Ministry, the Way of Infinite Harmony, Cantheism, the Cannabis Assembly and the Church of Cognizance.

Marijuana was introduced to the Americas in the mid-19th century by Indian laborers under the Indian indenture system implemented by the British Empire after the end of African slavery in the British West Indies. The plant eventually spread into Mexico, U.S., Canada and the rest of the Americas.

The production of Marijuana for drug use remains illegal throughout most of the world through for ex. International Opium Convention of 1925, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, while simple possession of small quantities is either legal, or treated as an addiction to marijuana rather than a criminal offense in a few countries.

New breeding of marijuana and cultivation techniques

It is often claimed by growers and breeders of marijuana that advances in breeding and cultivation techniques have increased the potency of marijuana since the late 1960s and early '70s, when delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol was discovered and understood. However, potent seedless marijuana such as "Thai sticks" were already available at that time. In fact, the sinsemilla technique of producing high-potency marijuana has been practiced in India for centuries. Sinsemilla (Spanish for "without seed") is the dried, seedless inflorescences of female cannabis plants. Because THC production drops off once pollination occurs, the male plants (which produce little THC themselves) are eliminated before they shed pollen to prevent pollination. Advanced cultivation techniques such as hydroponics, cloning, high-intensity artificial lighting, and the sea of green method are frequently employed as a response (in part) to prohibition enforcement efforts that make outdoor cultivation more risky. These intensive growing methods have led to fewer seeds being present in marijuana and a general increase in potency over the past 20 years. The average levels of THC in marijuana sold in United States rose from 3.5% in 1988 to 7% in 2003 and 8.5% in 2006.

"Skunk" marijuana is a potent strain of marijuana, grown through selective breeding and usually hydroponics, that is a cross-breed of Cannabis sativa and C. indica. Skunk marijuana or Skank Weed as it is also commonly called, potency ranges usually from 6% to 15% and rarely as high as 20%. The average THC level in coffeehouses in the Netherlands is about 18.19%.

The average THC content of Skunk #1 is 8.2%; it is a 4-way combination of the marijuana strains Afghani indica, Mexican Gold, Colombian Gold, and Thai: 75% sativa, 25% indica. This was done via extensive breeding by cultivators in California in the 1970s using the traditional outdoor cropping methods used for centuries.

A Dutch double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of male volunteers with a self-reported history of regular cannabis use aged 18.45 years concluded that smoking of cannabis, with higher THC reflecting the content levels of netherweed (marijuana with 9.23% THC) as currently sold in coffee shops in the Netherlands, may lead to higher THC concentrations in serum (the internal dose). Smoking of cannabis with higher THC concentrations leads to an increase of the occurrence of effects, particularly among younger or inexperienced cannabis smokers, who do not adapt their smoking to the higher THC.[42] Smoking of cannabis with higher THC concentrations was associated with a dose-related increase of physical effects (such as increase of heart rate, and decrease of blood pressure) and psychomotor effects (such as reacting more slowly, being less concentrated, making more mistakes during performance testing, having less motor control, and experiencing drowsiness).

What was well observed in the Dutch study was that the effects based from a single dose.the smoking of one piece of a joint for 20.25 minutes.lasted for more than eight hours. The reaction time was still significantly slower about five hours after smoking. At that time, the THC serum concentration was low, but still present. This means that even when individuals have the impression that their state has returned to baseline and that they can smoke another piece of joint, the effect of the first joint may be still present. When subjects smoke on several occasions per day, accumulation of THC may occur.

Another study showed that 15 mg THC result in no learning whatsoever occurring over a three-trial selective reminding task at two hours. In several tasks, delta(9)-THC increased both speed and error rates, reflecting .riskier. speed.accuracy trade-offs.[43]

There are two recognized types of marijuana, sativa and indica. So-called sativa strains are reputed to induce a noticeably more "cerebral" high, while indica strains induce more of a body high. These two drug types are often hybridized or crossed with early-maturing (but low in THC) ruderalis strains to increase the range of effects.

Criminalization and legalization

World laws on marijuana possession (small amount).

U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics PSA used in the late 1930s and 1940s.Main article: Legality of marijuana

Since the beginning of the 20th century, most countries have enacted laws against the cultivation, possession, or transfer of marijuana for recreational use. These laws have impacted adversely on the marijuana plant's cultivation for non-recreational purposes, but there are many regions where, under certain circumstances, handling of cannabis is legal or licensed. Many jurisdictions have lessened the penalties for possession of small quantities of marijuana, so that it is punished by confiscation or a fine, rather than imprisonment, focusing more intensely on those who traffic the drug on the black market. There are also changes in a more restrictive direction such as the closing of coffee shops in the Netherlands, the closing of the open drug market in Christiania, Copenhagen and the higher minimum penalties as in Canada. Although recently in Canada the use of marijuana has been decriminalized and laws in certain provinces (such as British Columbia) have been un-enforced. Some jurisdictions use mandatory treatment programs for frequent known users with freedom from narcotic drugs as goal. Simple possession can carry long prison terms in some countries, particularly in East Asia, where the sale of marijuana may lead to a sentence of life in prison or even execution.

Marijuana Effects

Marijuana has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed, usually by smoking or ingestion. The minimum amount of THC required to have a perceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (which, in practical terms, is a varying amount, dependent upon potency). A related compound, .9-tetrahydrocannabivarin, also known as THCV, is produced in appreciable amounts by certain drug strains. This cannabinoid has been described in the popular literature as having shorter-acting, flashier effects than THC, but recent studies suggest that it may actually inhibit the effects of THC. Relatively high levels of THCV are common in African dagga (marijuana), and in hashish from the northwest Himalayas.

Health issues

Marijuana use has been shown to be associated with several illnesses. Masijuana has been associated with lung cancer. Whilst some studies and tests have proven inconclusive, a recent study by the Canadian government found cannabis contained more toxic substances than tobacco smoke. It contained 20 times more ammonia, (a carcinogen) and five times more of hydrogen cyanide (which can cause heart disease) and of nitrogen oxides, (which can cause lung damage) than tobacco smoke. Marijuana use has been linked to psychosis by several peer-reviewed studies. A 1987 Swedish study claiming a link between marijuana use and schizophrenia was criticized for not differentiating between marijuana use and the use of other narcotics, and its results have not been verified by other studies. More recently, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study published research showing an increased risk of psychosis for marijuana users with a certain genetic predisposition, held by 25% of the population. In 2007, a study published in The Lancet and a poll of mental health experts showed that a growing number of medical health practitioners are convinced that marijuana use increases susceptibility to mental illness, accounting for 14% of United Kingdom psychosis cases.

Although long terms effects of marijuana use is polarised in the scientific community preventing any concrete consensus of the effects of marijuana, short term effects of marijuana are well documented. Effects such as short-term memory and attention loss, loss of motor skills and dexterity, reduced reaction time, and lower abilities to perform skilled activities can be hazardous to human life if combined with potentially hazardous activities such as driving. Cannabis use can also lead to anxiety and panic reactions. There is also evidence that some of the above effect can become permanent with heavy usage.

Multiple studies have shown that chronic heavy marijuana smoking is connected with increased symptoms of chronic bronchitis, such as coughing, production of sputum, and wheezing. Lung function is also significantly poorer and there is a significantly greater amount of abnormalities in the large airways of marijuana smokers than in non-smokers.

All of these health issues can be exacerbated by marijuana's addictive qualities, that may possibly lead to a marijuana dependence syndrome.

Marijuana's relationship with other drugs

Since its origin in the 1950s, the "gateway drug" hypothesis has been one of the central pillars of marijuana drug policy in the United States. The argument is that people, upon trying marijuana for the first time and not finding it dangerous, are then tempted to indulge in other, more powerful drugs.

Some studies support the "gateway drug" model. An example from 2007: A stratified, random sample of 1943 adolescents was recruited from secondary schools across Victoria, Australia, at age 14.15 years. This cohort was interviewed on eight occasions until the age of 24.25 years. At age 24 years, 12% of the sample had used amphetamines in the past year, with 1.2% using at least weekly. Young adult amphetamine use was predicted strongly by adolescent drug use and was associated robustly with other drug use and dependence in young adulthood. Associations were stronger for more frequent users. Among young adults who had not been using amphetamines at age 20 years, the strongest predictor of use at age 24 years was the use of other drugs, particularly marijuana, at 20 years.[56] Those who were smoking marijuana at the age of 15 were as much as 15 times more likely to be using amphetamines in their early 20s.

Comparison of addiction vs. physical harm for 20 drugs as estimated by an article in The LancetA current doctoral thesis from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, on the neurobiological effects of early life marijuana exposure, gives support for the marijuana gateway hypothesis in relation to adult opiate abuse. THC exposed rats showed increased motivation for opiate drug use under conditions of stress.

A study published in The Lancet on 24 March 2007 was twenty drugs were assigned a risk from zero to three. Dr. David Nutt et al. asked medical, scientific and legal experts to rate 20 different drugs on nine parameters:

  • Physical harm (Acute, Chronic, and Intravenous harm)
  • Dependence (Intensity of pleasure, Psychological dependence, Physical dependence)
  • Social harms (Intoxication, Other social harms, Health-care costs)
  • Marijuana was ranked seventeenth of twenty for mean physical harm score and eleventh for mean dependence score. Not shown is the mean social harm score, which rated ninth, in a tie with Amphetamine.
  • Classification of Marijuana

    While many drugs clearly fall into the category of either Stimulant, Depressant, Hallucinogen, or Antipsychotic, marijuana, containing both THC and CBD, exhibits a mix of all sections, leaning towards the Hallucinogen section due to THC being the primary constituent.

    Methods of consuming Marijuana

    Marijuana is prepared for human consumption in several forms:

  • Marijuana or ganja: the flowering tops of female plants, from less than 1% THC to 22% THC; the wide range is probably one of the reasons for the conflicting results from different studies.
  • Hashish or charas: a concentrated resin composed of heated glandular trichomes that have been physically extracted, usually by rubbing, sifting, or with ice.
  • Kief: the chopped flowering tops of female cannabis plants, often mixed with tobacco; Moroccan hashish produced in the Rif mountains; sifted marijuana trichomes consisting of only the glandular "heads" (often incorrectly referred to as "crystals" or "pollen"); the crystal (trichomes) left at the bottom of a grinder after grinding marijuana, then smoked.
  • Bhang: a beverage prepared by grinding marijuana leaves in milk and boiling with spices and other ingredients.
  • Hashish: These forms are not exclusive, and mixtures of two or more different forms of marijuana are regularly consumed. Between the many different strains of marijuana and the various ways that it is prepared, there are innumerable variations similar to the wide variety of mixed alcoholic beverages that are consumed.
  • Smoking Marijuana


    A vaporizer heats marijuana to 365.410 F (185.210 C), which turns the active ingredients into gas without burning the plant material (the boiling point of THC is 392 F (200C) at 0.02 mm Hg pressure, and somewhat higher at standard atmospheric pressure).[67][68] Toxic chemicals are released at much lower levels than by smoking, although this can vary depending on the design of the vaporizer and the temperature at which it is set. A MAPS-NORML study using a Volcano vaporizer reported 95% THC and no toxins delivered in the vapor. However, an older study using less sophisticated vaporizers found more toxins. The effects from a vaporizer are noticeably different to that of smoking marijuana. Users have reported a more euphoric hallucinogen type high, because the vapor contains more pure THC.

    Eating Marijuana

    As an alternative to smoking, marijuana may be consumed orally. Although hashish is sometimes eaten raw or mixed with water, THC and other cannabinoids are more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream when dissolved in ethanol, or in combination with butter or other lipids. The time to onset of effects is generally about an hour and can continue for a considerable length of time, whereas the effects of smoking marijuana are almost immediate.

    Smoking marijuana results in a significant loss of THC and other cannabinoids in the exhaled smoke, by decomposition on burning, and in smoke that is not inhaled. In contrast, all of the active ingredients enter the body when marijuana is ingested. It has been shown that the primary active component of cannabis, .9-THC, is converted to the more psychoactive 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver. Titration to the desired effect by ingestion is much more difficult than through inhalation.

    Other methods of using Marijuana

    Marijuana material can be leached in high-proof spirits (often grain alcohol) to create .Green Dragon.. This process is often employed to make use of low-potency stems and leaves.

    Marijuana can also be consumed as a tea. Although THC is lipophilic and only slightly water soluble (with a solubility of 2.8 grams per liter), enough THC can be dissolved to make a mildly psychoactive tea. However, water-based infusions are generally considered to be an inefficient use of the herb.

    In 2006, hollowed-out gumballs filled with cannabis material and labeled as .Greenades. were distributed by high school students in the U.S.

    Marijuana Addiction Treatment

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