Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. It refers to the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. It can be smoked in pipes or hand-rolled cigarettes, and it can be cooked into foods or consumed in teas. There are many nicknames for marijuana. It’s often called pot, weed, Mary Jane, herb, grass and many others. It is considered a psychoactive substance, and it contains THC, a chemical that alters brain chemistry.
When marijuana is smoked or ingested, THC enters the person’s bloodstream. The short-term effects of marijuana can vary from person to person, and they could include mood changes, impaired memory and altered sense of time, among others.
Marijuana addiction has been a controversial topic in addiction research, but experts now agree that it is possible to develop a marijuana addiction.
Although marijuana remains a Schedule I illicit substance at the federal level, many states have loosened their laws surrounding marijuana use. This includes allowing medical use, recreational use or both. Ohio is one of the states that has considered changing its laws surrounding marijuana, but it is not yet legal to recreationally use marijuana in Ohio.
Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio to treat certain medical conditions like epilepsy and chronic pain. Adults over the age of 18 years can register to legally purchase up to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. Those under the age of 18 must have the marijuana purchased by a caregiver.
The state can revoke this registration in certain cases, like if the person sells their marijuana or is no longer diagnosed with the medical condition for which the marijuana is meant to be used.
Although some individual cities in Ohio have decriminalized the use of marijuana, recreational marijuana use is still not legal in the state. As of December 2021, there are bills in the Ohio house of representatives as well as a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state.
Possession of recreational marijuana in Ohio can land you in legal trouble, depending on the amount of marijuana you have. While carrying less than 100 grams is a misdemeanor that carries a $150 fine and no jail time, carrying between 100 and 200 grams can put you in jail for 30 days. Carrying larger amounts is a felony that carries up to an eight-year prison sentence.
Research suggests that between 9% and 30% of marijuana users will develop a substance use disorder. It’s also possible to develop a marijuana dependence that can lead to withdrawal if the drug is stopped suddenly.
Withdrawal can occur when someone’s brain has gotten used to the substance. When marijuana is in your system frequently, your brain will stop producing endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. If you suddenly quit the drug, your brain will struggle to make up for the deficiency.
A psychological or situational addiction to marijuana is more common than physical dependence. People become addicted to the way they feel when under the influence of the drug. If they use it frequently with a group of friends, they may not want to lose the group of friends if the person stops using the drug.
Although most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other illicit substances, marijuana is considered a gateway drug. This is because people who use other illicit substances often first experiment with alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. Some data suggest that marijuana alters the brain in ways that make it easier to become addicted to other drugs.
Some signs of marijuana use are similar to those of other addictions. Signs of a drug addiction can include:
Marijuana paraphernalia may also be found if a person is using marijuana. This can include a variety of items like:
Marijuana use often comes with some side effects, including:
These symptoms can become more severe when a person uses marijuana over the long term. Chronic lung conditions like asthma can develop after long-term marijuana smoking. Further, chronic marijuana use is linked to mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.
Suddenly stopping marijuana after frequent use can lead to withdrawal. This is especially true when a person uses the drug on a daily or near-daily basis for several months. Marijuana withdrawal is a recognized medical condition whose symptoms can include:
Someone who is heavily dependent on marijuana may start to experience withdrawal between one and two days after stopping the drug. These symptoms can last up to 14 days but may last up to five weeks in some cases.
Marijuana can be detected in your system for varying lengths of time, depending on what is tested. Marijuana traces can stay in:
Because marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and disrupt daily life, many people attempt to self-medicate their symptoms with over-the-counter medications or other illicit drugs. However, this can be difficult or even dangerous. Experts recommend an inpatient detox followed by a rehab program, especially when a person has:
A medically-supervised detox can help ease withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to avoid relapse. Unlike a home detox, a medically-supervised detox has a full medical team supporting you. Medications such as mirtazapine for sleep and gabapentin for general marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be prescribed, if appropriate.
There are many treatment options available for people in Ohio who are struggling with a marijuana use disorder. Facilities like The Recovery Village Columbus offer detox as well as inpatient, outpatient and aftercare programs to treat marijuana addiction. If you or someone you love is suffering from marijuana use disorder, give us a call today, and allow us to help you or your loved one to take back control.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.