What is marijuana?

Marijuana refers to the dried Cannabis plant. It can be smoked, ingested through food and drink, or used in a vaporiser. The Cannabis plant contains the psychoactive chemical THC as well as over 415 other chemicals. The effects of THC in Cannabis can be felt almost immediately and the positive effects only last around 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the dose. The misconception that marijuana is not addictive means less people seek help for their addiction and it can have devastating effects on their lives.

In 2017 Cannabis was the second most common drug identified at toxicology for transport accident deaths (aihw.gov.au).

If you can feel Cannabis taking over your life, reach out and get help today.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse

During the 5 minutes to an hour after using marijuana, the effects felt are spontaneous laughing, increased appetite, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, memory impairment, anxiety, paranoia, and feelings of relaxation. If an individual continues to use frequently, the long-term side effects can affect employment, social engagement, relationships and mental health. Long-term users can experience depression, mood swings, reduced cognitive function including short-term memory loss.

These negative aspects can mean performance at work is severely decreased, users may start to avoid social gatherings with family or friends and develop social anxiety. They may also experience nausea and loss of appetite when not using. All responsibilities become less important as the dependence on the drug becomes the main priority in their lives.

Health Risks

Marijuana use is associated with a range of health issues, particularly related to heart, respiratory problems, and mental health conditions.

Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent smokers can experience many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as:

  • Daily cough and phlegm production
  • Frequent acute chest illness
  • Heightened risk of lung infections
  • Damage to the immune system
  • Kills brain cells and damages central nervous system
  • Fertility issues
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • (hazeldenbettyford.com)

Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic marijuana is sold in small packages and are leaves or herbs which are sprayed or coated with chemical that produce similar effects to marijuana. These packages are sold in stores around Australia and are often brightly coloured and labeled as potpourri or herbal incense. Although synthetic marijuana produces a lot of the same feelings as regular marijuana, there are also additional negative side effects that accompany the synthetic drug:

  • Fast and irregular heartbeat
  • Racing thoughts
  • Agitation, anxiety, and paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Aggressive and violent behaviour
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Death

People with mental health conditions or a family history of these conditions should avoid using synthetic cannabis. The drug can intensify the symptoms of anxiety and paranoia (adf.org.au).

How quitting can improve your life

1. Return of your short-term memory: Answering the phone at work and immediately forgetting who had called, forgetting important dates loved ones have told you over and over again, forgetting vocabulary you once knew easily. These will all be a thing of the past and you will feel clear headed and focused.

2. Increased energy: All the things you could not find time for or could not find the energy to complete will suddenly become easy tasks you can achieve daily.

3. Need less sleep: Not feeling tired all the time and needing generous amounts of sleep, will improve the quality of your day and give you extra hours you used to use for sleep.

4. Confidence: Without the need to hide your addiction from your friends, you will not need to constantly be worried or paranoid that they will find out.

5. Less anxiety: Marijuana use increases paranoia and anxiety, therefore without the use of the drug, your anxiety levels on a day to day basis will decrease dramatically.

6. Happiness: You can find real happiness that is not just the result of a drug you are using.