Considering all the various products that now carry cannabis – from traditional joints and baked goods, to soaps and face creams –across the country, it is no wonder that so many people are beginning to use this substance more than before. In many areas, using marijuana is becoming as socially acceptable as drinking alcohol. This increase in usage is making it so popular that it is even becoming a part of the culture in areas such as Colorado and California. With it being sold in such beautiful, popular vacation spots, who could resist freely using marijuana to wind down and relax?
Marijuana (often known by its numerous slang terms) consists of the dried flowers, stems, leaves and seeds of the plant Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica. What is so interesting about this substance is its’ varying side effects. Some claim that marijuana has been used to treat cancer, while others say that it had little to no impact on their conditions. With such contradicting claims, it can be challenging to decide what role you want marijuana to play in your life. However, the more facts you learn about this substance, the better you can understand and avoid the potential consequences of marijuana use.
Myth: Marijuana Is Not Addictive
With the rise of recreational and medicinal uses of marijuana due to new legal statuses, many consider this drug relatively safe for regular use. Marijuana (in moderate amounts) can be beneficial for some, but this does not mean that it should no longer be considered a drug that can lead to addiction. A substance that causes one to lose their sense of control through craving, obtaining and using it despite potential adverse health and social outcomes is considered addictive. However, because of its’ relatively mild physical symptoms, many people do not believe marijuana is addictive.
Some common side effects of regular marijuana use include cognitive impairment, respiratory issues, anxiety/paranoia and lack of focus. Physically these effects may not seem as severe as “harder” drugs, such as meth or cocaine, but mentally speaking, marijuana is incredibly addictive. It creates this mental dependence by altering the neurological pathways of the user’s brain by forming a new pattern of addiction to the substance. The temporary feelings of euphoria that marijuana can cause areas in the brain to continuously crave that effect, thus potentially leading to an unsuspected addiction. Given this risk, awareness of potential addiction can be beneficial for navigating life with this newly legalized drug.
Myth: Marijuana Is a Cure
In many states, including New Jersey, marijuana can be prescribed to patients by doctors. Prescriptions for marijuana are becoming more prevalent because marijuana has been shown to temporarily treat symptoms for issues such as anxiety, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seizures, eating disorders and more. However, similar to other medications, marijuana does not cure the disease or illness itself. Instead, it treats the symptoms of the illness or disease temporarily. Many do not consider that marijuana, much like any other kind of medication, may not benefit every person who has those same problems. The truth is that not much research has been conducted about the long-term use of medicinal marijuana, so there is no way to prove that it can truly cure any particular disease, illness or ailment.
Myth: Marijuana Makes You More Creative
The idea that marijuana use helps people be more creative is a common one, which may inspire users to continuously get high. Rather, this thought process can lead to a harmful dependence on marijuana. If someone does not consider themselves creative on their own without being high on marijuana, they will depend on it to fulfill that perceived shortfall.
Does using marijuana cause people to be more creative? According to scientific data, the answer is no. In a 2014 study conducted by The National Library of Medicine, scientists found that a group of individuals under the influence of marijuana were far less creative than the group that was not under the influence. Later they added in a placebo group where they told participants that they were given biscuits with cannabis, but in reality, the biscuits did not contain any substances. These participants reported having the highest levels of creativity out of all three groups. Perhaps marijuana can give strong feelings of creativity, but ultimately this does not compare to the natural creativity that our brains produce while sober. Nonetheless, that feeling can be potentially fascinating and inspiring for some. By becoming more conscious of this particular myth, you can overcome these intense feelings and sensations.
Marijuana is becoming more socially accepted across the United States. While this may have certain benefits, it also can cause those trying to gain or maintain sobriety a lot of stress. The more that it becomes normalized in our society, the more our perceptions and ideas regarding the substance may become muddled. The good news is that, despite this confusion, we do not have to be blinded by common misconceptions. Fortunately, there are many resources available that not only allow us to learn more about the substance but can also offer ways to work through marijuana addictions. Here at Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford, we offer a variety of ways to treat marijuana use. Some of the methods that we offer at our facility in Medford, New Jersey, include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT), 12-step facilitation therapy and more. No matter who you are or where you have been in life, we are eager to help you in any way that suits you best. Contact us today at (877) 557-5372 to learn more.