Annual observance teaches teens and adults the truth about addiction
February 5, 2016 – The White Sands Treatment Center is taking part in an important observance this February, also known as Marijuana Awareness Month. With the National Institute on Drug Abuse stating that marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug in America just a little over a year ago, the present is a great time to learn the facts about the drug and how it can affect an individual. Marijuana is known by a wide variety of street names, for example, pot, weed, Mary Jane, and ganja. Produced from dried leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the cannabis plant, marijuana contains THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a chemical that produces mind-altering effects. The drug can be smoked in a cigarette form, more commonly called a joint, inhaled through vaporizers or consumed through a variety of food options. Because of the recent legalization of the drug in many states across the U.S., it is important to understand how this drug can affect its users and highlights the need for a month long awareness campaign.
White Sands Treatment Center’s staff is all for educating people about the effects of marijuana addiction this Marijuana Awareness Month. According to the Department of Medical Health and Addiction Services and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana can have both short and long term effects. Short-term effects include learning and memory problems, distorted perceptions, increased difficulty with problem solving and thinking, poor coordination, anxiety, panic attacks and increased heart rate. When discussing long-term effects of the drug, it is important to keep in mind that the effects of marijuana have greater impacts on those who started using the drug at a young age, as areas in the brain are still developing. Long-term effects can include breathing problems and increase in severity of mental problems such as depression, hallucinations, paranoia, and worsening of symptoms in schizophrenia patients. Also keep in mind that a marijuana smoker’s tar inhalation levels and his or her levels of carbon monoxide absorption are typically 3 to 5 times greater than a tobacco smoker. Marijuana can also cause harm to babies born to users of the drug, with effects including altered responses to visual stimuli, neurological development issues and memory problems. Last, studies focusing on college students and heavy marijuana usage showed users had more difficulty paying attention and made more errors in testing and processing information.
Although legal in numerous states, it is important to understand that marijuana can be abused just like any other drug. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 20 million teens and adults report using marijuana in the past 30 days. In addition, 4.2million people ages 12 and above meet the criteria for substance use disorder based on their marijuana usage. Abuse symptoms include a decrease in functioning due to marijuana usage, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, anger and other withdrawal symptoms.
At White Sands Treatment Center, we offer a variety of treatment and rehabilitation programs geared around marijuana abuse and addiction. Our licensed physicians and counselors offer options to treat the mind, body and spirit of the individual with a substance abuse problem. Our holistic programs include group and one-on-one counseling as well as alternative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, art therapy and more.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.