During the process of creating High Cookery, my cannabis intake grew immensely. Add to that the fact that I was leisurely traveling the world for a year with my family and you might see why it took me a while to realize my use has transformed into abuse.
Don’t get me wrong I am still a fan of Marijuana. I feel my engagement with this magical plant is far from over and am truly grateful for the precious moments of calm relaxation and insightful journeys. However, I realized that, for me, to continue enjoying this vice, its consumption must be managed by me (as opposed to me managed by it).
My mode of operation typically involves a lot of data and so I began tackling this issue by researching Marijuana addiction. I realized that I first needed to challenge the belief I held by which Marijuana is simply not addictive. While this statement has some frail merit to it, seeing Marijuana is far from having the psychological and physiological grasps of substances like Opiates, Nicotine or even alcohol. However, make no mistake, it can definitely bring undesired dependencies and even result in addiction.
Marijuana use can lead to the development of, what’s called, Marijuana Use Disorder. 3 out of 10 US users, according to a 2015 research will experience some degree of misuse. The prevalence of this misuse, by the way, is four to six times higher for users who entered the habit before they turned 18.
The more I got to reading the more I recognized I definitely belong to this unfortunate group of individuals. The role cannabis took in my life grew bigger and bigger. I found social interactions and even familial interactions to be much more manageable when cannabis was involved; I started consuming at continuously earlier times of the day; and finally, I turned to cannabis for any distress. Eventually, I found it harder to deal with distress without the drug. Furthermore, I started resenting my habitual use as I was eating too much, my ambition was hurting, and I was very tired. When I told myself I need to cut back I found it extremely hard.
At that point, my internal sirens started howling. As I was deepening my understanding of the potential negative effects of Marijuana abuse, recognition of a probable future started crystalizing before my eyes. It was very evident to me this is a problem that requires not only a quick response but also a very powerful one.
There are several symptoms and factors that come into play. However, it is very important to note that in most cases of abuse (of any substance) there is an innate degree of complacency as people tend to think they got things handled. Separation from this complacent state is imperative to the beginning of a successful detox. If you are abusing Marijuana or you are familiar with anyone whom you suspect is abusing, getting over this state of mind is a necessary condition.
The (almost) exponential increase in the plant potency also contributes a lot to the increase of misuse and tolerance amongst users. A standard strain back in the 90s contained 3.5%-5% THC while today an average joint will have anywhere between 15% to 25%. This definitely makes a huge impact.
Below I list the red flag indicators for Marijuana Use Disorder. They seem extremely straight forward and simple which compels me to emphasize that honest introspection is the most important component of your diagnose. If you have one or more of the below, my personal recommendation is to raise that red flag and consider whether you have a problem that requires swift handling.
To sum up this post, it’s important to note that continuous misuse may lead to addiction. If you’ve experienced addiction in your life you know this is a very undesirable state as you never really get ‘un-addicted’ even if you stop abusing. Marijuana addicts will experience (sometimes severe) withdrawal symptoms when trying to reduce their intake. They might lose control of their abuse and as a result harm their relationships, employment, and social status not to mention spend increasing amounts of money. There is no upside(!) to being addicted and I encourage anyone who is interested in preserving the benefits that come from a tamed use of cannabis to monitor and protect themselves from this unfortunate contingency.