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Marijuana Overview

Marijuana is a green, brown or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Marijuana is used as a psychoactive (i.e. mind altering) recreational drug, for certain medical ailments and for religious and spiritual purposes. Sinsemilla, hash/hashish (resinous form) and hash oil (sticky black liquid) are stronger forms of marijuana. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). It is a psychoactive ingredient. The highest concentrations of THC are found in the leaves and flowers. When marijuana smoke is inhaled, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream and is carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body. THC from the marijuana acts on specific receptors in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, starting off a chain of cellular reactions that finally lead to the euphoria, or "high" that users experience. Certain areas in the brain, such as the hippocampus, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex, have a higher concentration of cannabinoid receptors. These areas influence memory, concentration, pleasure, coordination, sensory and time perception.Therefore these functions are most adversely affected by marijuana use.

Marijuana Abuse Treatment

Marijuana dependence appears to be very similar to other substance dependence disorders, although the long-term clinical outcomes may be less severe. On average, adults seeking treatment for marijuana abuse or dependence have used marijuana nearly every day for more than 10 years and have attempted to quit more than six times. It is important to note that marijuana dependence is most prevalent among patients suffering from other psychiatric disorders, particularly among adolescent and young adult populations. Also, marijuana abuse or dependence typically co-occurs with use of other drugs, such as cocaine and alcohol. Available studies indicate that effectively treating the mental health disorder with standard treatments involving medications and behavioral therapies may help reduce cannabis use, particularly among heavy users and those with more chronic mental disorders. Behavioral treatments, such as motivational enhancement therapy (MET), group or individual cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and contingency management (CM), as well as family-based treatments, have shown promise. Unfortunately, the success rates of treatment are rather modest. Even with the most effective treatment for adults, only about 50 percent of enrollees achieve an initial 2-week period of abstinence, and among those who do, approximately half will resume use within a year. Across studies, 1-year abstinence rates have ranged between 10 and 30 percent for the various behavioral approaches. As with other addictions, these data suggest that a chronic care model should be considered for marijuana addiction, with treatment intensity stepped up or down based on need, comorbid addictions or other mental disorders, and the availability of family and other supports.

Marijuana Signs of Abuse

There are ways to recognize signs of marijuana abuse. People who smoke marijuana often have the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. They are also at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia. Marijuana contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke. A study from 2009 suggests that regular and long-term use of marijuana may increase the risk for testicular cancer. When people smoke marijuana for years they can suffer negative consequences. For example, because marijuana affects brain function, the ability to do complex tasks could be compromised, as well as the pursuit of academic, athletic, or other life goals that require you to be 100 percent focused and alert. Long-term abuse of marijuana may lead to addiction. Marijuana also may affect mental health. Studies show that early use may increase the risk of developing psychosis (a severe mental disorder in which there is a loss of contact with reality) including false ideas about what is happening (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations), particularly if you carry a genetic vulnerability to the disease. Also, rates of marijuana use are often higher in people with symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Side effects of marijuana use will be variable from person to person, depending upon strength and amount of marijuana used and if the user is occasionally or chronically exposed to THC. The short-term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch); difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination and motor skills; increased heart rate, anxiety, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth. Reaction time may be impaired while driving. Panic attacks, paranoia and psychosis may occur acutely and be more common in psychiatric patients.10. For chronic users, the impact on memory and learning can last for days or weeks after its acute effects wear off.1 Marijuana may be cut on the street with more dangerous substances that may lead to more serious side effects. THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. In heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. Behavioral interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational incentives (i.e., providing vouchers for goods or services to patients who remain abstinent) have proven to be effective in treating marijuana addiction. Although no medications are currently available, recent discoveries about the workings of the endocannabinoid system offer promise for the development of medications to ease withdrawal, block the intoxicating effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

Marijuana Abuse Statistics

In 2012, marijuana was noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as being the most widely used illicit drug in the U.S. Globally, between 129 and 191 million people aged 15 to 64 used marijuana at least one time in 2008, or 2.9 to 3.4 percent of the world's population. In North America, 29.5 million people used marijuana at least once in 2008. Data indicate that in 2008 marijuana was responsible for about 17 percent (322,000) of all admissions to treatment facilities in the United States. Only opiates have a higher admission rate among abused substances. Marijuana admissions were primarily male (74 percent), white (49 percent), and young (30 percent were in the 12-17 age range). Starting marijuana by age 14 was a common factor among 56 percent of those admitted for treatment. According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2.6 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana for the first time in the 12 months prior to being surveyed (roughly 7,200 new users per day), which is similar to the 2009-2010 rate (2.4 million each), but higher than the estimates in 2002 through 2008. Close to 58 percent of the 2.4 million recent marijuana users were younger than age 18 when they first used. Among all youths aged 12 to 17, an estimated 5.5 percent had used marijuana for the first time within the past year, which was similar to the rate in 2010 (5.2 percent).

The 2012 Monitoring the Future survey indicates that marijuana use among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, which had shown a consistent rise over 2010 and 2011, leveled off in 2012. Daily marijuana use increased significantly in all three grades in 2010, 1.2%, 3.3.% and 6.1% in grades 8, 10 and 12, which computes to roughly one out of every 16 high school seniors who smoke marijuana daily.7 These trends increased slightly in the higher grades in 2012, with 1.1%, 3.5%, and 6.5% in grades 8, 10, and 12 using marijuana daily.

Perceived risk and individual disapproval of marijuana is a leading indicator of marijuana use among teens in the U.S. In all grades in 2012, those who perceived smoking marijuana as harmful and the proportion who disapprove of the drug’s use have slightly declined, suggesting use may increase in upcoming years. In 2012, 37% of 8th graders, 69% of 10th graders, and 82% of 12th graders reported marijuana as being fairly or very easy to get. It thus seems clear that marijuana has remained highly accessible to the older teens.

References
http://www.drugabuse.gov
http://www.fda.gov/Drugs
http://www.usa.gov/
http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/factsheets.shtml
http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov/drugportal/drugportal.jsp

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Clients being treated in our residential program reside with us for the specific amount of days established in their individualized addiction treatment program.

Our treatment model is rooted in the belief that it is our utmost responsibility to do whatever we can to prepare our clients for life outside of treatment.

In addition to our traditional therapeutic treatments we offer holistic and alternative therapies such as: yoga, chiropractic care, medical massage, personal training and art therapy.