Dr. Mark Agresti discusses the hidden dangers of marijuana use.
Dr. Mark Agresti, West Palm Beach Drug & Alcohol Detox Specialist, Psychiatrist
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Marijuana has been used by so many people and is so immersed in our culture that people don’t respect it dangers. Working with adolescents with mental illness, marijuana is the biggest problem, I face as a psychiatrist.
Every adolescent tells me the same thing: “It’s natural”, “They are going to make it legal”, “Marijuana helps me sleep”, “Marijuana relaxes me”, Marijuana is harmless”, “Nobody gets in trouble on marijuana”, “It’s not as bad as alcohol” and “Nothing is fun without marijuana”.
Then there is always the arguments what it’s not: “Marijuana is not addicting”, “People can stop anytime they want”, “Marijuana doesn’t make you violent or aggressive”, “You cant over dose on marijuana”, “You can smoke all the marijuana you want and nothing happens”, “Nobody steals to get a marijuana fix”, “Marijuana is not a hard drug”, and “No one gets rushed to the hospital because they used marijuana”.
Groups of people are organized around using marijuana. The glue that holds these people together is smoking marijuana and listening to musical groups like Dave Matthews, Phish and Grateful Dead. Those things are maybe true but that’s not the whole truth. Marijuana is subtle and effective in addicting people. The addiction is psychological in nature but powerful. Marijuana users usually become regular users. People tell me, “I use once a week, maybe every ten days.” That means you have marijuana in your blood stream most of the time. Marijuana may take 7-10 days to leave the body. Chronic smokers may have marijuana in their system for up to six week, so even infrequent use results in marijuana/THC in your system all the time. (more…)Learn More
Initially coming off opiates involves acute detox. That involves anxiety, abdominal cramping, goose flesh, leg jerking, yawning, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache and acute distress. These pains end in five days. After the detox ends, the real problems begin. Individuals begin to experience intense craving for the opiate. They become anxious, depressed and lethargic. They have no energy and have trouble functioning. Problems with sleep develop. People describe feelings; they don’t know who they are or what their purpose in life is. They have problems interacting with others because they are not sure how to act. There’s the feeling of loss. Almost as if they are mourning the loss of a lover. The loss of what they see as an exciting life and living outside the rules. It’s very difficult for these individuals to be integrated back into society and live normal lives. They always feel different. Also in the addict mind is a grandiose sense they are better and superior. This interferes with them finding jobs and forming relationships with others. Commonly individuals who stop opiates relapse, use marijuana or alcohol. Involve themselves in toxic relationships. Some develop gambling behaviors or inappropriate sexual activities. They continue to look for the high.
Opiate addicts must make an initial step and say to themselves they no longer want to alter their mental state. Decide the addict personality must go and a new one must be created. Psychotherapy may be helpful. Problems with depression, anxiety, insomnia, lethargy and drug cravings can be helped with non-addicting medication from a psychiatrist.
Forget one thing nicotine is usually what kills these people because they smoke too much.Learn More