What are the Consequences of Cannabis?

People rarely consider cannabis, or marijuana, to be a drug that requires treatment. However, the disease of addiction is indiscriminate. Although physical dependence does not develop, people can become just as psychologically addicted to cannabis as any other substance. A man or woman who has the disease of addiction can face major consequences and lose their ability to manage their life from abusing any substance, including cannabis.
Although cannabis use has potential health benefits, people with the disease of addiction must remember that they are unable to manage their own lives when using mind or mood-altering chemicals. The belief that cannabis addiction does not exist is a myth; according to the National Institutes of Health, “Marijuana use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, a medical illness in which the person is unable to stop using even though it’s causing health and social problems in their life. Severe substance use disorders are also known as addiction. Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder.” There is also an increase in health consequences as a consequence of increased amounts of THC present in cannabis. THC stands for “tetrahydrocannabinol” and is responsible for the psychoactive effects of the drug. Long-term THC intake can lead to memory problems, trouble thinking clearly, difficulty multitasking, and slower reaction times. Live Science contributor Lauren Cox, in “Marijuana: Effects of Weed on Brain and Body”, explains that long-term cannabis use has consequences similar to other substances: “Long-term marijuana users who try to quit experience cravings, irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite and anxiety — some of the same physical symptoms of those trying to quit other types of drugs or alcohol.” Cannabis is often portrayed as a non-addictive drug with valuable medicinal properties. The fact is, however, that marijuana addiction does exist and can destroy a user’s life just as easily as any other substance. Our problem is not the specific chemical, but the disease of addiction. For this reason, complete abstinence is the only way to attain a happy, joyous, and free life.

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