I cringe upon hearing how some parents, teachers and co-workers “laugh-off” the devastating effects of excessive and addictive marijuana use.
It is a dangerous misconception that marijuana is not addictive. One of the primary reasons for so few marijuana addicts ever receiving treatment for their addiction is because the magnitude of the damage it causes and the drug itself is undermined and misjudged.
*Here, I will briefly outline some of its major harmful effects:
Short term memory loss, is one of the very early effects of marijuana use. As using continues, this progresses to extreme long-term memory loss where abusers of this drug forget extended periods of time within their lives.
Mental fatigue occurs amongst users as a direct result of the rapid degeneration of brain cells that is caused by the use of marijuana.
A noticeable slowing down of response mechanisms also becomes apparent as the healthy human “fight-flight,” reponse is increasingly delayed. Spontaneous or impulsive responses to danger or shock are thus substantially reduced. An overall decrease in mental awareness is the common denominator amongst marijuana users.
” …my everyday life happened in slow motion, but I literally can’t remember a couple of years in my life. Sally Marie Denver, 22 (recovering addict).”
The user of marijuana shows signs of emotional detachment, which for many marijuana addicts, is the aim of using – to escape becoming vulnerable and to avoid feeling emotions at all costs. The most widespread psychological disorder that marijuana produces, is chronic depression and extreme anxiety.
The chemical imbalance caused in the brain by this substance takes years for the body to counteract and recover from. Irritability and frequent mood swings, plague the emotional health of marijuana users, having detrimental and long-lasting effects on the way in which they interact and relate to people.
“I stopped feeling. I stopped crying. I stopped smiling. Everything inside me was numb. I’d laugh about my using but deep inside I was screaming but just couldn’t ask for help. I used until I was numb and when I started to regain my feeling, I used more. Sally Marie Denver, 22 (recovering addict).”
The marijuana addict experiences noticeable physical lethargy and fatigue. Drowsiness often causes a dramatic increase in sleep. Many addicts suffer from heart arythmia which undoubtedly leads to future heart and circulatory problems. Immune depletion occurs, increasing the addict’s susceptibility to disease and illness, which often go undiagnosed because when under the effect of the drug, sickness is very rarely detected.
The visible physical effects include dark rings around the eyes, paleness of skin, dryness of lips and the yellowing of fingers and fingernails due to to the degeneration of natural vitamins in the body.
“My mother said my skin had started turning grey and that my face was becoming gaunt. ‘When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t figure out what she was on about but when I got clean and I saw myself…I was shocked. Sally Marie Denver, 22 (recovering addict).”
Marijuana addicts attempt to avoid difficult emotions, the long term result of which becomes the absolute fear of facing true feelings and internal pain. Relationships with people deteriorate significantly as the addict begins to isolate and conscious attempts to connect with people become unimportant.
The greatest detriment of marijuana is detachment from self. Addicts begin to lose sight of dreams and ambitions and slowly begin to neglect and even forget who they are and that they are valuable, useful members of society.
“I came out of school an A-student with goals and ambitions. I fried my brain cells. I spat on my intellect and blatantly wasted my talents. I laughed about it then, but I cry about it now. Sally Marie Denver, 22 (recovering addict).”
The aforementioned effects of marijuana serve to promote awareness of the severity of marijuana abuse so that marijuana addicts need not suffer in silence and that society can realize the seriousness of this problem. It’s important to educate people on how to quit using marijuana. Ignorance is a serial killer.
* Please note that the aforementioned effects as seen above are sourced from my own personal experience as a recovering addict and are therefore rooted in the honest personal account rather than professional/medical fact.