Many people go to therapy wondering if they have an unhealthy relationship with marijuana. They ask questions like:
“On the days I don’t smoke, I feel anxious and disconnected from my friends and family. Does marijuana have something to do with this?”“I no longer enjoy the taste of food unless I am high. Why is this happening to me?”“I’m starting to spend more time and money on marijuana than I am comfortable with. How can I dial it down?”“I used to get high because it made me more creative. Lately, every time I get high, I just feel lethargic and unmotivated to create anything. How do I get my drive back?”“I can’t seem to fall asleep unless I’m high. Is there anything wrong with smoking or taking an edible before I go to sleep?”
As of today, 19 U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana and as many as half of all young adults in the country have used cannabis. With the stigma around recreational use crumbling, it’s important to talk about the mental-health consequences of marijuana use.
The main psychoactive cannabinoids found in marijuana, THC and CBD, are intoxicants. These compounds interact with your brain and body chemistry in complex ways to induce feelings of pleasure, relief, and well-being. Along with its positive effects, marijuana can also stir up negative feelings like anxiety and paranoia.
Moderation is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship with marijuana. Consider these 3 false but widely-held myths you need to stop believing to have a healthy relationship with marijuana.
1. "Marijuana is not harmful to your mental health."
The science is conclusive: The THC concentration in marijuana is on the rise. A recent study published in The Lancet found that this increase in potency brings a slew of serious mental health risks for marijuana users. The study revealed that high-potency cannabis use was associated with a fourfold increase in the likelihood of addiction when compared to low-potency cannabis use. The research is in line with real-world trends in cannabis addiction treatment, which, in the past decade, has seen a 76% increase. According to CDC estimates, around 30% of all marijuana users in the U.S. meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder.
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In addition, those who use high-potency cannabis were found to be at higher risk for developing cannabis-induced psychosis, a serious mental health condition characterized by hallucinations and delusions.