Category Archives: Marijuana

Beginners Guide to Understanding Why You’re An Addict

Finding out about a loved one’s addiction can be challenging. Parent’s often ask themselves where they went wrong, why their child or children made the choices that led to their addiction, and why their child is addicted. Addiction is not solely the result of non-adaptive decisions. Instead, it is often the result of genetics, psychological problems, trauma, and one’s social environment.

Genetics & Social Environment

Addiction is partly genetic. There is no single gene associated with addiction. For example, many twin studies have demonstrated that children of alcoholics are at least four times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than their peers. There are multiple genes that can influence an individual’s likelihood to develop an addiction. Some genes influence impulse control or decrease the likelihood of individual’s disengaging in substance use. Other genes influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Although genes cannot be changed, families with histories of addictions can work proactively to educate their children, adolescents, and adult children about the genetic risks for developing addictive behaviors. This can include helping your loved one make positive social connections in their community.

Psychological Problems & Trauma

Addiction rarely presents as a single issue. Instead, many individuals who experience addiction also have depression, significant anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mood disorders. Addiction is often developed as a non-adaptive coping skills in order to manage the symptoms of psychological problems. This is why individual and group mental health counseling is often a key part of addiction treatment. Mental health counseling can be used during addiction treatment and in recovery to help individual’s learn adaptive coping skills so that they can manage anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders without drugs or alcohol.

Trauma

Trauma, especially childhood trauma, can significantly impact the brain’s development. Chronic stress and fear, which are related to childhood experiences of abuse and neglect,can result in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments. Two thirds of addicts have experienced physical or sexual trauma during childhood. You cannot always control your child’s experiences. However, knowledge about trauma can help inform addiction treatment. There are a variety of trauma-focused therapeutic approaches which can help your adult child address his or her traumatic experiences and learn alternative coping skills.

Genetics cannot be changed. However, addiction can be conquered by addressing your loved one’s social environment, underlying psychological issues, and past traumas.

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Connection Between Opioids and Marijuana Use Among Teens

prescription painkillersResearchers may have found evidence that prescription painkiller use is linked to early marijuana use. This information comes at a time when multiple states are in the process of legalizing marijuana, or considering putting the issue on the ballot for a future election. And while no state is looking to make marijuana legal for adolescents, it would seem that legalizing marijuana would make it easier for teenagers to obtain the drug, as has been demonstrated in the rising numbers in Colorado.

In a recent survey, 11,000 children and teenagers were asked a series of questions related to their drug and alcohol use. Included in these questions was whether they had used prescription opioids in the past 30 days and if they had ever used marijuana. After the data was collected, it was discovered that out of 11,000 participants, 524 had used prescription painkiller in the last month. Of those 524 children and teenagers, 80% had also used marijuana.

While this certainly does not mean that if you use marijuana you will definitely use painkillers, it does a show a link when it comes to drug experimentation (i.e. gateway drugs) and poly-drug use. There was also a correlation with alcohol and tobacco use, indicating that these substances that are becoming increasingly available to young people are contributing to further drug use.

On a policy level, our nation is continuing to send mixed messages to America’s youth. For a long time marijuana and cocaine were major focuses of prevention efforts, yet prescription drug and synthetic drug use has surged. Now we’re working to keep kids away from prescription drug abuse but telling them that smoking weed is okay when you’re old enough.

All of this seems to be missing the point of teaching kids and adults how to live without seeking out drugs for external stimulation. Without it, the patterns will continue to repeat, even though the types of drugs may change over time.

Drug Combinations Continue To Increase Risks of Use

marijuana and alcoholA new study based off of analysis of Washington residents shows that people who use marijuana and alcohol together are at a higher risk of engaging in dangerous activities. Additionally, these people are more likely than others who only smoke marijuana or only drink alcohol to engage in behavior that they later regret. Researchers are publishing these results in an attempt to educate adults on the dangers of mixing substances.

Two years after marijuana was legalized in Washington, researchers began collecting data related to marijuana use. Among the questions they were looking to answer, was how many people used marijuana while also consuming alcohol. Prior to the passing of recreational marijuana use for adults over 21, some people worried that legalization would increase the likelihood of drug mixing. So, researchers included this question in the survey they sent around to Washington residents.

The survey included 24,000 people in the state who reported drinking alcohol in the past year. Of those, 18% admitted to usually consuming alcohol and marijuana together. A closer look at that group showed that these people tended to drink more frequently and in greater amounts than those that consumed alcohol without marijuana. Researchers were able to further conclude that this group of people were four times more likely to have health issues related to the mixing of the two substances, 6.5 times more likely to drive under the influence and 6.5% more likely to have financial problems.

“People who use both [marijuana and alcohol] should probably use them separately,” cautioned Meenaksi Subbaraman, researcher and biostatistician at the Alcohol Research Group. This simple statement regarding her team’s research may be exactly what some residents need to hear. Instead of arguing belief systems or what should or shouldn’t be allowed by law, Subbaraman cautions mixing substances. We of course feel that people should abstain from both substances. Thankfully, marijuana is still illegal in Florida, but we see clients from all over the country.

Mixing any sort of drug with other drugs or alcohol increases the potential danger to the user exponentially. Now that marijuana has become legal in a few more states, it is increasingly important to remind people of the additional dangers associated with using both alcohol and marijuana.

If you have a loved one with a substance abuse problem, contact us today for more information about our programs and how we can help.

Drugs and Politics – Do They Mix?

drug policyFresh off the completion of the national conventions held for both of the major political parties in the United States, among all of the chaos and rhetoric of conflicting party politics, were groups trying to gain legislative support for their causes. Interestingly, these included both an addiction caucus as well as the pro-marijuana movement.

The non-profit organization called Facing Addiction sponsored wellness rooms at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, indicating that treating and preventing addiction is one of the few common goals of the parties. This past week in Philadelphia, Facing Addiction co-founder Jim Hood told a crowd of supporters, “My oldest boy started drinking at 14, marijuana at 15 and pills at 16. It went on many years. When he had a fatal overdose before he turned 21, it was soul-crushing. I said, ‘Why the hell was it so hard to get trusted help for somebody who’s sick?'”

Meanwhile, despite marijuana being part of the problem when it comes to developing substance abuse issues in teens and young adults, the pro-pot movement also made its presence known. Led by groups such as the Marijuana Policy Project, these cannabis activists are pushing on two issues, revenue through taxation and personal choice of a substance that is arguably less harmful than others. However, despite the fact that these activists can lobby legislators with the dollar signs of a growing multi-billion-dollar industry, the bigger picture of the damage caused to youth is often ignored.

Such is the landscape of the drug and alcohol industry and the addiction treatment and prevention field – opposing views that cannot function without the other. If nothing else, these signs are a clear indication that the subject of drugs and addiction must be part of today’s political landscape.

In the treatment and recovery field, we certainly hope that more legislators focus on how to help prevent substance abuse and provide help for those who get caught in the trap of addiction. The more funding for research and rehabilitation the more we can cut down the demand for such substances, and the less the legal and illicit drug trade will continue to profit off the downfall of others.

Dabbing: Marijuana Concentrate Use on the Rise

marijuana concentrateAlong with the disturbing trend of marijuana legalization in some parts of the country, additional subsets of that drug culture continue to unfold as well. Among the more dangerous are the marijuana edibles (candy, baked goods) and the marijuana concentrates, often called budder, wax, shatter or honey.

Dabbing is the slang for using these marijuana concentrates, which come in the form of a brownish-yellow wax-like substance. The drug is very potent, sometimes producing a THC content of 80 percent. It is this potency that has many people spooked, as it can cause users to lose consciousness, hallucinate and have rapid heart rate, among other effects. The high is so intense that even many marijuana advocates warn against its use.

According to a recent statement given to the New York Times, DEA Special Agent James Hunt said, “We monitor any type of new twist on drug use in order to warn the public of its danger. Not only is the method of production explosive, but the use has serious physical and psychological side effects.”

The method of production he was referring to typically involves the use of butane, which is a highly flammable substance used in some lighters, which is then poured on marijuana to extract the THC. The liquid is then dried out and a waxy substance is left.

This form of extracting and using the hash oil is raising concerns in many ways. One highly disturbing indicator of the trend is the increased number of emergency calls and hospital admissions resulting from people dabbing and having psychotic episodes.