Marijuana is Addictive: Don’t Be Fooled About “California Sober”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, with all of your devices turned off, you probably heard about singer Demi Lovato’s claim that she is “California sober.” In her depiction of this new term, she can use alcohol and drugs “socially” without falling into her former addiction to opioids or other drugs. (Deconstructing her life and her belief in this lifestyle can be a whole other article.)
One belief Lovato seems to have is the idea that marijuana (and alcohol) are just fine to use recreationally and no danger to sobriety. It’s simply not true; both alcohol and marijuana are addictive on their own, even if they never lead the user to opioids or “harder” drugs.
Weed’s Reputation Muddied Truths
Marijuana has always had a lot of stigma attached to it, which has helped muddy the water when truth and fiction about this popular drug. The “drug wars” of the past 30 years often treated marijuana possession harshly. Many police crackdowns on marijuana dealing and use heavily targeted Black Americans, leading to mass incarceration and further societal problems.
Meanwhile, nobody stopped using marijuana, and it eventually was decriminalized and legalized for recreational use, at least in many states like California.
Propaganda often gets in the way of prevention and education when it comes to drug use. Myths and misconceptions about the nature of marijuana use also have helped hide any truths about its harm. For example, for many people, marijuana is a “gateway drug” – often the first drug they try before moving onto their drug of choice. However, it’s not addictive in the same intensity as heroin or cocaine. Yet, it still can take a tremendous toll on your quality of life.
Now vs. Then: Marijuana Potency
Marijuana addiction is common, but there haven’t been a lot of studies on it. The active component of marijuana that gets people high, THC, has increased exponentially since the 1960s. In the ’60s and 70’s THC levels in weed were typically under 10%. Today, some marijuana products at dispensaries boast up to 70% THC levels.
No one quite knows the long-term effects of using such potent weed. However, anecdotally, many chronic marijuana users who try to quit have documented headaches, nausea, and cravings sometimes for weeks after they quit using. Many chronic marijuana users have trouble stopping despite the negative consequences of continued use.
A person who uses marijuana is not automatically addicted to it. Indeed, its draw is primarily psychological instead of physical addiction. Many people try marijuana and use it casually, walking away from it quickly after a phase in life. Some people move on to “harder drugs,” but they are not the majority.
Being addicted to marijuana on its own is possible. Some people who use marijuana lose interest in almost everything except getting high. Like other addicted people, they may suffer job loss, financial woes, relationship problems, and trouble with the law. And, when addicted, they may need help to quit.
And yes, a person who uses other drugs is much more likely to relapse onto their drug of choice. Marijuana, after all, is a drug.
If you choose to use it, you will probably find it is more trouble than it is worth; there are better choices for you when you stay sober.
Consider Sober Living
Sober living is an excellent way for a person to continue their recovery journey in a safe home-away-from-home. You’ll make friends and grow in your recovery along the way. Do you want to learn more about your choices? Get in touch at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.
Synthetic marijuana, also called “fake pot” K2, and Spice, are drugs that have become popular in the US. In the past few years, they have also increased in danger. Sold online, at shady gas stations and by drug dealers, the drugs are cheap, with some variations costing less than $5 a bag.
Synthetic drugs like K2 are always a danger to public health, especially in depressed areas. Law enforcement struggles when it comes to enforcing the laws. One drug is outlawed and another one emerges on the market with a few different ingredients.
There is no one formulation of the drug, and recent formulations in places like Washington DC have left people convulsing or left with bleeding organs, a side effect of being laced with Warfarin. The drugs themselves give an intense high that causes hallucinations, self-harm and racing heartbeats. Sometimes users pass out or mumble incoherently, unable to help paramedics who are trying to save their lives.
Is it Legal?
In most states and cities across the country, synthetic mairjuana is banned by law. The problem is that the manufacturers of the substances often change the formula to stay one step ahead of the law. So K2 and Spice may be illegal in your city, but newer versions with different names might be considered legal.
Who Uses Synthetic Weed?
Synthetic marijuana is used by people who might get drug tested but they still want to get high. Naturally, it’s favored by people on probation to avoid failing drug tests. Teens also experiment with it for this reason. Drug dealers also target the most vulnerable, such as the poor and homeless. The low prices are attractive and many users mistakenly believe they’ll react to it the same way the same way they do with marijuana in plant form. Synthetic marijuana, however, has dozens of chemicals in it. It’s known to be as much as two hundreds times as strong as the marijuana plant.
Synthetic weed has begun to cause problems in areas of cities that are low income or close to homeless shelters. Prisons now catch inmates with the drug or learn about its use because a bad batch causes overdoses in prison.
Talk to Family About Fake Pot
If you have teens or loved ones you suspect abuse substances, talk to them about the dangers of K2 and Spice. The “high” isn’t worth the danger to life.
Synthetic Marijuana is Addictive
People who use synthetic marijuana regularly sometimes can’t stop using on their own. Just like other synthetic drugs, K2, Spice and other formulations can be highly addictive. The good news is that there’s help available if you want it.
Learn more about sober living options by calling us at 760-216-2077.
With drinking on the rise and affecting over 33 million people in the United States, efforts to provide alternatives to punitive corrections such as sober living and/or treatment has its own barriers. Society wants them to get help, but not close to them. Alcohol and drug free homes are opening up to attend the demand, but what are the standards and protocols? Is a sober house just any house with agreed rules or should overseeing bodies have close monitoring? Do cities work with these overseeing bodies and how can users and the community have feedback? Research has found that housing for alcohol and drug addiction recovery does in fact reduce crime and impact the overall ambience of a community. The effort lies in communicating these results to society and agreeing on best practices of these residences to have more outcomes rather than dark stories that can pull strong efforts to change the way we view substance use disorders.
Colombia, a world known drug capital, now seeks to decriminalize marijuana in an effort to change the way their population confronts use and its legal implications. It seems that the 'war' against drugs seems to be a fight against a larger giant, and as we move from decriminalization to attending the underlying factors of use, abuse, addiction and illegal and informal economies, time will show us these new trends in approaching our legal systems and how they interact in our world. Although having 'up to 20 plants per household' seems a little outlandish, I guess you have to start somewhere. A very brave step towards change yet research and statistics will prevail. It will be interesting to see the societal impacts and overall interaction with borders and trade.