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Article Summary

The Negative Psychological Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana is one of the most popular recreational drugs. It is widely used by a lot of different people. Part of the drug's appeal is its reputation for being relatively safe. Unfortunately, despite this reputation, marijuana use is associated with a number of negative psychological effects.

Paranoia and Marijuana Use

While many people are still not aware of the connection between paranoia and marijuana use, public educators are increasing their efforts to educate the public about how marijuana use can induce paranoia.

In a small percentage of marijuana users, marijuana use results in episodes of extreme paranoia. People with a family history of schizophrenia are especially likely to develop paranoid feelings after marijuana use. In fact, some health experts believe that marijuana use alone may be enough to trigger schizophrenic episodes in sensitive individuals.

Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness. Schizophrenics are rarely able to function well in daily life. Any drug that has the potential to exacerbate schizophrenic symptoms needs to be avoided at all costs.

Of course, some marijuana abusers never develop problems with paranoia. But this does not mean that most people do not have to worry about the connection between paranoia and marijuana use. There are always a few people who are able to use illicit substances without developing any major psychological problems.

Marijuana Use and Depression

In addition to inducing paranoia, heavy marijuana use can also trigger depressive episodes. While not regarded as severe a mental illness as schizophrenia, unipolar depression is a serious mental illness that needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Sufferers sometimes attempt to commit suicide in order to alleviate their feelings of depression.

No one quite understands why marijuana appears to trigger depression in some individuals. It could be that heavy marijuana use causes the brain to produce less of some neurochemicals that are essential for healthy mental functioning.

Marijuana users that become deeply depressed as a result of their marijuana abuse are advised to stop using marijuana and to seek the help of a licensed mental health professional. Depressed marijuana users often need the help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist in order to feel better.

Sometimes they may need to take appropriate medication. Antidepressant medication is often very helpful. The right antidepressant can make a big difference.

Anxiety and Marijuana Abuse

It is ironic that one of the side effects of heavy marijuana use is increased anxiety because the primary reason a lot of people abuse marijuana is the fact that the drug decreases anxiety in the short term. While not everyone who abuses marijuana develops problems with anxiety, enough of them do that it is a significant problem for a lot of abusers.

Marijuana related anxiety can develop gradually or suddenly in marijuana abusers. The ultimate cure for it is to discontinue all marijuana use. Since many marijuana abusers are not willing to relinquish their drug use, they suffer marijuana related anxiety problems for years.

Memory and Marijuana Abuse

Short term memory is negatively impacted by marijuana abuse. Fortunately, this effect tends to be transient. After the drug has left their system, abusers usually recover most or all of their short term memory functioning relatively quickly.

While there have been concerns that marijuana has a negative impact on long term memory, there is no conclusive research that indicates that marijuana use has a permanent negative effect on long term memory functioning. Plenty of recreational drugs do have permanent negative effects on long term memory when abused (alcohol is one of them), but marijuana abusers appear to recover their short term memory functioning after they stop abusing the drug.

Recovering from Marijuana Abuse

Recovering from marijuana abuse really is possible. Abusers that stop using the drug have the potential to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, the ready availability of marijuana often undermines efforts to quit using it. Marijuana is embedded in popular culture and many people's lives much more than a lot of other recreational drugs. The fact that it is socially acceptable (if not legal) to use marijuana in a lot of places makes it difficult for abusers to recognize how destructive their addiction is and stop using the drug. Fortunately, as more people start to understand the negative effects of marijuana abuse, more abusers are starting to quit.

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