Marijuana can create a high due to the psychoactive ingredients present in the drug. It has addictive potential for people who use it frequently. Learn more about how a high from marijuana is produced in the body and how it affects people over time.


Psychoactive Ingredients

Dried leaves, flowers, stems and seeds come from the hemp plant “Cannabis Sativa,” which contains psychoactive chemicals (THC) and other compounds. Marijuana can also impact the nervous system when THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream.


Impact on Central Nervous System and Body

THC can move rapidly through the bloodstream to the brain and other organs in the body. It may take only a moment or two for effects to be felt once marijuana is smoked. The cannabinoid receptors are targeted by THC which are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC naturally occurring in the body as part of a neural communication network. The following effects may be noticed upon smoking marijuana:

  • Altered perception of time
  • Decreased inhibition
  • Heightened sensory perception
  • Increased appetite
  • Laughter

Approximately 4-6 hours after smoking or oral ingestion, the euphoric effects subside and an individual may feel sleepy or depressed. Marijuana use may produce feelings of anxiety, distrust or panic in certain individuals.


Getting High

Some people do not feel the effects of marijuana which produce euphoria. Feelings of relaxation may be more prominent which depends on what is smoked, dosage and other individual factors such as body composition. More severe side effects with adverse consequences typically occur when a more potent strain of marijuana is used.


How Addiction Happens

Marijuana is highly addictive. Some research suggests about 9-10% of people who use marijuana become addicted. The number increases among those who start young (under age 18) and among daily users, which makes up approximately 25-50% of individuals. Physical and psychological dependence are possible when marijuana is used for awhile. People who use marijuana on a daily basis are more susceptible to dependence and addiction or those who began as teenagers.


Signs of Addiction

Noticing the symptoms of addiction is the first way to know whether marijuana use has grown into addiction. When a person smokes marijuana, it may be only a few puffs to feel the effects which lead to a desire to use more until it becomes difficult to stop. Some of the signs of addiction may include:

  • Tolerance or the need for more to feel the same desired effects over time
  • Withdrawal symptoms begin when marijuana is not used (insomnia, anxiety, loss of appetite)
  • Use of marijuana to cope with psycho-emotional issues or escape from reality
  • Inability to quit using despite attempts to do so
  • Affects other areas of life including work, relationships, etc.

Drugs should never be used as an escape from reality or to cover up what is happening. New coping mechanisms can help people live a productive, drug-free life. There is help available for individuals who believe dependence or addiction has begun.

Hired Power supports individuals and families dealing with marijuana or other addictions. Recovery is possible with the right tools and resources. Call us to find out how to get started.