I Loved Getting High – Why Did I Change?

Unveiling the reasons behind personal transformation. Explore the emotional impact of cannabis and navigate the journey of change.

By
Leora BH Staff
April 9, 2024

Understanding Cannabis Use

Cannabis is a plant that is known for its psychoactive properties, and its use has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Understanding the effects and risks associated with cannabis use is essential for individuals to make informed decisions.

Effects of Cannabis Overconsumption

Overconsumption of cannabis can result in uncomfortable symptoms such as sleepiness, confusion, disorientation, clumsiness, fainting, dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, panic attacks, paranoia, and seizures. Although not fatal, cannabis overdose is possible, contrary to popular belief. Immediate medical attention is necessary for symptoms such as chest pain, panic attacks, or seizures. For less severe symptoms, individuals are advised to contact poison control or health services for 24-hour advice.

Risks of Cannabis Edibles

Edibles, which are cannabis-infused food products, pose a higher risk of overdose compared to other forms of cannabis consumption. This is primarily due to the delayed onset of effects, leading individuals to consume more, thinking the initial dose was insufficient. It is advised to start with lower doses, wait between consumption, and avoid taking a second serving of edibles for at least four hours to prevent overconsumption.

When using cannabis, it's important to be aware of the potential risks and effects. The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, stimulates the brain's pleasure center, releasing dopamine and creating a euphoric, relaxed feeling. The effects can be felt within seconds or minutes if smoked or vaped, with peak THC levels reached in about 30 minutes and lasting effects for 1-3 hours. However, when marijuana is ingested through food or drink, it can take many hours for the effects to fully diminish.

Research indicates that early and frequent marijuana use, especially in young males aged 16 to 25, can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia or other mental conditions involving psychosis. Once schizophrenia has developed, stopping marijuana use does not alleviate the symptoms. Additionally, marijuana use may lead to cannabis use disorder, with about 1 in 10 users becoming addicted. The risk of addiction is higher when use starts at a younger age and with heavier use.

Furthermore, heavy marijuana use, particularly starting in the teen years, may have lasting effects on brain development, impacting areas that control alertness, learning, and memory. Some individuals may experience lower IQ scores and fewer brain connections in these areas. Marijuana use can also have implications during surgery, affecting anesthesia effectiveness and potentially leading to complications such as regurgitation of stomach contents, increased pain post-surgery, and respiratory issues.

Understanding the effects and risks associated with cannabis use is crucial for individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. It is important to consider personal experiences, the potential emotional impact, and the potential risks of cannabis use in order to determine the best course of action.

Habit Formation and Change

Understanding the process of habit formation and change is essential when seeking to make positive transformations in our lives. This section explores the neurological patterns of habits, the importance of anticipating pitfalls in habit change, and the role of technology in habit formation.

Neurological Patterns of Habits

Habits form when new behaviors become automatic and are enacted with minimum conscious awareness. Our brains have a remarkable ability to create neural pathways that solidify these behavioral patterns over time.

The neurological pattern of habits typically involves three steps: cue, routine, and reward. The cue serves as a trigger that prompts the brain to go into automatic mode. The routine is the behavior itself, and the reward helps the brain determine if the habit is worth remembering. This three-step loop reinforces the habit and makes it more likely to be repeated [3].

Repetition is key in habit formation. When we consistently repeat a new habit, the brain starts expecting the reward and craves the endorphins or sense of accomplishment associated with it. This craving leads to automatic behavior and makes the habit more ingrained in our daily lives.

Anticipating Pitfalls in Habit Change

When embarking on a journey of habit change, it is crucial to anticipate potential pitfalls that may hinder progress. Some common mistakes include attempting to change too many habits at once and neglecting to change the environment to support new behaviors.

To successfully establish and maintain new habits, it is important to create an environment that promotes accountability and healthy behavior patterns. This can be achieved by making small, manageable changes and focusing on one habit at a time. Breaking down larger goals into smaller, actionable steps can also provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation along the way.

Role of Technology in Habit Formation

Technology can play a significant role in habit formation and maintenance. Online calendars, checklists, and habit trackers can be valuable tools for scheduling and tracking habits, breaking down larger projects into manageable tasks, and providing accountability and rewards.

By utilizing technology, individuals can set reminders, establish a visual representation of progress, and receive notifications that help reinforce the desired behavior. These tools can enhance motivation, provide structure, and help individuals stay on track with their habit change journey [3].

Incorporating technology into habit formation can also provide a sense of community and support. Online forums, apps, and social media platforms dedicated to habit change allow individuals to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and seek encouragement and advice.

Understanding the neurological patterns of habits, anticipating potential pitfalls, and leveraging technology as a supportive tool can greatly facilitate the process of habit formation and change. By applying these insights, individuals can increase their chances of successfully transforming their behaviors and embracing positive change in their lives.

Addiction and Recovery

When it comes to substance use, addiction can have a profound impact on an individual's life. Understanding addiction, the brain changes that occur, and the available treatment options are essential for those seeking recovery.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite the harmful consequences it may have on various aspects of a person's life. It often begins with voluntary drug use, but over time, changes in the brain can lead to a loss of control over drug use, making it difficult to quit.

Brain Changes and Tolerance

As a person continues to use drugs, the brain undergoes adaptations, reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to the drug. This results in diminishing the pleasurable effects of the drug, a phenomenon known as tolerance. In other words, the high experienced from the drug becomes less intense compared to the initial use [4]. This tolerance often leads individuals to consume higher doses of the drug in an attempt to achieve the desired effect, increasing the risk of addiction and potential harm.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Despite being aware of the harmful outcomes of long-term drug use, many individuals struggling with addiction find it challenging to quit. However, there is hope for recovery. Treatment options for drug addiction typically involve a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

Research indicates that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy offers the best chance of success for most individuals in managing addiction. Medications can help reduce cravings, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and restore normal brain function. Behavioral therapies, on the other hand, can help individuals modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use, develop coping strategies, and improve their overall mental well-being.

The specific treatment approach may vary depending on the substance being abused, individual needs, and the presence of any co-occurring mental health disorders. It is crucial for individuals seeking recovery to consult with healthcare professionals or addiction specialists who can provide personalized guidance and support.

Recovery from drug addiction is a journey that requires ongoing commitment and support. While relapse remains a risk for years, or even a lifetime, effective treatment and support systems can significantly improve an individual's chances of maintaining recovery and leading a fulfilling life free from addiction.

Emotional Impact of Cannabis

Cannabis use can have a profound emotional impact on individuals, with experiences ranging from positive to negative. Understanding these emotional effects is crucial for those considering a change in their relationship with cannabis. In this section, we will explore personal experiences with cannabis, relationship analogies, and the effects of cannabis on feelings and relationships.

Personal Experiences with Cannabis

Personal experiences with cannabis can vary greatly from person to person. Some individuals may have positive experiences where they feel euphoric, relaxed, and experience a sense of escape from reality. During these periods, cannabis may provide a temporary reprieve from stress or boredom. Unfortunately, these positive experiences can sometimes lead to increased tolerance and a decreased ability to experience happiness without cannabis [5].

On the other hand, some individuals may have negative experiences with cannabis, especially during periods of overconsumption or misuse. These experiences can include feelings of paranoia, anxiety, or questioning past decisions and trust in others. Recognizing the negative impact, individuals may decide to end their relationship with cannabis.

Relationship Analogies with Cannabis

Analogizing the relationship with cannabis to different types of relationships can provide insights into the emotional impact. Some individuals describe their past relationships with cannabis as shallow, abusive, or loving.

During periods where the relationship with cannabis is characterized as shallow, individuals may rely on it as a means of escape and experience euphoria. However, over time, this shallow relationship can lead to tolerance and dissatisfaction when not using cannabis frequently.

In abusive relationships with cannabis, individuals may feel paranoid, experience self-doubt, and question their trust in themselves and others. Recognizing the detrimental effects, individuals may make the decision to end this toxic relationship.

In periods characterized by a loving relationship with cannabis, individuals have deep introspection, connect with their feelings, and process fears and traumas with the help of their unconscious mind. This loving relationship allows for personal growth, improved relationships with oneself and others, and a sense of trust in finding positive solutions.

Effects on Feelings and Relationships

The effects of cannabis on feelings and relationships can be complex and subjective. Cannabis use can alter brain chemistry, sensory processing, emotional states, and physical reactions. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience fluctuations in emotions while under the influence of cannabis, leading to varying perceptions of love, relationships, and connection Quora.

It is important to note that feelings, in general, can be fickle and influenced by many factors. The chemical effects of cannabis can further add to the variability of emotions experienced. For individuals in loving and healthy relationships, cannabis use may sometimes lead to feelings of disconnection or a lack of love Quora. It is important to be mindful of these fluctuations and consider how cannabis use may impact personal relationships.

Understanding the emotional impact of cannabis is an essential part of the decision-making process for individuals looking to change their relationship with it. Personal experiences, relationship analogies, and the effects on feelings and relationships can provide valuable insights. By reflecting on these aspects, individuals can make informed choices that align with their emotional well-being and personal growth.

Quitting Cannabis

Making the decision to quit using cannabis can be a significant step towards personal growth and well-being. Whether driven by personal reasons, health concerns, or a desire for change, quitting cannabis is a journey that requires determination and support. In this section, we will explore the significance of quitting, managing withdrawal symptoms, and avoiding triggers and social situations that may hinder progress.

Significance of Quitting

The significance of quitting cannabis varies from person to person. People smoke cannabis for different reasons, including habit, social pressures, and psychological or physical dependence. Therefore, the decision to quit is a very personal experience, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to reflect on your own motivations and reasons for quitting, which can help reinforce your commitment and provide a sense of purpose throughout the process.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

When quitting cannabis, it's common to experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings as the body adjusts to the absence of THC, the active compound in cannabis. These symptoms are typically a sign that the body is recovering and can include irritability, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and changes in appetite. It's important to remember that these symptoms will diminish over time as THC is completely eliminated from the system.

The duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the frequency and duration of cannabis use. On average, it may take at least 30 days to fully benefit from quitting [6]. During this period, it can be helpful to engage in healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise, mindfulness, and seeking support from friends, family, or support groups. These strategies can provide a sense of stability and help manage the challenges associated with withdrawal.

Avoiding Triggers and Social Situations

To maintain abstinence from cannabis, it is important to avoid situations and people that might trigger the use of marijuana. Identifying potential triggers, such as specific environments or social circles, is a crucial step in staying on track. Creating a plan to navigate these situations and developing alternative coping strategies can help to maintain abstinence and prevent relapse.

Social events, in particular, can be risky when trying to quit cannabis. It may be beneficial to leave parties early or avoid them altogether in the initial weeks of quitting. Additionally, reducing alcohol consumption and seeking out non-users for social support can be helpful. Mental preparation for social situations is key to staying on track with quitting and maintaining a supportive environment.

By recognizing the significance of quitting, managing withdrawal symptoms, and avoiding triggers and social situations, individuals can navigate the challenges of quitting cannabis successfully. Remember, everyone's journey is unique, and seeking professional help or support from loved ones can provide valuable assistance throughout the process. With determination, support, and healthy coping strategies, it is possible to embrace a transformation and embark on a new chapter of personal growth and well-being.

Strategies for Successful Quitting

When it comes to quitting cannabis, everyone's journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, there are some strategies that can help increase the chances of successful quitting. In this section, we will explore three key strategies: identifying triggers, handling social events, and preparing for difficult situations.

Identifying Triggers

One of the first steps in quitting cannabis is identifying the triggers that may lead to marijuana use. Triggers can be anything from specific situations, environments, or even emotions. By recognizing these triggers, individuals can develop strategies to avoid or effectively manage them.

It is advised to create a list of potential triggers and reflect on how they have influenced marijuana use in the past. Common triggers include stress, boredom, social situations, or being in places associated with cannabis use. Once these triggers are identified, individuals can develop alternative coping mechanisms or engage in activities that divert their attention away from using marijuana.

Handling Social Events

Social events can present challenges for individuals trying to quit cannabis. It is important to be prepared and have a plan in place to navigate these situations successfully. Leaving social events early or avoiding them altogether in the initial weeks of quitting can be helpful. Additionally, it may be beneficial to avoid alcohol, as it can lower inhibitions and increase the likelihood of relapse.

Seeking the support of non-users and spending time with friends who are supportive of the quitting process can also provide a positive influence. Mental preparation is key, and individuals should remind themselves of their commitment to quitting and the reasons behind their decision. Having a support system in place, whether it be friends, family, or support groups, can provide encouragement and accountability during social events.

Preparing for Difficult Situations

Difficult situations, such as encountering high-stress environments or facing challenging emotions, can be potential triggers for marijuana use. In order to stay on track with quitting, it is essential to identify these situations and have solutions prepared to handle them effectively.

Developing coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, engaging in physical activity, or seeking therapy or counseling, can help individuals manage difficult situations in healthier ways. Connecting with others who have successfully quit cannabis can also provide valuable insight and support during challenging times.

By being proactive and prepared, individuals can navigate difficult situations more effectively and reduce the risk of relapse.

Remember, quitting cannabis is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to find strategies that resonate with your individual needs and circumstances. Seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can also provide guidance and support throughout the quitting process.

Quitting cannabis is a significant decision that requires commitment and perseverance. By identifying triggers, handling social events with caution, and preparing for difficult situations, individuals can increase their chances of successfully quitting and embrace a healthier, more fulfilling life.

References

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