“I have a much more peaceful and caring relationship with my wife, as I am a lot more balanced. Not spending my evenings smoking joints has given me the patience and ability to deal with many of life’s challenges.”
Reset My Future Client, Abstinent from Marijuana for One Year
Marijuana, commonly known by slang terms, weed, grass, pot, bud, ganja and Mary Jane, refers to the dried Cannabis sativa plant, which contains the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as other mind-altering chemicals. Material from the cannabis plant, can also be concentrated in a resin called hashish or a sticky black liquid called hash oil.
So, what’s the issue?
As Marijuana continues to become more accepted in society, due to legalisation increasing across the globe, it raises the question- can you really have a problem with something accepted in a café with your morning coffee? Can it really lead you to begin destroying your life?
Well, as we know from alcohol, legality means nothing if you have a pre-deposition to mind-altering substances. So, for many… destroy your life? Yes, yes it can.
At the time of writing, 37 countries have decriminalised marijuana, with varying restrictions, and many more are becoming lenient on prosecuting usage. 68% of American adults recently surveyed are now in support of legalisation, supporting the notion of societal acceptance with the common drug.
But, just as with alcohol, there are some people who can control a moderate recreational usage, and others, who cannot.
The quote above, and basis of this blog, is from a Reset My Future client who wishes to remain anonymous. He has just abstained from Marijuana for a year, and wrote to us amazed at the positive impact it has had on all areas of his life.
His daily usage had taken a hold and was creating negative consequences. Specifically, destroying his relationship with his wife and putting extra strain on a struggling business. In just one year, he has managed to turn it all around and is looking forward to a much brighter and more positive future. More on that below…
But first, let’s talk about Marijuana, and why we are seeing an increase in people struggling with abuse of this particular substance.
What does Marijuana do to our body and mind?
When smoking marijuana, THC and other chemicals pass into the bloodstream and cause an almost immediate effect in the brain and body. It over-activates the endocannabinoid system, which plays an important role in the brains development, and creates a "high" feeling. The most notable effect is a strong sense of relaxation and pleasant euphoria. Other effects may include enhanced senses, increased humour and an insatiable appetite.
Marijuana can also be consumed in food and drink. The effects are similar, they just take a little longer to begin as the chemicals must first pass through the digestive system. The trend for ‘edibles’ (prepared foods containing doses of marijuana) is on the rise as legalisation continues to make these businesses possible. So now, you can pop out for a drugged delicacy in LA, as easily as heading to a bar for a stiff drink.
Not all physical effects of marijuana are pleasant and many people experience anxiety, altered perceptions, impaired balance and coordination, difficulty thinking clearly and solving problems, panic and paranoia. Large doses can also lead to acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations and confusion.
What starts as something seemingly harmless, goes on to have harmful long-term effects which may include permanent changes to the brain, including functional impairment in cognitive ability. Studies have shown prolonged use has a negative effect on brain memory, and a decline in IQ.
Other health risks from prolonged use, may include…
Acute chest illness
Risk of lung infections
Damage to the immune system
Damage to the central nervous system
Killing brain cells
Increased heart rate and blood pressure
However, marijuana is more commonly known for the mental health impact it can have on a user, due to permanent changes to the brain, including functional impairment in cognitive ability, which long term can include...
Negative effect on brain memory
Depression and anxiety
Lack of motivation due to the brains reward system being impacted.
Is it really addictive?
Yes! Contrary to popular belief, Marijuana is a mind-altering addictive substance, and therefore the risk of becoming dependent is highly possible. Recent research shows that 30% of marijuana users, may have some degree of abuse issue(1).
We define substance abuse as anyone using a mind-altering substance, despite it causing ANY negative impact on their life and health. The negatives of using outweigh the positives, and yet it becomes more, and more difficult to stay away from the allure of the ‘high’.
Do you have a problem with Marijuana?
The most obvious symptom of marijuana abuse or addiction is when a user experiences withdrawals when they abstain for a period of time. This demonstrates there has become some level of dependence on the drug.
This can look like irritability, restlessness, trouble sleeping, mood swings, decreased appetite and physical discomfort within a week of not using.
Other symptoms include…
You start to lose interest in hobbies or activities.
You stop meeting commitments and obligations, such as work, class, picking up the kids, and generally being where you say you will be on time, if at all.
You keep cancelling social plans, and are becoming more isolated.
You easily become agitated and irritable as marijuana interferes with the brain, even when not using.
Your relationships are suffering.
You have started to lie and maybe even steal to be able to keep using. You're lying about your usage is because you know those close to you would not approve of the amount or frequency.
You continue to have days when you will not use, or try to cut back, but by the end of the day, they have taken as much as before, if not even more.
You continue to use, even though you have been given medical advice to cut back or stop.
So, what's it really like abstaining from marijuana for one year?
Our client, who prompted this blog, shared what it has been like for him in just one year off the weed…
"My relationship has significantly improved with my wife. I have found I am more patient and caring towards her.
I have re-found my love for cooking and appreciate the time I spend preparing food again.
Myself and my wife are consuming considerably less amounts of alcohol and spending our evenings much more productively.*
I have resolved some issues at work which were causing me a lot of anxiety. In the process, I have gained a huge amount of respect within the business.
I have managed to make many sound and professional decisions within my business which I had been putting off for some time. We are finally growing and moving forward at some speed.
My clear mind, and new ability to pause and reflect on situations, has enabled me to support other people experiencing challenging times.
I have a much clearer vision for my business and where I would like to take it in the future, rather than operating day by day.
The success of my business in the past year, has enabled me to pay out bonuses to my deserving staff.
I am spending much more quality time with my son.
I have been willing and able to increase the time I spend on my own personal development.
Treating my wife to a holiday to see our new granddaughter. A priceless experience!
Putting more focus into my health, including preventative health scans and regular check-ups.
I have been able to purchase more property, and ensure that my children are financially secure.
My social circle has expanded! I have made some new connections, who have turned into good friends and now we regularly meet to play golf, or go cycling.
I have found a new hobby in swimming, which is something I have been able to enjoy with my wife.
“It is astonishing what I have been able to achieve in the past year, simply by putting down the joint. For the first time in a really long time, I am really excited about what the future may hold, and cannot wait to continue chasing dreams into 2022!”
(Our client completed the 12-week non-residential program to help him stop using marijuana and reset his path going forward. Post the 12 weeks working with us, we have continued to remain in close contact and work with him more specifically on ways to help improve his business life now he has a clearer head and refreshed ambition.)
*It’s worth noting here, that whilst some substances go hand in hand with an abuse pattern, at Reset My Future, we assess each client individually and do not take an abstinence for all approach if we do not believe alcohol to also be a problem. We work with each individual to identify the personal issues driving the substance abuse and have many clients who continue to, or return to moderate drinking.
How you can stop using
As with all drug abuse and addiction, the first step is recognising that you think you have a problem and wanting to do something about it. Most people with some degree of physical dependence on a drug find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible without seeking some help first. We suggest you either talk to a medical professional about your specific situation, or give us a call so we can help suggest the most comfortable path for you.
1. Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858