Marijuana is a popularly known as the gateway drug, meaning that once a person begins using it, it’s likely going to lead to the use of other drugs. It’s also seen as a harmless drug, despite being considered as a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It’s true that some men and women who have used the drug for many years never experience any serious consequences. Yet, marijuana has been associated with crime, drinking, and addictions to other substances.
A 2010 article in the Los Angeles Times pointed out that 9% of people who use the drug develop an addiction to it. This is compared to 15% of people who become addicted to cocaine and alcohol. And research indicates that the earlier a person begins to use the drug, the more likely he or she will become dependent on it. Also, dependency will develop within two years for 17% of those who began smoking marijuana at ages 14 or 15.
According to the June 2013 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report of drug use in Los Angeles County, marijuana use ranked higher than alcohol as the reason for treatment admission. Marijuana ranked number one as the reason for admission to a Los Angeles sober living treatment center at 27% of admissions. Plus, marijuana admissions showed an increase over the 2011 report at 25%. Plus, of drug seizures across Los Angeles County, 35% of those were marijuana, among various illicit drugs.
Use of marijuana among teens also shows a rise over alcohol use. In fact, for teens, marijuana may not always be a gateway drug, but it appears to be a gateway to addiction. The 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey that interviewed about 45,000 students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades provides a picture of the use of drugs and their attitudes towards them. The survey indicates that although teen marijuana abuse is on the rise, the use of other illicit drugs has leveled off. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, the leader of the survey, reported that the use of alcohol has decreased among teens and continues to go down. The rate of alcohol use in the last 30 days has decreased to 40% of teens, the lowest rate in the history of the Monitoring the Future Survey.
Lastly, edible forms of marijuana make 40% of marijuana sales in the state of California. Edible marijuana is typically the form for first-time users of the drug use. Smoking marijuana numbs you from those feelings, but sadly, it only keeps a person in a dysfunctional cycle. It can cause many effects on the body and brain functioning as well as have negative effects on one’s professional life and social interactions.
Finding a Los Angeles sober living community to break free of a marijuana dependency is possible. There are sober living homes that not only focus on alcohol dependency but also facilitate the freedom from an addiction to marijuana. Despite its reputation for being a safe and harmless drug, marijuana does in fact lead to addiction and can create the same destructive lifestyle that comes with any dependency.
In fact, considering marijuana to be harmless, in a sense, makes it more dangerous. Someone using the drug may not be able to make the connection between some of its ill effects on life and the body. He or she might be looking for a quick high, a release of stress from work, and relaxation, but the effects of the drug have proven to lead to addiction.
If this is the case, finding a Los Angeles sober living community is necessary in order to break the cycle. Marijuana might be harmless to start but over time, an addiction can sink its roots into life, creating dysfunction and loss. Sober help is often the only way to cut those roots once the cycle of addiction begins.
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