Drug and alcohol addictions are both quite common in the USA. 19.7 million Americans are believed to be addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.
However, the problem doesn’t end there. Many people abuse drugs without developing an addiction to them. Drug abuse is defined as any use of drugs for nonmedical purposes, or outside of their intended use, and an article by Time estimates that 10% of the American population has abused drugs in their lifetime.
At this point, you may be wondering what the most commonly abused drug in the United States is. You may not be surprised to hear that it’s marijuana. Let’s look at some facts about America’s most commonly abused drug.
Isn’t Marijuana Legal?
In some states, marijuana has been legalized. However, the federal government still considers it an illicit drug, so any recreational use is considered “illegal use”.
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, and the use of medical marijuana doesn’t count towards these statistics.
Isn’t Marijuana Safe?
Marijuana has a reputation as being a “safe” drug, partially due in part to its medical uses, as well as the fact that the risk of overdose is low. Many people don’t believe that it’s possible to develop an addiction to marijuana.
While it’s true that marijuana is useful for many medical patients, it’s not completely harmless. Overdoses have occurred in users, and 4.3 million Americans are believed to be dependent on the drug.
Researchers are still trying to figure out the long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain and body.
What is Marijuana Dependence?
Marijuana dependence occurs when the user begins to experience withdrawal symptoms after going too long without using the drug after the brain adapts to having large amounts of the drug.
People who suffer from marijuana dependence often feel irritable, paranoid, experience a decreased appetite, and sleep difficulties.
How Do People Overdose on Marijuana?
Nobody has died from overdosing on marijuana. However, that doesn’t mean using the drug is without risk.
Scientists aren’t certain how much marijuana is too much. It would take a lot of marijuana to kill someone, but we know from studies on animals and a few human cases that it’s possible to die while ingesting marijuana and no other substances along with it. That being said, the people who did die may have had pre-existing conditions that caused the deaths, so scientists can’t be certain whether it was the drug that caused it.
Marijuana sold on the streets is becoming increasingly more potent each year – so it’s wise to stay away from it to avoid developing dependence, experiencing a bad trip, or taking too much.
If you’re worried about your use of or dependence on marijuana, support is out there for you.