Marijuana's effect on brain
Drugs are part of our culture and people who get hooked to this dangerous vice are victims of our culture. The whimsical policies of government, ambiguous views of scientific community, and lure to make a quick buck is the reason why a great majority of people do not have a definite view on this matter. We do not categorically say no to drugs and marijuana remains a harm less weed which has certain medicinal properties, and is good if used occasionally.
What is Marijuana
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug which has the properties of a wide array of drugs. It acts as a stimulant, depressant, and hallucinogenic drug. It improves the mood, makes a person feel calm and relaxed and sometime gives out of body experiences.
How Smoking Marijuana Effects the Brain
A person usually starts smoking for recreation. It gives him pleasure and a sense of calm he has never experienced before, but at the same time it also creates new neural pathways in the brain which lead to the pleasure center or reward circuitry, and starts regulating the 'craving' neurotransmitter that is dopamine.
The pleasurable feeling is not because of dopamine, but because of other natural opioids like endorphin and morphine which brain produces while smoking. The effect of smoking on brain takes place in a slow and steady manner. The person always feels that he is in control. But actually a lot is happening inside his brain. The person realizes the change when he starts craving for it. The craving for smoke is actually due to increased level of dopamine in the brain which starts building right from the time person had his last smoke.
In fact it’s the brain telling the body that it needs marijuana to artificially produce the natural happiness chemicals in brain. The soothing effect of drug acts as a positive reinforcement, which means that your brain will be conditioned to think that weed is good because it makes you feel good.
Once you have grown habitual to smoke, your body and mind will develop strong dependency on the drug. Now, if you try to stop or regulate the dosage, you will suffer from withdrawal symptoms like depression, anxiety, and morbid thoughts. The ill effect of going cold turkey will act as a negative reinforcement, which means that weed is good because it keeps your mood balanced and prevents all the bad effects of going without smoke. At this stage a person becomes a complete addict.
As every person is different, some people get addicted very quickly, while some take time. But as whole more frequently you smoke, more quickly you will become habitual to marijuana.
Long term effect of Smoking Marijuana
In long run, it affects the short term memory and cognitive functions( ability to see and understand things clearly) of brain. It also acts as a gateway drug( motivates you to try other drugs) Where there is a good chance of addict moving on to hard core drugs like heroin, cocaine or LSD. Dependency on hard core drugs develops very fast and is very strong. In fact the fate of addict is sealed once he gets hooked to these drugs.
You have to really want to quit and be ready. If that is the case, then this book will serve as a nice positive reinforcement tool...
Why it is so hard to quit smoking
The habit of smoking marijuana is very difficult to give up. First person always tries to rationalize his behavior by give all sorts of reason, like everyone has to die any way so why give up something that makes me feel better, even if it kills, or siting scientific researchs which say that marijuana is harmless and is good for certain people. It is same as a medicine. This way of thinking prevents a person from seeking help.
Other obvious reason is that need for smoke is biological more than psychological. We can control our thoughts but we can not control our bodily needs. Thus it becomes very difficult to give up this habit. .
How to quit smoking
If you realize that your bad habit is ruining your life then seek professional help. Meet a good psychiatrist and also a psychotherapist. Do not expect a magical pill that would cure you in seconds. There is no such medicine. All the brands available on major pharmaceutical shops which promise instant relief are a hoax and nothing more than a placebo.
Hypnosis is a part of modern psychotherapy. It is more popular because of its high success rate.
In 2003, an analysis of the efficacy of hypnotherapy was published by two researchers from the University of Konstanz in Germany, Flammer and Bongartz. The study examined data on the efficacy of hypnotherapy. These showed that on average hypnotherapy achieved at least 64% success compared to 37% improvement among untreated people.
Hypnosis is more successful because of its powerful impact. The logic behind hypnotherapy is to implant positive suggestions in the subconscious mind of an addict. The suggestions given to the mind are very powerful and they become permanent and fixed part the addict's mind. After hypnosis sessions, the therapist continues with traditional methods reinforcing the suggestion and shaping the behavior of the addict. It takes several sessions before the addict stops craving for smoke and starts avoiding it. The neural circuits formed due to prolonged smoking start disintegrating and finally the addict is able to give up smoking.
How to find a good Hypnotherapist
The therapist should be a registered practitioner and should have good experience. The competency of the therapist can be judged by asking other patients and the results they have achieved. You have to take the cost factor also into account. Market is full of self proclaimed hypnotherapist, some are ready to do online sessions, some are selling audio CDs, and some are selling dream machines. Do not buy any of these and even if it cost more opt for a professional, experienced hypnotherapist.
In the end take help of your family members and be determined to get rid of this bad habit. Seek professional help and quit smoking forever.
Marijuana's effect on the brain by Yogendra Rawat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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