High THC Marijuana Addiction Symptoms and Effects

THC is the common abbreviation for the element tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive element in marijuana. Marijuana is a natural drug that comes directly from the sativa plant; however, advances in cultivation have allowed those who grow marijuana to develop marijuana strains that are much more potent and have higher amounts of THC. The highest THC strains of marijuana are much stronger than those that were developed over recent years.

Despite marijuana having some safe and medicinal uses, marijuana strains containing higher concentrations of THC may still pose a variety of risks if abused. Some individuals choose to use these new high THC strains to achieve a more intense high, but more traditional, less potent marijuana can also be ingested in a manner that allows for large doses of THC to be absorbed into your system at once.

There are methods of extracting the THC in a marijuana plant that result in sticky oils commonly referred to as dabs that can be smoked or mixed into edibles. Using a solvent such as butane or carbon dioxide, the THC is concentrated and the result is a highly potent substance that may pose a threat to your health and safety. While the traditional view is that you cannot overdose on marijuana as is the case with harsher drugs, the influx of dabbing has proved to be dangerous in that it allows for an easier means of ingesting far more THC than your system can process. This can lead to outcomes like passing out, an uncomfortable high, and possibly amplified withdrawal symptoms for habitual users.

When someone abuses high THC strains of marijuana by smoking it or eating it through edibles, he or she can begin to experience many disorienting effects, as well as effects that can be highly distressing. Abusing high THC marijuana can cause the following effects to develop:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Decreased ability to perceive time and space
  • Lethargy
  • Cognitive delays
  • Hunger

High THC marijuana strains will cause more intense effects to occur including delays, distortions, and impairments. The abuse of high THC strains can also lead to the development of addiction.

Similar to other forms of addiction, an individual can become dependent on high THC strains of marijuana. A dependence on these kinds of substances can be seen through symptoms such as the loss of control over the amount and frequency in which one is abusing these substances, needing more and more of the substance to achieve a desired high, and the onset of painful physical and mental symptoms when use stops or is lessened.

Someone who has developed a dependency on high THC strains of marijuana can receive optimal care through a professional treatment center. Through treatment, an individual will work alongside medical and mental health professionals who will help him or her yield the behavioral changes that will allow them to let go of the compulsive nature of addiction. The most effective treatment centers will offer comprehensive care to prepare individuals for a life free from the setbacks that an addiction to high THC marijuana can cause.

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A study that was presented at the 2016 edition of the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) stated that THC levels in marijuana have increased by 300% over recent years. The study itself included tests that were conducted by state-certified laboratories in Colorado that showed that specific strains of marijuana available today consist of 30% of THC, which is an increase from the normal 10% found in marijuana in the 1980’s. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), roughly 19.5% of Americans will abuse marijuana in a month, and that Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) stated that marijuana abuse was included in more than 455,000 visits to emergency rooms in 2011.

Causes and Risk Factors for Marijuana Abuse

An individual’s risk for abusing and developing an addiction to high THC marijuana strains can be impacted by a handful of factors, including the following:

Genetic: Research states that there is a powerful family component tied to substance abuse and addiction. For instance, having close relatives such as parents and siblings who have abused high THC strains of marijuana or other substances can make an individual much more likely to develop similar abuse problems. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that there is an 80% risk variance for an addiction to marijuana due to genetics.

Environmental: One major environmental risk for developing an addiction to high THC strains of marijuana include abusing marijuana or tobacco at a young age. Additionally, environmental risk factors for the development of this type of addiction can also include living in an abusive, chaotic, or unstable home at the time of childhood, as well as failing at school and hanging out with others who abuse these types of substances.

Risk Factors:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Personal history of trauma
  • Low socioeconomic level
  • Abusing high THC marijuana, tobacco, or other substances at a young age
  • Conduct disorder
  • Youth (abusing high THC marijuana prior to age 21)
  • Family history of mental illness and/or substance abuse

Signs and Symptoms of Abusing High THC Strains of Marijuana

Substance abuse can have many different signs and symptoms, and chances are, no two people are going to show the same symptoms if they are abusing high THC strains of marijuana. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of this type of abuse, however, can include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Associating with a new peer group
  • Prioritizing abuse the abuse of high THC strains of marijuana over friends, family, and significant activities
  • Having rolling papers, a water pipe, or other items that are commonly used to abuse high THC marijuana
  • Acting with uncharacteristic risk, recklessness, or danger
  • Being deceptive or uncharacteristically secretive regarding one’s whereabouts or activities
  • Continuing to abuse high THC strains of marijuana even after experiencing negative outcomes related to prior abuse of this substance
  • Multiple unexplained absences from work or school
  • Diminished performance at work or in school
  • Abusing high THC strains of marijuana when it is obviously dangerous to do so, such as immediately prior to operating a motor vehicle

Physical symptoms:

  • Impaired motor functions
  • Delayed reactions
  • Increased appetite
  • Pervasive sleepiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Balance and/or coordination problems
  • Lethargy
  • Bloodshot eyes

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor judgment
  • Lack of concentration and/or focus
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired cognition

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Withdrawal
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Abusing High THC Strains of Marijuana

When someone keeps abusing high THC strains of marijuana or other marijuana strains but does not obtain professional treatment, he or she can begin experiencing the following effects:

  • Strained or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Arrest and incarceration
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Academic failure
  • Job loss and unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Family discord
  • Physical injury due to impaired cognition, perception, and/or coordination
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Other types of substance abuse
  • Cognitive delays
  • Damage to heart and/or lungs
  • Bronchitis
  • Diminished immune system functioning

Co-Occurring Disorders

Those who abuse marijuana strains can develop cannabis use disorder and might also be grappling with specific co-occurring mental health disorders, such as:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Effects of Withdrawal from High THC Strains of Marijuana

When someone has developed a dependency on a high THC strain of marijuana, attempting to end this abuse can result in many painful symptoms of withdrawal, including:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Lost appetite
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Problems with concentration or focus
  • Dizziness
  • Intense cravings for high THC strains of marijuana
  • Depression
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