A Short Article About the Relationship Between Legal Substances and Addiction
Take a deep look at the ignored world of legal substances and addiction. Ocean Hills Recovery recognizes that legal substances can also be addictive.
We often relate addiction to substances that are illegal and proven highly addictive in humans. What some do not realize is that many people suffer from addiction with substances that are actually legal in our country today. Marijuana, becoming more legal in recent years, can still be addictive to some. Alcohol has been legal for many years across the world, yet we still witness those who experience debilitating addiction from this substance as well. Habitual users become addicted to that euphoric feeling, some use it to repress any distress they may be experiencing, while others may be pre-disposed to addictive genes and are suddenly in its grasp.
While marijuana doesn’t have as harsh of a reputation for being addictive as something like Heroin or Methamphetamine, there is still an apparent addiction tied to it, especially since 8 out of 10 people who use marijuana for the first time do try it again. Addiction can start with a simple curiosity to try something new, or it can begin with a deep need to forget. What begins on a smaller scale suddenly turns into a lifestyle and then an addiction. Often we see these two substances being used together in an addictive manner. The mixture of alcohol and marijuana can provide an even greater risk for injury and death, causing a higher level of intoxication than by using either one on its own. Risky behavior and/or intensified stimulant or depressant effects are also the result, and especially for those who already experience depression or other mental illness, this can be a lethal combination.
In the modern day, Alcohol and Marijuana can arguably reside in a similar category; The Legal One. Since Washington and Colorado have made marijuana a part of their identity, you can surely bet the other 48 states will eventually follow. What we know about marijuana is that it has the same ties with alcohol, one of them being tolerance. Starting at a young age, many people have tested their tolerance with alcohol. With a 33% increase of applications to the University of Colorado this year, we can assume that they, too, will begin to test their tolerance with the new legal drug.
What some don’t realize is that no matter how much they think their body can handle, when combining both substances, even though they are both legal, they risk the chance of many unexpected results. The combination of these two can have a major impact on the central nervous system.
Some of the most common symptoms of a marijuana and alcohol combination are:
- Changes in emotional behavior
- Compromised judgment
- Concentration severely drops down
- Decreased attention, perception and memory
- Impaired motor coordination, thinking and problem solving
- Memory loss
These symptoms and more are common in substances that have the potential of being abused. Many users of marijuana for medical treatments are advised to wait for several hours before driving or having a drink. While these substances may be legal in our country today, that does not mean we can turn a blind eye on them and not categorize them as risky or addictive. Always be responsible and vigilant. If you believe someone you know or love is developing a problem with substance abuse, legal or illegal, step in and get them help. There is always hope.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.