Recent data suggest that 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. People who begin using Cannabis before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a Cannabis use disorder than those who began using Cannabis as an adult. Cannabis use disorders are often associated with dependence, in which a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. Dependence occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing production of and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
The main active chemical in Cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When someone smokes Cannabis (AKA: Marijuana), THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain. THC acts on specific places in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, producing a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users seek. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
When a person regularly uses Cannabis, it is not unusual for them to develop a tolerance to it. This means the person needs to smoke to achieve the same initial effects. Frequent and heavy use of marijuana can lead to a physical dependence. Cannabis Dependency occurs when a person’s body adapts to the marijuana and is only used to functioning properly when the Cannabis is used. It is also not unusual for people who use Cannabis to develop a psychological dependence. This usually sees the person become obsessed with the drug, allowing it to become the biggest priority in their life. Psychological dependence is often what makes people crave the Cannabis and what makes it difficult for people to stop using it. Some people do not understand they are dependent on Cannabis and others may be too embarrassed to seek professional help.