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Marijuana Addiction – A Chinese Medicine Perspective

Did you know that marijuana is the most widely used drug on the planet following tobacco and alcohol?

So what happens when you smoke marijuana?

The active chemical in marijuana, THC creates ‘heat’ in the stomach. Heat manifests as an insatiable hunger, the fire in the belly just burns up the food, causing you to want to continue eating, seeming never to get full. Short term this will cause weight gain. The heart rate will rise and some people experience perspiration.

Long term users no longer get the munchies; instead they need to be under the influence to feel any desire to eat. The way to tell a short from a long term user is to look at their body type; long term users will be thinner. The constant stomach heat of being “stoned” eats away at their nutrient stores; they will become apathetic and have not much energy or will to do much of anything.

How does it affect me?

I have already mentioned that marijuana causes stomach heat. Some users of the drug may experience awkwardness or paranoia as well. Fear is a sign that the kidney energy is becoming depleted. Once depleted, the individual will become less motivated and may withdraw from society and may experience a sensation that they constantly need to go to the toilet. The reddening of the sclera (whites of the eye) are a physical manifestation of the heat created by smoking marijuana.

Marijuana will lower the testosterone levels and sperm counts in men and raises testosterone levels in women. In pregnant women it affects the foetus and results in developmental difficulties in the child. Marijuana affects normal maturation of preadolescent and adolescent users as it affects short-term memory and comprehension. Heavy smokers often sustain lung damage as well, from the smoke and contaminants.

It’s not all bad…

As far back as 2737 BC, the ancient Chinese used marijuana for its medicinal properties and were quite aware of its intoxicating effect.

From 1850, marijuana was grown in the United States as a source of fibre.

Much controversy surrounds the medical use of marijuana, with supporters saying it is useful for treating pain and the nausea and vomiting which are side effects of cancer chemotherapy and for restoring the appetite in people with AIDS.

What if I want to stop?

The affects you can feel when you decide to give up marijuana depends on how long and how much you have used. The occasional smoker will not feel any difference when they have not had any, apart from a clearer head and a little more motivation. Long term smokers may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, extreme dreams and/or nightmares, night sweats and headaches. These symptoms last for a little over a week. The good side effects of quitting are clearer thoughts, more energy and motivation, better sleeping habits and more money in your wallet.

Can any treatments help with quitting?

Yes it can. Acupuncture can help rebalance your body, help with will power and treat any individual symptoms you experience whilst you are quitting. Massage is also useful to reduce anxiety and improve quality of life.

Written by

Dr Scott Ling
Dr. Scott Ling is the Chief Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist and the founder of Sustain Health. He holds a PHD Doctorate Degree in Chinese medicine from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. Dr Ling’s extensive qualifications also include a Master of Reproductive Medicine (western medicine). Due to his unique medical background, Dr Ling’s approach stresses on the integration of Chinese and Western medicine to ensure patients get the greatest benefits from the best of both medical systems.
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