HALLUCINOGENS AND MARIJUANA
Hallucinogens produce out-of-body experiences by changing thought processes and content, and by creating visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations. They can also cause paranoia and frank psychosis. One’s sense of reality is distorted while using hallucinogens. Some hallucinogens also produce euphoric and stimulant effects. Alarmingly, after prolonged and repetitive use of hallucinogens, or even after a single use, one’s sense of reality may be permanently affected.
Flashbacks are experiences that a user has while not actively using the substance, and can occur spontaneously or can be triggered by sights, smells, or sounds. The experience is not reality-based and is typically related to a visual or emotional hallucination that the user has had in the past while actively using a hallucinogen. Flashbacks can also cause a distortion of time. The most common substances that can lead to flashbacks are LSD and marijuana. The exact cause of flashbacks is not known. What is known is that the experience of flashbacks can be traumatizing and can even lead to violence or self-harm, including suicide.
The user may also experience what is called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, which occurs in the absence of current use of a hallucinogen and is relatively persistent. The use of hallucinogens, even casual use, is not without medical and psychiatric consequences.
Commonly abused hallucinogens are LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Mushrooms, mescaline, and Marijuana. Although not exactly classified as a hallucinogen, Ecstasy induces both stimulant and mild hallucinogenic properties. DXM (dextromethorphan) acts as a hallucinogen in high dosages and is commonly found in over the counter cough remedies. Because of its easy access and wide-spread availability, it is commonly abused by the younger population.
Marijuana use also has hallucinogenic properties, distorting reality, and producing euphoria and giddiness. Since the legalization of marijuana by many jurisdictions in the United States, its use is increasing. Marijuana abuse can cause significant disruption in one’s life and cause the user to be apathetic and have amotivational syndrome (the lack of motivation), and chronic use can lead to documented changes in brain chemistry and brain structure. Marijuana also can cause problems in cognition, and thought processing, as well as lead to poor concentration.
Although there is no specific physiologic withdrawal syndrome, stopping the use of these substances requires treatment to learn coping skills and how to deal with cravings. Also, medical and psychiatric support can assist with symptoms that occur during the cessation of use, which are generally psychological and cognitive symptoms. Such symptoms include cravings, irritability, sleep disturbances, generalized fatigue, and a decrease in the ability to experience happiness and pleasure.
Marijuana withdrawal has been associated with insomnia, depression, vivid nightmares, irritability and poor ability to control anger or hostility, mood swings, anxiety, headaches, and night sweats. Loss of appetite may also occur.
Behavioral Wellness and Recovery provides those who wish to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program and begin their recovery journey with a tailored plan that address the specific symptoms associated with withdrawal from their drug of choice. As a dual diagnosis (Co-occurring disorder) drug rehab, we are also uniquely able to handle the mental and emotional issues associated with hallucinogen and marijuana abuse.
If you or a loved one is experiencing an addiction, don’t hesitate to call us 24/7 at 800-683-4457 to have your questions answered and to receive guidance on how to receive help.
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