Do you have a sneaking suspicion that a friend, a loved one, or even you, could be addicted to marijuana? Being hooked on this substance can severely affect the life and the lives of the people around the person addicted to it. It causes a person to lose any interest in other activities besides getting high. Worse, the abuser can eventually cause severe and irreversible damage to his body. The best way to prevent such physical, mental, and emotional damage is to intervene as early as possible. By helping the person you suspect of abusing the drug acknowledge that he has a problem, you will be able to persuade, or force, that abuser to seek treatment and eventually get rid of the addiction. The only way that early intervention can occur is when you are able to correctly recognize the indications that a friend or a loved one is abusing the drug. Here are some signs that you should be watchful for:
- Be watchful of physical indications and changes in the suspected user’s body. If you observe a person who is using marijuana, you will notice that his eyes turn reddish and watery with dilated pupils. The face becomes pale and puffy. His hands tend to shake and the palms become clammy. The user will also experience severe drying of the insides of the mouth and irregularly fast heartbeats. You may also observe some significant weight changes due the person’s increasing or decreasing desire for food. Because smoking marijuana is very taxing on one’s respiratory system, the abuser could suffer from constant and repetitive hacking cough or runny nose. Check out the teeth as well, frequent use of marijuana can severely stain one’s teeth.
- Take note of any behavioral changes in the person. Any acute change in one’s demeanor and routines could be indicators that a person is abusing marijuana. Is the person showing absence of motivation? Students who are typically always early for class could suddenly and unexplainably be tardy or absent. Employees who used to be so driven could start calling in sick all the time or become unproductive for no apparent reason. Is your child constantly suffering from bouts of depression? Other signs could be withdrawal from family members and old friends, hanging out with a new group of people, forgetfulness or loss of short-term memory, irritability, and having unexplainable laughing fits.
- Long-term and heavy marijuana use can lead to psychiatric problems. Besides suffering from mood swings or bipolar tendencies, abusing pot can result to psychiatric disorders such as paranoia. Users can suffer from constant and uncontrollable anxiety attacks. Eating marijuana can also result to toxic psychosis. These problems are temporary but could still cause lasting damage if a person gets hurt during periods of psychiatric impairment.
- Be on the lookout for missing or hidden objects that can be used as drug paraphernalia. Are you constantly losing soda bottles, cans, aluminum foil, water jugs, and the likes? These items could be used to make homemade smoking devices for the drug. If you suspect a friend or a loved one to be using the illegal substance, be on the lookout for such objects that can be used to heat or vaporize the drug. You might also find rolling papers or pipes hidden among the user’s belongings. Notice also if the person is covering up some indicators by saline drops to remove the redness from the eyes and air deodorizer to conceal the smell of smoked pot.
Bear in mind that if an individual exhibits one or more of the given indicators, this does not automatically mean that the person is already using marijuana. It could be merely a product of stress, depression, or other problems. Whatever the reason for such acute changes, it is important that you pay the individual closer attention.