Hash Drug Addiction – Hashish, or hash, is a product derived from the trichomes, flowers, leaves, and stems of the cannabis plant. Hash drug abuse and addiction does occur and can result in health complications and adverse consequences.
Hashish contains the same active ingredients as marijuana, namely THC. However, this chemical is found in a much higher concentration in hashish than in marijuana. In fact, the average percentage of THC in marijuana in the U.S. is about 5%, whereas the amount of THC in hashish can be as much as 15%.
How Is Hash Used and How Does it Work?
THC acts on the brain by attaching to neurons called cannabinoid receptors. This action induces many cognitive, emotional, and physical effects.
Hash oil is made by extracting solvents of hashish or marijuana. Hashish is usually sold in blocks of solid, resin-like products, but the appearance can vary and ranges from a paste-like substance to yellow, brownish, or even black blocks. Hash oil is typically a golden syrupy-like substance. Hash is commonly smoked or eaten, with the onset of effects being much faster when smoked.
When smoked, hashish pipes or water pipes (bongs) are often used. People have also reported using vaporizers, allowing the person to inhale the vapor and avoid the smoke. Hashish can also be added to food or brewed in a tea.
Medicinal Use and Legal Status in the U.S.
The medicinal potential of cannabis products has been the subject of a few studies, with mixed results. Several states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes.
Despite this fact, it should be mentioned that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies cannabis (and hash) as a Schedule I controlled substance. This classification indicates that it is considered to have no legitimate medical use and a relatively high potential for abuse.
The high concentration of THC in hashish products can present many problems for users. There has been a dramatic increase in ER visits due to cannabis intoxication in states that have legalized its use and where the potency of THC is high.
For example, emergency room visits related to cannabis abuse in Colorado increased by 57% between 2011-2013. Individuals who use hashish with very high concentrations of THC risk encountering more dramatic effects and increase the potential for addiction to develop.
Signs of Hash Drug Abuse
Hash use and abuse can result in several signs and symptoms, including the following:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased relaxation
- Increased appetite
- Sore throat (from smoking)
- Anxiety and panic
- Accelerated heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Impaired coordination
- Lack of motivation
- Impaired ability to focus
- Delusions and hallucinations
Effects of Hash Abuse
Using hash over a prolonged period can induce a range of adverse effects, including the following:
- Immune system suppression (LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16596782)
- Respiratory health problems comparable to those related to smoking tobacco
- Sexual dysfunction in males
- Developmental issues in children exposed to THC in the womb
- Increased risk of cardiovascular conditions
- The development of mental health problems, such as depression
- The development of tolerance and dependence
Likewise, long-term hash use may result in structural changes in the brain, which can impair the following:
Other adverse consequences linked to hashish addiction include the following:
- Poor work or academic performance
- Job loss
- Financial issues
- Legal problems related to illicit drug use
- Strained relationships with family and friends
- Reduced interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Neglect of personal responsibilities
- Compulsive drug-seeking despite experiencing problems as a result of use
Research and statistics specifically related to the use of hashish in the U.S. are scant. However, there are a few facts known regarding the overall usage of cannabis products, such as the following:
- In a 2013 poll, more than 1/3 of Americans reported having used marijuana.
- The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that there were more than 22 million people actively using marijuana in the U.S.
- According to the same survey (NSDUH), marijuana was the most common drug of abuse.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabis is second to alcohol as the most frequently identified substance in the systems of drivers who are involved in fatal car accidents.
Getting Help for Drug Addiction
A few decades ago, the abuse of marijuana wasn’t believed to result in dependence or addiction very often. However, increasing levels of THC are now thought to be contributing to such disorders. As a result, more people are seeking professional treatment.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers customized, comprehensive programs designed to treat all aspects of drug abuse and mental health problems. Our addiction treatment specialists are dedicated to providing our clients with all the tools they need to be successful in recovery.
Contact us today if you or someone you love is struggling with hash or marijuana abuse, or addiction to any intoxicating substances. We help those who need it most free themselves from the chains of addiction for life!
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