Pubdate: Tue, 20 Jul 2010
Source: Arcata Eye (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Arcata Eye
Author: Bonnie Carroll
Note: Bonnie Carroll is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a counseling
practice in McKinleyville.


Marijuana is used both medicinally and recreationally in our society.
And like all mind altering drugs it can be abused and its use can
evolve into an addiction. The key is how to differentiate medicinal
and recreational use from chronic or addicted use that is adversely
affecting your life.

Addictive use is chronic or daily use of marijuana for one's perceived
emotional well being. Addictive use of marijuana usually involves the
continued use of the drug despite adverse consequences in other
aspects of your life. Addiction can also be defined as a pattern of
repeated use that results in tolerance, withdrawal, and compulsive
drug taking behavior.

Recreational use among adults, whose brains and life experience have
matured and who are able to limit their marijuana use to occasional
weekends, is somewhat like using alcohol to relax. Most people don't
use alcohol on a daily basis unless they are self medicating and/or
have addictive tendencies, similarly you wouldn't use marijuana on a
daily basis if your life was basically satisfying without it.

Medicinal marijuana use has been identified as a helpful treatment for
a number of mental and physical health disorders. But due to the
limitations of scientific research, which has been adversely impacted
by the illegal status of marijuana, scientists are still learning
about the many ways that marijuana can affect the brain and the body.
Marijuana use has been found helpful by some people who have severe
pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Other ailments that have
shown positive benefits from marijuana use include AIDS, cancer,
glaucoma and other physical health conditions.

In treatment of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression,
marijuana has mixed outcome: some people find symptom relief, whereas
others find it exacerbates their symptoms. However, it is important to
keep in mind that any psychotropic medication used to treat a mental
health disorder should be used in conjunction with

It is also important to note that heavy or daily use of marijuana will
affect the parts of your brain that control memory, attention, and
learning. But due to above mentioned limitations of scientific
research, scientists are still learning about the many ways that
marijuana can affect the brain: both positive and negative.

In light of this, I caution young people to be careful with or avoid
marijuana use altogether for two primary reasons. First, we really
don't know what all the long-term effects of marijuana use on the
developing brain are. And secondly, so our youth are able to reach
their full potential in life.

If you are using marijuana on a chronic or daily basis, you may want
to consider how it is affecting your life. Is it interfering with your
dreams, goals and ambitions? Is it interfering with or adversely
affecting your relationships? Is it affecting your ability to meet
your basic needs? Is it affecting your ability to reach your full
potential? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want
to reduce or eliminate your marijuana usage.

If marijuana use has become a problem for you or you are using
marijuana to treat a mental illness, you would probably benefit from
psychotherapy. Many of the therapists in our community can be found
listed on the North Coast Association of Mental Health Professionals
website at You can even search for therapists on this
website who specialize in substance abuse treatment if that is what
you need.

If you are looking for a fellowship of support to address marijuana
addiction you can go to the Marijuana Anonymous website at

On the website, I found the following list of Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
meetings in Humboldt County. You can find contact information for each
group on the website.

MCKINLEYVILLE - Sundays at 9 a.m.

"No Train Wreck"

Misty Village Community Room

2331 McKinleyville Ave

This is a closed, non smoking and wheel chair accessible

FORTUNA - Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Redwood Memorial Hospital

3300 Renner Dr.

MCKINLEYVILLE - Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

Church of the Joyful Healer

1944 Central Ave.

This is an open, non-smoking and wheelchair accessible

The website notes that meeting times and places can change frequently,
so check the website for contact information for each meeting and call
for confirmation before you go.

Bonnie Carroll is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a counseling
practice in McKinleyville.
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D