How Many Kinds of Addictive Drugs Are There?
This is a question with no easy answers. It may be shocking to hear that new addictive substances appear regularly in drug markets. Called “new psychoactive substances” by researchers, many of these drugs are chemical compounds whipped up in clandestine laboratories. They often have wildly unpredictable effects on the people who use them.
Even commonly-known drugs like heroin, cocaine, and alcohol (yes, it’s an addictive drug) have very different effects when used – or combined. Sometimes, different addictive drugs can have the same effects. Plus, everybody experiences drug use and drug addiction differently. Two people using the same drug can experience very different outcomes depending on a multitude of factors.
So, you can see how this isn’t an easy question to answer. However, many drugs often have the same type of effects and addiction patterns. Researchers have classified these drugs into certain types based on their similar effects.
Types of Addictive Drugs
Police departments across the US often have a specific type of officer called a drug recognition expert, or DRE. A DRE is trained in a scientific method to recognize the effects of certain addictive drugs, in part to determine people who may be driving under the influence. One of the ways DREs work is by classifying drugs into seven distinct categories:
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressan
We'll examine each of these drugs, discuss their various types, and explain why they're addictive.
Addictive Drug Types: A Look at Each Type
Although each of the following drugs are different from each other, they can all create serious substance abuse issues when used for a period of time.
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How Many Kinds of Addictive Drugs Are There?
Increasingly legal in the US, cannabis (or marijuana) is a psychoactive plant that has been used for spiritual and recreational purposes for centuries. The name "cannabis" comes from "cannabaceae," a genus of flowering plants. Although cannabis is grown worldwide, most researchers think the plant is native to Asia. It's also known as hemp, and hemp has also been used for years to make clothing, rope, and other goods. Three species of the cannabis family (sativa, indica, and ruderalis) are psychoactive, meaning they're capable of changing a person's perceptive when used. Cannabis is used largely for the feelings of relaxation it produces. It's also used as a sleep aid and a form of pain control by some people.
Cannabis is used largely for the feelings of relaxation it produces. It's also used as a sleep aid and a form of pain control by some people.
So, is it "Cannabis" or "Marijuana"?
There is a lot of confusion about the terms “cannabis” and “marijuana.” Some people use them interchangeably. However, for the most part, it's clear that cannabis is the name for the actual plant, while marijuana refers to any of its products that have been processed or altered in some way. This includes smokable forms, oils, and edibles. Cannabis also has other products that are not typically regarded as drug-related; these include cannabidiol (CBD) oil and hemp fiber.
So, while cannabis is the umbrella term for all of the plant's forms and products, marijuana specifically refers to its psychoactive products.
In short: Cannabis is the plant, and marijuana (or weed as it's sometimes known) is one of its products. Understanding this distinction is important in understanding why cannabis can be addictive. For simplicity's sake, this webpage will use the word "cannabis."
How is Cannabis Used?
Cannabis can be smoked or ingested in various forms, some of which include:
- Cannabis edible: A cannabis edible is food that has been infused with cannabis. Edible cannabis has been used recreationally and in certain spiritual practices for years.
- Flower: The most common form of cannabis use, the flower is the smokable part of the cannabis plant. It's also known as "nug" or "bud" due to the way it looks.
- Hash oil: Hash oil is a form of cannabis made by extracting it from cannabis. It can be smoked, vaporized, or even eaten.
- Wax: Cannabis wax is an extremely potent form of concentrated cannabis. Known as dabs, honey, butane hash oil, live resin, and more, this form of cannabis can be overwhelming for many, leading to emergency room trips
Can You Get Addicted to Cannabis?
Yes. Like any mood-altering substance, it's possible to get addicted to cannabis. It even has a name: cannabis use disorder. So, what makes cannabis addictive?
The answer lies within its active ingredients; specifically, THC and CBD. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC is what causes the "high" feeling users get when they smoke or ingest cannabis. CBD, or cannabidiol, is not psychoactive, but it still has medical benefits and can help counteract some of the effects of THC.
When people use cannabis to alter their mental state, either recreationally or to self-medicate, they can develop a dependence. Over time, this dependence can lead to addiction.
Although cannabis use is not considered as serious an addiction as other drugs (like opioids), it still has the potential to be life-altering and needs to be taken seriously. While phrases like "wake and bake" make cannabis addiction seem relatively harmless, cannabis addiction has the same potential to disrupt and damage a person's life.
What are the Risks of Cannabis Use?
The risks of cannabis use are wide-ranging, and they depend on how you're ingesting it. For example, smoking cannabis can lead to respiratory issues like bronchitis and lung cancer. In addition, when taken in high doses or used for a long time, cannabis can cause paranoia, anxiety, nausea, and hallucinations. There are also risks associated with the long-term use of cannabis, such as decreased cognitive functioning and memory loss. This has been linked to a drop in IQ levels.
Finally, cannabis use can increase your risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and psychosis. There is an especially strong link between marijuana use and schizophrenia.
In conclusion, cannabis is a plant that has been used in various ways for thousands of years. Although cannabis may have benefits for some, it's important to understand the possible risks associated with using it.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
CNS depressants are drugs that slow down the body’s processes, including heart rate and breathing. Common examples of CNS depressants include alcohol, barbiturates (like phenobarbital), benzodiazepines (like Xanax or Valium), and some sleeping medications.
These substances can be dangerous when used in excess, as they can lead to slowed breathing, confusion, and coma.
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Central nervous system stimulants are addictive drugs that increase alertness and energy levels. Common examples of CNS stimulants include amphetamines (such as Adderall and methamphetamine), methylphenidates (such as Ritalin), and cocaine.
Dissociative anesthetics are a class of drugs that produce feelings of detachment from reality. Common examples include phencyclidine (PCP), dextromethorphan (DXM), and ketamine.
Hallucinogens are drugs that produce changes in perception and mood. Common examples include LSD, mushrooms, mescaline, and DMT.
Inhalants are chemicals that produce a mind-altering effect when inhaled. Common examples include paint thinners, glue, gasoline, and aerosol sprays.
Narcotic analgesics are drugs that act on the central nervous system to reduce pain. Common examples include morphine, heroin, carfentanil, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.
Why are Drugs Addictive?
Can Drug Addiction Be Treated?
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