So can or should I smoke marijuana? Why am I still struggling in making a decision? Am I still circling round trying to justify using grass?
I know that in the beginning of the cycle of addiction, the hashish will hijack my reward pathway, leading to an increase in dopamine signalling, leaving me feeling happier J and consequently seeking weed/hash again.
Someone once asked me if the word dope originated from dopamine… I wanted to answer “yes, how did you guess?” because I loved the connection (that wasn’t really there). But it was a good question.
Over time, potentiation (the increase in strength of nerve impulses along pathways which have been used previously, either short-term or long-term) of the reward circuits lead to increased drug -seeking behaviour and the feeling of pleasure that accompanies cannabis intake POSITIVELY REINFORCES marijuana use.
The “FEEL GOOD” factor is so seductive and reminds me of “The Sirens and Ulysses” story, where Odysseus resists the bewitching song of the Sirens by having his ship’s crew tie him up lashed to the mast, while they are ordered to block their own ears to prevent themselves from hearing the song. I wonder what I would need to resist the charms of such a delightful Smoke.
Over time, we become tolerant to the weed…the same amount of weed no longer produces the same intensity of pleasure and we consequently increase the amount of hash we are taking OR begin taking it more frequently.
Because hash/weed intake is associated with pleasure, absence of the drug leads to stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions due to activation of stress pathways. So now we also begin taking the drug not to feel pleasure, but to relieve symptoms of withdrawal. The absence of the drug therefore NEGATIVELY REINFORCES drug use.
This leads to a vicious cycle in which marijuana intake to relieve withdrawal actually causes the symptoms to get worse and makes it harder to abstain from taking the drug. It’s like we may now have stepped onto a roller coaster and we start feeling powerless as it progressively spins faster.
Will we be able to stop this ride? Can someone else stop it for us? Does this cycle of addiction end here or will it continue to overtake our lives and become an obsession?