Marijuana Addiction: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

3 Nov, 2021

Did you know that marijuana is the most widely used drug on the planet following tobacco and alcohol?


So what happens when you smoke marijuana?

The active chemical in marijuana, THC creates ‘heat’ in the stomach. Heat manifests as an insatiable hunger. The fire in the belly just burns up the food, causing you to want to continue eating, seeming never to get full. Short term this will cause weight gain. The heart rate will rise and some people experience perspiration.

Long term users no longer get the munchies; instead they need to be under the influence to feel any desire to eat. The way to tell a short from a long term user is to look at their body type; long term users will be thinner. The constant stomach heat of being “stoned” eats away at their nutrient stores; they will become apathetic and have not much energy or will to do much of anything. The symptoms of long term use correlate with what is called in Chinese medicine as Spleen deficiency.

How does it affect me?

In addition to stomach heat and spleen deficiency, some users of the drug may experience awkwardness or paranoia as well. Fear is a sign that the kidney energy is becoming depleted. Once depleted, the individual will become less motivated and may withdraw from society and may experience a sensation that they constantly need to go to the toilet. The reddening of the sclera (whites of the eye) are a physical manifestation of the heat created by smoking marijuana.

What if I want to stop?

The affects you can feel when you decide to give up marijuana depends on how long and how much you have used. The occasional smoker will not feel any difference when they have not had any, apart from a clearer head and a little more motivation. Long term smokers may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, extreme dreams and/or nightmares, night sweats and headaches. These symptoms last for a little over a week. The good side effects of quitting are clearer thoughts, more energy and motivation, better sleeping habits and more money in your wallet.

Can any treatments help with quitting?

Yes it can. Acupuncture can help rebalance your body, help with will power and treat any individual symptoms you experience whilst you are quitting, along with naturopathic supplements and herbal medicine. Massage is also useful to reduce anxiety and improve quality of life.

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of Chinese medicine and acupuncture in treating emotional & psychiatric conditions call us on 3369 0045.