Category Archives: Drug Use

Marijuana Causing Car Crashes, Sickness, and in a New Medication

Driving and Smoking

When it first appeared that recreational marijuana would be approved across the country, one of the concerns brought up was about users driving under the influence. When someone drives and drinks, you can ask him or her to walk a straight line, take a breathalyzer test, and so on, but determining if someone is high on pot is a problem. LiveScience reports that there’s no way to measure marijuana with a breathalyzer, so researchers use blood tests, but blood concentrations of marijuana’s active ingredient THC “can stay persistently high in chronic users” so that’s not a good test. In traffic-fatality studies, any amount of THC in the blood, no matter how tiny, counts as a positive drug test. So at least some of the smokers whose deaths are counted in studies may not have been high at the time of the accident. However, a study in JAMA reported in April contains data on car crashes after parties held on April 20, the day that smokers often get together and celebrate, and it’s not good. Based on 25 years of data, it seems that in fatal accidents between 4:20 p.m. and midnight each year, “there was a 12 percent increased risk of a fatal car crash compared with the control dates.”

Getting sick from Marijuana

How do you pass the word that marijuana can make you very very sick? Through the general media, and blogs like this. An article in April might surprise you because it was so unexpected. A heavy marijuana smoker began vomiting and experienced pain to such an extent that he was laid low every few weeks, for years. He tried on antidepressants, anti-nausea and anti-anxiety drugs, and…nothing. There were trips to the ER. He had his appendix and his gallbladder out and two endoscopies, and saw a psychiatrist. The only relief he could get was from taking a hot shower. About 10 years later, a doctor finally convinced him he had a disorder linked to his smoking. The man had C.H.S., cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users. The only thing that stops it is to stop smoking weed. Marijuana smokers suffering from C.H.S are showing up more frequently in ERs, and it’s become a common problem in the last five years, according to medical professionals interviewed for the article. (People likely are more prone to admit to the amount of their smoking since marijuana has become legalized in more states.

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Medication from Medical Marijuana

Unbelievably, a couple million are affected. Doctors aren’t even sure why vomiting occurs, especially when pot is used to cure nausea. But the effects can be devastating. Some smokers have lost jobs because they miss so much work going to doctors, and one person cited had broken bones from vomiting. Another went so far as to have exploratory surgery to check for a bowel obstruction. Drug for epilepsy coming from marijuana ingredient Who would have thought it? Cannabidiol, found in marijuana, can help epilepsy and is found in a drug called Epidiolex that is about to become the first “cannabis-derived medication” in the U.S. An F.D.A. advisory panel has recommended that it be approved, and it’s assumed that wen this happens, the drug is. The active ingredient does not make people high, which distinguishes this medication from medical marijuana. Designated an “orphan drug,” Epidiolex is thought to be especially helpful for two rare forms of epilepsy whose seizures have not responded to current medication. For more information please contact our luxury drug rehab in California at (866) 569-9391. 

White Collar Professionals and Addiction

Often, the stereotype of someone suffering from alcohol or other substance use disorder is that they’re down and out, barely functioning most of the time, and always looking for the next drink or fix. Yet if you’re at all knowledgeable about addiction, you know that addiction affects people at all socioeconomic levels, including executives in the corner office and other white collar professionals.

 

These employees often work in highly stressful jobs, such as in high-tech companies, where much is expected of them. They also fall prey to the stigma of addiction, so the fear of losing their job is strong.

 

Denial is strong at this level, and the excuses are many.  Perhaps the most common is that they don’t have a problem. Some people say they deserve to drink or take drugs because of all they’re dealing with, or even that they can do their job better with drugs. (I interviewed one woman addicted to oxycodone who said she took a handful of pills every day just to feel normal.) Others say they could never take time from work for treatment.Tyler Fitzgerald, Clinical Director of Summit Estate, says his experience has been that most companies are incredibly supportive of people getting help, especially in Silicon Valley. “What they won’t put up with is the absenteeism, the hangovers, and the outbursts,” adds Jon Heller, Summit Estate’s Admissions Director.

 

You may have done some research and learned that effective treatment facilities group people with similar needs for the best results. A teenage boy does not have the same rehabilitation needs as a high-level executive, for example. Summit Estate caters to white collar professionals with stressful jobs. “We’re the non-luxury luxury treatment center,” says Fitzgerald. “This is not the kind of place where people come and are pampered and get to sleep until noon and have breakfast brought to them. We don’t emphasize the things that aren’t necessary. We focus on real treatment for real people.”

 

Similarly, he explains, the reintegration program is an intensive daily program that can be built around people’s work schedules, if need be. “People continue working with their therapist and their treatment team while being reintegrated into the community and learn how to deal with the everyday stresses of work.” 

 

Even during the program, people who absolutely need to keep in touch with work can be accommodated. “What we do is take away excuses not to come,” says Fitzgerald.

 

On Psych Central, Dr. David Sack explains that addicts may think they’re “getting away with” their addition quite awhile before taking action:  “High-functioning addicts are masters of disguise whose struggles with drugs and alcohol may go unnoticed for years, often with increasingly severe consequences. A … position of power at work … may cushion them from the consequences of their drug use, while a sense of self-importance or belief that they can resolve their own problems may prevent them from seeking treatment.

 

 

Fitzgerald offers the perfect conclusion for this post with an apt observation about treatment: “Our clients could be at their bottom. They could have been called in at work and spoken to about their performance, or perhaps other people have noticed they’ve been intoxicated or are increasingly missing deadlines or work. Everyone’s bottom is the same — you’re up against a wall, and the rug’s about to be pulled out from under you and you’re going to be exposed. Our clients often come to us in a state of panic that they’re going to lose their job; this is the time to save it.”