Psychopharmacology of Alcohol and Drugs, Essay Sample for Free

Published: 2022-04-01
Psychopharmacology of Alcohol and Drugs, Essay Sample for Free
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Pharmacology Marijuana legalization Substance abuse
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1549 words
13 min read

Marijuana has been legalized by most states in the US and has been decriminalized as a drug for reactional and medical use yet scientists have raised many questions. The use of bhang leads to the use of other drugs because it acts as a gateway to other drugs. Despite the fact that most people who smoke marijuana never progress to use other hard drugs, some users use marijuana and graduate to the use of hard substances. For instance, most high school students in the United States who abuse drugs used marijuana first (McKenzie & Pinger, 2014). This is because when young people begin using drugs at a young age while the brain is still under development, the reward system in the brain is altered and other drugs that are abused by their peers become appealing to them. Research in animals has shown that the exposure to marijuana makes the use of opiate drugs pleasurable (Lauwers & Swisher, 2015).

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Marijuana users are likely to use other drugs because they usually come in contact with other users who sell other drugs. This increases the risk of getting encouraged by drug users, or one is tempted to try using other drugs. These people are at high risk of using other substances because of the proximity of these drugs. If users want to obtain a supply of marijuana, they ought to know whom to contact and the circumstances under which to purchase the drugs. This system of networking leads to the exposure to other drugs because dealers do not sell one particular drug but many other substances.

Furthermore, people who are at high risk of drug use encounter marijuana first because it is readily available and is usually sold with other drugs. For example, the pharmacological effect of marijuana influences the propensity to use other drugs because marijuana and other hard substances are mostly offered by the same supplier, so if one can purchase marijuana, the chances of such a person coming to contact with other drugs is high. This makes the user prone to other drugs despite unrelated factors that draw this person to the use of marijuana. Additionally, smoking marijuana is associated with the use of other substance use disorders such as nicotine addiction and alcohol-related disorders.

The National Household Survey shows that marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the United States as more than 15 million Americans smoke it every month and more than 6 million use marijuana every day (Gold, 2013). Marijuana is used in conjunction with other drugs such as alcohol, cocaine and other illicit drugs. Reports indicate that the new form of marijuana such as Amphetamine is soaked in formaldehyde, but other substance abusers include insect spray, lysergic acid diethylamide, amphetamines, strychnine, stramonium leaves, rat poison, and catnip (Gold, 2013). Apart from these drugs, people also use marijuana with alcohol, cocaine, hallucinogens and other illicit drugs. Marijuana smokers are often on the streets and high school students.

Alcohol is a common drug that is used with marijuana. This is because this combination provides a head-spinning nauseous sensation that ends with a spewing vomit and one can easily pass out. People who smoke marijuana accompany it with a glass of red wine or alcoholic drinks. Other drugs used with marijuana include Adderall, Salvia Divinorum, and 25I-NBOMe which is a tremendously powerful phenethylamine psychedelic that has wild results on users. Hanson, Venturelli, and Fleckenstein (2011) note that use of marijuana makes one progress to other drugs such as heroin because it is a gateway drug that will principally influence a user to progress to more hard and addictive drugs. This progression depends on the composition of the peer group, relationships in the family, social class, and the age at which abuse begins (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein, 2011). Early marijuana use makes youth more exposed to alcohol, crack cocaine and other illicit drugs and they will take advantage of the availability of these drugs to try other hard substances. Some of these youth are likely to develop an addiction to these drugs hence they will continue combining them and will lead to drug dependence. Cicchetti and Cohen (2006) argue that early use of alcohol and tobacco is associated with more opportunities for marijuana and cocaine use and sets a pathway to the early dependence on illicit drugs which leads to significant propositions of use among the adolescents and young adults.

The use marijuana is the first step in the long-term use of other drugs. According to Newton (2017), a person who smokes marijuana is likely to use drugs such as cocaine than a person who has never tried pot. This is because marijuana is a gateway drug whose use leads to increased risk for using other harmful and illegal substances. This means that an individual who starts using illicit drugs such as marijuana is likely to graduate to more hard substances which are even more such as heroin and cocaine. For instance, adolescents who smoke marijuana are 85 times more susceptible to cocaine use as compared to those who do not smoke marijuana while more than 60 percent of adolescents who begun smoking marijuana before they clocked 15 years are likely to move to cocaine (Newton, 2017). This is because a small percentage of people who use cocaine and heroin first started with these before moving ahead with marijuana. Balter (2000) agrees that adolescents who moved on to use cocaine likely begun to use marijuana approximately two years before their peers who smoke marijuana.

Moreover, the illegality of marijuana has exasperated the graduation of use of pot to other hard substances. For instance, dealers of hard drugs do not trust customers they do not know because they face stiff penalties if found in possession of these drugs. On the contrary, if users have proved loyal and make a regular purchase of marijuana, they are introduced to harder substances if they show interest or if they know of a friend who wants to use these substances. The introduced user can purchase the drugs and sell to friends and other drug dealers, therefore, leading to the use of hard substances.

The above information is suitable for an addictions professional to help people addicted to substance abuse to set and achieve short-term goals as they work to overcome addictions. Once an addict has achieved sobriety, an addiction professional can enable one to gain adaptive skills in the process of working to regain emotional and physical strength. The therapist can make one begin assisting in exploring the source or cause of the addiction, and the person begins to employ coping strategies for the addiction. The person being treated and the therapist can set long-term goals that include accepting responsibility for the addiction actions, rebuilding damaged relationships and working on the release of guilt.

The therapist can also use this information in helping addicts to overcome marijuana and other drugs with the use of various therapies that are helpful in the healing process. For instance, the therapist will use cognitive behavior therapy and motivational interviewing therapy that are helpful in inspiring a person to change dependence on marijuana and other drugs. The therapist also uses this information in the provision of a supplementary form of support to attend self-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other therapies that are meant to assist in the achievement of a 12-step process used in handling addictions.

An addiction professional uses this information in determining the immediate intervention needed for drug addicts and whether the family of the addict can return for thorough assessment later or can be done immediately. It also helps the addiction professional in referring an individual to a detoxification program or any other appropriate treatment so that the addict can do away with addictions to marijuana and other hard drugs (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2004).

Lastly, the therapist uses this information in helping the addicts in primary assessing their strengths which is crucial in revealing patterns of abuse and family interactions. These interactions include the determination of alliances, communication and meaning, interpersonal boundaries and conflicts that may arise because of the abuse of hard substances. The professional will offer the methods of evaluating the drug interactions and discover issues of substances abuse. This is because marijuana addicts do not seek help because they fear being imprisoned or stigmatized hence will seek help with the assistance of a friend, family member or a colleague. Also, marijuana has been labelled as a harmless recreational drug thus addicts do not conceptualize that they have a problem or an issue with drug abuse. The therapist will step in and help the addict in realizing the extent of the abuse and give treatment options for such as a person to realize the importance of a drug-free life.


Balter, L. (2000). Parenthood in America: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2004). Substance abuse treatment and family therapy.

Cicchetti, D., & Cohen, D. J. (Eds.). (2006). Developmental Psychopathology, Volume 3: Risk, disorder, and adaptation (Vol. 3). John Wiley & Sons.

Gold, M. S. (2013). Marijuana (Vol. 1). Springer Science & Business Media.

Hanson, G., Venturelli, P., & Fleckenstein, A. (2011). Drugs and Society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Lauwers, J., & Swisher, A. (2015). Counseling the nursing mother. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

McKenzie, J. F., & Pinger, R. R. (2014). An introduction to community and public health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Newton, D. E. (2017). Marijuana: A Reference Handbook. Abc-Clio.

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