Recovery and The Holidays

Recovery at the best of times, can be challenging.  Getting into a routine and structure is never easy.  The holidays makes this challenge even bigger.  The whole world goes into a party mode and the temptation is all around you.  It’s also the time of the year when you start looking at achievements and the lack thereof.  Depression increases and feelings of loneliness appear more overwhelming.

Eden Recovery Centre has a few tips to help you during this time to stay on the road of recovery:

Tip 1:  Sleep

Getting enough rest is crucial.  Maintaining your sleeping pattern ensures that you don’t make decisions while tired.  In recovery the HALT is one of the foundations of cravings.  Hunger, anger, lonely and tired.  Ensuring that you get about 8 hours sleep a day would assist.

Tip 2:  Be selective

During this period you will get a lot of invitations to functions.  Year-end functions, parties and lunches will be at the order of the day.  Before accepting an invitation, ask yourself if it will influence and jeopardise your recovery?  Those functions that you know will be a trigger or a dangerous situation, will still continue even if you are not there.  Keep yourself safe and if you absolutely have to attend, have an exit plan and a safe person with you.

Tip 3:  What’s in your glass only matters to you

When everybody around you is having a good time, they don’t look at your glass.  Have your favourite soft drink with you all the time and never leave your glass unattended.  Have a standard answer ready for the awkward question why you are not drinking.

Tip 4:  Have a back-up plan

When planning a safe event, people cancel.  This is the time when the dangerous party suddenly looks appealing.  Have a back-up for anything.  A safe back-up plan always leaves you in control and takes the urge to put yourself at risk away.

Tip 5:  Location

When meeting friends or family, chose the location.  Somewhere where the temptations are limited.  Nowhere is 100% safe, but make it as safe as possible.

Tip 6:  Spend time with recovery buddies

The Fellowship is there to assist you.  Attend meetings and spend time with likeminded people who will understand your individual situation.

Tip 7:  Remember the sober days

Remind yourself why you are doing this and that 1 month cannot break your progress.  Be thankful for your sober days and find reasons why you want more of them.

Tip 8:  Call your sponsor

Stay in contact with your sponsor on a daily basis during this time.  Sponsors have been through these holiday times and will be able to assist.  Speaking to your sponsor is not putting them out, it’s why they are there.  To help.

Tip 9:  Stay busy

Start planning daily activities and finish that project that you never did.  Make a list of to do things and get started.  Tick them off as you go along.

Tip 10:  Have Safe fun

Remember to have fun.  Recovery is not punishment.  Find safe ways for you to have fun and celebrate recovery.


These tips are a start.  Find safe people and have at least 6 numbers that you can phone anytime.  Your recovery comes first.  And always remember, “Just for Today” you can do it!

Understanding Addiction

We have established that an addiction is an unhealthy relationship with a substance or behavioural pattern in which the addict interacts with continually, disregarding the increasingly obvious negative consequences to not only the addict, but the people around the addict.

People use addictive substances or engage in addictive behaviour to escape, relax, or to reward themselves. Over a period of time, these addictive substances or behaviour, make the addict believe that he or she cannot cope without them, or that, without them, there is no enjoyment in life.

The Prevalence of Addiction in Society

The most commonly discussed addictions are drug and alcohol addiction although, amongst a host of others, addictions such as gaming, gambling and even sexual addictions are receiving more and more attention.

Approximately 10% of any population is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  Addiction is more common than diabetes, which occurs in approximately 7% of the population.

Addiction crosses all socio-economic boundaries.  10% of teachers, 10% of plumbers, and 10% of CEOs have an addiction.

The terms alcohol addiction, alcoholism, and alcohol dependence are all equivalent. The same is true for the terms drug addiction and drug dependence.

Causes of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Addictive substances or activities feel good because they stimulate the pleasure centre of the brain through neurotransmitters such as dopamine and GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid which is an amino acid that is the second most prevalent neurotransmitter in the brain). A genetic pre-disposition to addictions results in the use of substances or engagements in activities not simply creating that “feel-good” experience but also the desire to pursue that experience actively and want more.

With a genetic pre-disposition, addictive substances feel so good that the addict is more than willing to suffer negative consequences and ignore the consequences and effect the addiction has on those around him or her, in order to get more and to continue to feel the “high” that the addiction provides.

Addictive substances react differently inside an addict’s brain than they do in the brain of a non-addict, which is why the two have difficulty in understanding each other. With someone who is not addicted, drugs and alcohol only produce a mild “high” and therefore a non-addict cannot understand why the addict would go to such lengths, when it is clearly destroying their life and negatively affecting the lives of those around them.

Denial is a big part of addiction. Because addictive substances feel good, an addict will initially deny that they have a problem. In the long-run, addiction isolates the addict from the people and activities that, under normal circumstances, without the addiction, would take precedence

The Cost of Addiction

SA drug statistics as of 2012

  • Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm.
  • 15% of South Africa’s population have a drug problem.
  • Drug abuse is costing South Africa R20-billion a year and could pose a bigger threat to the country’s future than the Aids pandemic.
  • According to SAPS figures, 60% of crimes nationally were related to substance abuse. In the Western Cape, the figure was closer to 80%. The perpetrators of these crimes are either under the influence of substances, or trying to secure money for their next fix.
  • In 2004, government disbanded the SA Narcotics Bureau (SANAB), a dedicated drug-fighting unit within the SAPS that had achieved some notable successes. Since its closure, drug related crimes have increased exponentially – in fact by 30%.
  • The recently-released United Nations World Drug Report had named South Africa as one of the drug capitals of the world.
  • The abuse of alcohol and usage of dagga has led to the country to being one of the top ten narcotics and alcohol abusers in the world.
  • One Rand in four in circulation in SA is linked to the substance abuse problem.   (CDA-Bayever)
  • Drug arrests leapt from 300 in 2006 to 1500 in 2012 in Cape Town. (source Time Live)


The above article only refers to addiction to substances and alcohol and frightening enough without examining other addictions.

Consequences of Addiction

The most important consequences of addiction are social, emotional, and psychological with the physical and economic consequences of addiction being the most considered. Poor health and loss of income are very late stage consequences and the tendency of an addict is to assume that good health and being employed are confirmation that the addiction is not that serious.

Employment is usually the last to suffer since income is needed to pay the bills and support the addiction. Once employment begins to suffer, the addict is no longer a functioning addict but a non-functioning addict.

The damage addiction does to relationships and true self confidence is far more damaging and takes longer to repair. The negative impact on family, friends and true self confidence by discarding either partially or entirely, the truly important things in life to focus on the addiction, has far-reaching consequences. The disappointment shown by loved ones is often a key motivating factor for embarking on recovery from addiction yet sometimes even that disappointment is not enough to motivate an addict to seek help.

Eden Recovery Centre has all the necessary resources, to assist with recovery of not only the addict, but those loved ones affected both directly and indirectly by the addiction.

Contact us today on:

Tel:  011 244 9916 / 8

24-Hour Helpline: 060 344 7808

Fax: 011 244 9917




Visit us at:

438 Chattan Road

Glenferness AH




Substance Abuse Centres

If you are a business professional this does not make you immune to addiction issues, in fact many professionals find that they are far more susceptible to such issues just by virtue of the stress their lives create. For those that have not learned to manage their stress and the demands of their fast paced lives, addictions allow for what may seem at the time as a simple solution to a difficult problem.

For those that find themselves in the grip of addiction finding the right treatment centers the first time may be crucial to keeping their lives intact and allowing them to move gracefully forward. Since professionals on the average have more at stake than some others, it is crucial that they choose treatment centers that are carefully designed to give their patients a high rate of success.

This success is not a secret, it comes down to careful planning and putting patients into a calm relaxing environment that is warm, caring and supportive from the moment they walk through the doors all the way till the day they are ready to go back out into the world. Small groups, carefully hand selected staff that is dedicated to the recovery of each and every person that walks through the door and an environment that allows them to step away from the pressures of their old world long enough to heal are all things that have been show to help people create the type of success for themselves that they need. treatment centers should focus on providing every element that is crucial to a patients success, this includes so much more than just counseling as many treatment centers are beginning to understand.

Patients need a safe place to come to terms with all aspects of their addiction, a warm, isolated environment offers that opportunity to them, while eventually they will need to deal with the stress of the world they left behind, the purpose treatment centers serve is to heal the wounds from the inside out.

Once the wounds have begun the healing process and the patient is equipped with the tools they need, they can continue to visit the treatment center on an outpatient basis so that they can learn to take what they learned into the real world they must live in. treatment centers should bring a level of care that is similar to that of a warm supportive family, those healthy relationships and bonds that are created will be an integral part of each person’s recovery.

By treating each person as a unique individual and getting to know them on a personal basis as well as creating a relationship with them, the treatment staff can help the recovering addict have the most essential part of their recovery the strength of human ties that are both healthy and strong.

Eden Recovery offers a strong supportive environment that has been meticulously designed to allow a person to be vulnerable enough to recover while at that the same helping them to be strong enough to move on.

Synthetic Drugs: a wave that has hit South Africa

New substances of abuse – Spice

Eden Recovery Centre is a leader in information about new substances and what they might mean for South Africans who go to rehab.  The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction collects information about deaths and non-fatal intoxications.  The centre is run by specialised staff who focus on releasing complex information such as:

Subject: 2 deaths and 3 non-fatal intoxications in Germany associated with MDMB-CHMICA (methyl-2-(1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1 H-indol-3-ylcarbonylamino)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate)

1) ‘7 non-fatal intoxications associated with ‘Bonzai citrus’ and/or ‘Bonzai Winter Boost’ products thought to contain MDMB-CHMICA’, issued on 12-12-2014. 2) ‘4 deaths and 6 non-fatal intoxications in Sweden associated with MDMB-CHMICA (methyl-2-(1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1 H-indol-3-ylcarbonylamino)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate)’, issued on 19-12-2014.

Confused yet?  For the layman this simply means that a new synthetic cannabinoid has hit the European club scene.

But what does that mean for addicts and specifically marijuana substance abusers?  The team at Eden realises that there are many different implications.

“It is synthetic marijuana, some people call it “Spice” or “K2”. The effects produce a similar physical reaction to marijuana, however due to the unknown chemical compounds added to the substance, the effects can be deadly.”

There is a new drug that has made its way from the US to Europe in Sweden, Romania, the UK, Denmark, Croatia and France.  It is synthetic marijuana, some people call it “Spice” or “K2”. The effects produce a similar physical reaction to marijuana, however due to the unknown chemical compounds added to the substance, the effects can be deadly.  Chemical analysis shows that their active ingredients are synthetic (or designer) cannabinoid compounds.

Spice is made of dried and shredded plant materials that are coated with psychoactive chemicals. The dried plant and mind-altering substances that are used in each batch are variable and oftentimes unknown. Sold in many stores such as convenience or smoke shops, Spice is labeled with a statement indicating that it is not intended for human consumption. This label is placed in order to confuse the true purpose of the substance, as well as to avoid any regulation or oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Spice causes an intoxication that is intended to be similar to marijuana. However, due to the unknown composition and potency of each batch, there have been many documented cases of users experiencing extreme adverse reactions.  The above news from the European Monitoring Centre highlights 6 recent deaths as well as 10 cases of intoxication recently discovered in Germany and Sweden.

“Natural product or deadly combination?”

Easy access and the misperception that Spice products are “natural” and therefore harmless have likely contributed to their popularity. Another selling point is that the chemicals used in Spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests.

Drug Rehabilitation




Substance Abuse

For those who have dealt with the heavy burden of drug addiction, or know of someone who is battling substance abuse, then the services of Eden Recovery are here to give the addict you care about a second chance. Having to handle the daunting task of admitting oneself or a personal loved one can be one of the toughest choices a person can face, but nonetheless it is a necessary course of action that can save lives.

Not only is there the possibility of having a new opportunity for oneself to maintain a clean lifestyle, but a helpful perspective into new and improved methods for living a life of complete sobriety. This recovery centre provides the means to dismantle a person’s substance abuse in hopes of finding the core reason why an addict continually goes back to the harmful lifestyle that can only end tragically. When you trust in the substance abuse services of Eden Recovery, you can rest assured that each drug addict will never have access to any sort of narcotic or harmful chemical, but over time shall see the addict developing a sense of self-worth without the aid of any sort of dangerous drugs. Such methods of substance abuse counselling can be found at the user friendly website of Eden Recovery where your addict will learn to follow their destined path to becoming a functional member of society.

The overall substance abuse counselling services of Eden Recovery is in the business of providing a continuous state of care to a drug addict for a three to four week period that is essential for redirecting an addict back into a complete state of happy living through sobriety.

Some of the many services you can expect to find when visiting the Eden Recovery Centre is a constant support for addicts such as guiding addicts through the beginning stages of recovery that is a compassionately structured environment, counseling that will address overlooked traumatic experiences that generally lead various people into a spiralling state of drug addiction, further counseling in hopes of uniting negatively charged behavioral problems that can only restrict an addict’s recovery process, the chance to have a look at the numerous benefits that recovery can bring when dealing with the real world, methods for dealing with the taunting choice of relapse through preventive tools that help a recovering addict go back into the daily routine of a sober individual, and the reassuring reminder that the recovering addict has a realistically supportive plan to stay on the path of sobriety.

Other assorted facets covered in the Eden Recovery Centre for substance abuse is handling forms of denial, telling the difference between substance abuse and dependence, what makes a person have an addictive personality, false pretences when dealing with beliefs, how to prevent relapse, the troubles of co-dependency, the process of enabling positive relationships with family members and the symptoms of substance abuse.

With the wide variety of substance abuse counselling offered by Eden Recovery, addicts will never again have to worry if making the step into sobriety is the correct one for them, which in turn leaves a recovering addict with the hope of leading a sober life and ultimately a more wholesome lifestyle.

Rehabilitation Centres in Gauteng

If you or a loved one has gone through the difficult crisis of drug addiction, then you have probably realized by now that the drug dilemma at hand is one that may not be so easy to get rid of, especially if the addict is kicking the habit on his or her own. This weight of the world? a substance abuser can carry is a very heavy one due to the fact that they have given up the many luxuries of life in turn for the control of their need to get the next fix.

An addict or loved one of an addict will soon realize when it is time to seek professional help particularly when you or the addict is showing signs of dependence. Such obvious signs are waking up every morning to only find that their body is craving what they may not be able to afford anymore because all of their resources are diminished due to having the drug habit for so long. There are even such incidents where the addict is willing to compromise his or her self-worth in hopes of merely being able to get a hold of their drug of choice and waste their potential on something that may inevitably kill a drug user.

These many daunting scenarios are extremely difficult for most loved ones, family members, and even substance abusers themselves to admit. This lack of knowing how to treat or even deal with a drug addiction usually hurts the addict because the ones involved generally do not know how to properly deal with the person’s specific drug problem therefore leaving it unaddressed. Thankfully there are professionals that are trained for substance abuse dilemmas and these professionals are known as Eden Recovery.

Eden Recovery provides the utmost satisfaction and care when it comes to their rehabilitation centres located in/near Gauteng. Here the addict will not only find a home away from home, but will also have the expertise of counsellors who are sympathetic to each individual’s specific needs. In this well assembled team is an array of professionals which are masterminds in such fields as psychology, medical and skilled clinicians as well as other trusted professionals that shall make the recovering addict feel as comfortable as possible.

The professionals operating the rehabilitation centres in Gauteng will take full care when guiding the recovering addict to complete sobriety. Some of the highlighted features used by the rehabilitation centres in Gauteng include luxury accommodations for all of its guests.

The facility only holds 25 persons so you may rest assured that the addict will get the full attention they deserve, two recreational swimming pools, an outside yoga/meditation area, an array of plant life that is scattered throughout Eden Recovery, table tennis, volleyball, flat screen television for all viewing pleasures with a list of DVD’s, an on-site 12 step fellowship meeting available anytime the recovering addict is in need of counselling guidance, and even includes exotic wildlife such as Blesbok, Peacocks, Emus, Korean Geese, and Cameroon Goats.

The rehabilitation centres in Gauteng provided by Eden Recovery  and drug abuse centre will undoubtedly become a paradise that is a perfect environment to turn a substance abuser into a recovering drug addict. So if you are looking for suitable rehabilitation centres in Gauteng, take a look at the website of Eden Recovery to get your addict on the path to sobriety today!


When coming to the all too prevalent realization that you or a close friend may slowly, but surely be in the early stages of becoming a drug addict, then the only answer for such a substance abuse dilemma is the cost worthy rehabilitation centre of Eden Recovery. Here, the addict shall find numerous ways to effectively keep themselves occupied to further help them reanimate the sense of stability that they once knew when they were living the clean lifestyle of sobriety.

Eden Recovery drug and alcohol rehabilitation services offers a means of understanding what can cause any human being to dismantle their normal lifestyle in exchange for a lifestyle of degradation and pining for an addict’s substance of choice. This rehabilitation centre will not only ask why the pieces of an addict have come apart, but will also address if the addict thinks they have any courage or means of even being able to live a long, prosperous life of sobriety.

The main problem that comes to any drug addict that is considering the services of a rehabilitation centre is the common aspect that most, if not all, addicts feel as if they have no more options and their last choice is either to give up on life all together or rebuild oneself to become the person they were destined to be in the first place. At Eden Recovery the addict will have the necessary means to build the confidence and inevitably the courage to continue a long and healthy lifestyle that only sobriety can bring.

One of the most riveting and astounding characteristics that Eden Recovery can always provide through its rehabilitation services is the fact that their business is registered in accordance with the Department of Social Development, which means that it adheres to specific types of guidelines and standards with regards to the treatment of substance abusers. Not only is Eden Recovery’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre up to date with all essential knowledge to effectively guide a drug addict into a state of recovery, but it also provides very comfortable housing for up to twenty five substance abuse inpatients that shall receive nothing short of first class accommodations.

You may be saying to yourself that accommodation for an inpatient is definitely a necessary factor, but what about the professionals who will be overlooking the addict’s progress into a life of sobriety? This rehabilitation centre is more than equipped to handle the necessary measures that go into guiding an addict into sobriety. This factor is enforced through the different kinds of professional treatments that are introduced to the substance abuser by well trained and experienced counsellors who will ultimately motivate the addict into becoming a recovering addict.

If you or your beloved drug addict is still unsure if the effective services of Eden Recovery drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre is the correct match for them, then make sure to guide them to this user friendly website where they will find the necessary information that will help them recover as a drug addict and become a sober person for the rest of their days.

Rehab Centres in Johannesburg

Have you have recently wondered why life has not been its usual satisfactory self or even wondered why every time you wake up you do not think about the future and what it may entail for today, but instead, how all of your life’s pleasures are merely a “fix” away? These disheartening situations are all too real for a cluster of persons in the world; these people are referred to as drug addicts.

Some find the term drug addict to be a term to describe those referred to as the “unlucky ones”; this is not an absolutely just depiction of a substance abuser’s life span. Just because a person is addicted to a harmful drug does not mean that they got their simply because they are unlucky; they became the addicts they are today because a haunting interpersonal dilemma has remained within the individual’s psyche and has never had the proper care to address and inevitably relinquish this demon-like characteristic that comes with substance abuse.

The process of care that goes into treating a substance abuser’s drug addiction is an unstable one at best, but with the effective professionals at Eden Recovery and their life relieving rehab centres, located near Johannesburg, a drug addict can rest assured that all of their needs will always be met by numerous understanding experts who that know exactly what you as an addict are going through. These insightful minds have the knowledge as well as the understanding that goes into nurturing a person into the person that they have always wanted to be.

The expert minds at Eden Recovery’s rehab centres in Johannesburg offer a goal oriented environment that gives the recovering addict all of the necessary skills to challenge their current lifestyle as a substance abuser and welcomes the more satisfying lifestyle of sobriety. The true goal of these kinds of rehab centres in Johannesburg, such as Eden Recovery, is not constructed to merely enable the addict’s sobriety while they stay in the facility, but instead prepare them to deal with the already conquered temptations that will undoubtedly face the recovering addict for the rest of their lives. This dismantling thought is not as impossible as it may seem, mostly in part due to the well trained experts at the rehab centres in Johannesburg who provide a safe haven of sorts and are made available to those in need of substance abuse counselling.

This team of dedicated staff members is also trained to handle the inevitable hardships that substance abusers go through when staying away from the drugs, such as the difficulty of withdrawals, which is a sickness that takes affect into an addict when they attempt to become sober.

The staff not only helps the recovering substance abuser with the difficult challenges that come from “the withdrawal phase”, but also helps the recovering addict to move on with the rest of the necessary recovery process. All in all, if you are in Johannesburg searching for rehab centres that may suit you, then look no further than the capable hands of Eden Recovery.

Rehab Centres

If you know a person that is constantly finding themselves fighting the all too common battle of drug addiction, then you have most likely been searching for a method that can not only help you assist the substance abuser, but a means that will allow the drug addict to find clarity of sobriety at their own speed. The choice of addressing a detrimental problem such as drug addiction can be one of the hardest decisions a person can face when dealing with the all too sad world of drugs. But even though this decision can be a daunting one, the only compassionate choice is to help the addict with their insatiable appetite for narcotics by giving them the needed treatment that rehab centres have provided addicts with to start the journey of sobriety.

So if you are finding yourself in the bind of addiction or just happen to know someone who could use the much needed support system of these types of rehab centres, then visit the user friendly website of Eden Recovery for a complete overview of the facility and all the accommodating features that that these compassionate professionals have to offer.

One of the most common factors that may run through an addict’s mind when considering rehab centres is the intimidating notion that these types of facilities may not even have the capabilities of successfully comprehending an addict’s personal struggle with substance abuse. This notion is an extremely scary one for a drug addict, especially when they are strongly considering if they should derail themselves from their normal habitual use of drug addiction and into the path of sobriety.

Thankfully for the recovering drug addict and the loved ones around them, Eden Recovery is well equipped with the finest professionals in many different types of fields that will always have the patient’s best interests in mind. Eden Recovery’s staff is not the only highlighted feature that out measures other esteemed rehab centres – there is an array of different plans set up for the individual recovering addict rather than just assigning a general agenda to guide the substance abuser into a sober lifestyle.

These types of features include a luxurious home away from home that accommodates up to 25 recovering drug addicts, two recreational swimming pools, an area for exercise or meditation such as Yoga, a well-kept lawn and garden, recreational sporting such as table tennis, and volleyball, an exotic wildlife including peacocks, emus, Korean Geese, Cameroon Goats, and more.

Also at the facility, a recovering addict’s stay can feel as though they never left the comfort of their own home with a flat screen TV available with an extensive library of DVDs that rehab centres such as this one can provide.

Another feature of this facility is the on-site 12 step fellowship meeting which can accommodate all hardships that are associated with drug addiction. So if you feel that it is time for you or a loved one to have a second chance at sober living, visit the user friendly website of Eden Recovery and you will soon realize that these rehab centres are the best place to start a new life.

Marijuana Fact Sheet

Marijuana: What you need to know

Eden Recovery Centre works with addicts who are struggling with marijuana.  During treatment, there tends to be a similar pattern seen within the group of people receiving help. There are often many youngsters (ages of 18 – 24) who are struggling to finish school or university, with motivation and apathy being key problems for them.  Where smoking marijuana started out as a relaxing activity, ultimately, they are unable to live the life they dream of.  We also see marijuana addiction as a secondary drug of choice in treatment. Many people do not realise that to recover successfully, they need to give up marijuana as well.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a mixture of the dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The mixture can be green, brown, or grey.  Marijuana has a chemical in it called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. A lot of other chemicals are found in marijuana as well – about 400 of them – many of which can affect your health, but THC is the main psychoactive (mind-altering) ingredient. In fact, marijuana’s strength or potency is directly related to the amount of THC it contains. The THC content of marijuana has been increasing since the 1970s.

Other names

  • Cannabis
  • Pot
  • Herb
  • Weed
  • Grass
  • White
  • Widow
  • Ganja
  • Astroturf
  • Bhang
  • Dagga
  • Dope
  • Home grown
  • J
  • Mary Jane
  • Roach

How is it used?

It can be smoked in a cigarette or in a pipe.  Sometimes, the leaves are mixed with food and eaten or brewed as tea.  Marijuana can be mixed with many other drugs, such as heroin or mandrax.

Who Uses Marijuana in South Africa?

In South Africa, research figures collected from treatment centres in the country reflect that marijuana is a primary drug of choice in treatment in the Eastern Cape, KZN and the Central Region.  In treatment centres across South Africa, the predominant substance of abuse for patients under the age of 20 is marijuana.

In 40% of admissions in Gauteng, the Northern Region and KZN, the dominant substance being abused is marijuana. In a 3 Metros study in 2004 by the Medical Research Council, 1050 arrestees were tested in the Cape, Gauteng and in KZN.  A large portion of those who tested positive were positive for marijuana (45%). South Africans use twice the amount of marijuana than in any other country and according to the United Nations, 4% of South Africans are considered to be frequent users.

Legal Implications

South African law states that possession of marijuana, or any related paraphernalia (a joint or marijuana itself), is an offence punishable for up to 15 years.  Dealing of marijuana is also an offence, punishable for up to 20 years.

You can be arrested under the following conditions:

  1. Consuming the drug in public
  2. Intoxicated behaviour witnessed
  3. Witness of the sale of the drugs
  4. Possession of paraphernalia.

What is medical marijuana

In March 2016, South Africa will bear witness to a historical court case that seeks to have anti-cannabis laws overturned.  Important and vital research needs to be done on medical marijuana and at Eden, we see the consequences of what really happens with marijuana abuse and addiction.

  • The term medical marijuana refers to treating a disease or symptom with the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts.
  • The FDA (in the USA) has not recognised or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
  • However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications in pill form.
  • Cannabinoids are chemicals related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient.
  • The body also produces its own cannabinoid chemicals.
  • Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of interest for medical treatment are THC and cannabidiol (CBD).
  • Scientists are conducting pre-clinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat numerous diseases and conditions.
  • Two FDA-approved marijuana drugs are dronabinol and nabilone, both used to treat nausea and boost appetite.

What short-term effects does marijuana have?

  • Sensory distortion
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Poor coordination of movement
  • Lowered reaction time
  • User feels sleepy or depressed after the initial high
  • Increased heartbeat.

What long-term effects does marijuana have?

  • Marijuana makes it harder to learn and remember things
  • Students who use marijuana get lower grades than students who don’t use
  • Workers who use marijuana have more problems at work than those who don’t use
  • Smoking marijuana damages the lungs and can cause:
    frequent chest colds, bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer
  • THC makes it harder for the body’s immune system to fight infection and disease
  • Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation
  • Personality and mood changes.

Marijuana addiction and teens

Studies show that marijuana interferes with attention, motivation, memory, and learning. Students who use marijuana regularly tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of highschool than those who don’t use. Those who use it regularly may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time. A few more facts:

  • Most marijuana use begins in adolescence: 78% of the 2.4 million people who began using in the last year were aged 12 to 20.
  • As perception of harm decreases, teen marijuana use increases.
  • Every day, 3,287 teens use marijuana for the first time.

The bottom line

Marijuana may hurt developing teens’ brains. Because a teenager’s brain is still developing, it is especially vulnerable to drug use. Regular heavy marijuana use by teens can lead to an IQ drop of up to eight points.

Heavy marijuana use by teens is linked to:

Educational outcomes

  • Lower grades and exam scores
  • Less likely to enroll in university
  • Less likely to graduate from highschool or college.

Life outcomes

  • Lower satisfaction with life
  • More likely to earn a lower income
  • More likely to be unemployed.

How does marijuana affect driving?

  • Even low doses of marijuana reduce driving ability. Adding alcohol reduces it even further
  • Reaction time and coordination are affected even after people stop feeling high
  • 7% of all fatal crashes involve marijuana.

Using marijuana during pregnancy

  • Babies are generally born with a lower birth weight
  • Brain and nerve problems
  • Later in life, children exposed to THC during pregnancy can have trouble learning and making decisions.

Is marijuana addictive?

  • Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction
  • People are addicted if they keep using marijuana even though it affects their lives
  • Withdrawal can include:
    Cravings for marijuana, anxiety, crankiness and insomnia.

How does marijuana affect recovery?

  • People who are heavy users of marijuana are more likely to drink heavily and use illicit drugs
  • Marijuana use increases the risk of relapse to meth use
  • People often use marijuana to avoid personal or family problems.