Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana, also known as “weed” or “pot,” is a psychoactive drug that comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. People typically smoke the buds of the flower, but some people consume it in the form of wax concentrates, distillates and tinctures, and edibles. While marijuana is illegal at the federal level, it has been legalized for medicinal and recreational use in various U.S. states.

Marijuana has two primary ingredients: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects like increased happiness and mild hallucinations, while CBD is often praised for its pain-relieving and calming effects.

Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 17.9% (or about 49.6 million people) reported using cannabis in the past 12 months.[1] It is one of the most widely abused substances, so it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of weed addiction and what treatment entails.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Because marijuana is legal in some states and used medicinally in even more states, many people believe it is safer than other drugs. And, since it can grow from the earth, some people think it is natural and not addictive. However, both of these ideas are untrue.

Marijuana is a mood-and-mind-altering substance that can be habit-forming after regular long-term use. According to the CDC, approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have a marijuana use disorder.[2] In total, studies estimate that more than 14 million people struggle with an addiction to cannabis.[1]

Marijuana use disorder is a clinical diagnosis that can be made by healthcare providers. People who struggle with this condition may realize that using cannabis has a negative impact on their lives.

How to Tell if Someone is High on Marijuana

One of the easiest ways to tell if someone has been smoking pot is by the smell. Marijuana, especially when smoked, has a strong, potent smell that some people describe as “skunk-like.” The smell can linger on a person’s breath, clothing, or hair, making marijuana use difficult to conceal.

Common side effects of marijuana use include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Glossy eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth (A.K.A “cottonmouth”)
  • Feelings of elation or happiness
  • Heightened perception of color or sound
  • Distorted sense of time
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Distorted thinking
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate

Another way to know if someone is using cannabis is to look for paraphernalia used to take the drug. Marijuana-related paraphernalia may include:

  • Glass pipe
  • Bong
  • Lighter
  • Rolling papers
  • Blunt wrappers
  • Grinder
  • Dry herb vaporizers
  • Wax rig for concentrates
  • Butane torch

Signs of Marijuana Addiction

Some people are more susceptible to marijuana addiction than others. For example, people who engage in chronic, long-term heavy marijuana use are likely to become addicted. Addiction may also be more likely in people who suffer from mental illness or those whose parents also struggle with addiction.

Typical signs of marijuana addiction include:

  • Continuing to use marijuana even when it contributes to poor health, decision-making, or mental health
  • Making multiple attempts to stop using the drug but not being able to stay sober
  • Having cravings for marijuana
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal after the effects wear off or when trying to stay sober
  • Lying to friends and family about drug use
  • Feeling as though you can’t function or cope without the drug
  • Using marijuana as a means of coping with depression, anxiety, trauma, or other symptoms for which it is not prescribed
  • Prioritizing using marijuana instead of taking care of personal responsibilities or things you used to enjoy

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

There are many misconceptions about marijuana, one of them being that the drug isn’t addictive. Since people believe it isn’t addictive, some may think it doesn’t cause symptoms of withdrawal upon cessation. The truth is, marijuana withdrawal syndrome is real, and more than half of regular cannabis users report having symptoms of withdrawal if they stop using the drug.[3]

Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are generally not serious or life-threatening, but they can be uncomfortable and irritating. Common symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares or sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Cold sweats
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Drug cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Poor focus
  • Depression

The longer you have used cannabis, the more intense your withdrawal symptoms will be. Unfortunately, marijuana stays in your system for a long time, so withdrawal symptoms can last for up to two weeks. Some symptoms like depression and irritability may persist for a few months.

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

If you or a loved one are ready to stop using marijuana, speak with your doctor or a team member at Moving Mountains Recovery today. A rehab center can help you stop using cannabis, get through the withdrawal period, and stay sober for the long run.

Medical detox may or may not be needed for marijuana use disorder. It is more likely to be necessary if you are addicted to another drug as well or if you have a co-occurring mental health condition. For example, if you are detoxing from both alcohol and marijuana, you may need inpatient medical detox. While there are no medications that can treat marijuana withdrawal, supportive care in the form of over-the-counter medications, psychiatric care, and peer support can be beneficial.

After detoxing, treatment options include residential treatment, partial hospitalization, outpatient rehab, and intensive outpatient treatment. A healthcare provider or addiction specialist can help you determine which level of care is appropriate for you based on your needs. Regardless of the type of program you choose, treatment involves addressing the underlying cause of your substance abuse, developing healthy coping skills, and creating a relapse prevention plan. These three elements can pave the way for a sober, marijuana-free lifestyle.

Find Treatment for Marijuana Addiction in New Jersey Today

Help is available for marijuana abuse and addiction. Contact us today to speak with an admissions coordinator about finding the right treatment program for you.

References:

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-scope-marijuana-use-in-united-states
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/data-statistics.htm
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2764234

 

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