How to Help a Loved One with Marijuana Addiction

It can be very difficult to give up marijuana. What even contributes more to this problem is the increasing social acceptance of this substance and thus it makes the addicted one not want to quit. People who are addicted may not realize that they have a problem and those who live with them may also adopt the same casual attitude towards the addiction. These people may end up using marijuana on a daily basis and cannot control their use no matter the consequences. Those who receive marijuana addiction treatment fall into this category.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment Centers

Many people are able to quit their marijuana addiction without entering a full-scale treatment center. However, for those who are in an environment which makes it difficult for them to stop using the substance, a treatment center is the best solution for lasting recovery.

Although marijuana may not be as physically addictive compared to other drugs, psychological addiction can very harmful and powerful. Mental dependencies can result in behavioral disorders such as gambling. Just in the year 2012, over 950,000 people received some form of marijuana addiction treatment. Still, there are more people who hold that marijuana is a tolerant and acceptable drug. This perception likely stems from the belief that marijuana is not addictive. Such misconceptions may stop a person who is addicted to getting the necessary help. Although an addicted person may not show physical symptoms and may function normally, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have dependence.

Marijuana Detox and Withdrawal

It may be surprising to learn that marijuana can produce withdrawal effects. In fact, these can be severe just like other drugs such as meth or cocaine. The drug has the ability to:

  • Increase irritability
  • Make it  harder to sleep
  • Spur cravings
  • Cause anxiety

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Some people will need an inpatient treatment in order to kick-start their recovery. Most people in such a program are placed there by a criminal justice system. There are those, however, who choose this treatment voluntarily. The program lasts between 30 and 90 days.

The primary treatment options for marijuana addicts include therapy and support groups. Behavioral therapy is used to tackle the various psychological aspects of the addiction. The amount of time a person should spend in therapy varies from person to person but may last up to 12 weeks.

Undergoing therapy is vital because it can help a person understand his addictions and motivate him in the right direction. It is also a great way for an individual to arm himself against cravings and elapses.

Support groups are one of the most common ways addicts receive help. There are many support groups available for anyone who wishes to break free from the habit. A 12-step program is implemented in these groups to help an individual work through the addiction in a safe environment. Other support groups are also available for those who do not wish to take the traditional 12-step model.

How to Know if You are Addicted

Given the fact that marijuana is increasingly becoming an accepted drug in modern society, and has even been legalized in a few States, how can a person know when marijuana has become a problem? The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines marijuana use disorder as being associated with physiological and physical dependence. That means an individual will urgently want the drug in order to feel “normal” and experience withdrawal symptoms when he is not using the drug. It is normal to feel genuine concern if an individual or his loved one exhibits the warning signs:

  • Giving up favorite extracurricular activities in order to use marijuana
  • When the use of the substance interferes with work, school or home life
  • Experiencing frequent marijuana cravings
  • Putting yourself or others’ lives at risk when under the influence
  • Trying to stop the use but cannot do so
  • Compromising relationships with friends and family due to the substance abuse
  • Building a tolerance to marijuana
  • Experiencing financial difficulties due to marijuana use
  • Becoming defensive when a friend expresses concern

Problems Associated with Marijuana Use

Marijuana is undoubtedly the most abused drug in the US and commonly used by young teens and adults. There are some states that have legalized it either for medicinal or recreational use. There is still a heated debate over whether or not marijuana is an addictive substance.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse confirms that marijuana can lead to the development of marijuana use disorder and consequently lead to addiction. The data shows that those who have formed the habit of using marijuana before the age of 18 are seven times more likely to develop marijuana use disorder. This is especially problematic among teens that don’t see anything wrong with the drug.

Marijuana is also referred to as the “gateway drug”. This is because many who develop other drug addictions started off with marijuana. Cannabis can be the prime brain enhancer for a host for other types of drugs. 

There are many ways of consuming marijuana such as smoking, vaping, pills and ingesting edibles. THC is the main psychoactive chemical that is found in marijuana. It stimulates the brain to release dopamine and this is responsible for creating a euphoric state. Over the years, marijuana has become more potent; the THC content of the drug is now higher. Marijuana users mainly seek the effects of HTC when consuming the drug. Ingesting high doses of the drug has been linked to various negative side effects such as panic attacks, psychosis or overdose.

If a loved one continues to use marijuana despite efforts to stop, then it might be time to consider treatment. Even if a person has not expressed interest in trying to break free from the habit, the warning signs indicate that he needs urgent help to break free from the habit. This can be done through enrolling in a reputable and professional treatment center.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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