Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Smoking marijuana has gained somewhat legal status in parts of this country. Lobbying for legality has gone on since the 1950s, when popularity began its climb to what it is today, the most widely used substance in the US.
Signs of use of marijuana can be difficult to spot. For some, red eyes, slowed thought processes, slower responses, constant coughing, anxiety (often bordering on paranoia), and dry mouth can be present. Ongoing, steady use will create these symptoms more consistently. It becomes difficult to recognize if the user is always high or just occasionally smoking marijuana.
Addiction is formed with marijuana when constant, ongoing use has been established. The addict will continue to use despite consequences that begin to occur. Detrimental side effects increase after long-term use of marijuana. The chronic cough becomes more serious and noticeable, memory and thought processes remain dulled for longer periods of time.
Symptoms of addiction that are often common are drug-seeking behaviors that exhibit in users who go to extraordinary lengths to procure marijuana. Addicts may begin to grow marijuana plants for their own use, may steal to acquire resources that allow them to buy marijuana, and may become less motivated to function in social, educational, and career arenas that they may previously have taken interest in. They may become secretive and isolated, to hide their use from those close to them.
Common symptoms of marijuana addiction are slower reflexes, lethargic responses to stimuli, lack of focus, memory loss, slurred speech patterns, higher blood pressure and heart rate.
Lung cancer is a danger with marijuana addiction, because the effects of marijuana are more highly carcinogenic than tobacco in cigarettes. Those who smoke marijuana are also susceptible to mouth and throat cancers.
Most marijuana users do not believe that addiction to marijuana is possible, although the ingredient in marijuana that affects the brain (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) is psychologically addicting. Those who use regularly are not able to stop their dependence on the drug and, therefore, need to feel the effects every day.
Marijuana is called a “gateway drug”. This means that the use of this seemingly innocuous, but somewhat illegal, drug allows users to begin to cross the line between drug users and non-drug users. Once that line has been crossed, it allows the user to continue to use more dangerous and addictive drugs. This argument has kept marijuana from being legalized in parts of the world. It is true that those who use marijuana may never “graduate” to heavier drugs. However, a study cited by Foundation for a Drug Free World reported that those aged 12 to 17 who had smoked marijuana were 85 times more likely to use cocaine. 60% of those who smoke marijuana by age 15 will later use cocaine.
Addicts who need to continue their use of marijuana will suffer from the effects of withdrawal, which are irritability, loss of appetite and sleep, and craving for more marijuana. Many will return to use in order to stave off discomfort of withdrawal.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Seeking Marijuana Addiction Treatment: The Signs of an Addict
Marijuana is often treated in the media as a “safe” drug, but this is hardly the case. While there is some potential for marijuana as a painkiller or medication, its abuse is a serious problem in the United States, and addicts often suffer long-term consequences including memory loss, rapid weight change, and a move to other potentially dangerous drugs. There is no question that marijuana addiction is a serious problem for some people, requiring immediate and complete medical treatment.
Some of the signs of marijuana addiction include:
- Short term memory loss
- Bad grades or poor job performance
- Bloodshot eyes coupled with marijuana odor on the breath or clothes
- Apathy and indifference to everyday life and relationships
Most marijuana addicts do not seek help without the intervention of a family member, friend, or colleague. Because of marijuana’s reputation as a harmless recreational drug, addicts do not realize that they have a problem or don’t see an issue with their drug use, sometimes for years. There is little chance of an overdose from marijuana in the traditional sense, but it can have an overall impact on a habitual user’s life that is harmful. If you fear that you or a loved one has an addiction to marijuana, it is important to seek treatment from a qualified therapy center or an addiction treatment facility.
Methods of Marijuana Treatment
Many addicts worry about the nature of marijuana treatment and the tactics of the facilities that offer such services. While treatment varies, there is an emphasis on confronting the reasons for addiction.
Most treatment programs will not substitute another drug for marijuana, as is done with more physically addictive drugs like heroin. Instead, overall mental health is assessed and carefully monitored. The patient may be encouraged to discuss the reasons that they began to smoke marijuana, how the drug makes them feel, and their feelings about the treatment program as a whole.
In some situations, marijuana addiction is a sign of deeper mental or emotional issues and disorders that will require treatment, such as depression or anxiety. For this reason, it’s important to use a marijuana addiction treatment program with highly trained professional therapists, as programs that do not use licensed therapists or doctors may be unable to notice the signs of these disorders. Organizations like Marijuana Anonymous can be consulted for recommendations or for further information about treatment options.
Why Marijuana Addicts Cannot Stop Alone
Marijuana addiction is difficult if not impossible to treat alone. There are several reasons for this, and they stem from the factors that influenced a person to begin smoking marijuana in the first place.
Biology is one example. You may have heard the term “addictive personality.” It is thought that some people have a genetic structure that predisposes them to addiction, and this may make it easy to get addicted to drugs like marijuana.
Peer pressure can also be important; many marijuana addicts begin smoking with friends and develop an entire subculture around the drug. Quitting the drug means giving up that subculture, and this can be extremely difficult to do alone.
A high quality marijuana addiction treatment facility helps to remove the mitigating factors that can cause an addict to fall back into drug use and provide the tools that the addict needs to stay clean. Most marijuana addiction treatment centers monitor the patient for months or even years after initial treatment. The cost of treatment for addiction can range from free to many thousands per month for upscale facilities. Other treatments and recovery options range from support groups and online discussion forums, to medication and outpatient rehabilitation programs.
If you know a person who struggles with marijuana addiction, seeking treatment is a very important step. Talk to a licensed therapist or doctor to discuss the actions necessary to enter a marijuana addiction treatment program right away.