Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Is it possible to become addicted to marijuana? After all, cannabis, in some form, is now legal in 33 states and in the District of Columbia. But just like misuse of legal and illegal drugs or misuse of alcohol can lead to addiction, misuse of marijuana can also lead to addiction.
What is Marijuana Addiction?
Problematic marijuana use is generally classified into two different categories:
- Marijuana use disorder (also classified as marijuana abuse)
- Marijuana addiction
Marijuana use disorder means the user has developed a dependency on the substance, and he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms when not using it for a few days. Symptoms may include irritability, problems with sleep, lack of hunger, restlessness, and cravings for the drug.
Because of the way THC, the active chemical in marijuana, attaches to brain receptors, adverse physical and mental effects can also occur. These can involve difficulty in decision making and problem solving, balance and coordination issues, respiratory problems, depression, hallucinations and more. Driving while under the influence of marijuana can put drivers at a greater risk for causing accidents.
Marijuana addiction occurs when the user can’t stop using marijuana, even when use of the substance is having a negative impact on his or her daily life. The user may have difficulty coping with everyday challenges without the use of the drug. Because it has adapted to increasingly larger amounts of marijuana, the brain has intense cravings for more, leading to stronger physical and psychological discomfort when the cravings aren’t satisfied.
What are the Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction?
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of marijuana drug addiction include:
- Hoarding the drug
- Spending money on drugs rather than on household expenses
- Cutting back on work, hobbies, or social activities in order to use
- Taking risks while under the influence
- Failed attempts to stop using
- A need to use the drug regularly, either daily or several times per day
How is Marijuana Addiction Treated?
Marijuana addiction is treated in a similar manner to other drug addictions. Both inpatient and outpatient drug rehab facilities offer effective programs, including counseling and education. Programs often include individual and/or group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family counseling, and 12-step group programs.
Drug rehabilitation programs focus on breaking the dependency the user has on an addictive substance. The recovering addict learns how to make healthy choices, foster healthy relationships, how to deal with uncomfortable emotions, and coping skills for avoiding continued marijuana use.
Marijuana Withdrawal and Detox
Although withdrawal from marijuana is not usually life-threatening, detoxification can cause varying degrees of discomfort. Reactions ranging from moderate discomfort to physical and psychological pain can occur. Withdrawal symptoms occur as a part of the detoxification process, in which cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its metabolites are flushing from the body.
An article published in a 2015 edition of the American Journal of Drug Addictions states that between “65–70% of cannabis smokers reported relief of abstinence effects as a factor in their relapse to cannabis intake, suggesting that withdrawal symptoms can serve as negative reinforcement for relapse and, thereby, hinder quit attempts.” In other words, for many who have relapsed after trying to quit marijuana, blamed avoiding withdrawal symptoms as a major contributor.
Physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana can be both physical and psychological.
Psychological symptoms may include:
Physical withdrawal effects can include:
- Poor appetite, losing weight
- Sweating, which may be extreme
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty sleeping, unusual or disturbing dreams
- Daytime exhaustion
- Shakiness or tremors
Although there aren’t currently any medications to specifically treat marijuana abuse or addiction withdrawal, a treatment facility specializing in addiction recovery can offer a safe environment for detoxification. Medical professionals there can also administer medications to ease anxiety and discomfort during the detox process.
Our Unique Therapeutic Approach to Recovery
Recognizing that a multiple avenue approach provides the greatest success for rehabilitation, Midwest Recovery Centers uses a unique therapeutic model in their approach to treating marijuana addiction and other substances. This treatment model includes:
- Experiential group therapy to help clients achieve a better understanding of themselves and their personal strengths.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to focus on changing behaviors and developing coping mechanisms.
- 12-step integration to help recovering addicts connect with others in a positive group setting.
- Rational-emotive behavior approaches to help clients change irrational beliefs.
- Psycho-educational groups to help clients learn coping skills and educating on practical life skills.
Midwest Recovery Centers believes the most effective method for treating marijuana addiction is found through a holistic approach. As a result, our staff members are highly educated in both addiction recovery and naturopathic remedies. Therapists have advanced training in addiction treatment, and recovery support staff are always available to guide each client through the recovery process. Many of the support staff have personally walked the addiction recovery path and are uniquely qualified to inspire those on the journey.
Because many recovering addicts struggle with more than one disorder, Midwest Recovery Centers recognizes the need to treat co-occurring disorders simultaneously. Successful outcomes have been shown to be the highest when this integrated treatment approach addresses both mental health and substance abuse issues together.