Marijuana Addiction | Drug Dictionary | Nova Recovery Center

Marijuana

 

About Marijuana

Marijuana refers to the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. It contains more than 400 chemicals, including a mind-altering chemical called THC that produces a physical high when the marijuana is smoked.

The effects of marijuana will vary depending on the person using it, but when it is smoked, the THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream very quickly. When consumed via an edible product, the effects of marijuana will take about 30 minutes to an hour to appear.

THC affects certain parts of the brain, leading to effects like altered senses, mood swings, impaired memory and body movement, hallucinations, and more.

Marijuana is produced in a number of different forms such as:

  • Cigarettes (also called joints)
  • Edibles like brownies and tea
  • Hash oil or honey oil
  • Wax or budder
  • Shatter

Since it comes in so many different forms, people also use marijuana in many different ways. Some people hand-roll cigarettes (also known as joints) and smoke them. Others mix the dried marijuana leaves into edible products and eat them. Another common practice, called dabbing, involves smoking the THC-rich resins found in hash oil, honey oil, wax, budder or shatter.

Although popular, dabbing can also be very dangerous because it requires that users prepare the extracts using lighter fluid, which can cause accidents and physical injury.

The medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal in some states but not others, reflecting an increasing acceptance of marijuana use in the United States. In many states, marijuana use is still illegal.

Street Names for Marijuana

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Grass
  • Mary Jane
  • Reefer
  • Blaze
  • Dope

Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world and the most widely used drug in America. According to SAMHSA’s 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 36.7 million people reported that they used marijuana over the past year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana use is also widespread among young people, and the number of middle and high school students who believe marijuana use is dangerous is steadily decreasing.

The medical use of marijuana to treat various illnesses and physical conditions is still being studied. Although the FDA has approved some medications that contain cannabinoids, the marijuana plant has not been recognized or approved by the FDA for medicinal purposes. Scientists are still conducting preclinical and clinical trials to determine the efficacy of the marijuana plant to treat illnesses and other conditions.

Although the topic of marijuana addiction is one that is highly debated, research suggests that between nine and 30 percent of individuals who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reports that one in every 11 marijuana users will become addicted.

Physical Effects

Marijuana may have a wide range of physical and mental effects and doesn’t always affect everyone in the same way.

Immediate short-term effects of marijuana abuse may include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Euphoria
  • Increased appetite
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Altered sense of time
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired senses
  • Difficulty problem-solving
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired body movement
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis

Long-term effects of marijuana abuse may include:

  • Impaired brain development (when marijuana is abused at a young age)
  • Breathing problems
  • Higher risk of lung infections
  • Increased heart rate
  • Impaired child development during and after pregnancy
  • Weakened immune system
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

According to the NIDA, individuals who frequently use large amounts of marijuana also report lower satisfaction in life, poorer physical and mental health, and more relationship problems than those who do not use marijuana.

What Marijuana Addiction Looks Like

Different individuals may develop varying levels of physical dependence and addiction to marijuana. Although anyone can become addicted to marijuana, there are some factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing a drug addiction. They include:

  • Lack of family involvement – A lack of parental and family involvement has been shown to increase a child’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder later in life.
  • History of family addiction – If a child has a parent or close family member who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, he or she is more likely to develop an addiction later in life.
  • A psychiatric disorder – If a person has a psychiatric disorder such as depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety, he or she is more likely to develop a substance use disorder than someone who does not have a psychiatric disorder.

If a person is addicted to marijuana, he or she will most likely display all or some of the following symptoms:

  1. Needing more marijuana to achieve the same high.
  2. Having an inability to control marijuana use.
  3. Having extreme cravings for marijuana.
  4. Experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when the effects of marijuana wear off.
  5. Getting into dangerous and/or life-threatening situations while under the influence of marijuana.
  6. Neglecting hobbies and important obligations such as school, work, or family.
  7. Continuing to use marijuana despite the harmful effects it causes.

Marijuana Detox and Withdrawal

If you are addicted or physically dependent on marijuana you will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it. These symptoms can make it very difficult to achieve sobriety without giving in to your cravings and using again.

The best way to stop using marijuana for good is to enroll in a medically assisted detox program. This is especially true if you have been using marijuana heavily for several years or have tried to quit before but relapsed. A detox center can provide a safe period of medical observation to help you proceed through the withdrawal process safely and comfortably before reaching a state of sobriety.

Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal will vary between individuals, but some common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Marijuana cravings
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia

Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline

24 hours after the last dose: General feelings of discomfort may begin, including irritability, anxiety, and insomnia.

2-3 days after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms usually peak during this time and may include sweating, chills, stomach pains, and intense cravings for marijuana.

4-5 days after the last dose: Most cravings will have subsided but cravings and psychological effects such as anxiety may linger for several weeks after detox is completed.

Long-Term Rehab for Marijuana Addiction

Because marijuana cravings and other psychological effects of marijuana withdrawal may linger for weeks after detox, a long-term rehab program may be necessary to achieve lasting sobriety. Additionally, returning to a home environment where marijuana abuse is accepted or convenient may also compromise sobriety.

Drug rehab for marijuana addiction provides essential life skills, education, and relapse prevention techniques needed for ongoing sobriety. Programs combine evidence-based therapeutic interventions such as contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy with 12-step facilitation therapy to help clients rebuild their lives without dependence on marijuana or any other addictive substance.

Clients may choose to enroll in an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program, depending on their needs and circumstances. An inpatient program will provide an immersive treatment experience while the client lives at the treatment center with other peers in recovery throughout the duration of their program. An outpatient program, on the other hand, may provide more flexibility for those who cannot commit to a 90-day residential program. IOP meetings are facilitated in a group setting and held several times a week at a safe, clinical location.

The primary goals of long-term rehab for marijuana are:

  • To help clients stop using marijuana and other addictive substances
  • To help clients maintain long-term or lifelong abstinence
  • To help clients be productive members of their families, workplaces, and society

Depending on the type of marijuana rehab program a person chooses, the cost will vary. Payment options include medical insurance, third-party loans, or out-of-pocket payments. Many employers will also offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to help employees deal with issues like substance abuse. These programs can help reduce the cost of addiction treatment.

Continued Care Options for Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Once an individual has completed marijuana detox and rehab, he or she may continue treatment with several different continued care options. According to the NIDA, the longer a person stays in treatment, the more likely they are to achieve positive results.

Sober Living Programs

Sober living programs are designed to help clients transition from rehab to independent sober life. While enrolled, clients live in a safe, supportive, and clean transitional living home where they are required to follow community rules and engage in an ongoing treatment program.

Transitional housing programs also offer additional recovery support programs such as employment and education assistance, drug and alcohol testing, and peer-guided support groups to help clients stay accountable to their sobriety goals.

Sober living programs for men and women have many benefits for those in recovery from marijuana addiction and other substance use disorders. Transitional housing:

  • Provides a safe space for clients to remain sober
  • Helps clients stay accountable to their sobriety
  • Gives clients time to practice essential life skills and learn how to live responsibly on their own
  • Encourages clients to develop and build relationships with other individuals in recovery
  • Offers additional support during the vulnerable first few months and years of sobriety

The cost of a sober living program will vary based on the program the client chooses. Location, residence and room type, as well as recovery support services, will all influence the cost of the program.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are perfect for alumni who have already completed a rehab program for marijuana addiction and are in recovery. Aftercare offers another level of support for individuals who are living sober on their own but want continued support and accountability. Aftercare group meetings are facilitated once a week and are held in a safe, clinical location where personal issues are discussed, advice and encouragement are given, and ongoing sobriety challenges are addressed.

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