Marijuana, which is also referred to as weed, herb, Mary Jane, and grass, is a plant containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 1. THC is the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana that creates the high that users experience. While marijuana also contains several other THC-related compounds, referred to as cannabinoids, THC is the main ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for intoxication 1. Long-term marijuana use can lead to cognitive impairments 2, as well as addiction, which is characterized by problematic use despite negative consequences and an inability to control marijuana use.
This article will discuss the following:
- Signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction.
- Treating marijuana addiction.
- Cost and payment for treatment.
- Why do people become addicted?
- Long-term effects of marijuana addiction.
- Finding help for marijuana addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
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If you or a loved one exhibits signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction, help is available. Call one of our referral specialists today at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to discuss addiction treatment options today.
Chronic marijuana users can develop a physiological dependence on marijuana, which may then contribute to the development of an addiction. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) notes that a cannabis use disorder, or marijuana addiction, may be present when a person 3:
- Uses more marijuana or for longer periods of time than was intended.
- Tries to quit or cut back on marijuana use, but fails to do so.
- Spends a large portion of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of marijuana.
- Experiences negative effects on work, social life, and family functioning as a result of marijuana use.
- Gives up important recreational activities in favor of marijuana use.
- Uses marijuana repeatedly in dangerous situations, such as while driving.
- Continues to use marijuana, despite negative physical or psychological complications.
- Engages in secretive behaviors surrounding marijuana use.
- Engages in marijuana use alone.
In addition to the above behavioral symptoms, there are some physical and psychological signs and symptoms to be aware of. These may include 3:
- A tolerance to marijuana, requiring greater doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms upon reducing or stopping use.
- Cravings or a strong desire to use marijuana.
- Blood-shot eyes.
- Dry mouth.
- Increased appetite.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Impaired motor skills.
- Inappropriate laughter.
- Social withdrawal.
- Impaired judgment.
Treating Marijuana Addiction
Although addiction can be quite debilitating, it is a treatable condition. There are a variety of rehabilitation programs available to help you overcome your addiction to marijuana. No matter how long someone has suffered from a marijuana addiction, recovery is possible. Although some people have successfully stopped using marijuana on their own, seeking a treatment program to begin recovery from substance abuse can be beneficial for many.
When people enter treatment for addiction, the trained staff and other individuals also recovering from addiction can prove invaluable. A treatment program provides the necessary structure, therapeutic intervention, and supervision for addiction sufferers to progress through the recovery process.
Typically, there are underlying reasons for an addiction. If a person merely stops using the drug, the underlying triggers for the addiction may not be addressed. In these cases, a person may be more vulnerable to relapsing should the same stressors arise. Behavioral therapy in a structured treatment program can help to uncover these influences and provide you with the coping skills and stress-management strategies necessary for long-term sobriety.
Addiction treatment is a highly individualized service. Each person seeking treatment is unique, and what may be a great fit for one person may not work for another individual suffering from the same addiction.
Some of the recovery options for marijuana addiction include:
- Inpatient: Residential or inpatient programs require that you live at the facility for the duration of the treatment program, while receiving individual therapy, group counseling, medical care, and any other services offered. These programs are best for those who require structure and wish to escape their using environments.
- Outpatient: Conversely, outpatient programs provide you with the freedom to still live at home and fulfill home, school, and work responsibilities while recovering from marijuana addiction. Outpatient programs range in intensiveness. Some may meet a couple times a week for 1-2 hours, while others may meet 5 times a week for 3-5 hours per day.
- Population-specific: These types of programs have experience in treating certain populations and cater to their specific needs. Examples include LGBT patients, men-only, women-only, veterans, and adolescents.
- Luxury: These inpatient programs carry a much higher price tag, but offer settings much like a 5-star hotel or beautiful resort. Some additional amenities may include, gourmet meals, massage, golf, and swimming pools.
- Executive: These inpatient programs cater to business executives, such as CEOs, who don’t want to take the time off work while recovering from a marijuana addiction. These facilities provide patients with internet access, phones, and private work rooms.
- 12-step programs: Fellowship programs, such as Marijuana Anonymous (MA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide a group-based treatment setting and focus on spiritual aspects of recovery.
- Secular programs: This type of treatment avoids the spiritually-based approach of a traditional 12-step program, which may work well for others, but not all. Examples include SMART Recovery and Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), which utilize an evidence-based approach that evolves with new scientific and addiction research.
- Holistic: Holistic treatment programs combine traditional treatment modalities, such as therapy and counseling, with complementary and alternative methods, such as acupuncture, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, creative arts therapy, and equine therapy. They aim at healing the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.
Cost and Payment
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Once you’ve acknowledged that you have a problem, the first step towards recovery is picking up the phone and calling our 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to discuss marijuana addiction treatment options.
There is tremendous variability in the cost of treatment programs depending on several factors, including the length of stay, intensity of treatment required, the location of the treatment facility, and your insurance policy.
If you have insurance, call your insurance company to receive information regarding your specific treatment coverage. Most insurance companies provide at least partial coverage of addiction treatment services.
If you do not have insurance, there are other options to explore, such as:
- Borrowing money from family and friends: If you have a strong support network, you may want to consider asking your friends and family members for loans or donations towards your addiction treatment. Chances are they will want to help you recover from your addiction.
- Using savings: Although you may not have imagined spending your savings on addiction treatment, nothing is more important than your sobriety.
- Using credit cards: If you don’t have enough money saved to finance your recovery, you may want to use a credit card that you can pay off later on once you’re sober and healthy.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding websites, such as IndieGoGo and GoFundMe, allow you to share our recovery story with a large audience and receive donations from friends, family, and other donors.
- Sliding scales: Many treatment programs understand the financial hardships of addiction and will adjust the price according to a patient’s income and financial status.
- Payment plans: Some programs offer payment plans allowing individuals to pay the cost of treatment in affordable monthly installments.
Why Do People Become Addicted?
There is no single cause of addiction to marijuana; it is a multi-faceted condition that is influenced by a number of factors. Some factors that can increase the risk of marijuana addiction include:
- Genetics 4: Genetics play a role in the development of addiction. If your parents or someone in your family has suffered from an addiction, you are more likely to become addicted. Marijuana addiction is about 43% heritable, with approximately 57% of its influence coming from the environment.
- Environment: Environmental influences, such as family life, friends, poverty level, community, and education, can contribute to the development of marijuana addiction.
- Trauma 5: Traumatic events, also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), such as abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, and parental separation and divorce, can increase the risk of substance abuse and transition into addiction.
- Mental health 3: Individuals with a marijuana addiction are more likely to suffer from a mental health condition as well. Marijuana addiction commonly co-occurs with major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), paranoid personality disorders, conduct disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Regardless of the cause of addiction, recovery is possible for everyone. It’s never too late to seek addiction treatment. Call our hotline at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to speak to a treatment support specialist about recovery options.
Long-term Effects of Marijuana Addiction
Addiction is a chronic and progressive condition. If a person who struggles with addiction does not address these issues, the addiction tends to worsen over time.
There has been conflicting research regarding the long-term effects of marijuana abuse, but some potential effects of chronic marijuana use can include 2,6:
- Loss of IQ points in those who begin using in adolescence, according to some research.
- Impaired memory, learning, and impulse control.
- Increased risk of mental health disorders, particularly schizophrenia.
- Psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations.
- Worsening of depression.
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
- Increased chance of gum disease.
- Increased risk of respiratory illnesses, such as lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Increased risk of heart attack.
Marijuana addiction can affect every aspect of a user’s life. Some general consequences of addiction may include:
- Expulsion from school or dropping out.
- Poor work performance and subsequent job loss.
- Relationship problems, such as divorce and separation.
- Child-care issues, such as child neglect and abuse.
- Legal problems, such as possession charges or DUI.
- Physical or mental health complications.
Get Help for Marijuana Addiction Today
There are many rehabilitation programs available for the treatment of marijuana addiction. Call today at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to speak with a referral specialist regarding your options for treatment and recovery.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What is marijuana?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). What are marijuana’s long-term effects on the brain?
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Bevilacqua, L., Goldman, D. (2009). Genes and Addictions. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 85 (4), 359-361.
- Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Adverse childhood experiences.
- Drug Enforcement Administration. (2014). The danger and consequences of marijuana.