While most people agree that marijuana is a gateway drug, not all agree that it’s addictive. But marijuana is addictive, and as with any other drug, active addiction can become increasingly problematic to one’s happiness and well-being. At our Clearbrook rehab locations in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, we offer marijuana addiction treatment that can help individuals struggling with this form of substance abuse reach sobriety.
Is Marijuana Physically Addictive?
Long-term marijuana use can lead to a marijuana use disorder, which can take the form of addiction in some cases. Recent data shows that 30% of people who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.1 Additionally, people who begin using weed before the age of 18 are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.2
Marijuana use disorders are often associated with dependence – in which a person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t using the drug. People who use cannabis frequently often report irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbances, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks.3
Marijuana dependence occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing the production of and sensitivity to endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Marijuana dependence eventually becomes an addiction when the individual cannot stop using the drug despite its interference in their life.
However, cannabis addiction statistics are controversial, partly because epidemiological studies of substance use often use dependence as a substitution for addiction, even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted. According to research, about 4.0 million people in the US met the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder in 2015, a number that rose to 6 million people in 2016.4,5
Warnings Signs of Marijuana Addiction
Identifying the signs of marijuana abuse is important for early intervention and support. While cannabis is often considered less addictive and harmful than harder drugs, it can still result in dependency and cause adverse consequences for users.
Here are some signs of cannabis abuse to look out for:
- Bloodshot/Red Eyes
- Lack of Coordination
- Lack of Focus
- Unmotivated in Daily Activities
- Glass pipes
- Rolling Papers
- Cut Open Cigars
- Empty Baggies
- The Marijuana Smell
- Incense/Candles/Air Fresheners
Remember that not everyone who uses weed will develop an addiction, and individual experiences with the drug may vary. Even so, if someone exhibits multiple warning signs of abuse, it may indicate the need for professional weed addiction treatment.
Dangers of Marijuana Use
As with any drug, short-term and long-term marijuana abuse can both result in addiction and cause severe symptoms. These symptoms may dissipate after use stops, but some, such as mental impairment, can persist even after a user has quit using. Adverse effects of heavy marijuana use and addiction include:7
- Short-term memory impairment
- Difficulty with learning
- Altered judgment
- Altered brain development (especially when used in early adolescence)
- Increased risk of psychosis disorders
The more intense the use, the more prevalent the dangers. A person who began using marijuana in their adolescence is at great risk of suffering from complications with brain development and function.7 If you fall into this category, you can avoid future health risks by receiving treatment for marijuana addiction.
Finding Marijuana Rehab Near Me
When a patient is first admitted into our treatments for cannabis addiction, they will undergo a physical evaluation conducted by our medical staff. This is done to learn more about the individual’s physical and psychological health and determine their treatment plan.
Following our initial assessment, clients with severe cannabis use disorders will undergo a medically assisted detox to address any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Once a patient completes detoxification, they will then follow a customized treatment program, which focuses on one-on-one therapy, small groups, relapse prevention education, and family education.
During a patient’s stay at either of our residential treatment facilities, our clinical team will work closely with them and their support system to devise the appropriate aftercare plan that best suits their needs. Our dedicated and knowledgeable staff is available 24 hours a day to answer your questions regarding our marijuana addiction treatment program and how we can best serve you.
If you or a loved one is battling substance abuse, help is available. Contact Clearbrook Treatment Centers today for more information about our cannabis addiction treatment and additional chemical dependency services.
- NIH – Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013
- NIH – Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: association with recent use and age
- NIH – The cannabis withdrawal syndrome
- APA PsychNet – Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey.
- NIH – Marijuana use disorder is common and often untreated
- NCBI – Effects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain
- NCBI – Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use