While many argue that marijuana is an entirely safe substance to use, the drug’s potential for abuse and addiction is often brushed to the side. Otherwise known as cannabis or weed, marijuana is a collection of dried leaves from the cannabis plant, of which there are various strains. Marijuana is usually rolled into blunts or joints to be smoked, brewed as tea, or baked into food to be eaten. Although many people turn to weed as a “safe” alternative compared to other substances, it is a gateway drug that has the potential for addiction. For those who have become dependent on this substance, Clearbrook’s marijuana addiction treatment in Massachusetts can help.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Although cannabis may not appear to be as dangerous as other street drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine, it comes with its risks. Marijuana is addictive, and marijuana addiction is clinically referred to as a cannabis use disorder, which nearly 6 million people in the U.S. struggled with in 2016.1 Research also shows that eventually, adolescents who engage in marijuana abuse show problems in cognitive performance, brain development, and brain functioning.
Additionally, long-term weed use can also lead to physical dependence, which is a physical condition in which a person is unable to feel “normal” or function normally without a particular drug. This condition, as well as the person’s growing addiction to weed, becomes evident when they experience withdrawals. Users who become addicted to cannabis require marijuana addiction treatment to recover, many of whom do not receive it.
What Is the Definition of a Marijuana Addict?
The definition of a marijuana addict is someone who is unable to stop using marijuana even though it’s affecting their health and social life. However, marijuana addiction is more formally referred to as a cannabis use disorder.
According to marijuana addiction statistics:
- Approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder.2
- People who use cannabis have about a 10% likelihood of becoming addicted.3
- The risk of developing marijuana use disorder is greater in people who start using marijuana during youth or adolescence and who use marijuana more frequently.4
Cannabis use disorder is a problematic cannabis use pattern that results in clinically significant impairment or distress. Several criteria are outlined in the DSM-5, and the number of symptoms is taken into consideration when making a diagnosis.5 Among these symptoms are:
- Taking cannabis in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
- Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control cannabis use.
- Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of cannabis.
- A craving for or a strong desire to use cannabis.
- Continued use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of cannabis.
- Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of cannabis use.
- Recurrent cannabis use in situations where it is physically hazardous.
- Continued use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by cannabis.
A person is diagnosed with cannabis use disorder if they meet two out of the three requirements in a year. Depending on how many criteria are satisfied, the disorder’s severity is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.
Major Signs of Marijuana Use and Addiction
As a marijuana addiction treatment center, we are familiar with the various signs of cannabis abuse that can be easily hidden or overlooked. Especially due to the various restrictions on weed that have been relaxed in numerous states throughout the nation, identifying a cannabis addiction is more difficult now than ever.
If you suspect that a loved one or your child is addicted to cannabis, below are common signs of weed addiction and abuse to look out for:
- Bloodshot/red eyes
- Lack of coordination
- Lack of focus
- Unmotivated in daily activities
- Glass pipes
- Cut open cigars
- Empty baggies, joints, rolling papers, and other drug paraphernalia
- The recognizable smell of weed in their room, car, or on their clothes
- Frequent use of incense, candles, and/or air fresheners
While the effects of marijuana are often portrayed as relaxing or even comical in the media, using weed can increase the risk of injury and accidents as well as other physical problems, such as lung and cardiovascular issues. Impairments in cognition and memory have also been reported with long-term marijuana use.
Short-Term Effects of Cannabis & Long-Term Risks
As with other substances, short and long-term marijuana abuse can lead to various symptoms. These effects may dissipate after use stops, but problems like mental impairment can persist even after the person has stopped smoking or eating weed.
Common side effects of marijuana include:
- Short-term memory impairment
- Difficulty with learning
- Altered judgment
- Slurred speech
- Drowsiness and sedation
- Altered brain development
In addition to these immediate impairments, research shows that cannabis use can also affect areas like working memory, verbal fluency, language, speech, and decision-making abilities. There’s also evidence suggesting decreased performance in areas like decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, memory, inhibition, and impulsivity control because of long-term marijuana use.
Although weed is not addictive in the same way that opioids or benzodiazepines are, it does affect chemical balances in the brain as well as the user’s physical and emotional response. As a result, while the physical aspect of a cannabis addiction may seem less severe than that of a heroin addiction, the emotional and psychological dependence can be just as severe.
How Long Does It Take for Cannabinoid Receptors to Return to Normal?
Cannabis dependence is correlated with the downregulation of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R). The level of CB1R within the system is directly proportional to the degree of dependence on and tolerance to cannabis.
In a conducted study, it took around four weeks for individuals’ cannabinoid receptor levels to return to normal, particularly that of CB1R receptor levels. This research showed how the brain employs CB1R receptors to modulate cannabis tolerance.6
Despite these issues, there is a severe lack of marijuana addiction treatment centers in the nation, but our Massachusetts inpatient drug rehab is proud to offer this service to those in need. With the help of our medical team, specialists, and counselors, our marijuana addiction help can aid clients in recovering and getting sober.
Finding Marijuana Addiction Treatment Near Me
No matter how addictive a substance is, no one wants to be under the control of drugs or alcohol. The same goes for marijuana, despite the various claims of its harmlessness. Physically, while users might feel happy or relaxed, as cannabis use worsens, they may eventually find themselves unable to stop.
Over time, weed might take precedence over other responsibilities in life, such as school, work, and family. Suddenly, motivation, determination, and other positive aspects of life begin to give way. Therefore, due to the increasing use of both natural and synthetic weed, the need for a marijuana rehab program has become more apparent.
More and more drug dealers are selling weed laced with fentanyl and other potent drugs on the streets, contributing to various overdoses. Considering that many receive their weed from drug dealers, this is a disturbing reality. Fortunately, our facility offers weed addiction treatment, among other levels of care, to assist people who have used drugs long-term to achieve a healthier way of life.
There is a rehab for weed in Massachusetts that can help you or a loved one achieve recovery. Our MA facility is one of two marijuana addiction treatment centers in the Clearbrook family. For more information about our THC addiction treatment or any of our other Massachusetts substance abuse treatments, contact Clearbrook Treatment Center today.
- National Institutes of Health – Marijuana use disorder is common and often untreated
- National Library of Medicine – Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001–2002 and 2012–2013
- National Library of Medicine – Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)
- National Library of Medicine – Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: Association with recent use and age
- National Library of Medicine – Cannabis Use Disorder
- National Library of Medicine – Reversible and regionally selective downregulation of brain cannabinoid CB1 receptors in chronic daily cannabis smokers