Marijuana is one of the most widely used psychoactive substances in the country. Because marijuana has been largely legalized, many people assume it is safe to use and non habit-forming. While recreational marijuana use generally poses no threat when the drug is used sparingly and infrequently, a significant number of people currently suffer from a diagnosable marijuana use disorder, which can negatively impact overall quality of life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the country, with over 48.2 million users in the year 2019 alone. (1) This equates to around 18 percent of the total population. If you or someone you love has been suffering at the hands of a marijuana use disorder, there is help available. It can be difficult to come to terms with a marijuana addiction, especially considering widespread misconceptions about the drug and its perceived harmlessness. To learn more about the treatment options available to you, contact us today.
Scope of Marijuana Use in the U.S.
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, pot, and weed, is the second most widely misused chemical substance in the U.S. preceded only by alcohol. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that around 50 million Americans over the age of 12 reported using marijuana at least once in the past 12 months. (1) Marijuana is used among members of every demographic and in every age range. Unfortunately, because of widespread stigmas surrounding marijuana use disorder, the majority of individuals who struggle with marijuana dependence fail to seek the professional help they need. An article published by BMC Public Health states, “A major US study found that only 13% of those diagnosed with a cannabis disorder sought treatment and other studies have reported that less than one third of all dependent cannabis users sought treatment during the past year.” (2) If you or someone close to you has become dependent on marijuana, help is available. Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options readily accessible to you in your immediate area.
Marijuana Use Disorder
An article published by Yale Medicine states that around 10 percent of all individuals who begin smoking marijuana will eventually become addicted, and around 30 percent of all current users meet the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder. (1) When a person uses marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis they are at risk of developing a marijuana use disorder, regardless of the presence of additional risk factors like genetic predisposition or underlying mental illness.
Signs & Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, lays out several additional diagnostic criteria those with marijuana use disorders tend to experience. If you answer “yes” to more than two of the following questions, there is a good chance you would benefit from some degree of professional addiction treatment.
- Do you often use more marijuana than you intended, or use marijuana for a longer period of time than you intended?
- Have you attempted to quit using marijuana on your own with limited success, or have you attempted to cut back on the amount of marijuana you use unsuccessfully?
- Do you experience cravings for marijuana throughout the day?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time obtaining marijuana, using marijuana, and recovering from the effects of marijuana use?
- Have you started to experience problems at work or at school directly related to your marijuana use?
- Do you continue to use marijuana despite newly developing or worsening physical and psychological symptoms?
- Have you been instructed to cut back on your marijuana use by a licensed healthcare professional, and have you made the decision to ignore their advice?
- Do you engage in risk-taking behavior while under the influence of marijuana, like driving while under the influence or mixing marijuana with other substances like alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines?
- Have you started to neglect activities you previously enjoyed as a direct result of your marijuana use?
- Have you developed a physical tolerance, meaning more marijuana is required in order for the desired effects to be achieved?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit marijuana on your own, including cravings, restlessness, irritability, and agitation?
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. The CDC reports, “Recent research estimated that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder. For people who begin using marijuana before age 18, the risk of developing marijuana use disorder is even greater. Marijuana use directly affects the brain, specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision-making, coordination, emotion, and reaction time. Infants, children, and teens (who still have developing brains) are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of marijuana.”
Treatment Options for Marijuana Addiction
There are many available treatment options for marijuana misuse and dependence. The best treatment option for you will depend on several factors, including how long you have been using marijuana, how frequently you use the drug, and whether or not you have simultaneously been using any other chemical substances.
Medically Monitored Detox
Although the symptoms associated with marijuana withdrawal are not life-threatening and are rarely severe, entering a medical detox center for at least 72 hours is usually a good idea. Not only will physical symptoms be treated as they develop, but your assigned case manager will help you develop a personalized plan for continuing care.
Inpatient Drug Rehab
Inpatient marijuana rehab is an ideal option for those who were abusing marijuana in conjunction with other chemical substances, or who were simultaneously suffering from a mental illness like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Inpatient treatment generally lasts for between 28 and 90 days depending on the needs of the client. If you are interested in attending inpatient rehab and your marijuana use disorder is considered mild or moderate, a shorter stay might be more beneficial.
If you have been suffering from a marijuana use disorder and no co-occurring issues, an outpatient treatment option might be the best option. Outpatient treatment groups meet between 3 and 5 days a week for several hours each day, and often include addiction education, workshops focused on relapse prevention training, and individual, group, and family therapy. Because many people involved in outpatient treatment programs are simultaneously working or in school, vocational training and educational services/support are also common offerings.
In many cases, individuals who are in recovery for marijuana addiction will make the decision to continue with individual therapy and a peer support program of their choosing once inpatient treatment concludes.
If you or someone close to you has been misusing marijuana, seeking some degree of professional addiction treatment is likely a good idea. However, because the symptoms associated with marijuana dependence are often less severe than the symptoms associated with addiction to other illegal drugs, a traditional, multi-staged approach to recovery might not be necessary. To learn more about the best course of action for you or your loved one, reach out to us today. As soon as you contact us over the phone or directly through our website, you will be connected with an experienced Advisor who will help you find the best marijuana addiction treatment options in your area. We look forward to speaking with you and helping begin your personal journey of marijuana addiction recovery.