Dependence and Addiction
Yes, marijuana can cause dependence and even addiction. Marijuana, which consists of leaves and other substances from the cannabis plant, has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Those who stand against marijuana use have certainly exaggerated marijuana’s dangers. However, in trying to combat these efforts, marijuana advocates have ignored or covered up some of the very real dangers of the drug.
A 2016 study found that almost 6 million people had suffered from a marijuana use disorder that year.
Marijuana use disorders often begin with dependence. Dependence happens when a person starts to feel like he or she cannot function without his or her drug of choice. The first few times a person uses marijuana recreationally, this person is probably seeking a “high,” or the euphoric feeling that marijuana provides. However, when marijuana use becomes a habit, the body gets used to the drug. The brain begins to expect marijuana and may react negatively without it. As a result, the individual will find that he or she needs the marijuana to even feel normal, not to feel high.
This dependence becomes an addiction when it starts to interfere with a person’s everyday life. An addicted person may neglect relationships in favor of seeking out marijuana. His or her thoughts will be consumed by marijuana. He or she will spend time thinking about how to get more of the drug. This person’s performance in school or work may decline because of this shift in focus.
Are you dealing with marijuana dependence or addiction? Is a loved one struggling with marijuana use? Call Rehab Info at 800-492-QUIT.
Once a person stops taking marijuana, that person’s body will enter a phase called detox. During detox, a person’s body gets rid of the drugs. Some people try to speed up this process by taking diuretics and drinking a lot of water. However, the only truly effective way to detox from marijuana is to wait. The process may take any amount of time from seven days to a few weeks, depending on how long the person has been using marijuana and how much of the substance he or she consumes.
During detox, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include but are not limited to the items on the following list:
- Marijuana cravings
- Decrease in appetite
- General malaise
Often, marijuana withdrawal symptoms are so subtle that sufferers blame their symptoms on other things such as work-related stress. Some people mistakenly return to marijuana use to solve the problem, especially when they don’t recognize withdrawal symptoms for what they are. Therefore, the dependence/addiction cycle begins all over again.
5.9% of high school seniors use marijuana on a daily basis.
Because marijuana detox symptoms are milder than the symptoms that come from other drugs, many recovering marijuana users choose to detox at home. This option works best when the individual can surround him-or-herself with supportive people. During home detox, it’s important to remember to eat. Because marijuana withdrawal can cause a decrease in appetite, some people in detox may forget about meals. To avoid malnourishment, an individual in detox may want to set reminders for meal times or ask a friend to check in periodically.
Those with a more severe addiction may choose medical detox instead. During medical detox, a person stays in a detox facility until the end of the process. Medical staff can make sure that the patient stays comfortable, nourished, and hydrated. In the rare possibility of emergency, the individual will never be far away from medical help.
During and after detox, a recovering marijuana user may seek further treatment options. These options include rehabilitation programs, which can either be inpatient or outpatient. Talk therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, group therapy, and other options can help an addicted individual understand the root causes of the addiction. A therapist can help a person recognize unhelpful thought patterns and come up with coping techniques to overcome temptation.
How to Find Treatment
If you’re looking for treatment options or detox help and don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We can help you sort out your options. At Rehab Info, we offer information and advice.