How Can Legal Marijuana be Bad for Addicts?

No matter your feelings about the legalization of marijuana, even legal marijuana can still be harmful to addicts. If you’re already recovering from a substance use disorder, you’re more likely than others to develop an addiction to marijuana whether or not the substance is legal. In spite of what some would have you believe, it is possible to become dependent on or even addicted to marijuana.

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Marijuana and Addiction

Marijuana is certainly less dangerous than other drugs like meth or cocaine, but addiction to marijuana is surprisingly common. In the case of marijuana, addiction usually starts with dependence. Marijuana usually produces a euphoric “high” feeling for users. When people use marijuana for a long time, however, they develop the potential for dependence, or the need to use marijuana to feel normal. Those who have a dependence no longer feel high when they use marijuana. Instead, they feel moody or sick when they don’t use marijuana. Dependence turns into an addiction when a person’s thoughts are consumed by the drug. An addicted person may start underperforming at work or school. He or she may neglect friendships and other relationships. This person may start looking for easier, more dangerous ways to consume marijuana to experience the same high that he or she experienced the first time.

If you’re dealing with an addiction to marijuana or any othr substance, contact Rehab Info at 800-492-QUIT today.

Added Risk for Addicts

People who have already dealt with a substance use disorder have a higher risk of developing an addiction to marijuana. Just like with alcohol, some people are more prone to marijuana addiction than others. Just like some can’t have one glass of wine without going back for more, some people can’t smoke one joint without needing another. If you are battling an addiction, you know that your genetic makeup and/or life situation makes you more prone to addiction than others. Rather than making a full recovery, addicts who switch to marijuana may find that they’re simply trading one addiction for another.

Furthermore, a marijuana high might make a person miss the kind of high he or she used to get from the previous drug of choice. A high from marijuana might not feel like enough to a person who has been high on harder drugs. The marijuana high might lead a person to seek out other dangerous substances, causing relapse and other subsequent dangers.

Of adults 26 or older who used marijuana before age 15, 62% went on to use cocaine at some point in their lives; 9% went on to use heroin at least once; and 54% made some nonmedical use of mind-altering prescription drugs.

Dangers with Habitual Use

Those who are prone to substance abuse are not genetically predisposed toward moderation. Whether it’s alcohol, food, or another substance, people with substance use disorders find it more difficult to know when to stop. The brain signals that tell a person when it’s time to stop don’t function as strongly as they do in a person who doesn’t have a substance disorder. The lack of moderation can cause health problems. In fact, marijuana overuse can cause any or all of the following issues:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing problems (from smoking)
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening of mental health conditions

Some people who overuse marijuana may develop a condition called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome causes intense nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Symptoms are so severe that many sufferers end up in the emergency room. While hot showers provide temporary relief from symptoms, medications don’t seem to help. Those who are prone to misusing substances may find themselves at a higher risk for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

Rehabilitation and Further Treatment

An addiction to marijuana may require rehab just like an addiction to any other drug. Inpatient rehabs can last for 30, 60, or 90 days. Participants live in the facility for the duration of the program. These programs are highly structured and offer a range of therapy options and recreational activities. Outpatient programs allow participants to live at home. These programs are less structured, but they last longer than inpatient programs. A person entering rehab for the second time may find success in the same program from which he or she graduated last time, or the individual might choose a different program.

Chronic marijuana users may also seek counseling or other forms of long-term therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which teaches patients how to recognize and replace harmful thought patterns, may be particularly helpful.

Help and Information

If you’re dealing with marijuana addiction or would just like more information about how marijuana can affect you as a previously-addicted person, contact Rehab Info today.

Our staff can provide help and information.

We can also point you toward rehab and other treatment options. Start by calling 800-492-QUIT today.
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