Marijuana, Dependence, and Addiction
Withdrawal from any drug starts with dependence or addiction. Dependence is what happens when a person needs a drug to feel normal. Dependence isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to legitimate medical needs. A diabetic technically has a dependence on insulin, for example. Without a legitimate medical need, however, dependence is unnecessary and sometimes painful. With marijuana use, a person’s brain and body get used to the drug’s presence. While this person may have started using marijuana to feel “high,” he or she may begin to need marijuana to feel “okay” and may feel sick or moody without it.
6.3% of people met the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder at some point in their lives.
When does dependence turn into addiction? When the drug of choice begins to consume a person’s thoughts. An addicted individual will structure his or her habits and interactions around drug use. This person will seek out more ways to obtain drugs, and his or her relationships will suffer as a result.
Are you suffering from either dependence or addiction? Call Rehab Info at 800-492-QUIT today.
Marijuana withdrawal consists of several symptoms that can make a person feel unwell. The severity of these symptoms depends on how long the person has been using marijuana. Severity also depends on how much marijuana the individual uses. A person whose body only has to eliminate a small amount of marijuana won’t suffer as much as a person whose body has to get rid of a large amount. Symptoms may last any amount of time from one week to several weeks.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of physical marijuana withdrawal include the items on the following list:
- Cravings for marijuana
- Decreased appetite
These symptoms may or may not lead to weight loss and/or malnourishment during the withdrawal period, and somebody who goes through severe withdrawal will have a better recovery if he or she has a support network of people who will provide reminders to eat.
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
Marijuana’s psychological withdrawal symptoms often get blamed on other things, especially if the withdrawal symptoms are on the milder end of the spectrum. Symptoms can include depression, anxiety, lethargy, lack of motivation, and agitation. When people don’t realize that these are indeed symptoms of withdrawal, they may assume that they were “having a bad week” or that people were particularly “annoying” without making the connection to the marijuana use.
Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder.
While there are no medications approved specifically for marijuana withdrawal treatment, treatment programs can help ease the initial discomfort. If one seeks out medical detox, a doctor may prescribe medication for sleep issues, although it’s important to avoid trading one addiction for another.
Marijuana users can enter a residential rehab program, which will last for about 30 days, or an outpatient program, which will last much longer. Those who have a marijuana use disorder can also seek out long-term therapy. Talk therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other options can help the patient understand why he or she began using marijuana in the first place. With a therapist’s help, a patient can develop healthier thought patterns and coping mechanisms.
Do you need help managing marijuana withdrawal symptoms? Are you ready to quit marijuana, or is somebody you love ready to quit? At Rehab Info, we’re ready to help.