Marijuana is one of the prevalent drugs in society today. With more states and countries legalizing it, there are various debates on whether the drug is particularly addictive and harmful side effects.
Statistics indicate that roughly 9% of individuals who use marijuana will develop an addiction to it with time. This figure is set to rise in countries that have legalized the drug; therefore, the use is much higher.
Various factors contribute to marijuana addiction:
- Age: Adolescents who indulge in marijuana usage in their teen years are prone to be addicts when they reach adulthood.
- Frequency of usage: Daily use of marijuana is set to increase the chances of addiction by 25-50%.
Understanding marijuana addiction
The controversial marijuana addiction debate has seen the exact estimation of addicted users inconclusive. Studies on marijuana addiction have indicated the possibility of an individual becoming dependent on the drug without necessarily being addicted.
However, the increasing reach towards marijuana treatment centers has seen the conversation towards marijuana addiction evolve to encompass the possibility of addiction being ingrained in dependant users.
Marijuana users often delve into the drug as a result of various factors. For instance, stress and general upheavals in daily life can result in excessive marijuana usage and consequently, addiction. Individuals can also turn to marijuana as a means of escape from strained relationships or the loss of a loved one.
Mental health and genetic makeup are also risk factors for marijuana use. Marijuana creates an escape for depressed individuals, while a history of marijuana usage in the family may lead to continued addiction in future generations.
The use of marijuana has been linked with other drugs and substances. For instance, individuals who abuse marijuana have been found to mix with alcohol or other hard drugs such as cocaine.
Effects of marijuana
The effects of excessive marijuana usage are seen in the following ways:
- Behavioral effects
Marijuana seeks to affect an individual’s behavior in noticeable patterns. Marijuana users often take uncalculated risks in the heat of the moment due to grandeur’s feeling normally associated with the drug. For instance, an individual can decide to drive under the influence or mix marijuana with other drugs, increasing the drug’s potency. Marijuana users also refrain from joining social situations that do not involve marijuana use. This eventually creates a strain in their relationships and causes the individual to neglect his/her responsibilities, focusing only on acquiring the drug.
- Psychological effects
Several studies indicate impairment in cognitive abilities after long term use of marijuana. These cognitive abilities seek to affect verbal memory, function, and speed of brain functionality. Other studies indicate the probability of slow memory performance and thinking resulting from the drug.
Marijuana users often display signs of mood change and fluctuations. Some individuals become irritable, while other display bursts of anger, agitation, and irrationalism. Insomnia and feelings of anxiety are also common in marijuana usage.
Marijuana usage affects heart and blood pressure due to the feeling of confusion and hallucinations, causing paranoia.
The rise in marijuana potency over the years has increased its effects on the body. This has seen numerous individuals being rushed to emergency rooms due to the potency caused by the new and developing strain of marijuana in the market.
As a result, therapists are derived from new and improved ways to curb increased addiction to marijuana. With most addiction cases being linked to mental health, the incorporation of behavioral therapies and medication has been employed to recovering addicts.
Marijuana addiction treatment is customized according to each individual to get the right course of treatment. The detoxification process seeks to aid the patient through withdrawal and ensures a safe and supervised transition into sobriety. There are various inpatient facilities where individuals can get round the clock care and supervision. Outpatient centers are for less severe cases and offer scheduled treatment as they go about their daily lives. The inpatient and outpatient facilities offer programs that last from three to six months or even more depending on addiction level.
Therapy and counseling are coupled with medication treatments in treatment centers. This can either be individual counseling, where the patient has a one on one with the therapist; group therapy where a couple of patients are counseled together, or family counseling, where the patient’s family members are presented to help them navigate through their addiction. The main aim of counseling therapy is to help the patient identify the root cause of their marijuana addiction problem and find ways to solve them and become better.
Behavioral therapy treatments for marijuana include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
This involves aiding the patient towards identifying destructive behaviors and feelings that illicit addictive patterns. By identifying these problems, an individual can stop marijuana use and gain self-control over harmful behaviors and practices.
- Motivational enhancement therapy
This treatment seeks to motivate and mobilize the patient into identifying internal resources for change. This is done by engaging the patient to search within themselves and get the motivation required for treatment.
- Contingency management
This treatment seeks to reinforce behavioral change through the use of incentives. This motivates the patient towards remaining clean with the hopes of achieving a token or prize in the end.
Things to consider
It is best to research for available marijuana addiction treatment centers before enrolling in any. Institutions should offer effective and evidence-based care treatment options and have certified professionals to help you achieve your goals. Mental health professionals should be available and on-call for all treatment packages.
Check whether your insurance plan will cover marijuana addiction treatment. There are also low-cost treatment options available in different centers.
The treatment center should be able to offer a viable aftercare plan after completion of treatment. This aids the patient with a smooth transition, thereby preventing possible relapse. For instance, support groups such as Marijuana Anonymous seek to offer accountability to recovering marijuana addicts. Other local support groups that guide recovering addicts can also serve as a guiding block for the patient.