The Leading Expert in Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Abuse
and Founder of The Hills Treatment Center
Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs, and the majority of people seeking treatment in rehabs are there for marijuana use. There is some debate over whether marijuana is addicting or habit forming, however, both are detrimental to the individual. Marijuana is the only drug that is classified as a hallucinogen, stimulant, and opiate. It affects the nervous system by speeding up heart rate, raising blood pressure, but also by creating a sense of relaxation. Marijuana can be ingested or smoked releasing the main chemical THC into the brain and body and allowing the drug to take effect. Although, marijuana doesn't have as severe withdrawal or addiction symptoms as harder drugs the effect on the body and brain are just as detrimental. In recent years the rates or marijuana use and abuse have increased as well as the potency of the drug. There are treatment options for marijuana abuse and many have proven effective.

The symptoms of marijuana abuse are persisting to use the drug despite negative consequence, physical, emotional, social, and financial problems. For marijuana users the most common physical problems are respiratory problems such as emphysema or lung cancer. Chronic users may also exhibit chronic coughs or asthma as a result of smoking. Emotional problems related to marijuana use are lack of inhabitation, mental problems such as lack of memory, and emotional instability. These problems generally manifest as loss of jobs, mood swings including intense highs and lows, or simply chronic forgetfulness. These emotional problems can lead to social problems such as isolation. The user may find a decreased interest in being social and may become only interested in isolating with their addiction. The mental obsession with the drug may lead to stealing in order to pay for it, or spending more money than the person has in order to get high. What once may have been a social activity quickly becomes a mental obsession.

Most addictions are categorized by physical withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana is unique in that physical withdrawal symptoms are minor. Some of these symptoms include loss of appetite, restlessness, or drowsiness. Mental withdrawal symptoms are more prevalent than physical ones and these manifest as the mental obsession to obtain more drugs.

There are treatment options for marijuana addiction or habitual using. Most of these include rehab facilities or twelve step programs. Treatment facilities will often start the person with a detoxification period. Medications to ease withdrawal symptoms are rarely given because the physical symptoms are not too severe. Treatment more commonly focuses on talk therapy, behavioral therapy, and group therapy. Treatment attempts to get to the root of the problem, why the person started using, so the person can then begin recovery. There are also twelve step programs that specifically focus on marijuana use, such as MA (Marijuana Anonymous). Treatment will focus on breaking the mental obsession and complete abstinence from all mind-altering substances.

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