For the longest time, individuals argued about whether or not marijuana is a substance individuals can be addicted to. More studies are showing that marijuana is not only addictive, but it can lead users to develop substance abuse disorders or addiction in severe cases.
Recent studies show that close to 30% of individuals that use marijuana has some degree of addiction to the substance. Individuals that begin using marijuana prior to the age of 18 are up to seven times more likely to develop an addiction to it by the time they are adults.
In 2015 alone, close to 4 million individuals in the United States were considered as having marijuana use disorders. Use disorders can quickly escalate into addiction when a person is unable to stop using the substance even though it negatively interferes with their life.
When an individual uses marijuana, the THC interacts with proteins in the brain. These proteins, called cannabinoid receptors, are activated, causing the brain to release dopamine. Continual use of the substance can lead to drastic memory loss and difficulty leaning.
Individuals that habitually use marijuana are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders. Studies found schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression among the leading conditions of individuals who use marijuana. These conditions are severely influenced by the length and frequency of use among individuals.
There are a variety of symptoms users experience while they are under the influence of marijuana. Some common reactions users experience are:
- Impaired judgment
- Short-term memory impairment
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Anxiety and/or paranoia
There is a variety of long-term side effects individuals experience as well. In addition to sleep problems and learning and coordination impairment, users can experience:
- Loss of IQ
- Increased risk of schizophrenia
- Heightened risk of developing bronchitis
- Possible development of an addiction to marijuana
Individuals suffering from marijuana use disorder often experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not actively taking the drug. Some of the most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms by individuals who are without marijuana for 7 to 14 days are:
- Decreased appetites
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Physical discomfort
- Anxiety and/or depression
Most symptoms will subside within two weeks; however, some can last up to 30-days and may be more severe in adults.
Individuals with marijuana use disorder or addiction have several treatment options available for them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps teach individuals strategies for correcting their behavior by enhancing self-control. Contingency management is a therapeutic management approach that targets behavior and rewards it with positive reinforcement. The third method of treatment is called motivational enhancement therapy. This includes intervention that rapidly motivates change in users and helps guide them through treatment.
At Asana Recovery, we understand the drastic impact marijuana use disorder can have on a person’s life. Thankfully, we offer both inpatient treatment and outpatient options for individuals to help. Contact us at (949)438-4504 to get started today.