Many Americans mistakenly believe it isn’t possible for a person to become addicted to marijuana, but this is simply untrue. Marijuana abuse does not display the same physical signs of addiction that “harder” drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and opioids produce. Overuse of marijuana can still cause many psychological problems and lead to cycles of addictive behaviors. Marijuana side effects also vary from person to person, and some people may have more pronounced reactions to use and cessation of marijuana than others.
Marijuana Dependency And Addiction
Regular marijuana use may eventually lead to marijuana use disorder. In the United States, approximately 4 million people had symptoms that were consistent with the diagnostic criteria for marijuana use disorder in 2015, according to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse*. People who use marijuana before the age of 18 face a four to seven times higher risk of developing marijuana use disorder later in life.
Increasing Marijuana Use Across The Country
Is marijuana addictive? It can be, but not in the usual sense of the word. Marijuana is not as physically dangerous as other drugs such as alcohol, stimulants, or opioids, but marijuana use disorder can still progress to full-blown addiction and interfere with a person’s life in significant ways. Marijuana can still interfere with daily life and lead to the same economic problems caused by other types of addiction.
Public perception of marijuana use has improved over recent years for several reasons, including the evidence of marijuana’s medical value. We need to understand that more widely available marijuana increases the risk of people developing marijuana use disorders.
Legalization Of Medical And Recreational Marijuana
Marijuana’s legal status has changed dramatically over the past several years. Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal classification, but many states have legalized medical marijuana. Some other states have even decriminalized recreational marijuana and legalized the sale of recreational marijuana to adults. The growing availability of medical and recreational marijuana in the United States logically poses a risk of more addiction-related cases in the future.
It’s vital for medical marijuana patients to use medical cannabis products responsibility and carefully follow the instructions. These products may cause dangerous interactions with other medications a medical marijuana patient may also be taking. The employees at a marijuana dispensary may offer lots of information about the benefits of medical marijuana while neglecting to mention the risks of dependency and addiction.
Marijuana legalization will inherently lead to more people using marijuana. People who use recreational marijuana in states that allow it must follow their state’s laws concerning purchasing, possession, consumption, and cultivation of marijuana plants. All users should understand the risk of addiction and know how to identify the signs of a problem.
Symptoms Of Marijuana Dependency And Addiction
Some people develop marijuana use disorder to cope with stress, similar to how a high-functioning alcoholic may cope with a stressful day of work with a drink once he or she gets home for the day. Over time, this seemingly harmless mode of stress relief can progress to dependency. Some people can handle picking up and putting down marijuana without a second thought, and identifying the signs of marijuana use can be relatively easy. What’s important is learning to identify the signs that casual use has progressed to dependency.
Tolerance And Addiction
Marijuana interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid system. After regular marijuana use, the body’s endocannabinoid receptors stop functioning the same way and the user will not experience the desired effects with his or her usual dose. This tolerance can take several weeks to dissipate. People who do not allow their tolerance levels to decline and continue using marijuana tend to use much more than they originally used. The marijuana available in the U.S. is also growing more potent every day, so people who develop tolerance to it will eventually start exploring more concentrated delivery methods and stronger strains.
Potential Effects Of Marijuana Addiction
People who use marijuana as a stress management tool or coping mechanism deny themselves the chance to develop healthier coping techniques. Eventually, the person who does this will feel that he or she needs marijuana to handle any stressful situation or even everyday tasks. Marijuana use disorder typically includes using more than intended or using it more frequently than usual. Marijuana use disorder becomes addiction once marijuana use starts interfering with a person’s ability to handle everyday life.
Just as any other drug, marijuana can be expensive. Illegally purchased marijuana can vary in price and comes with the risk of drug-related criminal charges in some states. Legal marijuana is usually more expensive than the black market variety because of the heavy sales taxes imposed by the states that legalize it. Over time, a person with marijuana use disorder will require more and more marijuana to feel the desired effects, inherently leading to more financial expense.
Overcoming Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana addiction may eventually require treatment like any other drug addiction. While a person who struggles with marijuana addiction may not experience the same physical challenges as a person battling opioid or methamphetamine addiction, the psychological effects of marijuana use disorder and addiction can be profound. Many people who develop marijuana use disorder have some type of co-occurring condition, such as anxiety or depression. Effective marijuana addiction treatment requires looking at the root causes of addiction and co-occurring disorders that may influence recovery.
Finding Effective Treatment
Many recovery services and substance abuse treatment facilities throughout the United States offer marijuana treatment, and it is important for anyone struggling with a marijuana use disorder to think about the potential value of these types of recovery services. The physical end of rehab for marijuana is much easier than it is for other drugs, but overcoming the psychological aspects of addiction can be incredibly challenging without professional support.
At Intervention Helpline, we believe family plays an essential role in any type of recovery experience. Marijuana addiction may be a bit different than other kinds of addictions, but a person in treatment for marijuana use disorder will require the same amount of self-reflection and desire to change for the better as anyone suffering from any other type of addiction.
Intervention Helpline Offers A Strong Start To Recovery
Intervention Helpline works with a vast network of addiction treatment centers, substance abuse research centers, support services, and public outreach programs all over the country. We help people struggling with addiction find the best treatment options for them for the best chances at recovery. Visit us online to learn more about the programs we offer and how Intervention Helpline’s family-first approach to interventions can provide a strong start to the recovery process.