Recognizing a Cannabis Use Disorder
- 1 Recognizing a Cannabis Use Disorder
- 2 Drug Addiction vs Drug Dependency
- 3 How Does Marijuana Affect the Body?
- 4 The 5 Signs Of Weed Addiction
- 5 The Side-Effects of Marijuana Abuse
- 6 Can You Overdose on Marijuana?
- 7 Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
- 8 How to Quit Marijuana: Effective Forms of Treatment
- 9 Finding Marijuana Addiction Treatment Near You
Marijuana addiction is an issue throughout the US and the world. Many people who have become dependent on the drug wonder about how to quit marijuana effectively. This guide arrives just in time to provide helpful advice and possible ways to lessen your dependence/
Marijuana, also known as weed, cannabis, and Mary-Jane, is a drug made from the flowers of the plants, Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica.
Both indica and sativa marijuana seeds are readily available, although cannabis is a federally-prohibited drug.
Many people use weed either for its relaxing properties to help manage stress or recreationally to induce euphoria. As a result, many people around the country grow these plants, and the potential for addiction or dependency is present.
The chemicals responsible for most of the benefits of weed are known as cannabinoids (mainly CBD and THC). In many states, you can legally acquire gummies, vapes, and other products that contain them.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the issue.
Drug Addiction vs Drug Dependency
While products containing CBD and THC may not be addictive, you can still become dependent on them.
Drug dependency means that the chemical structure of your body changes due to regular exposure to a drug or chemical.
As a result, your body begins to require regular doses to operate correctly. Most chemical substances can lead to dependency if consumed often enough.
Even if you consume CBD or THC-based products rather than marijuana itself, dependency may still result.
We recommend consulting your doctor before you self-medicate using these products or other drugs.
Addiction isn’t the same as dependency and happens when your brain starts to produce fewer chemical receptors than it usually would.
Many drugs, including marijuana, produce high amounts of dopamine and other endorphins (the chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed) in your system.
If you take the drug regularly, your brain begins to compensate for the overflow of chemical receptors by reducing the amounts of endorphins it produces.
After a couple of weeks, months, or years, your brain produces so few endorphins that your body can only function properly with the drug. The end result: addiction.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Body?
Marijuana contains two main types of chemicals: THC and CBD. Each of them has a significantly different effect on the body.
Between the two of them, the chemicals cause the following short-term effects:
- Dry eyes
- An altered perception of time
- Memory loss, or unclear memories
- Heightened or otherwise changed senses
- Cottonmouth (mouth feels fuzzy, unclean)
- Loss of control over body parts and movement
- “Fuzzy-brain” – struggling to think clearly or reason rationally
- Hallucinations, delusions, and even psychosis (mainly when using high THC strains or taking large doses)
With longer-term use, the potential side effects may include:
- Brain damage – scientists have recorded a significant drop in IQ points in people who regularly use marijuana, predominantly teenagers.
- Increased heart rate
- Frequent nausea
- Compromised pregnancies
- Irregular child development (if the mother smokes cannabis while pregnant)
- Mental health disorders
- Exaggerated existing conditions like schizophrenia
The 5 Signs Of Weed Addiction
While many claim that it isn’t possible to become addicted to weed, statistics show that at least one user out of ten develops addictive tendencies.
In smokers who start under the age of sixteen, three users out of ten become addicted.
Some sources claim that, on average, 30% of marijuana smokers become addicts.
The following signs indicate that someone may be abusing, rather than using, marijuana:
Inability to Stop Smoking Weed
If you can’t, or don’t see the need to, stop using marijuana for any time, it’s often a sign of addiction.
People who are either addicted to or have a dependency on marijuana typically don’t want to stop smoking weed. To them, it becomes the only thing that can help them deal with life.
If you’ve reached the point where you can only deal with the stresses of life by toking weed, it could be time to seek help.
The thing is, most addicts have many rationalizations that, in their minds, legitimize their need for the drug.
Even if you recognize that you can’t stop smoking marijuana, acknowledge that you have a problem.
No one can help you against your will; sadly, many cannabis addicts don’t have the desire to break the habit.
Increased Tolerance Levels
Cannabis users’ bodies slowly adapt to the chemicals in their system and their effects. As this happens, the body develops a tolerance for the drug, which means that regular doses don’t have as much impact.
Tokers start taking larger doses or look for strains that contain more THC and CBD. After a while, the more significant amounts and more potent strains become ineffective, and the cycle repeats.
Do you find yourself taking larger doses of marijuana or using it more often to get the same effects that you used to? Your body may have likely built up a higher tolerance level.
By the time your body reaches that tolerance level, you will likely be addicted to or dependent on marijuana.
Loss of Interest
Cannabis addiction often leads to things you once found thrilling, holding no interest, and a struggle to find the motivation to do something.
This listlessness and lack of interest can lead to adverse effects like not caring about paying bills or neglecting your job.
You may find yourself taking less and less interest in things that once mattered to you, like:
- Taking care of pets
- Keeping your home neat
- Doing your job or pursuing your career
Do you find that you’re spending more time thinking about your next joint and less time thinking about the things that were once important to you? It’s possible that you have a weed problem.
Sadly, many people start using marijuana to help cope with the stresses that the crucial things in life bring to the table.
While it works initially, it works less as their tolerance level grows and they start needing more marijuana.
The problem is that marijuana has some mental effects like:
- Memory loss
- Loss of inhibitions
- An inability to think clearly
These things can severely strain work relationships and make everyday priorities seem non-essential. If you find yourself facing that scenario, you could have a weed addiction.
One of the most potent signs of weed addiction is that you no longer put effort into relationships with others and choose the drug over them.
Most of the time, our friends and loved ones notice that we have a problem before we do. When they point it out, addicts often react badly, leading to fights and shattered relationships.
- Find it difficult to put effort into your relationships with your loved ones
- Would easily choose marijuana over your loved ones if they confront you about your toking
- Struggle to maintain a professional relationship at work, thanks to the effects of your drug use
It’s likely that your cannabis use has surpassed healthy levels, and you’ve become dependent on the drug.
If you’ve developed a dependency on or addiction to marijuana, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms when you can’t smoke it.
- Listlessness or Restlessness
- Purely physical side-effects like chills, sweating, tremors, and headaches
You can find a more comprehensive list of withdrawal symptoms in the section below, called “Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms.”
Dealing with withdrawal symptoms is a complex process and can be life-threatening, depending on how severe the addiction is.
Good rehabilitation centers have a medical team that can help manage the symptoms and safely bring patients through the process.
The Side-Effects of Marijuana Abuse
If you’ve noticed any of the weed addiction symptoms in yourself, then you’re probably wondering what the long-term side effects of addiction are.
Marijuana addicts can suffer any of a list of side effects, including:
- Mood swings
- A chronic cough
- Memory problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mental health concerns
- Inability to think clearly and handle day-to-day tasks
Can You Overdose on Marijuana?
Marijuana addiction, unlike most other drug addictions, can’t lead directly to a fatal overdose.
That doesn’t mean that cannabis can’t leave you permanently scarred or potentially lead to death.
Tokers who take too large a dose can become permanently altered as a result. The drug can cause endless problems with your lungs and other parts of the respiratory system.
Most typically, however, cannabis overdoses lead to a barrage of mental symptoms that can leave the smoker mentally incapacitated or potentially lead to cardiac arrest.
These severe results occur because overdosing on THC (one of the active ingredients of cannabis) can lead to:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- An inability to think clearly and coordinate movement
All these things cause severe strain on the body and, in some cases, the heart and mind of the smoker can’t handle the pressure.
Additionally, a cannabis overdose can bring underlying conditions (like existing schizophrenia and psychosis) to the fore and exaggerate them.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the verifiable signs of marijuana addiction is when you start suffering withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.
The most common symptoms include:
- Decreased appetite
- Cravings for cannabis
- Inability to focus or think clearly
- Insomnia and other sleep-related disorders
- Problems with stomach functions like diarrhea or constipation, also nausea and vomiting
- Changes in how you experience temperature: i.e., excessive sweating, chills, and tremors
How to Quit Marijuana: Effective Forms of Treatment
Your friends and loved ones will likely see any weed addiction signs before you do or are ready to acknowledge them.
Even so, you’re the only one who can ultimately decide to undergo treatment for your addiction.
If you’re ready to get some help, you can consider the following types of therapy.
They’ve all proven highly effective when dealing with this kind of addiction, but you’ll need to find the one that works best for your personality type.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a kind of psychotherapeutic technique that focuses on altering negative thinking patterns which lead to behavior that isn’t beneficial.
This method doesn’t try to reward you for successfully staying away from marijuana or offer negative feedback for failure to do so.
Instead, it helps you to answer questions like “Why am I addicted to Weed?”
This type of therapy helps you to deal with the underlying issues by getting to the root of the problem. It primarily deals with negative thinking patterns.
We like to compare addiction to a tree that keeps shedding leaves on your car.
Sure, you could sweep away the leaves every day and wash your car. But that wouldn’t truly solve the problem.
CBT identifies the tree and cuts it off at the root rather than applying a temporary fix.
There are several different types of CBT, with subtle differences between them. They include:
- Cognitive therapy
- Multimodal therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
When dealing with an addiction, contingency management is the polar opposite of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
This approach uses positive reinforcement, or rewards, to encourage the kind of behavior the patient needs to embrace.
As with CBT, the idea is to modify the thinking patterns that led to the addiction.
Rather than targeting the thought patterns directly, this technique puts a positive spin on appropriate behaviors.
You can think of it almost like a mountain spring that’s in a place where you don’t want it. CBT tries to block the spring, preventing it from flowing.
Contingency management reroutes the spring to feed an orchard where it can be helpful.
Typically, this approach targets behaviors like:
- Abstaining from drug use
- Attending meetings for addicts
- Going to treatment sessions
Therapists give their patients tangible rewards when fulfilling these commitments and building healthy habits.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET) differs considerably from the other two approaches we’ve mentioned.
Rather than trying to influence the patient’s thought patterns, the therapists focus on helping them deal with ambivalence about the addiction.
They also help patients to reach a concrete decision about whether or not to receive treatment for the addiction.
Since most of the work comes from the patient’s mind, and so does the ultimate decision, this technique helps them get to a place where they can help themselves.
Instead of a step-by-step recovery technique, this form of therapy creates a safe place for the patient to discover their feelings. The ultimate goal is to put them firmly on the road to recovery.
Finding Marijuana Addiction Treatment Near You
When you start seeing symptoms of weed addiction in yourself and choose to get help, it’s time to start looking for a treatment center near you.
Since weed use, and consequently abuse, is common throughout the United States, finding a rehabilitation center equipped to deal with addiction is relatively easy.
Most rehab centers have specialized marijuana programs that help victims of this drug to deal with substance use problems.
Finding the best rehab or treatment center near you doesn’t have to be a complicated process.
Consult the services on Find Addiction Rehabs today to help you find an excellent treatment center near you.
About the Author:
Jennifer Gallagher, is an experienced cannabis grower at SeedSupreme Seedbank. During a 7-year career in the marijuana growing business, Jennifer has gained a high competence in this field. As far as weed is concerned, she knows it all inside out. Jennifer is an expert in pot-growing, as well as cannabis types and their effects. She’s also familiar with all legislation nuances as well as issues of treatment and dependence on cannabis.