Are you worried about your own or a loved one’s marijuana use? Maybe you started using it on weekends or at parties to help you relax. In time, you may have started using it more and more until it was a daily routine.
Despite some efforts to stop, you still find yourself falling into old patterns. You feel like there may be something wrong…but it’s just marijuana, right? Many states, including Colorado, are legalizing it. Some people use it to help with medical conditions. Should you really be concerned?
Consider this: Alcohol is legal. Still, many people fall into destructive patterns where alcohol use spirals out of control. More recently, prescription painkillers are getting more media attention due to epidemic-level overdoses and increasing misuse of these powerful drugs that are often legal and even medically-prescribed.
Just about any mind-altering substance can change the way your brain and body operate, which can lead to addiction; this includes marijuana. Addiction is a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Luckily, getting treatment can help you understand the root causes of your addiction. In time, you can develop a lifestyle that no longer relies on drugs like cannabis for enjoyment.
Marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States. In fact, in 2015, over 11 million young adults used the drug. In addition, over 45% of individuals over the age of 12 reported using it in their lifetime, according to a national survey. With news of its medicinal uses and many states legalizing it, it’s no wonder that many people don’t understand how this drug can negatively impact their lives. Let’s take a closer look at this drug.
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What is Marijuana?
Marijuana comes from the dried flowers, buds, stems, leaves, and seeds of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. It has been cultivated around the world for thousands of years. Research of the pharmacological properties traces back to the end of the nineteenth century.
Cannabis is a complex plant, having over 400 chemical entities found in the resin secreted by it. The major compounds are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. THC is responsible for the majority of marijuana’s psychological effects. It affects the cannabinoid receptors in the brain associated with pleasure, memory, thinking, and coordination. THC attaches to these receptors and causes the brain to release dopamine. As a result, the user gets a high or feeling of elation, sedation, and short-term memory recall issues. Cannabis affects people differently; however, some may experience altered senses, anxiety, paranoia, and tachycardia (elevated heartbeat).
Marijuana has many street names including weed, skunk, loud, blaze, wacky tobacco, chronic, Black Russian, grass, herb, reefer, Mary Jane, kif, kush, ganja, and gangster, to name a few.
How is Marijuana Taken?
People use this drug in a variety of ways. Some smoke hand-rolled cannabis cigarettes (known as joints) or empty out the contents of a cigar and refill it with the drug (sometimes called blunts). Others inhale it with water pipes (bongs) or vaping devices. Inhaling THC-rich resins (known as dabbing) allows users to ingest much larger doses of THC in smaller amounts of time than is possible with other smoking methods.
Marijuana edibles are also gaining popularity. These can be created at home or bought from retail or medicinal cannabis stores. Cannabis edibles may be found in the form of cookies, brownies, cakes, and other baked goods. It is even sometimes brewed as a tea. Candies, such as gummies and chocolates, can also be infused with THC. When cannabis is ingested through eating or drinking it (as opposed to smoking), it takes longer to feel the effects of the drug. As a result, some people consume large amounts of edibles, only to realize later on that they have taken too large a dose.
The amount of THC in cannabis has increased substantially over the past few decades, making it more potent. Although overdosing on cannabis is not easy to do and not likely to be physically dangerous, some people can experience uncomfortable side effects from using too much of the drug. These reactions can include delusions, hallucinations, and psychotic experiences.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Many people think that weed is a harmless drug. After all, it doesn’t seem to have the same negative effects of harder drugs like heroin, methamphetamines, or cocaine. Occasional users may take the drug from time to time without any long-term negative effects. Medical cannabis patients are often able to use the drug frequently as well. However, people do become addicted to marijuana and are unable to stop using it on their own.
Addiction doesn’t have to cause any negative physical effects. Unlike many other drugs, heavy cannabis usage is unlikely to result in serious medical ailments or illnesses. However, addiction occurs when someone continues to use a substance despite the negative effects it has. These could include impaired job performance, relationship issues, detaching from friends and family, or trouble with the law.
Many people have developed an addiction to this drug. This could be due to genetics, personality characteristics, previous trauma, underlying mental health issues, and difficulty dealing with life’s stressors. People who have these factors may consume any type of mind-altering substance and develop an addiction to it.
Drugs change the way your brain works. They hijack the brain’s natural reward system. In time, you may not find pleasure in everyday activities without the crutch of drugs. This is because addiction causes a vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. As your drug use increases and the brain becomes more dependent on the drug, your thoughts about obtaining and using the drug begin to be more pervasive. It seems like the only way you could quiet these thoughts is by using weed, which is the compulsive behavior. In fact, you may even start using the drug routinely without even thinking about it; you may begin to use it right after work or before meeting with friends. Once the fleeting high subsides, thoughts about the next time you can use start. Sadly, this cycle can take over your life, cause personal and professional issues, and prevent you from doing some of the things you used to love, like recreational activities, hobbies, or being with your family.
How do you know if you have a marijuana dependency? Are there certain red flags you should look for either in yourself or a loved one? Yes, there are both signs of weed addiction and addiction in general that you should know. The sooner you realize these signs, the easier it may be for you to recover.
What Are the Signs of Marijuana Addiction?
As cannabis use increases, you may notice some of these signs in yourself or a loved one:
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- Periods of excessive eating (known as having the munchies)
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty remembering recent conversations or events
- Using more of the drug to get desired results
- Periods of drowsiness and impaired motor skills
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of anxiety, depression, paranoia, or panic
- Increased cravings to use cannabis
- Impulsive behaviors
- Using the drug to cope with feelings, situations, or to get through daily activities
In addition to these signs, there are some common indicators of addiction for any type of substance. These include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities and leisure pursuits
- Excessive absence from school, work, or other obligations
- Trying to quit or cut down use of the drug without success
- Associating with a new peer group related to drug use
- Spending more and more time seeking the drug
- Putting yourself in high-risk situations to get high or obtain the drug
- Extreme changes in mood
- Presence of drug paraphernalia
- Continuing to use the drug despite it causing problems with your personal, social, or professional life
- Experiencing financial difficulties associated with using or obtaining the drug
This drug can have detrimental effects on your life and well-being when you sink into the pattern of addictive behaviors. Luckily, help is available. Getting treatment early can prevent many significant problems down the road.
That being said, no one is beyond help. Even those who feel powerless and hopeless can benefit from treatment. You don’t need to be embarrassed about your struggles, actions, or personal history. Marijuana addiction treatment isn’t about making you feel bad about your issues. In fact, can empower you to make life-changing revelations. You can develop positive habits and work to ensure that drugs are not the sole focus of your everyday life.
How is Marijuana Addiction Treated?
There is no simple, one-size-fits-all approach for marijuana abuse treatment. Successful treatment uses an individualized approach involving a variety of methods. The first step of rehab for marijuana is getting in contact with an experienced addiction counselor who will listen to your story, struggles, and goals for a better future. At first, it may seem uncomfortable sharing your personal life with a stranger. However, you will soon find that these caring, non-judgmental professionals are looking out for your best interest. In fact, what you share will become the basis for your treatment.
Before getting treatment, you may not even realize that there are many reasons for using drugs. Self-exploration, guided by an experienced counselor, can help you understand the root causes of your addictive behaviors. From there, you can problem-solve and practice solutions that allow you to identify triggering events and cope with them without the crutch of drugs. This treatment method is known as psychotherapy, which is sometimes referred to as talk therapy.
For example, say you use marijuana because you feel awkward and uncomfortable in certain social settings. You feel more confident and sociable when you are high. Once these causes are identified, you may work with your counselor to find ways to deal with social anxiety and increase your self-confidence. This can include group therapy, role-playing, or finding more positive ways to deal with anxiety. As you develop new habits, you essentially rewire your brain’s way of thinking and behaving. In time, the compulsive behavior of using marijuana is replaced by more positive coping strategies like deep breathing, positive self-talk, and accepting situations as they are.
Psychotherapy is often just part of an effective treatment plan. In many cases, individuals in marijuana treatment centers or outpatient treatment get help from a dedicated multidisciplinary team. This can include case management, life skills training, and family therapy. In addition, many marijuana substance abuse treatments embrace a holistic approach to addressing addiction. This means treating the whole person instead of a diagnosis or set of symptoms.
Holistic therapy includes engaging opportunities that allow individuals to explore new lifestyle habits and leisure pursuits. Activities like meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi offer opportunities to strengthen the mind/body connection and deal with cravings and negative emotions. Physical fitness and nutrition help you feel better mentally and physically, allowing you to have more energy and resilience to stressful situations. Recreation therapy and adventure programs allow you to get out of your comfort zone, gain new perspectives, and develop positive leisure interests to replace the time you used to spend getting high.
Throughout your treatment, a dedicated counselor connects with you to discuss your successes and struggles. Together, you can create a treatment plan based on the therapies that resonate with you. Your input in the treatment process plays a big role in your engagement and success throughout the recovery process.
Is Marijuana Addiction Treatment Available in Denver?
If you live in the Denver, Colorado area, you have access to an established marijuana rehab center with dedicated professionals who know how to treat this addiction.
Denver Recovery Center believes an individualized approach with a wide range of evidence-based therapies is the best way to help you address and overcome the issues that led to your addictive behaviors. Our scenic, comfortable campus may be the breath of fresh air that you need to put your life in perspective and start making positive changes.
Even if you aren’t from Colorado, people from all over the country have found that Denver Recovery Center gave them a chance to regain control of their lives with individual, group, and family therapy. Our experiential and outdoor therapies use the beautiful backdrop of the Colorado landscape as a stepping stone for change. We can provide you with knowledge and resources, no matter where you are on your journey to recovery.
Let Us Help You Overcome Marijuana Addiction
Every day, we make decisions that impact our future. Some of these choices tear us away from the things we love the most: family, work, and personal health. When struggling with addiction, these decisions are often not healthy or productive.
You can change this pattern of self-destruction and take the brave first step to a brighter, more fulfilling future. It may not be easy. You are probably a little scared. That’s okay. Change isn’t easy. Many people who have called Denver Recovery Center felt the same things before picking up the phone.
Once they made it through our program and rediscovered their potential, they were glad they made the call. In fact, the only regret was that they wished they had called sooner.
Why not make a big decision for a positive future today? Call us at (844) 602-3175 to find out how. There is no obligation and no judgment. It is just an opportunity for you to make a positive change.