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Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Written on October 13, 2023
Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

With the increasing legalization and decriminalization of marijuana worldwide, its usage has been normalized in many societies. The topic of marijuana addiction has become more relevant than ever. The question on many people’s minds is, “Can you get addicted to marijuana?” The simple answer is yes. This article will delve deeper into marijuana addiction, backed by facts and statistics, and explore the marijuana addiction treatment options available at Flatirons Recovery.

Marijuana Addiction Facts and Statistics

Marijuana is often perceived as a “safe” drug, especially when compared to substances like opioids or methamphetamines. However, it is essential to understand its potential for addiction. Here is what research tells us:

  • Brain Chemistry: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, stimulates the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to pleasure and reward. Over time and with regular use, the brain comes to rely on marijuana to release dopamine, leading to increased consumption to achieve the same effects.
  • Dependence Rates: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 9% of those who use marijuana will become dependent on it. This percentage increases to about 17% for those who use marijuana in their teens.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Regular marijuana users who try to quit can experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite, and anxiety, further indicating its addictive potential.

Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

It is important to note that not everyone who uses marijuana will develop a disorder, and the severity can vary among those who do. Marijuana addiction results in a variety of signs and symptoms. The most common symptoms that a person is addicted to marijuana are listed below:

Behavioral Changes

  • Increased time and effort spent acquiring, using, or recovering from the effects of marijuana
  • Using larger amounts of marijuana over longer periods than intended
  • Inability to cut down or control marijuana use despite trying to do so
  • Craving or a strong desire to use marijuana
  • Continued marijuana use despite it causing social or interpersonal problems
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of marijuana use
  • Using marijuana in situations where it is physically hazardous

Physical Symptoms

  • Development of tolerance: Needing to use more marijuana to achieve the desired effect or experiencing reduced effects when using the same amount.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When not using marijuana, the person has withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, and physical discomfort.

Cognitive and Psychiatric Symptoms

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased risk of anxiety or worsened anxiety symptoms
  • Paranoia or exaggerated fears
  • Hallucinations or altered perceptions of reality (in high doses)
  • Depression or exacerbation of depressive symptoms

Social and Occupational Effects & Other Symptoms

  • Decline in academic or occupational performance
  • Absenteeism from work or school
  • Neglecting responsibilities or duties
  • Distancing from non-using friends or family
  • Sleep disruptions or unusual sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite, including increased appetite or “the munchies”
  • Dry mouth or red eyes
  • Coordination problems or clumsiness
  • Increased cough or respiratory issues if smoked

If someone is experiencing several of these symptoms and they persist for a duration of time, it might indicate the development of a marijuana use disorder. If this is suspected, seeking professional assessment and guidance is recommended.

Treatment Options for Marijuana Addiction 

Marijuana addiction can be challenging to overcome, especially as societal views shift toward broader acceptance of its recreational use. However, for those seeking treatment, a variety of options exist. 

Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and contingency management (CM), have proven effective in addressing marijuana dependency. These therapies help users modify their thought patterns related to drug use, enhance the motivation to quit, and provide incentives for sustained abstinence. 

Alternative Treatment Options

Additionally, support groups can provide a community of individuals facing similar challenges, fostering mutual understanding and encouragement. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for marijuana addiction. Still, some research suggests that certain medications might help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, or address co-occurring mental health conditions. 

It is essential for anyone seeking treatment to consult with a medical professional or addiction specialist to determine the most appropriate approach for their individual needs.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment at Flatirons Recovery

Recognizing an addiction is the first step to recovery. For those who are addicted to marijuana, seeking professional help can make a significant difference.

Flatirons Recovery is committed to providing comprehensive marijuana addiction treatment tailored to individual needs. Below is a snapshot of the levels of care we offer:

  • Inpatient Treatment: Our intensive Recovery Ranch program offers 24-hour care in a structured environment. Patients benefit from individual and group therapy, medical support, and other holistic approaches, making it ideal for those with a severe addiction or those needing a stable environment to break free from the cycle of abuse.
  • Day Treatment: Day treatment is ideal for those who don’t require round-the-clock care but still need intensive support. Patients can engage in daily therapeutic activities and sessions while returning home in the evening.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOP allows patients to maintain their daily activities while still receiving the structured support they need. This flexible program involves attending sessions several times a week, focusing on group therapy, skill-building, and relapse prevention.

Contact Us to Begin Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Colorado 

To reiterate, the answer to “Can you get addicted to marijuana?” is undoubtedly yes. While it may not carry the same immediate risks as other substances, marijuana’s potential for dependence is real. Flatirons Recovery stands ready to help those grappling with this addiction, offering a spectrum of care to guide individuals toward a healthier, substance-free future.

Contact us today to learn more about marijuana addiction treatment in Colorado.