With all the talk lately about legalizing marijuana and the potential medicinal benefits of the drug, many people don’t realize that for some people, marijuana can become an addiction. Those that are in favor of legalizing marijuana may not understand the numbers of those who have become dependent on the substance and suffer daunting marijuana withdrawal when they try to quit.
Withdrawing from any drug can be rough, and marijuana is no exception. Of course, withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person depending on the frequency and dosage they used. While one person may experience little to no withdrawal symptoms, another person may experience intense psychological and/or physiological withdrawal.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
According to substance abuse experts, about 30 percent of marijuana users will become physically or mentally dependent upon the drug. Diagnostically called marijuana use disorder according to the American Psychiatric Association, users who try to quit using the drug will experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, they’ve become dependent on the drug and when they try to quit, they find out that it’s not as easy as they thought it would be.
Marijuana may not be as addictive as some other drugs, but still, the evidence shows that it does have addictive qualities. The addiction occurs mainly because when someone uses marijuana, the brain will then produce fewer endocannabinoid neurotransmitters, leaving the person feeling withdrawal symptoms when they no longer use the drug.
Marijuana Side Effects
The federal government has classified marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug because of its addictive tendency. Many people just don’t believe that marijuana is addictive. They think because some states have legalized it, that it’s safe to use regularly. However, regular use of marijuana has been known to contribute to:
- Some loss of memory
- Heightened anxiety
- Concentration issues
Since marijuana is a substance that people can become dependent upon, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists cannabis use disorder as a disorder. It also recognizes cannabis withdrawal syndrome for those who experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using marijuana. Though only an estimated 30 percent of marijuana users are suspected to become dependent on the drug, this doesn’t mean that marijuana addiction should be looked at lightly. In fact, teenagers that begin smoking marijuana are up to four times more likely to become dependent on the substance.
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What Are Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms?
For the person who uses marijuana occasionally, chances are they won’t experience withdrawal symptoms if they decide not to use it again. However, for those that smoke or ingest marijuana regularly, withdrawal symptoms may begin occurring within days of stopping.
It’s likely that some of the marijuana withdrawal symptoms will feel much like the flu. You may experience having the chills, increased sweating, fatigue, and perhaps little appetite. There’s not a whole lot you can do to curb these withdrawal symptoms, other than do your best to rest, drink lots of filtered water, and eat healthy foods.
For those who want some support during their detox period, a medical detox and rehab program can be beneficial. There you’ll be surrounded by substance abuse professionals who can monitor you through your detox process. You’ll receive adequate care and a good bit of encouragement while you go through the withdrawal process.
In the mental health field, there are some criteria that need to be met to be classified as going through marijuana withdrawal. These include:
- The marijuana user must have been using marijuana for two to three months regularly before they decide to quit.
- At least three of the following withdrawal symptoms must be evident:
- High anxiety or nervousness
- Little to no appetite
- Agitation or irritability
- Trouble sleeping or nightmares
- Flu-like symptoms like sweating, chills, confusion, stomach ache
If you have stopped using marijuana or plan on stopping, these are some of the weed withdrawal symptoms you may experience. Of course, each person is different, so every person’s withdrawal process is unique. Whereas your friend may not experience any withdrawal symptoms, you may experience several or vice versa.
In addition to these cannabis withdrawal symptoms, other symptoms people have reported are:
- Lack of ability to focus
- Extreme tiredness
- Going from not hungry to starving
- Going from super tired to super hyper
As you can see, different people experience different levels of marijuana withdrawal. If you’re concerned about going through thc withdrawal symptoms when you stop using marijuana, perhaps it’s best if you seek professional medical help as you progress forward.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
An addiction to marijuana is a condition that causes many people to suffer emotionally, physically and spiritually. Successful recovery requires you to commit to giving up marijuana, but the desire to quit may not be enough. Drug addiction can be a powerful force that causes many people’s lives to spiral out of control, and patients have the best chance of recovery if they seek counseling and education to address all of the suffering caused by addiction. Much like other diseases, without appropriate drug treatment, the condition is likely to persist or worsen.
Overcoming the Shame and Fear
Some marijuana addicts become isolated from their loved ones due to substance abuse. Loved ones become tired of the excuses that they have heard too many times before and find it less painful to avoid the addict than it is to address the problem. Becoming isolated from close friends and family can be devastating to the addict because friends and family are typically the main sources of emotional support.
If you’re struggling with addiction, the loneliness and isolation you may feel may encourage you to continue using. Shame and fear frequently accompany addiction. Addicts are often their own worst critics, blaming themselves for the problem. However, attending a quality marijuana treatment facility can certainly help you let go of the shame, fear, and blame. Recovery can also help you build confidence and self-esteem.
Types of Drug Treatment
Marijuana addiction recovery should be medically supervised because pot withdrawal from the drug can have daunting side effects. The harsh side effects often cause addicts to go back to drug use because addiction seems less painful than the withdrawal. Doctors can sometimes prescribe medication to ease withdrawal symptoms and can also help patients establish healthy diet and exercise plans to improve overall well-being.
Patients usually choose between residential drug treatment programs and outpatient treatment. Some patients start in residential treatment and gradually step down to outpatient services. No matter what type of drug treatment is chosen, the patient must continue with a commitment to recovery and appropriate treatment. Different programs have different amenities and rules, so it is worthwhile for patients to research the options that will best aid their recovery.
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Inpatient Residential Treatment Programs
If you choose inpatient treatment for marijuana addiction, you leave your home and reside at the treatment center for the length of your program. Most people opt to attend an inpatient rehab about 30 days, but some extend that to 60 or 90 depending on their needs and desires. While some people are not keen on leaving home for treatment, some find it helpful to be in a different environment to go through the withdrawal process. They get a lot out of the professional support while taking a break from their everyday life at home.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
If you opt to attend an outpatient treatment program for marijuana addiction, you’ll reside at your home and attend the facility as often as you and the substance abuse professional agree upon. This allows you to continue to work, attend school, tend to the kids, and so on while still receiving treatment for the addiction. Many people start off attending classes three to five days a week, and as they progress in their recovery, reduce the number of sessions. Essentially, you’re getting a lot of the education and assistance you would at an inpatient facility, but you’re going home every night.
Luxurious Treatment Centers
If you’ve got the funds for luxury, you can opt to attend a luxury rehab center that will cater to much more than just your addiction needs. Usually located in a beautiful setting like the beach or nature, these luxury/resort style rehabs go beyond just treatment for addiction. They’ll serve you up amenities like swimming pools, massages, golf resorts, horseback riding, excellent food, alternative health modalities like qi gong or acupuncture, and more.
Viewing Relapses and Setbacks as a Chance for Growth
One challenging aspect of recovery is that if patients experience a relapse or setback, many will give up and return to drug abuse. A more helpful way to view relapses or setbacks is to understand that these may be part of the process of recovery. People are not perfect, and part of recovery is embracing self-forgiveness.
Drug addicts often turn to drug use as a way to cope with life’s problems. A good drug treatment program will help patients avoid this problem by teaching healthy coping techniques and providing an environment with emotional support. Recovery gives patients a second chance at life, and patients should view the experience as an opportunity to grow, learn and thrive.
Additional Marijuana Treatment Modalities
Therapy. Attending counseling with a professional therapist is a great way to treat marijuana addiction and any other emotional or behavior issues. Most treatment centers will have a counselor that provides counseling, but if you’re not planning on attending a facility, look into getting a counselor in your community and attend regularly.
12 Step Groups. Narcotics Anonymous is a 12 Step support group that helps struggling addicts stop drugging and start living the kind of life they desire. There you’ll be able to get a sponsor/mentor, attend meetings regularly, work through steps that will help you in various ways, and connect with other people in similar circumstances. SMART Recovery is a support group based on 4 key points and can be quite an effective support circle too.
What Marijuana Treatment Center is Right For You?
Take some time to think about what type of treatment center you’d like to attend to stop your dependence on marijuana. Don’t be afraid to take some time to do some research and talk to professionals on the phone who can answer your questions. You may want to ask about things like:
- What are your certifications?
- Do you have dual-diagnosis experience?
- Are your treatment plans unique and individualized? Is there an intake evaluation?
- What is the protocol for family members? Will I be able to talk with them while at treatment? Can they visit?
- Will you help me create a relapse prevention plan? What kinds of aftercare treatment modalities do you recommend?
Getting a good picture of each treatment center you’re looking at will help you make the best choice for you in your recovery. It’s not always easy to admit that you’ve become dependent on a substance, but if you’re wanting to stop using marijuana and need some assistance, here’s your permission to reach out and ask for help.
Get excited about getting free from addiction. You don’t have to stay stuck in the cycle of addiction any longer. There are many qualified substance abuse professionals ready and willing to help you begin to navigate your path to recovery. Take your first step today and get in touch with someone that can help you begin sifting through the various facilities, so you can get back your freedom as soon as possible.
Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.