Evan Leonard

MS, MMS, PA-C

Dr. Leonard is a Doctor of Medical Science and a clinical anatomist. He has practiced in both internal and emergency medicine and has published several, peer-reviewed articles and a medical book chapter.

Photo of a marijuana leaf

SpringBoard Recovery is a professional drug and alcohol rehab center located in Scottsdale, Arizona (near Phoenix), and we offer an accredited intensive outpatient drug treatment program, helping our clients successfully recover from a range of drug and alcohol addictions.

We have earned many years of full accreditation from the Joint Commission, who expect the highest national standards for addiction treatment, and we are committed to continually improving patient care.

We accept most major health insurance coverage, and clients travel from all over the U.S. to receive their personalized treatment with us, with many staying in our on-site, substance-free Sober Living accommodation.

Although marijuana is becoming legal to use recreationally in more and more U.S. states, the use and possession of cannabis for any purpose is still illegal under federal law, as stated by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Like all addictive substances, from alcohol to illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine to prescription opioid painkillers, people who use and abuse marijuana can become addicted to the drug. This is medically described as a marijuana use disorder.

Learn more about the dangers of cannabis/marijuana abuse here, and learn how our successful marijuana addiction recovery program can help you or a loved one.

What is Marijuana?

Photo of hands holding cannabis

Marijuana is a greenish-gray mixture derived from the dried flowers of cannabis plants, known as cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.

 

It is also known by a host of other slang names, which include herb, pot, grass, ganja, and MJ or Mary Jane.

 

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S., and marijuana addiction (or marijuana use disorder) is in no way exclusive to any particular age group, gender, or economic status.

 

However, according to the 2019 National Survey of Drug Use & Health, published in September 2020, there were significant increases in marijuana use among adults over the age of 26 years and among adolescents aged 12-17 years.

 

In fact, marijuana use disorder accounts for nearly 50% of admission for those aged 12-17 years who are receiving substance use disorder treatment, according to the NIDA.

 

The most common methods of marijuana use are:

 

  • Smoking the drug in hand-rolled cigarettes called “joints”
  • Inhaling marijuana smoke by using pipes and water pipes, known as “bongs” or
  • Smoking the drug in “blunts” (marijuana rolled in cigar wraps)

 

Alternatively, marijuana can also be used to brew tea, or it can be mixed into foods, known as “edibles,” such as brownies, cookies, or candies – particularly when it is sold or consumed for medicinal purposes.

 

Vaporizers are also increasingly used to consume or “vape” marijuana.

 

What is marijuana? A psychoactive drug that comes from the dried flowers of cannabis sativa. Its main psychoactive chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC. Marijuana is also known as weed, herb, pot, grass, ganja, and Mary Jane

What Causes People to Get High From Using Marijuana?

The main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, and responsible for most of the intoxicating effects that people want, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol – this is more commonly known as THC.

 

The chemical is found in resin produced by the leaves and buds, primarily, of the female cannabis plant.

 

The plant also contains more than 500 other chemicals, including more than 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids.

 

The legalization, and further relaxation around state marijuana laws, has led to the increased production and manufacture of stronger forms of the drug.

These include:

 

  • Sinsemilla: A seedless form of marijuana believed to have originated in the highlands of southern Mexico, sinsemilla is the name given to female plants that are left unfertilized. By leaving them like this, no seeds are produced, and the plant has more energy to convert into cannabinoids – in particular, significantly increased levels of THC.
  • Concentrated Resins: These resins contain high doses of marijuana’s active ingredients, and include honey-like hash oil. Resins are increasingly popular among those who use marijuana both recreationally and medically.

Is Marijuana a “Gateway” Drug?

Marijuana is commonly referred to as a gateway drug as it is often “linked” to the eventual use and abuse of other substances, like alcohol and prescription opioids, and illicit drugs.

 

Because it is normally easy to access, it’s affordable, and it’s now legal in 18 U.S. states, it further lends itself to drug experimentation by children and teenagers.

 

Studies have shown that people age 26 or elder who used marijuana before the age of 15 will go on to use another drug later in life, 54 percent will go to use a mind altering prescription medication, 9 percent will go on to use heroin and 62 percent will go on to use cocaine
Studies have shown that people age 26 or elder who used marijuana before the age of 15 will go on to use another drug later in life, 54 percent will go to use a mind altering prescription medication, 9 percent will go on to use heroin and 62 percent will go on to use cocaine

However, the vast majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other “harder” substances.

 

An alternative to the “gateway-drug hypothesis” is that young people who are more vulnerable to engaging in drug use are simply more likely to start with a drug like marijuana.

 

Additionally, their social interactions from then on will normally be with others who use drugs – this will also increase their chances of trying other drugs.

 

Is There a Difference Between Marijuana & Cannabis?

Generally, there is no difference between marijuana and cannabis.  However, because of legalization and the commercialization of products, such as edibles, the terms are often used like so:

 

  • Cannabis describes cannabis products in general
  • Marijuana specifically refers to the dried flowers, leaves, stems and seeds of the cannabis plant

 

Cannabis describes cannabis products in general. Marijuana specifically refers to the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant

Marijuana: Street & Slang Names

As mentioned previously, marijuana and cannabis have a whole host of alternative street and slang names in current use.

Marijuana street names include pot, hash, mary jane, weed, dope, skunk, ganja and joint
Marijuana street names include pot, hash, mary jane, weed, dope, skunk, ganja and joint

Interestingly, the names given seem to be generationally driven. Many names are derived by the marijuana use of older generations, and newer, less familiar names tend to come from the younger generation.

Marijuana: Street & Slang Names

  • Aunt Mary
  • Dope
  • Herb
  • Mary Jane
  • Sinsemilla
  • BC Bud
  • Gangster
  • Hydro
  • MJ
  • Skunk
  • Blunts
  • Ganja
  • Indo
  • Mota
  • Smoke
  • Boom
  • Grass
  • Joint
  • Pot
  • Weed
  • Chronic
  • Hash
  • Kif
  • Reefer
  • Yerba

U.S. Social & Legal History of Marijuana

Historically, marijuana appears to originate in the eastern world, where it had ritualistic and medicinal uses. It was also popular for its use as a textile.

 

In the U.S., it was first used solely for recreation because of its mind-altering capacity. Eventually, the use and abuse of marijuana became a public health crisis, and it was duly made illegal.

 

Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (1970), meaning that:

 

  • Marijuana has a high potential for abuse
  • There is no currently accepted medical use of marijuana in clinical treatment in the U.S., and
  • Marijuana is considered to have a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision

 

Although some states within the U.S. have allowed the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and latterly for recreational use, it is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alone that has the federal authority to approve drugs for medicinal use in the U.S.

Legal marijuana production

Individual State Legalization of Marijuana & Cannabis

Because of its legalization in certain states, marijuana dispensaries are becoming more numerous, and doctors who are professionally credentialed to prescribe its use for various medicinal purposes are increasing rapidly.

Whether or not marijuana becomes legal across the entire U.S. remains to be seen. However, the continual voting polls suggest this is far off in the future, if ever.

As of June, 2021, recreational marijuana is legal in 19 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Guam.

U.S. States with Legalized Recreational Use of Marijuana

  • Colorado
  • California
  • Vermont
  • New Jersey
  • Washington
  • Maine
  • Guam
  • South Dakota
  • Alaska
  • Massachusetts
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Arizona
  • Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Connecticut
     

States that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana have their own processes for the licensing of dispensaries, but every business, anywhere in the U.S., that sells marijuana must have a license from the state to do so.

Marijuana sales are regulated and taxed by the states at varying rates.

Furthermore, each state has their own legislation regarding:

  • The amount of marijuana an adult can legally possess
  • If adults can grow their own marijuana plants, and
  • How the tax revenue from marijuana sales is spent

Marijuana Use in Arizona

In 2020, Arizona voted (by around 60%) to legalize cannabis for all adults over the age of 21.

Soonafter, the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) began accepting applications for adult-use licenses.

Approvals were issued on January 22, 2021. Sales began immediately.

Arizona rolled out their adult-use sales program faster than any other state that voted to pass recreational cannabis in the November, 2020 elections.

Companies already operating in the state’s medical market were immediately able to sell to recreational customers.

The decision to legalize recreational marijuana has, up to August, 2021, earned the state government over $115 million from cannabis tax revenue, according to the Arizona Department of Revenue – over $115 million in just 7 months.

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

When marijuana is smoked, the active ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream.

The THC chemical then travels to all organs throughout the body, including the brain.

In the brain, THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells, and then influences the activity of those cells.

The brain’s cannabinoid receptors are responsible for several of its functions, such as

  • Pleasure
  • Thought (cognition)
  • Sensory and time perception
  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Coordinated movement

The state of euphoria or “high” is the result of huge amounts of dopamine being released in the brain.

The Marijuana / Cannabis “High”

The psychoactive effects of using marijuana can vary immensely between one person and the next. Extensive studies have reported people feeling happy or relaxed, and others reported laughter, time being extended, and a highly increased appetite.

However, using marijuana can also result in far less desirable effects, such as anxiety, confusion and panic.

Photo of a man smoking

How the user reacts to marijuana depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The dose, strain, and potency of the marijuana used
  • Method of use – whether it’s smoked, vaped, or ingested)
  • Frequency – how often the user uses marijuana
  • The user’s age, gender, and physiology
  • Whether the user drinks alcohol or takes other drugs at the same time

Users’ Reported Effects & Experiences of Using Marijuana

Positive Effects / “High” Negative & Unpleasant Effects
  • Euphoric
  • Anxiety
  • Relaxed
  • Confusion
  • Amused
  • High blood pressure
  • Giggly
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Creative
  • Panic
  • Hungry
  • Paranoia / psychosis
  • Increased sensitivity to light, color, sound, touch, taste, and smell
  • Delusions and hallucinations

Negative reactions are more likely if the user is inexperienced or uses too much. Strong cannabis invariably triggers a stronger reaction.

How Long Does the High from Marijuana Last?

The high from marijuana / cannabis can last anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, depending on factors such as:

  • How much is consumed
  • The level of THC
  • The user’s body weight, body fat percentage and metabolism
  • Whether or not the user has recently eaten
  • The user’s tolerance to marijuana (regular users will have developed a higher level of tolerance than those new to the drug)

Method of Marijuana Use on Duration of Effects

How quickly the user experiences the effects of marijuana depends on the method of use:

  • Smoking / Vaping: The user feels the effects of use within 2-10 minutes, entering the bloodstream via the lungs. The effects peak around 10 minutes after use, and typically last 1 to 3 hours, though they can sometimes last up to 8 hours.
  • Eating Edibles: The user’s digestive system metabolizes marijuana when it’s eaten, meaning the effects take around 30 to 60 minutes, and they can sometimes last for as long as 2 hours – effects lasting 24 hours have been reported.
  • Dabbing (concentrated marijuana smoked through a special pipe): Dabs have a much higher THC content than other forms of marijuana / cannabis, so the high is virtually immediate. The effects can last 1 to 3 hours. If using a high THC concentrate, the user could feel the effects for an entire day.

Why Marijuana Use Can Be Dangerous for Teenagers

The use of marijuana and cannabis products can be dangerous for teenagers because their brain does not fully mature until the age of 25 years.

Any addictive substance – from marijuana to alcohol to harder drugs – will have an increased psychological and physical impact upon brains that are still developing and maturing.

During the “teenage” years, the brain, literally, is still “under construction.”

However, state governments have played a role in sending confusing health messages to young people. In Arizona, for example, the legal age to use marijuana is only 21. Unfortunately, the same age limit exists for alcohol, too.

Furthermore, the marijuana legalization movement has added to this confusion with their messaging about marijuana’s health benefits, leaving teenagers to believe If it’s medicine, it must be safe.”

However, the exact same was believed about prescription opioid painkillers, prior to (and even during) the current national opioid epidemic in the U.S.

Marijuana, alcohol, and prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans fourteen and older. National Institute on Drug Abuse

Teenage Marijuana Use: Strong Warnings For Parents

If a parent wishes to educate their child about the dangers of using marijuana, particularly those teenage or younger, they should provide factual information so the child can form their own opinion, and take an informed decision.

The following information has all been derived and confirmed by numerous professional medical research studies [the relevant source is linked to, where appropriate]

General Dangers

Marijuana use during adolescence can have these short-term consequences:

  • Difficulty learning, including retaining new information
  • Accidental injury
  • Auto accidents [see below]
  • Risky sexual behavior, leading to sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Bronchitis, which can become chronic if marijuana use continues

Marijuana Addiction / Marijuana Use Disorder

Addiction to marijuana is possible, and it’s even more likely if using the drug begins prior to the age of 18.

In fact, according to the NIDA, marijuana use disorder accounts for nearly 50% of admission for those aged 12-17 years who are currently receiving professional substance use disorder treatment (also known as drug rehab).

Auto Accidents

Using marijuana impairs an individual’s judgment, alertness, concentration, coordination, and reaction time. Driving while under the influence of marijuana can double a young driver’s risk of an auto accident. The risk is even higher if the individual consumes even small amounts of alcohol.

Existing Mental Illness

High doses of the THC in marijuana can result in panic attacks or even acute psychosis, including hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized cognition in those who already have a mental health disorder.

This risk of psychosis is exacerbated if someone has genetic risk factors.

Poorer Quality of Life

Students who use marijuana are statistically more likely than other non-using students to drop out of high school.

Additionally, later in life, they have been found to have:

  • Lower salaries
  • Less career success, and
  • Lower life satisfaction.

It is believed this is associated with altered brain development and cognitive impairment.

Teenage Marijuana Use: Facts & Stats

According to the Monitoring The Future (MTF): National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2020  – published in July, 2021 – marijuana use among U.S. teenagers has increased significantly over the last 5 years, and now stands at an all-time high.

Illicit marijuana use has never been more widespread among U.S. teenagers and college-aged young adults.

Additionally, according to the same MTF survey, in 2019, there was a significant year-on-year increase in daily use in the younger grades.

In addition, U.S. teensagers’ perceptions of the risks of marijuana use have steadily declined over the past decade.

U.S. Teenage Marijuana Use: 2019 8th Grade 10th Grade 12th Grade
Past Year 11.8% 28.8% 35.7%
Past Month / Current 6.6% 18.4% 22.3%

Furthermore, 6.4% of 12th Graders stated they used marijuana daily or near-daily.

According to the national institute on drug abuse, marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in the United States after alcohol. 35.7 percent of twelfth graders reported using the drug within the last year in 2019
According to the national institute on drug abuse, marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in the United States after alcohol. 35.7 percent of twelfth graders reported using the drug within the last year in 2019

With the growing popularity of vaping devices, teens have started vaping THC (the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high), with nearly 4% of 12th Graders saying they vape THC daily.

Lastly, medical emergencies related to marijuana use have also increased.

Resources for Parents of Teenagers Who Use Marijuana

Short & Long Term Effects of Marijuana Use & Abuse

The use and abuse of marijuana creates many short-term psychological and physical effects in users. The regular, longer term use of the drug can lead to marijuana addiction, known medically as marijuana use disorder.

Short-Term Effects of Marijuana Use: Physiological / Psychological / Behavioral

  • Happiness
  • Disinhibition
  • Relaxation
  • Ataxia [see below]
  • Increased sociability
  • Increased
    appetite
  • Heightened imagination
  • Short-term memory impairment
  • Time
    distortions
  • Impaired
    judgment
  • Reduced coordination
  • Disorganized
    cognition
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Increased creativity
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Enhanced sensory perception
  • Talkativeness
  • Panic attacks
NOTE: Ataxia is a group of disorders that affect coordination, balance and speech, which can impede driving ability or lead to an increase in risk-taking behavior

At High Doses:

  • Exhilaration
  • Illusions / Delusions
  • Paranoia / Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
Short term effects of marijuana use include pyschosis, loss of sense of personal indentity, panic, short term memory difficulties and severe anxiety or paranoia
Short term effects of marijuana use include pyschosis, loss of sense of personal indentity, panic, short term memory difficulties and severe anxiety or paranoia

Short-Term Effects of Marijuana Use: Physical

Initially:
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors
  • Tachycardia
  • Facial flushing
 
  • Sedation
  • Bloodshot
    eyes
  • Increased
    heart rate
  • Increased appetite
  • Coughing from lung irritation
  • Increased blood pressure

Long Term Effects of Marijuana Use

Regular, long-term marijuana users who smoke the drug can experience serious health problems in later life, such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma.

All long-term marijuana users, regardless of their method of use, can experience the suppression of their immune system, making them more at risk of infection, eg. respiratory infections and pneumonia.

Medical research studies have linked regular marijuana use during adolescence with an increased likelihood of the following long-term effects on the body and mind, including:

  • Altered brain development: A teenage or young adult brain can be more vulnerable to adverse long-term effects from THC. Studies have shown that adults who smoked marijuana regularly during their early years have fewer neural fibers in certain brain regions.
  • Cognitive impairment: Frequent marijuana use during adolescence has been linked consistently to lower IQs.
  • Mental health: Chronic marijuana use can increase the risk of depression or anxiety.
Some of the most common symptoms of marijuana use include depression, obsessive concentration, excessive talking, sleepiness, paranoia and anxiety and decreased inhibitions. Marijuana is sometimes used in hospitals to help improve cancer patients's appetites
Some of the most common symptoms of marijuana use include depression, obsessive concentration, excessive talking, sleepiness, paranoia and anxiety and decreased inhibitions. Marijuana is sometimes used in hospitals to help improve cancer patients's appetites

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states regular marijuana use is linked to other physical symptoms, including:

  • An increased heart rate for up to three hours after smoking, increasing the risk of a heart attack
  • Child development issues both during and after pregnancy [see below]
  • Intense nausea and vomiting, medically known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome

The Dangers of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

Using any drug during pregnancy, whether it is legal, a prescription medicine, or an illicit drug, can have a potential impact on the health of the baby being carried – and using marijuana is no different.

Additionally, continuing the marijuana use during the early years of the child’s adolescence can also have consequences, including (but not limited to):

  • affecting brain development and function
  • the child’s own propensity to future drug use
  • attention issues
  • emotional functioning issues
  • problem-solving difficulties
  • behavior regulation issues
  • language developmental difficulties
  • future academic difficulties

Marijuana & Cannabis Use in the U.S: Facts & Stats

Picture of a joint

U.S. Marijuana Use by Age: 2019

The largest group of current marijuana users in the U.S. are 18 – 29-year-olds (22%), with roughly a quarter of the age group being current smokers, too:

  • 18 – 29 years: 22%
  • 30 – 49 years: 11%
  • 50 – 64 years: 12%
  • 65+ years: 3%

NOTE: The following statistics have been reported (in part) previously in this article. In the interests of completeness, they are also provided here.

According to statistical data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Marijuana is the 2nd most commonly used drug in the U.S. after alcohol
  • In 2019, more than 31.5 million people (from the age of 12 years upward) reported using marijuana in the past month million
  • Again according to the 2019 National Survey of Drug Use & Health, published in September, 2020, there were significant increases in marijuana use among adults over the age of 26 years and among adolescents aged 12-17 years
  • In fact, marijuana use disorder accounts for nearly 50% of admission for those aged 12-17 years who are receiving substance use disorder treatment
  • 11.8% of 8th graders reported using this drug within the last year during 2019
  • 6.6% of them stated that they had used it within the last month
  • 35.7% of 12th graders reported using the drug within the last year during 2019
  • 22.3% stated that they had used it within the last month that year
  • 4% of 12th graders report that they vape THC on a daily basis
  • Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits related to marijuana

Recreational Marijuana Use in Arizona: Facts & Stats

Here in Arizona, there is little doubt that the legalization of recreational marijuana and cannabis use, in addition to the existing medical usage, has been a massive financial revenue success for the state.

However, the historical trend of marijuana use in adolescents and young people is still showing increases across all ages from 8th to 12th Grade, according to the latest results from the Arizona Youth Survey (2020).

It is believed that the 2020 results for marijuana use were tempered by the arrival of coronavirus, leading to these percentages being lower than 2018. As you can see, there are still increases between the 2016 results and the 2020 ones.

Additionally, there were clear increases in the use of potentially more dangerous marijuana concentrates in both 10th and 12th Grades.

Arizona Teenage Marijuana Use: 2020 (including Concentrates & Edibles)
During your lifetime, have you
used _____?
8th Grade (%) 10th Grade (%) 12th Grade (%)
2016 2018 2020 2016 2018 2020 2016 2018 2020
Marijuana   13.2 15.7 14.0 27.2 31.8 29.6 40.3 44.1 41.3
Marijuana
Concentrates
Eg. wax pen / THC
oil, shatter, hash, etc
n/a 14.1 12.8 n/a 25.1 26.8 n/a 32.7 35.8
Marijuana
Edibles
Eg. brownies, candy,
cookies, soda, etc
n/a n/a 11.5 n/a n/a 20.0 n/a n/a 28.5

Marijuana Addiction & Rehab

Marijuana is the single most popular illicit drug in the U.S., with nearly 40% of adults reporting to marijuana use at least once. Nearly half of high school seniors have used marijuana, and the drug is being increasingly destigmatized in medical literature and our popular culture.

It’s true that it’s virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana.

There have been no reported cases of this in the U.S. – although it clearly can be a major factor in accidental deaths, such as fatal motor vehicle crashes.

Furthermore, research suggests that marijuana does not result in the same serious withdrawal effects that occur when other drug use is stopped, eg. opioids or alcohol.

However, marijuana is considered by medical experts to be intensely psychologically addictive.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of regular marijuana users are believed to suffer from an underlying mental illness.

For many, marijuana is a form of self-medication, so when they stop abusing the drug, their psychological symptoms will intensify again.

Drug treatment for marijuana addiction is available and can help people recover successfully. However, many marijuana users are simply unaware of this.

This can be partially explained by marijuana’s false reputation as being harmless and non-addictive, meaning the majority of users do not see a problem with using it, or cannot link the effects of their addiction to any sudden major socio-economic changes in their life.

What is Marijuana Use Disorder?

Becoming addicted to marijuana is not a rapid event, such as an addiction to meth or heroin, which can occur in a matter of weeks, even days. With marijuana, it is a far slower psychological and physical process.

Marijuana use disorder (also known as cannabis use disorder) is becoming more and more widespread across the U.S.

Around 10 percent of people who begin smoking marijuana will become addicted, nearly one third of current marijuana users meet the criteria for addiction

Like all substance use disorders (SUDs), an addiction to marijuana / cannabis is exemplified by an individual continuing its use despite the clear, significant negative impact on their life and health.

Here is some proven information that pro-marijuana legalizers would never tell you, according to research by Yale Medicine, part of Yale University:

  • Around 10% of people who begin smoking marijuana will become addicted, and
  • Nearly one-third (30%) of current marijuana users meet the criteria for addiction

Marijuana Use Disorder: Symptoms & Signs of Addiction

  • Working while under the influence of
    marijuana
  • Doing things you regret due to the
    influence of marijuana
  • “Needing” marijuana to feel normal,
    happy, or productive
  • Suffering financial problems due to
    marijuana
  • Being arrested but continuing to use
    marijuana
  • Relationship problems due to
    marijuana use
  • Spending all or most of your time high
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Hearing from loved ones that your marijuana use has become problematic
Your health insurance plan may cover your recovery at SpringBoard. Verifying your insurance is quick and easy!

Addiction to marijuana is not only possible – it’s even more likely if using the drug begins prior to the age of 18.

In fact, according to the NIDA, marijuana use disorder accounts for nearly 50% of admission for those aged 12-17 years who are currently receiving professional substance use disorder treatment (also known as drug rehab).

Professional Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana doesn’t typically cause the intense physical withdrawal symptoms that other drugs can lead to. It also doesn’t last very long – only three days or so.

However, for someone addicted to marijuana, the psychological cravings of the disorder to return to previous use of the drug can be overwhelming.

Is a Professional Drug Detox Necessary for Marijuana Withdrawal?

Many substances require a full, medically-assisted drug detox as the first part of any treatment. However, marijuana is not one of these, as the withdrawal symptoms are not severe, and certainly not life-threatening in any way.

Even though marijuana is not physically addictive, stopping its use does result in some withdrawal symptoms, provided below:

Marijuana Use Disorder: Withdrawal Symptoms

 
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Tremors
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Vivid dreams /
    nightmares
  • Emotional instability
    and depression
  • Poor sleep / sleep
    disturbance

Fortunately, these and any other symptoms should be relatively mild and easily managed.

Even though marijuana is not physically addictive, stopping its use can result in some withdrawal symptoms, some of them include a decrease in appetite, cravings for the drug, stomach pain, irritability, feeling restless and problems sleeping
Even though marijuana is not physically addictive, stopping its use can result in some withdrawal symptoms, some of them include a decrease in appetite, cravings for the drug, stomach pain, irritability, feeling restless and problems sleeping

It is possible to ease the effects of these withdrawal symptoms using the following remedies:

  • Exercising
  • Taking warm baths
  • Increasing water intake
  • Reducing fat intake
  • Reducing / eliminating caffeine intake

Marijuana Drug Rehab

Professional drug rehab is the single most effective option for treating marijuana addiction. At rehab, patients receive the professional evidence-based therapies needed, and have the opportunity to pursue sobriety in a supportive, safe, drug and alcohol-free setting.

Marijuana addiction treatment. Adults seeking treatment. For marijuana abuse or dependence average more than 10 years of near-daily use and more than six-serious attemps at quitting. About half the people. Who enter treatment for marijuana use are under 25 years of age, these patients have a distinctive profile of involvement in other risky behaviors. Stopping marijuana use does not cause severe withdrawal symptoms and typically the patient is not required to go through detox

The main goal of drug rehab is to determine what led to the drug use in the first place, once, of course, the patient has been fully detoxed from marijuana.

Many people start using marijuana because they simply want help to relax or unwind at the end of a long day. However, many people also use it as a way to “self-medicate” the symptoms of a mental health issue, such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.

When this is the case, with the simultaneous presence of the marijuana use disorder and the mental health disorder, it is medically known as co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

Around half of all people who suffer from substance addiction are also battling co-occurring disorders. Some are aware that they have them because they have been diagnosed.

However, many people have never even received a diagnosis – they only know that marijuana helps them to feel better, so they continue to use it.

It is critical to diagnose any co-occurring disorders during drug rehab. This allows the individual to get the treatment they need for both conditions at the same time, which results in a much higher rate of success in their recovery.

Professional evidence-based addiction treatment for marijuana use disorder should include:

  • Individual Counselling Therapy: In therapy, patients explore the roots of their addiction, such as the ways past experiences shape present behavior, and practical strategies for coping with ongoing cravings.
    If the patient has an underlying mental health disorder, as many marijuana addicts do, the therapist can help devise further coping strategies for managing this condition.
  • Group therapy: Group counseling sessions are always held under the guidance of an addiction therapist. This form of therapy shows the patient they are not alone, and it helps the patient to listen to peers in the same position.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help patients manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.
    It’s most commonly used to treat substance addiction, anxiety and depression, but it can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

Does Health Insurance Cover Marijuana Rehab?

Understandably, many people are concerned about the thought of going to marijuana rehab for financial reasons, as they may not believe they have the money to cover such an expense.

However, they often do not realize that their health insurance coverage covers people in need of addiction treatment, including marijuana use disorder.

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, it required all health insurance providers to cover drug and alcohol treatment. This has remained the same, which means a person who has health insurance can afford to go to rehab.

The costs (certainly for an outpatient drug treatment program) should be covered in full by the insurer.

However, every policy is different, so it is important for people to check with their insurance providers. At SpringBoard Recovery, we work with many different health insurance companies and we would be happy to verify your insurance cover.

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SpringBoard Recovery Treats Marijuana Addiction

At SpringBoard Recovery, we have worked with many people who suffered from marijuana addiction – a drug that can be extremely difficult for people to stop using, even though they are not physically addicted.

Our drug rehab program is offered on an outpatient basis – we specialize in intensive outpatient treatment, which allows people the flexibility to continue to live at home while they get the help they need.

We also offer sober living accommodation for people who may require it, as we understand not everyone has a supportive family at home to help them stay on track.

Sober living offers them a safe, drug-free environment where they can live while they get the treatment they need. This service is also available to those who are coming to our rehab from out-of-state.

Long-term, sustainable sobriety is the treatment goal. Ongoing support groups are a viable and beneficial option and should be seriously considered.

Avoiding previous triggers such as social groups, stressors, and establishments that were associated with marijuana use can help patients stay sober post-treatment.

SpringBoard can help with any questions you may have about marijuana addiction or getting the right treatment. We can help you to begin your recovery from marijuana addiction. Contact us today.

External Sources:

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). What is Marijuana? July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Most Commonly Used Addictive Drugs. July, 2018. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  3. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). U.S. National Survey of Drug Use & Health: 2019. September, 2020. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  5. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Drug fact Sheet: Marijuana / Cannabis. April, 2020. Available at DEA.gov.
  6. History.com. History of Marijuana. October, 2019. Available at History.com.
  7. U.S. News. Where is Marijuana Legal? June, 2021. Available at USNews.com.
  8. Arizona Department of Health Services. Adult Use of Marijuana. 2021. Available at AzDHS.gov.
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). FAQs about Marijuana. December, 2017. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  10. University of Michigan: Institute for Social Research. “Monitoring The Future (MTF): National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2020.” July, 2021. Available at MonitoringTheFuture.org.
  11. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Marijuana: Expert Articles about Use & Abuse. July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Teen Drug Use: Start a Conversation. July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  13. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know. July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know
  14. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Parents: Drug Treatment July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  15. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Learn About Marijuana Risks. August, 2021. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  16. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Talking With Your Teen About Marijuana. March, 2020. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  17. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. March, 2020. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  18. Cedars-Sinai. Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome. 2021. Cedars-Sinai.org.
  19. Statista. Share of consumers in the United States who currently smoke marijuana as of July 2019, by age group. 2021. Available at Statista.com.
  20. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). What is the Scope of Marijuana Use in the United States? July, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  21. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Webcast Slides for the 2019 National Survey of Drug Use & Health. September, 2020. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  22. Arizona Department of Health Services. Arizona Medical Marijuana Program August 2020 Monthly Report. 2021. Available at AzDHS.gov.
  23. Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. Arizona Youth Survey, 2021. Available at AzCJC.gov.
  24. Yale Medicine, Yale University. Cannabis / Marijuana Use Disorder. 2021. Available at YaleMedicine.org.
  25. cannabis use disorder
  26. HealthCare.gov. Affordable Care Act (ACA). 2021. Available at HealthCare.gov.
Marijuana use in the U.S. The DEA states that a large percentage of people arrested for crimes, test positive for marijuana. More than 94 million Americans have used it at least once, more than 2 million will abuse it for the first time every year, and nearly 10 percent of teenagers admit to using marijuana

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