Introduction to Marijuana: Abuse, Addiction and Treatment

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Marijuana is now legal in four states plus the District of Columbia and is legal for medical usage in 23 states and the District of Columbia. If you’re like many Scottsdale addicts, then, you may see your marijuana use as unproblematic. Perhaps you even labor under the assumption that marijuana is totally safe and can’t be addictive. It doesn’t matter whether a drug is legal or available for prescription use. After all, prescription drugs are now the leading cause of drug addiction in the U.S. Instead, what matters is how the drug affects you. Marijuana comes with serious side effects, and between 10% and 20% of users eventually develop an addiction.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Marijuana addiction is not exclusive to any particular age group, gender or economic status. Marijuana is often referred to as a gateway drug as it is commonly linked to eventual use and abuse of other substances and illicit drugs. Ease of accessibility and affordability might lend itself to being a popular avenue of entry for adolescent drug experimentation, abuse and potential addiction.

In its natural state, marijuana’s mind-altering chemical makeup is low, but the specifics of its origins in higher chemical compound states remain in question. Personal crop farming has made obtaining marijuana readily available just about anywhere and has led to more potent forms of the plant through human genetic modification and distribution. There are significant dangers of using a drug from laypersons because of the assumption that the drug is strictly plant matter when in fact there is the potential for there to be toxic chemicals mixed in with the plant matter.

Currently in the United States, marijuana is still considered a federally illegal drug. Its legal status is in a constant state of change, however, as each state is allowed to individually chart its own marijuana legality course. Unfortunately, legalizing marijuana could be viewed as a slippery slope in light of abuse and addiction.

What is Marijuana?
What is Marijuana?

Marijana History

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant used primarily for medical or recreational purposes. Marijuana seems to get its origins from ritualistic and medicinal uses in the eastern world, although not for its mind-altering chemical compounds. It was also popular for its textile potential. Its constant evolution between its natural and domesticated forms makes it continually difficult to study.

Initially, in the United States, it was used and abused for its mind-altering capacity. Ultimately it became a national problem at which point it was deemed illegal. It has made numerous progressions in the legal realm; its possession becoming a federal offense, being deemed a Schedule I controlled substance and becoming one of the major focal points of some renowned drug addiction opposition groups such as MADD and D.A.R.E.

Progressively; however, it seems to be making a reverse in the opposite direction, being classified as a less punishable crime in possession of small amounts. As mentioned earlier, some states are legalizing possession entirely. Marijuana dispensaries are becoming more and more frequent and doctors who are credentialed to prescribe its use for various medicinal purposes are increasing at a high rate. A popular opinion that it will become legal across the continent in the United States in the not so far off future is not necessarily the favored opinion of everyone as evidenced in continuous voting polls.

Marijuana Street Names

Marijuana can be identified by an ever-increasing list of names; some of the more commonly used ones being:

  • Pot
  • Hash
  • Mary Jane
  • Weed
  • Reefer
  • Dope
  • Skunk
  • Ganja
  • Joint

Interestingly, the nomenclature seems to be generationally driven. Some of the older known names are from the older generation of users and some of the newer, less familiar names coming from the younger generation.

Marijuana Statistics

Marijuana usage statistics can be researched in endless resources but are commonly grouped as follows:

  • Adolescent and young adults constituting the majority of users
  • Middle-aged users being less than that of young adults
  • Senior aged users being the least in number

These numbers certainly are likely to change based on the fact that as marijuana possession and use become less likely to be a prosecuted offense and more people are able to be given prescriptive permission, the use will likely increase across the board. Seniors seem to be increasing as a result of prescriptive permission as a viable option for pain relief and other such age-related health issues that previously would have been prescribed more potent and potentially harmful and addictive chemical compounds.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in the United States after alcohol.
  • More than 11.8 million young adults reported using this drug within the last year in 2018.
  • In 2019, there was a significant increase in daily marijuana use among younger students.
  • 11.8% of 8th graders reported using this drug within the last year in 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 in 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 this drug.

Marijuana Addiction: The Basics

Marijuana is the single most popular illicit drug in the United States, with nearly 40% of adults admitting to marijuana use at least once. Nearly half of high school seniors have used marijuana, and the drug is increasingly de-stigmatized in medical literature and popular culture.

It’s true that it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana, and research suggests that marijuana doesn’t result in the same serious withdrawal effects some drugs yield. Instead, marijuana is intensely psychologically addictive. More than half of regular marijuana users 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 can become intensely painful.  

How Marijuana Affects the Body

Marijuana’s drug classification is the subject of ongoing medical and political debate, though most addiction experts classify marijuana as a central nervous system depressant. This means that it slows down activity in your brain and spinal cord, slowing your thoughts and reaction times. With higher doses, the effects become more pronounced, and prolonged usage greatly increases your odds of addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of marijuana use include:

  • Increased appetite; marijuana is sometimes used in hospitals to help improve cancer patients’ appetites.
  • Fixation on unimportant details.
  • Obsessive concentration.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Decreased inhibitions.
  • Difficulty with sexual functioning.
  • Confusion,  decreased intelligence, and slower processing.
  • Slowed reflexes and less physical dexterity.
  • Depression
  • Paranoia and anxiety, especially at high doses or when marijuana is eaten.
  • Increased heart rate and pulse.
  • Increased sensitivity to touch.

marijuana induced psychosis

Marijuana addiction is a big problem in Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as elsewhere in the state. Drug treatment can help people get off it successfully, but a lot of people are unaware of that. This drug has a reputation of being non-addictive, which means a lot of users do not see a problem with using it.

Marijuana is legal in 11 states and in Washington DC. Many other states have made it available for medical purposes or decriminalized it for recreational use. These changes in the drug’s legality has caused people to question whether or not it is actually dangerous. The reality is that it can be psychologically addictive. Once people start using it, it can be challenging to stop.

A lot of people are surprised to hear that some choose to get professional help for marijuana addiction. But going to rehab can make a big difference. There are many drug rehabs in the Scottsdale, Arizona area that treat this type of substance abuse problem. People need to know where to get the help they need and how dangerous it can be to get addicted to marijuana.

The Effects of Marijuana Use

Because marijuana is known to be non-physically addictive, people tend to think of it as safe. But that is not the case at all. This drug can have a profound effect on the mind and body even if it is taken for a short time.

Long-term Effects of Marijuana Use

Unfortunately, as the age of onset of use decreases, the long-term effects are becoming more evident and alarming. These effects are irreparable, especially concerning the brain and respiratory system. Marijuana can be consumed by varied routes:

  • Inhalant (pipe, rolled cigarette, vape – which has been recently deemed extremely dangerous and destructive to the respiratory health of its users).
  • Ingestible (edibles)
  • Topicals (creams and soaps)

Earlier onset of use can potentially be translated into a longer length of use, abuse and potential for addiction. Studies indicate that there are situations that can help detour the likelihood of adolescent experimentation, such as, keeping kids active in healthy activities, kids keeping company with positive social groups, and strong family support system involvement.

Sadly, some children are exposed in utero and suffer lasting consequences because of this. Marijuana use during pregnancy and during the early years of adolescence can cause a multitude of consequences including but not limited to:

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

This is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Short-term Effects of Marijuana Use

Short term effects of marijuana use might include:

  • Short term memory difficulties
  • Severe anxiety or paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of sense of personal identity

Some signs that marijuana is currently being used are:

  • Red eyes
  • Excessive eating or snacking
  • Social withdrawal
  • Social group exclusivity to other marijuana users

SYMPTOMS OF MARIJUANA ADDICTION

Marijuana addiction is a slower process than the process of getting addicted to other drugs. And because marijuana breeds intense psychological dependence, prolonged use coupled with psychological distress are the two most important predictors for marijuana addiction. If you feel anxious, depressed, or restless when you can’t use marijuana, this may signal an addiction. Some other symptoms of marijuana addiction include:

  • Working while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Spending all or most of your time high.
  • Doing things you regret due to the influence of marijuana.
  • Suffering financial problems due to marijuana.
  • Being arrested but continuing to use marijuana.
  • Relationship problems due to marijuana use.
  • “Needing” marijuana to feel normal, happy, or productive.
  • Excessive sleepiness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Hearing from loved ones that your marijuana use has become problematic.
  • Short-term memory loss.

TREATMENT FOR MARIJUANA ADDICTION

One of the only good things about marijuana addiction is that marijuana doesn’t typically cause the intense physical withdrawal symptoms that other drugs can lead to. Marijuana withdrawal is also typically short, lasting only three or so days. But the temptation to return to drug use can be overwhelming, particularly in a culture that tacitly endorses marijuana addiction.

Rehab is the single most effective option for treating your marijuana addiction. In rehab, you’ll get relief from the peer pressure of everyday life and have the chance to pursue sobriety in a supportive, safe, drug and alcohol-free setting. Some of the services you can expect in rehab – services you can also pursue on your own if you’re not yet ready to consider care – include:

  • Therapy with an addiction counselor. In therapy, you’ll explore the roots of your addiction, the ways your past experiences shape your present behavior, and novel strategies for coping with the pain of withdrawal and the challenges of ongoing cravings. If you have an underlying mental health condition, as many marijuana addicts do, your therapist can help you devise coping strategies for managing this challenge.
  • Group counseling sessions under the guidance of a therapist who specializes in addiction.
  • 12-step programs such as Marijuana Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs are free and confidential and allow you to learn from the experiences of other addicts. Though people from all religious faiths have successfully used these programs, they do make vague religious references and are built around a Christian world view. If you prefer a secular support group, consider SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery instead.
  • Medical care. Your physician can help you manage the challenges of detox, prescribing medications to reduce your symptoms and monitoring you to ensure you remain healthy. If you have a physical or mental health condition, your doctor will evaluate you to determine your best treatment options. Your physician can also recommend lifestyle strategies for coping with your addiction, in addition to advising you about medications that may be less addictive than your current prescriptions.


Marijuana Gateway Drug

Marijuana Addiction: The Basics

Marijuana is the single most popular illicit drug in the United States, with nearly 40% of adults admitting to marijuana use at least once. Nearly half of high school seniors have used marijuana, and the drug is increasingly de-stigmatized in medical literature and popular culture.

It’s true that it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana, and research suggests that marijuana doesn’t result in the same serious withdrawal effects some drugs yield. Instead, marijuana is intensely psychologically addictive. More than half of regular marijuana users 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 can become intensely painful.

Medical and Recreational Marijuana Use Statistics in Arizona

There is no doubt that marijuana has grown in popularity since it was legalized, decriminalized and made available for medical purposes. The media and government authorities have gathered a lot of interesting statistics.

According to the Phoenix New Times:

  • More than 18,083 pounds of medical marijuana was sold in Arizona during the month of May 2020.
  • These sales break down to 16,270 pounds of flower, 456 pounds of edibles and 1,356 pounds of concentrates.
  • That number was an increase of 5.8% over how much was sold in March of 2020.
  • During that month, patients purchased just over 17,000 pounds of medical weed.
  • The amount of medical marijuana that was sold in May of 2020 was a 31.3% increase over what was sold in May 2019.
  • May also saw a dramatic increase in medical marijuana patients as well. 10,000 more patients joined the state’s medical marijuana program than were participating in April.
  • This number is about 23% higher than what it was in May of 2019 as well.


Marijuana Use In the U.S.

The Arizona Youth Survey offered some interesting results regarding the use of marijuana among young people. In 2018, it was reported that:

  • 15.7% of young people in Arizona used marijuana at some point during the last month.
  • About 12% of young people stated that they had smoked or vaped marijuana concentrates during the last month.
  • More than 24% of these young people stated that they got the drug from someone who had a medical marijuana card.
  • 10% of them purchased the drug at a local dispensary.
  • As a result, fewer kids are abusing prescription opioids, methamphetamine, and inhalants. But this is still a very serious issue among teens.

The 2020 Arizona Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative

Recreational marijuana is getting even closer to becoming a reality in Arizona. This is because of a highly-supported ballot initiative that has gotten enough signatures to be presented to voters. It is called the Smart and Safe Arizona Act.

If the initiative passes in Arizona in November, lawmakers in Arizona would have until April 5, 2021 to establish regulations for the new recreational marijuana industry.

The initiative states that:

  • Adults aged 21 and older would be able to possess 1 ounce of marijuana. No more than 5 grams of it can be concentrates.
  • Individuals can grow as many as six plants in their primary residence and twelve plants where two or more residents are at least 21 years of age.
  • The use of marijuana in public places would remain illegal, and offenders are guilty of a petty offense.
  • Marijuana edibles would be included, but there would be a limit of 10mg of THC per edible and 100mg of THC for each package of edibles.
  • Operating any type of vehicle under the influence of marijuana remains illegal.

Will the initiative pass? It is hard to say, but considering how many other states are legalizing recreational marijuana, it has an excellent chance of passing. This, of course, will only lead more people to abuse the drug and potentially get addicted to it.

How Marijuana Affects the Body

Marijuana’s drug classification is the subject of ongoing medical and political debate, though most addiction experts classify marijuana as a central nervous system depressant. This means that it slows down activity in your brain and spinal cord, slowing your thoughts and reaction times. With higher doses, the effects become more pronounced, and prolonged usage greatly increases your odds of addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of marijuana use include:

  • Increased appetite; marijuana is sometimes used in hospitals to help improve cancer patients’ appetites.
  • Fixation on unimportant details.
  • Obsessive concentration.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Decreased inhibitions.
  • Difficulty with sexual functioning.
  • Confusion decreased intelligence and slower processing.
  • Slowed reflexes and less physical dexterity.
  • Depression
  • Paranoia and anxiety, especially at high doses or when marijuana is eaten.
  • Increased heart rate and pulse.
  • Increased sensitivity to touch.

Long-term effects of Marijuana
Long-term effects of Marijuana

Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addiction is a slower process than the process of getting addicted to other drugs. And because marijuana breeds intense psychological dependence, prolonged use coupled with psychological distress are the two most important predictors for marijuana addiction. If you feel anxious, depressed, or restless when you can’t use marijuana, this may signal an addiction. Some other symptoms of marijuana addiction include:

  • Working while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Spending all or most of your time high.
  • Doing things you regret due to the influence of marijuana.
  • Suffering financial problems due to marijuana.
  • Being arrested but continuing to use marijuana.
  • Relationship problems due to marijuana use.
  • “Needing” marijuana to feel normal, happy, or productive.
  • Excessive sleepiness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Hearing from loved ones that your marijuana use has become problematic.
  • Short-term memory loss.

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

One of the only good things about marijuana addiction is that marijuana doesn’t typically cause the intense physical withdrawal symptoms that other drugs can lead to. Marijuana withdrawal is also typically short, lasting only three or so days. But the temptation to return to drug use can be overwhelming, particularly in a culture that tacitly endorses marijuana addiction.

Rehab is the single most effective option for treating your marijuana addiction. In rehab, you’ll get relief from the peer pressure of everyday life and have the chance to pursue sobriety in a supportive, safe, drug and alcohol-free setting. Some of the services you can expect in rehab – services you can also pursue on your own if you’re not yet ready to consider care – include:

  • Therapy with an addiction counselor. In therapy, you’ll explore the roots of your addiction, the ways your past experiences shape your present behavior, and novel strategies for coping with the pain of withdrawal and the challenges of ongoing cravings. If you have an underlying mental health condition, as many marijuana addicts do, your therapist can help you devise coping strategies for managing this challenge.
  • Group counseling sessions under the guidance of a therapist who specializes in addiction.
  • 12-step programs such as Marijuana Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs are free and confidential and allow you to learn from the experiences of other addicts. Though people from all religious faiths have successfully used these programs, they do make vague religious references and are built around a Christian world view. If you prefer a secular support group, consider SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery instead.
  • Medical care. Your physician can help you manage the challenges of detox, prescribing medications to reduce your symptoms and monitoring you to ensure you remain healthy. If you have a physical or mental health condition, your doctor will evaluate you to determine your best treatment options. Your physician can also recommend lifestyle strategies for coping with your addiction, in addition to advising you about medications that may be less addictive than your current prescriptions.

Marijuana addiction treatmen
Marijuana addiction treatmen

What to Expect During Drug Rehab in Arizona

A lot of people put off going to drug rehab because they do not know what to expect. Their concerns about the unknown only paralyze them and make it harder for them to agree to get help. But going to drug rehab does not have to be scary; although it can help to know as much about it as possible.

Is Drug Detox Necessary for Marijuana?

There are many treatment programs that require their patients to go through drug detox if they use certain types of substances. But marijuana is not on any of those lists. While it does cause people to go through withdrawal when it is stopped, the symptoms are not severe. They also do not require any type of emergency medical assistance.

Even though marijuana is not physically addictive, stopping its use can result in some withdrawal symptoms. Some of them include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Cravings for the drug
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Problems sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Feeling restless

Fortunately, these and any other symptoms should be relatively mild and easily managed without much – if any – medical intervention.

Arizona Drug Rehabilitation Centers

Going to drug rehab is one of the best things a person can do when they are addicted to marijuana. During rehab, the addict has the opportunity to get help for the psychological addiction that drives them to use this drug. This is important because they can address some very real issues that are at the heart of their drug use.

The main goal of rehab is to determine what led to the drug use in the first place. Some people start using marijuana because they want it to help them relax or unwind at the end of a long day. But there are many people who use it as a way to self-medicate away the symptoms of a mental health issue like anxiety or bipolar disorder. When this is the case, those individuals are said to have co-occurring disorders.

About half of all people who struggle with addictions are also battling co-occurring disorders. Some of them are aware that they have them because they have been diagnosed. But a lot of people have never gotten a diagnosis at all. They only know that marijuana helps them feel better, so they continue to use it.

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

How to Find Quality Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Arizona

When a person has never been to drug rehab before, choosing the right program can be an overwhelming task. It can be hard to determine which type of facility would be best, and in Arizona, there are certainly a lot of options.

There are more than 400 drug treatment centers in Arizona according to the SAMHSA treatment locator. They offer a combination of services, including:

  • Drug detox services
  • Inpatient rehab
  • Traditional outpatient programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Residential or long-term care
  • Sober living or transitional housing
  • Hospital detox and rehab services

But not every rehab facility is right or beneficial for each person who needs treatment. It is best to take the following into consideration before making a final decision:

  • The rehab program should participate with the person’s health insurance plan to keep costs low.
  • The facility should have a physical address with staff members that can be contacted over the phone.
  • They should have excellent reviews on Facebook, Google or other websites.
  • The treatment center should have a higher than average recovery rate overall.
  • The rehab program should have medical staff on hand at all times for safety purposes.
  • They should provide each of their patients or clients with their own, dedicated treatment plans that meet their unique needs.
  • The facility should be accredited by the Joint Commission, which indicates the high-quality of the care that is received.

Marijuana Addiction Recovery

Marijuana addiction, just like any drug addiction, can take a toll on its victim; loss of family, friends, and employment can result, just to name a few. Should a person who is addicted to marijuana use decide they are ready to get clean, what can they do?

If the addiction isn’t too advanced, they may be able to quit on their own. Depending on the amount of daily use, it could potentially take a month or two to clear the drug completely from the body system solely by abstaining. Withdrawal symptoms may be experienced but are not life-threatening. As mentioned earlier, some bodily damage may never be able to be repaired. Lasting effects to the brain, lungs and nervous system may be irreversible.

Some withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Vivid dreams and/or nightmares
  • Loss of concentration
  • Emotional instability
  • Depression

Some remedies to aid in easing withdrawal symptoms might include:

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

Is Drug Detox Necessary for Marijuana Addiction Recovery?

Most people with marijuana addictions do not need to go through the detoxification process for recovery to be effective. While they may have withdrawal symptoms, they can often be managed through holistic treatments, such as making dietary changes, journaling, and regular exercise.

Drug detox may be needed if the individual is also addicted to another drug, such as alcohol or heroin. Many people are addicted to more than one substance. For recovery to be effective, all addictions must be properly addressed.

The Importance of Drug Rehab

Going to drug rehab is very important because the underlying issue must be identified and treated. Many people who are addicted to marijuana continue to use this drug because they are suffering from co-occurring disorders. This means that they have mental health issues that they are self-medicating.

Therapy – both individual and group sessions – can help to address co-occurring disorders appropriately. Dual diagnosis treatment should always be implemented because it treats both the addiction and the mental health issue at the same time.

Springboard Recovery

SpringBoard Recovery – Treatment for Marijuana Addiction is Available

At SpringBoard Recovery, we have worked with many people who suffered because of their marijuana addictions. This drug can be extremely difficult for people to stop using, even though it is not physically addictive. They can get to the point where they feel as though they need it just to feel normal.

If a client comes to us with a marijuana addiction, we first want to make sure they are not addicted to another drug as well. As we mentioned earlier, this is common, and every substance abuse problem needs to be properly treated. Those who need it will begin the drug detox process. Though we do not offer detoxification services at our facility, we do provide referrals for those who need them. Once they have finished detoxing, they can return to us for rehab.

Our drug rehab program is offered on an outpatient basis. We specialize in intensive outpatient treatment, which allows people the flexibility to live at home while they get the help they need. The program may run for a few months and clients may come to appointments as often as 3-5 times per week during the evenings.

We also offer sober living services for people who may need them. We recognize the fact that not everyone has a supportive family at home to help them stay on track. Many of our clients are living in abusive environments, or they may live with other people who also use drugs or alcohol. Sober living offers them a safe environment where they can live and thrive while they get the treatment they need. This service is also available to those who are coming to rehab from out of state, which has gotten to be a lot more common.

Learn More About Marijuana Addiction And Recovery – Get Help Today

What if a person tries to quit and fails? SpringBoard Recovery offers marijuana addiction treatment that can help. Regardless of which path is taken, the patient should expect to undergo some psychological therapies. It is very important to get to the root cause of the addiction. It is common for marijuana addicted patients to have other coexisting diagnoses that may also need to be addressed.

Sustainable sobriety is the 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 stay sober.

SpringBoard can help with questions about marijuana addiction or getting the right treatment. We can help to begin taking steps to get marijuana addiction recovery started right away. Contact us today.

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