Marijuana is an addictive substance and research has shown that approximately 9 percent of individuals who use marijuana regularly develop an addiction. Individuals who began using marijuana at a young age are more likely to develop an addiction as well as individuals who use marijuana every day. Individuals who develop an addiction to marijuana may experience symptoms of withdrawal after attempting to stop the usage of the substance. Individuals who have used marijuana for a long period of time and quit using the substance often report symptoms of withdrawal that include irritability, decreased appetite, anxiety, cravings for marijuana, and difficulty sleeping.
Research has indicated that marijuana use can cause problems or exacerbate problems in the daily lives of individuals who abuse the drug. When compared to individuals who do not use marijuana, individuals who heavily use marijuana generally report lower levels of life satisfaction, poorer physical health, poorer mental health, lower success levels in their academics or career, and relationship problems. The use of marijuana has also been linked to a higher probability of dropping out of school. Further, the use of marijuana has also been associated with tardiness, increased absences, job turnover, accidents, and workers’ compensation claims.
Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
Just like other types of substance addictions, marijuana addiction includes several physical and behavioral signs that an individual has developed an addiction to the substance. The behavioral changes that emerge in an individual with a marijuana addiction include impaired coordination, distorted perceptions, continual issues with memory and learning, and difficulty with cognition and problem-solving. The physical signs of marijuana addiction include a persistent mucus cough, bloodshot eyes, increased hunger, anxiety, fear, paranoia, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, poor coordination, poor memory, loss of control, and slow reaction time.
The health risks related to marijuana abuse are wide-ranging and include lung, heart, and psychological conditions. Marijuana smoke is a lung irritant and individuals who smoke marijuana frequently can experience the same respiratory issues that individuals who smoke tobacco may experience. These symptoms include: repeated acute chest infection or illness, daily phlegm and cough production, immune system damage, greater risk of infection to the lungs, fertility issues, damage to the central nervous system, brain cell death, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. There is evidence that chronic marijuana usage and mental illness are linked. The use of marijuana in high doses can develop temporary psychosis in some individuals. Further, it can also exacerbate the course of illness for individuals who are diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Marijuana use and abuse have also been linked to the following psychological issues: personality disturbances, suicidal ideation, anxiety, lack of motivation to engage in usually rewarding activities, and depression. Marijuana use can also impair motor coordination and judgement, which makes it dangerous for users to operate a motor vehicle. The use of marijuana can increase the risk of injury or death while operating a car or any other motor vehicle. The use of marijuana prior to driving increases a drivers risk of having an accident by more than double.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
After using marijuana long-term, stopping the use causes several withdrawal symptoms to emerge. These withdrawal symptoms often develop within a week of discontinuing the use of marijuana. The most common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include the following: anger, aggression, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, depressed mood, restlessness, abdominal pain, sweating, shaking, tremors, chills, fever, and headache.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
The options for treating marijuana addiction are similar to other treatment methods and programs for addiction to alcohol and other substances. During the treatment of marijuana addiction, the following evidence-based methods have shown success: cognitive behavioral therapy, twelve step facilitation, and motivational enhancement therapy. The type of treatment needed may vary person to person based on their own unique treatment needs. There are currently no medications to treat marijuana addiction. There have been recent efforts to develop medications that may help ease withdrawal symptoms, block the effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse in the future.
If you or a loved one need more information regarding addiction to marijuana or treatment for marijuana addiction, please call our office today at 833-364-0736. Our staff looks forward to speaking with you and helping you navigate through this time.