Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the U.S. It is currently classed as a Schedule 1 Drug, which means it is considered a substance with a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. But, can you get addicted to marijuana? Marijuana abuse can lead to addiction, technically termed cannabis use disorder.
Despite the Schedule 1 classification of marijuana, the drug is increasingly used for medical purposes throughout much of the country. Today, there are multiple FDA-approved THC drugs for treating nausea and pain across 23 states.
Of course, along with the trend in increasing medical use of marijuana, the line between appropriate medical use and misuse of the drug has become increasingly clearer. Let’s look at what we now know from decades of global research about marijuana addiction and treatment.
Click to jump to the section:
- What Is Marijuana?
- The Effects of Marijuana Abuse
- Health Risks
- Marijuana and Mental Illness
- Is Marijuana Addictive?
- Marijuana Addiction Symptoms
- Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
- Marijuana Addiction Treatment
- Marijuana Addiction Treatment Centers Near Me Utah
Are you worried about a friend or loved one who needs help with marijuana addiction? The staff at Pathways can help.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is the term for the collective parts of the Cannabis sativa plant, including the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds all dried to a condition fit for smoking. Cannabis contains a psychoactive natural chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and related natural constituents.
Smoking is the most common mode of cannabis use, although it is also consumed by cooking it into foods, reducing it to condensed hashish for smoking, further processing it into hash oil, or even reducing it to its most potent form as powdered THC.
The Effects of Marijuana Abuse
As THC passes through the bloodstream into the brain and various other organs throughout the body, it impacts the cannabinoid receptors in the brain cells responsible for pleasure sensations, thinking, memory, and coordinated body movement.
The high sensation users experience features:
- Mildly euphoric sensation
- Altered perceptions
- Positively or negatively impacted mood
Negative effects during use of the drug can include:
- Impaired physical coordination
- Poor concentration
- Impaired problem-solving ability
- Impaired memory
- Increased appetite
- Paranoid, fearful thinking
- Excessive hunger
- Bloodshot eyes
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Slowed reaction time
- Loss of physical and mental control
Numerous health issues are associated with marijuana addiction, many of which have severe effects on the heart and lungs and mental health. Marijuana use by smoking can lead to many of the same serious respiratory conditions that plague tobacco smokers. For just a few examples:
- Increased risk of lung infections
- Immune system damage
- Central nervous system damage
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart attack
Users are also at higher risk of injury or death from accidents, due to impaired judgment and physical coordination while under the influence of the drug. Data indicate that driving while affected by the drug increases the risk of an auto accident by more than 200%.
Marijuana and Mental Illness
Marijuana abuse is associated with mental health problems, even including temporary psychotic responses in heavy users, and symptoms such as those with more common levels of use:
- Personality disturbances
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of motivation
- Mal-effects on brain development in youths
- Learning disruption
- Memory impairment
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Yes, it is an addictive drug, and research indicates that about one in eleven users (9%) become addicted to marijuana. Among people who start using the drug frequently at a young age, around 17% are estimated to develop the addiction, and of people who use it daily, around 25% to 50% become addicted.
Marijuana Addiction Symptoms
Similar to other forms of drug use disorders, signs of marijuana addiction typically include physical and behavioral indicators of addiction, such as:
- Impacted physical and mental health
- Continuing impairment of learning ability
- Low satisfaction level with life
- Poorer academic or job success
- Increased risk of dropping out of school
- Higher rates of tardiness and absence
- Increased accidents and Workers' Comp claims
- Increased job turnover rates
- Increased relationship problems
- Persistent mucus-laden cough
- Increased heart rate
- Permanent memory impairment
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing marijuana use by someone with cannabis use disorder typically emerge within a week of stopping the use of the drug. Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal often include:
- Anger or aggression
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Sleep difficulties
- Abdominal pain
- Fever, sweating, chills
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Cannabis use disorder treatment options are similar to recovery programs for other drug addictions. Evidence-based therapeutic solutions are typically used, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, belief restructuring, relapse prevention, and others. Generally, marijuana addiction treatment program design depends on individual needs, possible co-occurring disorders, additional treatment needs, and client preferences.
Pathways provides several programs of treatment for marijuana addiction in Utah, based on your personal needs and preferences:
- IOP: Intensive Outpatient Recovery
- GOP: General Outpatient Recovery
- Residential: 24/7 treatment and housing during recovery
Marijuana Addiction Treatment Centers Near Me Utah
Best Marijuana Addiction Treatment Program in Utah – Pathways Real Life Recovery.
Pathways is an addiction treatment and mental health center in Utah. Our clients receive among the state’s best cannabis use disorder treatment from our well-experienced, caring team of addiction recovery specialists. Our staff includes Medical Doctors (MD), Addiction Specialists, Drug Addiction Recovery Specialists, Trauma professionals, Self-Esteem Experts, and other treatment specialists.