According to statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States with 11 million people between 18 and 25 reporting use in a 2015 National Survey. Of all adults, a whopping 52 percent of them have smoked marijuana, and 42 percent of those that have tried it still smoke.
With the perceptions changing regarding the dangers of marijuana and the push by states to decriminalize the drug for medicinal purposes, marijuana has not only remained popular, it has also gained popularity as new users are embracing the drug. While perceptions may be changing and a growing body of research is showing the benefits of using the drug in the treatment of serious illness, it is a drug that can be highly addictive and cause significant psychological impairments.
For those who use marijuana chronically and over the long term, the effects of the drug can be seen physically as well as psychologically. Those who smoke the drug can experience significant long-term effects, which are similar to those who smoke cigarettes. People who smoke marijuana are also at greater risk for developing various forms of cancer and lung disease. Additionally, those who abuse marijuana on a long-term basis can experience a persistent cough, breathing difficulties, and chronic wheezing.
In addition to its effects on a person’s cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, marijuana addiction can take a significant toll on a user’s immune system. Long-term marijuana abuse can cause damage to both cells and body tissue that can result in a lowered immune system and higher propensity to catch communicable diseases. Additionally, chronic marijuana use can affect fertility in both men and women in the fact that it can interfere with the ovulation cycle in women and lower the sperm count in men. This can lead to irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, and erectile dysfunction.
Regarding long-term marijuana abuse and its effects on the brain, there are some studies that have shown that long-term marijuana use can affect a person’s ability to remember, concentrate, and engage in critical thinking. A person can experience these effects when they are under the influence, and chronic use of marijuana can cause slight brain damage that can affect a person in those areas on a more persistent basis. When the “buzz” of marijuana wears off, users can experience extended bouts of depression. For those who abuse marijuana, it is also possible that the drug can damage the brain’s pleasure center in a way that can cause chronic depression. Some long-term marijuana users have also experienced anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.
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For those addicted to marijuana, what they can experience when they try to quit the drug can be similar to other drugs. While the physical aspects of withdrawal are significantly less severe in comparison to other illicit drugs, many marijuana users can experience significant psychological symptoms that are associated with the withdrawal process. While those who quit using the drug may not experience withdrawal symptoms, those that do can experience the following:
These withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and many who experience these symptoms may revert back to using marijuana. That is why it is important for those who are addicted to the drug undergo treatment at a marijuana addiction treatment facility. The first step in the marijuana treatment process is medical detoxification. While many addicted to the drug may never experience physical symptoms of withdrawal, experienced treatment staff can use the detox process to perform a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be the underlying root cause of addiction.
Once a person is stable and substance free, they will transition to formal and intensive drug treatment. During this phase, clients will undergo an individualized plan of recovery that will include a combination of individual and group therapy, life and coping skills training, and any holistic-based therapy options such as yoga, nutritional therapy and acupuncture. This individually tailored treatment program takes into account the unique and specific needs of each client, and can be modified as the client’s needs change during the course of treatment.
Once formal drug treatment has been completed, many marijuana addiction treatment facilities highly encourage those newly recovering to attend aftercare programs such as intensive outpatient treatment or sober living. In these programs, clients receive additional therapy and undergo rigorous relapse prevention education so they can receive the extra tools and support needed to minimize the chances of relapse once they go back home and resume their normal everyday lives.
When treating marijuana addiction, there are a variety of methods can and will prove effective. The treatment process for marijuana addiction and abuse is similar to many other drug treatments. The first step is medical detox, then inpatient or outpatient treatment, and (if you feel necessary) addiction rehab alumni programs, more simply known as “aftercare”.
While in marijuana addiction treatment, it is important to have a friendly, welcoming staff to support your recovery. A team of professional nurses, doctors, and psychiatrists are essential in the drug treatment process, and cutting corners can not only be ineffective, but even counterproductive.
Medical detoxification, or “detox”, is the act of getting rid of any residue or toxins that have accumulated in your body over time. When going through marijuana addiction detox, it is important to note that, because THC is stored in fat cells, it generally takes longer to detox from marijuana (around 2-3 weeks for withdrawal symptoms to end).
To determine whether or not medical detox is necessary for your marijuana addiction, it is important to ask yourself the following:
If you answered yes to any of the above, we suggest medical detox before outpatient or inpatient treatment.
Although there are no FDA approved medications for marijuana addiction, there are many studies that are active in searching for them, testing sleep aid (zolpidem) and anti-anxiety medications (buspirone). Withdrawal symptoms may include:
Depending on the severity of your addiction, different programs will present themselves as viable options. The more severe addictions will benefit greatly from residential treatment or partial hospitalization (PHP), whereas the more common and subtle addictions will benefit from outpatient programs.
Outpatient treatment programs are most effective in helping treat marijuana addiction. Usually, either Intensive Outpatient addiction (IOP) or Partial Hospitalization (PHP) is suggested after residential treatment.
Partial hospitalization is the more intensive of the two options and includes series of clinical and therapeutic treatments, which you will engage in at least five days a week, six hours a day, for at least 90 days. In PHP, you will learn to apply methods that avoid and manage triggers as well as how to adapt to real-world scenarios.
Intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs (IOP) is the more relaxed, closer to residential treatment option. IOP provides a laid-back, independent approach to recovery and generally only meets three days a week, only a couple hours a day, for generally 90 days as well.
It is a popular misconception that recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is done as soon as you finish inpatient or outpatient treatment. On the contrary, recovery is a lifelong process and to ensure success, we highly recommend engaging in our alumni program.
Alumni programs offer recent graduates the opportunity to continue recovery after treatment in the form of weekly meetups, outings, picnics, formal dinners, and much more. This is mainly to ease alumni back into their everyday life, and to present them the chance to make friends who have gone through similar things in the past.
In addition to social get-togethers, participating in alumni programs almost guarantees the best chance at long-term successful recovery. The weekly support groups provide any extra support or encouragement you may need, especially if you are susceptible to triggers that may make you want to pick up the drug again.
If you are looking for marijuana addiction treatment center to help you address and overcome your addiction, you need to call Ocean Breeze Recovery today.Our state-of-the-art treatment facility features marijuana treatment programs that incorporate both traditional and holistic approaches so you can heal from your addiction in mind, body, and spirit.
With individualized treatment plans, expert care, and breathtaking locations, Ocean Breeze Recovery Center should be your first choice for marijuana addiction treatment. Call us today at 1-800-960-5341 or contact us online and start your recovery journey right now.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, (February, 2018).Marijuana. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved April, 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
O'Hara, M, (April, 2017). New Poll Finds Majority of Americans Have Smoked Marijuana. NBC News. Retrieved April, 2018 from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/new-poll-finds-majority-americans-have-smoked-pot-n747476
Budney, A, (December, 2007). Marijuana Dependence and Its Treatment. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved March, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797098/
NIDA, ( February, 2018). Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved March, 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/available-treatments-marijuana-use-disorders
NIDA. (2019, December 24). Marijuana. Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain