Marijuana is legal in many areas of the United States, and its use has become somewhat normalized. However, it is possible to develop a chemical dependence on or even an addiction to marijuana that’s serious enough to require marijuana addiction treatment. Health risks increase when marijuana is mixed with alcohol or consumed in high doses.
Marijuana rehab, sometimes called weed rehab, uses evidence-based treatment to help clients live healthy, sober lives.
How Marijuana Addiction is Developed
The active ingredient in marijuana is THC, a chemical that alters the brain. THC attaches to brain cell receptors associated with relaxation and pleasure. THC use gives you positive feelings, but it also affects your coordination, concentration, and memory, which can impair your thinking skills and judgment.
Over time, the brain adapts to marijuana use and begins requiring marijuana to function correctly. This means you’ve developed chemical dependence. Long-term use can lead to symptoms like memory difficulties, breathing difficulties, nausea, and a rapid heart rate.
Additionally, if you smoke marijuana, you’re increasing your lung disease and cancer risk.
Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana is generally safely used recreationally and medicinally, but in some cases psychological dependence occurs, and it can be difficult to tell when someone has a serious problem. Signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth, commonly referred to as “cotton mouth”
- Increased appetite and potentially weight gain
- Impaired memory, judgment, or coordination
- Slowed reaction time
- Lacking motivation or becoming a “slacker”
- New or worsening anxiety or paranoia
- Altered or distorted perception
- Seeming sleepy or overly relaxed, dozing off
- The feeling of euphoria or “highness”
- Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), a condition linked to long-term marijuana use that can cause reoccurring and severe nausea, dehydration, abdominal pain, and vomiting (sometimes requiring an ER visit) that can often be misdiagnosed
It is entirely possible you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to marijuana without realizing it, because of the widely-spread belief that you can’t physically get addicted to marijuana. Though this is true, psychological addiction is a real thing–while it doesn’t hurt you any physically to not smoke marijuana, you might still crave it mentally or emotionally after a stressful situation or a bad day. If you have a persistent urge to use marijuana, relate to any of the above signs, think you may have experienced CHS, or believe your use of marijuana may be starting to interfere with your life, marijuana addiction treatment can help you.
Do I Need Marijuana Addiction Treatment?
If you crave marijuana regularly or feel irritable and restless when you try to stop using the drug, it may be time to consider marijuana rehab.
Here are a few signs your marijuana dependence has become an addiction:
- You’ve developed a tolerance for lower doses and require higher doses to get the same effect.
- You’re cutting back on responsibilities or activities you used to enjoy to use marijuana.
- You need to use marijuana daily or several times a day.
- You engage in unusually risky behavior while under the influence of marijuana.
- You’re spending more than you can afford on the drug.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, sleeplessness, anxiety, restlessness, sweating, or chills when you stop using marijuana for a short time.
Consistent marijuana use can disrupt your daily life, finances, and relationships, but marijuana rehab can help.
Therapy and Relapse Prevention in Weed Rehab
Marijuana rehab, like rehab for many other substances, is grounded in behavioral therapy. Through individual and group therapy sessions, you’ll learn coping and problem-solving skills to manage life’s stresses without resorting to marijuana use.
Counseling has other benefits, too. Clients form a strong community, build their interpersonal and communications skills, and improve their abilities to handle difficult situations.
Common techniques used in marijuana addiction treatment include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Clients in CBT learn strategies to replace destructive or unhelpful thoughts with new thought patterns that lead to more constructive behaviors.
- Contingency management. This method rewards positive behaviors that show treatment progress, such as attending regular group sessions and maintaining abstinence.
- Motivational enhancement therapy. This technique encourages clients to find their internal motivation for quitting substances, and to mobilize this motivation to make lifestyle changes.
- Motivational interviewing. Clients identify and focus on goals they want to reach in sobriety.
Medication may be part of your treatment plan too. While there are currently no FDA-approved medications to specifically treat marijuana addiction, doctors may prescribe medication to relieve the pain of any withdrawal symptoms. You might also take medication for co-occurring conditions, like anxiety disorders.
Marijuana Rehab at Greater Boston Addiction Centers
Many people who seek marijuana addiction treatment have tried to stop using marijuana multiple times. Whether you’ve made prior attempts to quit or you’re seeking treatment for the first time, Greater Boston Addiction Centers will meet you where you are.
Our evidence-based treatment program provides individual and group support on an outpatient basis. Daytime and evening programs and partial hospitalization programs are available to provide consistent, structured treatment while working around busy schedules. Relapse prevention and aftercare programming ensure you have all the support you need to remain sober after leaving the program.
If you’re ready to start marijuana rehab, contact us at 877.920.6583 or online.