Marijuana Addiction Treatment

4. Understanding Marijuana Addiction

There is a lot of research out there that supports the idea that marijuana is just as addictive as alcohol. Research indicates that about 10% of people who smoke marijuana will end up getting addicted to it. That means 90% of people can use it recreationally. But for the other 10%, marijuana has the potential to become a problem.

While I prefer the word "habit" over "addiction", the point here is simply that 10% of individuals will have difficulty controlling their marijuana use and they will continue to use even though it may negatively impact their lives. While the debate continues about whether marijuana is chemically addictive (similar to a narcotic), those who cannot break the cycle of prolonged marijuana use are just plain old looking for a way out.

Every day, people make the choice to enter marijuana rehab programs or even go to a 12 step group to deal with their marijuana "addiction".

One study looked at 2,446 young adults between the ages of 14-24, and followed them for a period of 4 years. Approximately 10% met the criteria for marijuana addiction. 17% experienced withdrawal when they stopped using, 14% had difficulty controlling their use, and 13% continued to use even though they had health problems due to their marijuana use.

The Final Vice

I get emails all the time from marijuana users who say that they’ve quit everything else, but can’t imagine quitting weed too. I had one subscriber who completed a recovery program for meth addiction, but still couldn’t shake her weed habit. It is definitely true that weed is one of the most difficult drugs to give up. Not because it’s more addictive than other drugs, but because users are more reluctant to let it go. Many pot users see marijuana as their final vice.

The ultimate path to success when it comes to shaking your marijuana habit will be in learning new ways to relax, escape, and reward yourself. Once you begin to understand that smoking up isn’t the best way to give yourself positive reinforcement, you will begin to not fear the change. You will find new ways to relax, escape, and reward yourself without being beholden to a destructive pattern of marijuana addiction.

Potential Consequences of Marijuana Addiction

By now you should have read about some of the negative impacts of marijuana use on previous pages, but let’s take a second to look at what some studies are telling us:

  • Marijuana users are 4 times more likely to develop depression. One study looked at 1,920 people, and followed them for 16 years. It discovered that people who smoked marijuana were 4 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  • Another study looked at 1601 students aged 14-15 and followed them for seven years. Approximately 60% of the students had used marijuana by the age of 20, and 7% had become daily users. The young women of the group who were daily users had a five times greater chance of developing depression.
  • Marijuana almost triples the chance of developing psychotic symptoms. A 3-year study followed 4,045 psychosis-free people. It came to the conclusion that marijuana smokers are three times more likely to develop psychotic symptoms (including manic-depression) than non-smokers.

So there you go. Take what you want from these studies, I will neither affirm or deny what I am presenting to you here, but rather offer it up as food for thought. If you believe that the data here is incorrect, feel free to do your own research. As always, I frame the consequences of marijuana addiction within the context of my own life experience. In my case, the consequences did include depression and anxiety. While I cannot fully attribute my bouts of depression solely to my own prolonged weed use, I strongly believe that my anxiety disorder is as a direct result.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Choosing the appropriate marijuana addiction treatment option is an important step for those who cannot quit on their own. If you need additional support, supervision, and counseling, consider one of the many marijuana rehab centers to help you detox.

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