Marijuana, cannabis or what is most commonly known as ‘weed’ is a psychoactive plant that is usually smoked, but can also be added into baked goods or in candy, known as ‘edibles’. It earned itself the label of being a popular ‘gateway’ drug, in the sense that drug dealers will offer harder drugs to a person once they begin to buy marijuana. There is a belief that once a person experiences the high of marijuana, they will begin experimenting with other drugs to experience a more intense or longer-lasting high.
However, much has changed in the last five years in terms of public opinion and legislation around marijuana. States around the US have begun to relax laws around consumption, and decriminalized marijuana use for medicinal use in some states and in others completely legalized personal purchase and use of marijuana, on the basis that it is from a licensed distributor. Florida is not among the states that have rethought their marijuana drug laws. In fact, with 20 grams or less of weed possibly coming with a year in prison and over 20 grams being a felony with up to 30 years in prison, Florida has some of the most punitive recreational marijuana laws in the US.
There is a multi-faceted debate around marijuana laws, which will not be discussed here. However, it is worth mentioning the change in laws as it began to change public opinion of marijuana from a dangerous gateway drug to a recreational habit with little to no risks. Comparisons to alcohol are often made to highlight the safety of the drug; however, like alcohol, just because it may have legal status in some countries in the world does not change the fact that it is possible to become addicted to it, with potentially devastating effects.
What is marijuana addiction?
An addiction to marijuana generally means a person is unable to cope without it. This means they will be unable to perform daily tasks, such as getting out of bed, without using marijuana, or without the knowledge, they can use marijuana following the daily task. However, marijuana addiction can be so severe that a person may choose to abandon all daily tasks, friends, employment or education in favor of using marijuana.
What are the side effects of using marijuana?
There is a stereotypical idea of a ‘stoner’, meaning somebody who heavily uses marijuana; this person is portrayed as being incredibly calm, placid, and unconfrontational. The typical stoner avoids conflict, eats a lot of junk food because of ‘munchies’ (increased appetite) watches a lot of TV and is generally unproductive, but amiable. However, while marijuana does relax the nervous system and can help a person feel happy and relaxed, over time it can cause people to feel paranoid, depressed, lonely and without motivation. In severe cases, a person may experience early onset psychosis from an underlying psychological condition, which can be terrifying for the user and could end up requiring psychiatric help.
Furthermore, long term marijuana use can significantly affect short term memory retention, respiratory health and other health problems due to mixing marijuana with tobacco.
Is there such thing as weed detox?
Any drug that a user feels they need to ingest to “feel normal” would put someone through withdrawal and require a period of time for detox when they stop using it regularly. Detoxing from THC, in any of the forms it takes will vary greatly from person to person and their degree of use. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms can take many forms and be psychological, psychosomatic and even physical. While it’s not considered to be deadly, like alcohol or opiate detox, weed detox can still cause undue stress on a person attempting recovery from marijuana addiction.
Signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction and long-term use
Due to the issues discussed above, it can be difficult to identify when a person begins to become dependent on marijuana and then addicted; however, the usual indications that a person is struggling with marijuana addiction include;
- Forgetting things on a regular basis, or noticeably more than usual; this can be birthdays, important commitments, conversations, deadlines or even shorter term, like basic instructions or information they have been given seconds or minutes ago
- Becoming withdrawn, self-conscious and awkward in social situations, or noticeably more than usual
- Becoming suspicious of people’s motives or behavior, often thinking that there are conspiracies against them or that people are talking or plotting against them, with little or no evidence to support it
- Carrying around paraphernalia, such as bongs, pipes, large smoking papers or grinders
- Smoking or using marijuana in public or risky places without appearing to care about the consequences
- Neglecting family and friends, favoring the company of other people who use marijuana, instead
Furthermore, it may not be apparent that a person is addicted to marijuana until they stop using the drug and encounter withdrawal symptoms which lead a person to feel that they need the drug in order to feel “normal”
Treatment available for marijuana addiction
Beachcomber offers a wide range of treatment options for marijuana addiction, depending on the severity and circumstances of the addiction. It may be that an inpatient residential treatment is not suitable for a person due to their education or employment; Beachcomber is able to be completely flexible so you or your loved one is able to receive the best possible treatment to begin the journey to recovery.
A full list of our services includes:
- Inpatient Residential Treatment
- One-to-one Therapy
- Group therapy
- Family/couples therapy
- Rapid Resolution Therapy
- Outpatient Treatment
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- Acupuncture Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
- Meditation Therapy
- Light-Sound Neurotherapy