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Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Society is much more accepting of marijuana use today than it once was. For instance, nineteen states have even legalized marijuana for recreational use, and medical marijuana is legal in thirty nine states.

And this reduction in the stigma around smoking marijuana is in some ways a positive development, especially considering that marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in America. Studies suggest that medical marijuana can legitimately help treat pain, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, and medical cannabis has even been shown to help treat some mental health problems.

However, the potential negative consequences of marijuana use should not go unremarked upon. Though many people do not consider marijuana addictive, other evidence suggests that marijuana dependence is a very real phenomenon.

Newer research shows heavy users can even become physically dependent on marijuana. This means they experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. In fact, up to 30% of people who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder, and, according to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, nine percent will become physically dependent on it.

According to the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the definitive guidebook to mental illness published by the American Psychiatric Association, cannabis use disorder is primarily defined by the desire to compulsively use marijuana despite serious negative effects.

For example, addicted marijuana users may continue to use marijuana despite experiencing mental health problems, relationship problems, or professional problems due to their drug abuse. Due to tolerance, they may also need to smoke more and more marijuana to get the same effects.

And though cannabis use disorder can be as difficult to conquer as other forms of drug addiction, it is by no means impossible. With proper substance abuse treatment, cannabis use disorder can indeed be overcome.

Dangers of Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana is a drug made from the cannabis plant. The main mind-altering chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC. It behaves much like the cannabinoid chemicals the body makes naturally, activating the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and causing a feeling of well-being.

THC affects a person’s memory, pleasure, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination, and sensory and time perception. And, for many people, marijuana produces a relaxing “high.” But not everyone responds the same way. Some people feel very anxious or paranoid on marijuana, even from small amounts.

But it’s a myth that marijuana is harmless and has no long-term consequences. Frequent use can cause:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty learning and retaining information
  • Impaired memory
  • Decreased problem solving skills
  • Changes to dopamine levels in the brain
  • Impaired immune system
  • Respiratory health issues (from smoking the drug)

Unfortunately, young people seem to be at increased risk of suffering adverse effects of marijuana on their cognitive ability and mental health. And, to compound the problem, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute On Drug Abuse, young adults are some of the heaviest users of marijuana.

The potency of marijuana has increased dramatically in the last 30 years. In the early 1990s the average THC content of marijuana was 4%. Today, it’s more than 15%, and even stronger marijuana concentrates are also on the market. 1 Eating or smoking hash oil has also become much more popular in recent years—these extracts are extremely potent, with as much as 80% THC content.1 Products today come with higher risks than those of the past.

It’s also possible that marijuana can serve as a gateway drug, meaning that it desensitizes users to illicit drug use, thus opening the “gateway” for use of harder substances. These harder drugs may include the far more addictive opioids, which could have even direr consequences.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms  

People who use marijuana frequently may experience withdrawal symptoms during the first two weeks after they quit. These can include:

  • Irritability
  • Mood problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings for the drug
  • RestlessnessCannabis withdrawal may also persist even longer in a phenomenon known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, in which physical or psychological problems can last for months or years. Though more research is required, medications that can ease withdrawal symptoms are also in development.

Signs of Marijuana Use Disorder

Addiction means you feel a compulsive urge to use the drug even though it will negatively affect your life. You can be addicted to marijuana without being physically dependent on it. You may feel an urge to use the drug just to feel “normal.”

Signs of marijuana addiction include:

  • Using more marijuana than you intended or for a longer period than you intended
  • Not being able to stop or cut back
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed because of marijuana use
  • Using the drug even when it’s causing problems at work, school, or in personal and professional relationships
  • Using marijuana to deal with negative feelings or anxiety

Some people are able to quit marijuana on their own, often after multiple attempts. But those who have more severe cases of weed addiction may need treatment programs to quit. If you’re struggling with marijuana addiction and haven’t been able to quit on your own, RECO Intensive can help.

Treatment For Drug Abuse at RECO Intensive

RECO Intensive provides world-class marijuana addiction treatment as well as treatment options for other drugs. Our treatment center in Delray Beach, Florida is the ideal center for healing, offering individual therapy, support groups, treatment for comorbid conditions, and a variety of holistic therapies.

Our RECO Residences also feature luxury amenities and are optimized for recovery. RECO’s interdisciplinary team includes doctors, nurse practitioners, board-certified psychiatrists, therapists, yoga instructors, equine specialists, and others who work together to create a personalized treatment plan for each client.

  • Our residential inpatient program is best for people with serious or life-threatening addictions and those who have a high rate of relapse. Programs typically range from 30-90 days and provide structured, round-the-clock care in a safe, welcoming environment.
  • Our partial hospitalization program is a good solution for people who are overcoming a chemical dependency but are unable to attend a full-time treatment program at our residential facility. Clients have the flexibility to continue working or going to school while in treatment.
  • Our intensive outpatient program is ideal for people who do not require detox or inpatient treatment or who have already completed it. Outpatient rehab allows clients to continue to work and meet outside responsibilities while attending individual and group therapy sessions at our facility.

People often start using marijuana to destress or relax. A core part of our program is helping clients find better ways of managing stress, anxiety, and negative feelings. Most of our clients start with marijuana detox and then move into a residential or outpatient program at our Delray Beach recovery center.

Our outpatient rehab treatment facilities are accredited by the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration and a variety of other organizations with expertise in addiction treatment centers.

Though marijuana addiction can certainly negatively impact a person’s life, recovery is possible at RECO Intensive. Contact us online or at 844-955-3042 to learn more about our marijuana rehab programs and to schedule a tour of our marijuana addiction treatment center in Delray Beach, FL. Let’s get back to a brighter future.


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain


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