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Marijuana - Addiction and Treatment

More the 150,000 individuals enter treatment each year.

Marijuana addiction is a phenomenon experienced by more than 150,000 individuals each year who enter treatment for their proclaimed addiction to marijuana. Marijuana addiction is characterized as compulsive, often uncontrollable marijuana craving, seeking, and use, even when the individual knows that marijuana use is not in his best interest. Marijuana addiction could be defined as chronically making the firm decision not to use marijuana followed shortly by a relapse due to experiencing overwhelming compulsive urges to use marijuana despite the firm decision not to. This contradiction is characteristic of an addiction problem.

Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction:

  • Marijuana tolerance: Either need for markedly increased amounts of marijuana to achieve intoxication, or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of marijuana.
  • Greater use of marijuana than intended; marijuana taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control marijuana use.
  • A great deal of time spent in using marijuana.
  • Marijuana use causing a reduction in social, occupational or recreational activities.
  • Continued marijuana use despite knowing it will cause significant problems.

Marijuana is both emotionally and mentally addictive.

Once an individual becomes addicted to marijuana it develops into part of who they believe themselves to be. Avoiding their friends who do not use, the addict will gravitate to others that do. Marijuana is a topic that is always on their mind, whether it be thinking about the next time they will be able to get high or where there going to get their next sack. When someone is addicted to marijuana eventually their friends and the people close to them only know how they act when they are stoned because they no longer do anything without first smoking. Their constant abuse is due to the misconception that marijuana is what they need to solve their problems. Sometimes addicts will take their stash with them wherever they go, just in case an opportunity arises and they are able to take a couple hits. They may even go through several dealers in order to make sure they always have a constant supply of marijuana.

Marijuana addiction in a no-win situation.

The cost of marijuana addiction to the individual who allows their addiction to escalate may suffer health and social consequences, memory and learning problems, problems at work or even result in losing a job because of high absenteeism. Those who isolate themselves from friends and family often put a heavy strain on relationships with loved ones. There is a vicious cycle to marijuana addiction in which these problems are often used as a rational to smoke even more pot. Marijuana addiction is a no-win situation that many unintentionally fall into (the drug that is causing the problem becomes the solution to the problem it caused).

Almost Every Marijuana Addict Believes They Can Stop Without Help.

In early stages of marijuana use, almost every marijuana addict believes that they can end their marijuana use without help. Unfortunately, most attempts at ending marijuana addiction without professional help result in failure. The individual is never able to achieve long-term abstinence. Research has shown that long-term marijuana use results in significant changes in the user's brain function that persists long after the individual stops using drugs. These marijuana-induced changes in brain function may have many behavioral consequences including the compulsion to use marijuana despite adverse effects. This is the defining characteristic of marijuana addiction.

Addiction to marijuana is severe due to its effect on the user's brain.

Scientists now know many facts about marijuana's effect on the body and how delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active chemical in marijuana, acts in the human brain. When marijuana is smoked, THC travels quickly through the body and into the brain where it unites with specific receptors on nerve cells. Areas of the brain with the most receptors affected by THC are parts of the brain that control pleasure, thought, memory, sensory, concentration, time perception, and coordination. It's these areas of the brain that are most likely to be affected when an individual faces marijuana addiction.

Source: Marijuana Addiction Information and Treatment  & Marijuana Detox


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