With the movement to legalize marijuana and the drug being more socially acceptable than others, the very real dangers of marijuana can become clouded in the public’s perception. However, like other mind-altering substances, marijuana has a high potential for abuse and when misused, requires professional drug rehab treatment.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Yes. Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. and can be addictive both physically and psychologically. Though the debate continues over marijuana’s harmfulness, it is very much an addictive drug and abuse of the drug is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as cannabis use disorder.

Complicating marijuana addiction is the fact that those who abuse marijuana commonly abuse other substances such as alcohol. Marijuana addiction treatment is most effective when it addresses all of the issues that propel the individual’s addictive behaviors and attends to any co-occurring mental health disorders like depression, anxiety or personality disorders. Learn more about The Ranch inpatient addiction treatment program or call 844-876-7680.

Warning Signs of Marijuana Addiction

Signs that marijuana use has evolved into a serious problem include:

  • Needing increased amounts or more frequent doses of marijuana in order to attain the desired effect, or to stave off marijuana withdrawal symptoms
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit marijuana use on one’s own
  • Marijuana withdrawal symptoms when its use is discontinued, which may include nervousness, irritability, anger, insomnia, depressed mood, tremors, fever, headache, chills, abdominal pain, weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Marijuana cravings or obsessive thoughts about using marijuana
  • Reduction in normal social or recreational activities due to marijuana use
  • Using cannabis despite negative effects on job, school, relationships or health
  • Excessive amount of time and energy devoted to obtaining marijuana, using it or recovering from its effects

Dangers of Long-Term Marijuana Use

In addition to the short-term dangers of marijuana use such as impaired judgment and decision-making, confusion, panic attacks and propensity for addiction, chronic marijuana use can lead to many serious consequences. Some of these include:

Toxic psychosis – Marijuana users who have taken high doses of the drug may encounter acute toxic psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions and depersonalization – a loss of their sense of personal identity, or self-recognition. Although the specific causes of these symptoms remain unknown, they appear to occur more frequently when a high dose of cannabis is consumed in food or drink rather than smoked.

Acute respiratory problems – Individuals who smoke marijuana frequently may have similar respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, frequent acute chest illnesses, an increased risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways.

Impaired immune system/frequent illness – THC impairs the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases and cancer. In laboratory experiments that exposed animal and human cells to THC or other marijuana ingredients, the normal disease-preventing reactions of many of the key types of immune cells were inhibited. In other studies, mice exposed to THC or related substances were more likely than unexposed mice to develop bacterial infections and tumors. A study of 450 individuals found that individuals who smoke marijuana regularly but do not smoke tobacco have more health troubles and miss more days of work than non-smokers do. Many of the extra sick days utilized by the marijuana smokers in the study were for respiratory illnesses.

Cancer – Marijuana abuse may promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract due to irritants and carcinogens it contains. A study comparing 173 cancer patients and 176 healthy individuals produced strong evidence that smoking marijuana increases the likelihood of developing cancer of the head or neck, and that the more marijuana smoked, the greater the increased risk. A statistical analysis of the data suggested that marijuana smoking doubled or tripled the risk of these cancers.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Marijuana addiction treatment must address the individual’s addictive behaviors as well as the underlying issues that have led to abuse of the drug. Co-occurring mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, and addictions to or use of alcohol or other drugs that commonly accompany marijuana abuse must be treated for successful long-term recovery.

The Ranch drug treatment program begins with a comprehensive assessment and detox phase (if needed) at the Piney Lodge assessment, stabilization and detox center. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are attended to and clients rid their system of marijuana and other substances under the care of medical experts who ensure this period is as safe and comfortable as possible.

Clients then enter our drug rehab program where they address the underlying emotional wounds of addiction and learn new skills for a healthy, fulfilling, drug-free life, guided by our master’s level addiction specialists. Learn more about The Ranch inpatient drug rehab program in Tennessee or call 844-876-7680.