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Marijuana 2018-09-21T14:58:52+00:00

Is Marijuana Addictive?

People often wonder whether marijuana addiction is a real thing. You may have questioned that yourself. While marijuana is considered a “soft” drug and is gradually becoming legal across the United States, it can still pose dangers to your life. As we see with cigarettes, alcohol and prescription pills, legal status doesn’t always make a substance safe.

What tells you whether marijuana use is a problem for you is how it’s affecting your life. Are you able to use it sparingly and stop whenever you want, or do you feel like you have to use marijuana continuously? Assessments like these can help you determine whether you have a marijuana (or cannabis) use disorder, which would include abuse and addiction to the substance.

If you don’t think treatment is necessary for marijuana use, an addiction professional can help you see if the substance use has become a problem for you and how treatment could help. Keep in mind that you would not be alone in seeking support for marijuana use, and that there are established treatment programs that can help with this type of addiction.

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Marijuana Addiction

In truth, marijuana can be addictive just like other substances. While it may seem like you could stop using marijuana at any time, one of the marks of an addiction is that the drug is so much a part of your life that you cannot stop or you don’t want to try. Even if everyone around you seems to be using marijuana—many of them without a problem—it’s not safe to assume that marijuana won’t be a problem in your own life.

People react differently to drugs, and we have different contributing and protective factors that can affect our susceptibility to addiction. For instance, one person could have genes, an environment and a past history of substance abuse that will make that individual more prone to marijuana dependence than someone else who may be able to use it occasionally without becoming addicted.

In a way, marijuana addiction could be especially dangerous to you if you don’t take its risk seriously and don’t realize it’s taking over your life in an unhealthy way. Sometimes, it can help to ask people close to you if they have noticed a change in you, and professionals can ask the right questions to assess an addiction.

Also, marijuana affects the brain, which is something that happens with other substances of abuse. When you begin using it, marijuana stimulates the release of dopamine, a brain chemical connected to reward and pleasure. Similar to other addictive substances, this pattern can lead to dependency as the brain learns to rely on marijuana to help it release dopamine. However, marijuana use is different from other abusive substances, because research shows that long-term use is associated with reduced dopamine levels. Lower levels might increase your risk for mental health disorders.

Like with other drugs of abuse, marijuana often creates withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it, especially when you’ve been using it for prolonged periods. For instance, stopping could make you feel anxious and irritable.

Marijuana and Other Substance Use

Some people consider marijuana a “gateway drug,” meaning that marijuana use might encourage you to use other addictive substances. However, this idea is a theory that is both supported and contested, so it is not an established fact (at least not yet). Even if it acts as a gateway drug for some people, the fact that many people are able to use it without progressing to other drugs shows that this pattern is not always the case.

Whether or not marijuana is a gateway to other drug use, it’s always possible for you to have co-occurring substance use disorders, meaning that you are addicted to more than one substance at the same time. It’s important to be assessed for this and have every substance use disorder addressed to avoid relapse. Also, you could have a co-occurring mental health disorder that should likewise be addressed.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

At Transformations Treatment Center, we believe in taking a holistic approach that looks at how addiction is affecting your mind, body and spirit. We aim to help you face the many ways addiction is creating harm in your life and provide methods to help you overcome these problems and move forward.

Part of our holistic approach is that we provide treatment for co-occurring disorders, whether you have another substance use disorder, a mental health disorder or both. Our rehab program is individualized to each person and includes therapy and other methods that can help you learn more about what led you to addiction and how to live without substance use.

Before starting with rehab, you should have the drug out of your system so you’re ready for the next step on your recovery journey. If you need assistance stopping the drug use and getting past withdrawal symptoms, you can enter detoxification through our Summit Detox facility. This first step of treatment provides support for a more comfortable and more effective detox period.

We also provide aftercare, so you don’t feel like you’re on your own after you have completed treatment with us. You can still get in touch with us and we’ll check on you, making it easier for you to continue with recovery or reach out if you need help again.

To find out how our programs could help you stop your marijuana use, contact us at Transformations Treatment Center today.

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