Marijuana Addiction Help

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the U.S. While the legality and social acceptance of marijuana use continue to evolve, many who develop a dependence on the drug can still benefit from marijuana addiction help.

Despite misconceptions, marijuana can be an addictive substance. At Next Step Recovery in Asheville, NC, we offer patients marijuana addiction treatment to overcome their drug cravings and restore their health after chronic marijuana use.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant’s dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds. Marijuana has several street names, including weed, pot, herb, bud, grass, and Mary Jane. Medical marijuana benefits those who use it correctly and is legal in over 20 states.

The cannabis plant, where marijuana originates, contains over 100 compounds or cannabinoids. The two most notable cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is a mind-altering chemical that produces the physical high associated with marijuana use. While many users report that CBD treats various health concerns, including childhood epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and addiction, it does not produce a high.

All smoke is harmful to lung health. However, since those who smoke marijuana inhale more deeply and retain the smoke in their lungs significantly longer than tobacco smokers, marijuana smoking may be more dangerous than tobacco.

What Are the Effects of Marijuana Abuse?

When marijuana smoke passes through the lungs, THC rapidly enters the bloodstream. The blood carries the THC to the brain and other organs. When you ingest THC through food or drink, your body absorbs THC more slowly. However, the effects of marijuana are the same, as the drug impacts cannabinoid receptors in your brain cells.

THC-like chemicals typically activate cannabinoid receptors that the body produces naturally as part of the neural communication network or the endocannabinoid system. This system serves a critical role in normal brain development and processing.

The brain area that influences memory, pleasure, thinking, concentration, time and sensory perception, and movement coordination also contains the highest density of cannabinoid receptors. THC-based drugs over-activate those receptors. As a result, marijuana users may experience the following effects:

  • Poor memory
  • Impaired mood
  • Appetite changes
  • Disrupted learning
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired problem solving
  • Difficulty with coordination

 

In addition, marijuana users often develop issues in their daily lives, including lower overall satisfaction, poor physical and mental health, relationship problems, and less success in their careers or academic roles.

What Are the Health Risks of Ingesting or Smoking Marijuana?

Those who abuse marijuana have a higher risk of developing health concerns, especially those related to heart and lung problems and mental health conditions.

Marijuana smoking contributes to lung infections like emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and frequent smokers may experience respiratory problems, including:

  • Chronic cough
  • Chest and lung infections
  • Damaged immune system
  • Increased phlegm production
  • Accelerated heart rate and blood pressure

 

Because the health effects of smoking marijuana mirror those affecting people who smoke tobacco, users may also be at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

In addition to respiratory concerns, marijuana use disorder is also associated with an increased risk of a heart attack resulting from a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure.

Marijuana abuse can also produce a temporary psychotic reaction in certain users, and several studies link the drug to psychosis development. Other mental health conditions associated with marijuana abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Personality changes
  • Suicidal thoughts (in adolescents)

 

Additionally, studies link mental illness and marijuana addiction. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has revealed a link between marijuana addiction and an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

Research suggests that up to 15% of users develop a marijuana addiction. Additionally, the earlier a person begins using marijuana, the more likely they will develop cannabis use disorder. Those who use the drug daily also have a much higher rate of marijuana addiction.

Marijuana addiction most often affects teens and young adults and results in behavioral changes, such as:

  • Distorted perceptions
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulty thinking and problem solving
  • Ongoing problems with learning and memory

 

In addition, those experiencing marijuana addiction may also show common signs of drug use, including:

  • Hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of control
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Slow reaction time
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Chronic, phlegmy cough

 

Those who engage in long-term use may experience marijuana withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to the symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs. However, most chronic users take up to a week before experiencing signs of marijuana detox. Often, patients require marijuana addiction help to ease withdrawal symptoms and overcome drug cravings.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment​

Those seeking assistance with marijuana withdrawal have several outpatient program options through Next Step Recovery treatment center. We offer those battling marijuana addiction and other substance use disorders the skills and resources necessary to overcome their drug addiction through customized treatment programs.

Our marijuana addiction treatment focuses on evidence-based therapies, including 12-step immersion, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, support groups, and other scientifically proven methods to treat substance use disorders.

Get the Marijuana Addiction Help You Need

Patients who receive the marijuana addiction treatment they need to eliminate cravings and restore their physical and mental health go on to live happier, more successful lives. Next Step Recovery’s Asheville, NC, treatment center provides patients with addiction support services, relapse prevention, outpatient programs, and outdoor adventure therapy to help them gain freedom from substance abuse. Start your path to recovery when you fill out our online contact form today.

Those seeking assistance with marijuana withdrawal have several outpatient program options through Next Step Recovery treatment center. We offer those with marijuana and other substance use disorders the skills and resources necessary to overcome their drug addiction.

Our marijuana addiction treatment focuses on evidence-based therapies, including 12-step immersion, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, support groups, and other scientifically proven methods to treat substance use disorders.

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Sandy Stader

Medically Reviewed By Susan Stader MS, LCMH, LCAS, CCS

Susan Stader is the founder and director of Next Step Recovery and NSR of Asheville, an Intensive Outpatient Program and a Long-term Extended Care program in Asheville, NC. She received her Master’s in Community Counseling in 2004 at Western Carolina University and went on to get her licensure in addictions and mental health counseling. Susan believes that treatment should be gender-specific and offered in a small setting. Small recovery communities, such as hers, are more intimate and effective in overall client satisfaction and care.

Reach Out Today

Recovery is a lifelong journey, but you don’t need to take it alone. At Next Step Recovery, we give you the tools and support you need to get through early sobriety and find lasting healing. It is our goal to empower our patients to be their best selves and live the life they deserve.

If you have any questions about our programs, methods, insurance, or anything else, reach out to us today. We look forward to helping you to get started along the road to recovery!

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