How Can You Tell if You’re Addicted to Marijuana?Lindsay Chambers
As states continue legalizing marijuana, it has become easily available in various forms, including candies and baked goods. Because cannabis often appears innocuous, many people mistakenly believe it is completely safe to use. Though it is not as addictive as substances like meth and cocaine, it still alters brain chemistry in a way that can cause a physiological dependence.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
People abuse marijuana because it contains tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, a psychoactive component that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. When someone smokes pot, THC passes from their lungs to their bloodstream before finally reaching their brain.
Compared to other drugs, marijuana’s effects are slow to arrive, sometimes taking up to an hour to feel the characteristic high. Marijuana activates specific brain receptors, leading to effects such as mood changes, impaired memory and decision-making and an altered sense of time and reality.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, up to 30% of people who use marijuana become dependent on it. The strongest predictor of marijuana addiction is the age at which people begin using it. Younger people are more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder, and because their brains are still developing, they are also at a higher risk of associated mental health symptoms, including psychosis.
Signs of Marijuana Addiction
Regardless of how people prefer to use marijuana, they may develop a tolerance to it over time, which means they will require increasingly larger doses to experience the same effects. If they continue to smoke, vape or ingest pot, they can develop a marijuana dependence, which means their brain has become accustomed to regular doses of THC and has reduced its natural production of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
Other red flags of a worsening marijuana addiction include:
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Doing risky things under the influence
- Continuing to abuse marijuana despite facing negative consequences
- A loss of control over cannabis use
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
People who try to stop using pot after becoming psychologically and physically dependent will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. The longer someone has used marijuana, the more they will struggle when trying to quit.
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of focus
- Sweating and chills
- Depression and anxiety
- Craving the drug to feel “normal”
Experienced Help for Your Family
Often, drug misuse results from an untreated mental illness. At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we offer substance abuse and mental health evaluations as the first step in an overall wellness plan. Whenever possible, Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno involve family and treatment professionals in the screening and assessment process to gather valuable information. If a dual diagnosis is affecting your family, don’t wait – request help today. Our experienced team is here to put healing within reach.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.