Marijuana dependence is extremely common, in spite of the popular misconception that using cannabis is harmless. In fact, marijuana dependence and abuse are often seen in treatment facilities, sometimes in combination with other addictions. In order to treat marijuana dependence effectively, patients require a comprehensive and multi-faceted drug treatment program. Call Alcohol Treatment Centers Wisconsin today for help finding a rehab center at (608) 423-5048.
Those dealing with marijuana dependence often refer to it by its common street names of weed, dope, grass, hash, skunk and Mary Jane. It is green or brown and looks like a collection of dried leaves, flowers and stems. When smoked or consumed in food or drink, it provides the body with a psychoactive chemical called THC, leading to giddiness, slowed thinking, a mellow mood, increases in appetite and an increase in heart rate.
Cannabis dependence is particularly common because most users don’t really believe they are dependent. Weed is more socially acceptable than a lot of other drugs, and is widely considered to be “safe.” However, studies suggest that almost 10% of users are addicted to the drug. It is also common to develop cross addictions, which means shifting to marijuana use in an attempt to cope with trying to come off another drug (or when trying to cut back on alcohol).
Those who are abusing cannabis may display certain signs that are obvious to an outside observer. For example, they may seem lethargic, have less energy in previously enjoyed hobbies, maintain a flat mood, and obviously depend on the drug to enjoy socializing. Meanwhile, the symptoms experienced by the users themselves often include an obsession with the drug (placing it before relationships and work commitments) and feeling shaky, irritable and anxious when craving more marijuana.
Firstly, for some, cannabis abuse doesn’t cause the mellowness and contentment that most users seek. Instead, it causes frightening hallucinations and intense paranoia that can lead to panic attacks. In addition, studies on chronic cannabis users have proven that there is a link between habitually consuming the drug and experiencing inhibited memory (as well as reduced learning abilities). This brain change is particularly important for younger users, who may consequently fail to do as well at college or on the job market. For example, some research suggests that as many as 8 IQ points may be lost before the age of 40 is cannabis use is started young and continued into adulthood. Mental health is also a concern, as those with schizophrenia (or even a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia) are more likely to develop paranoid delusions throughout regular cannabis abuse.
Meanwhile, marijuana also damages the heart by raising the heart rate. For example, marijuana users have been proven to be five times more likely to have a heart attack in the first hour after smoking a joint (especially if they have preexisting issues like a congenital heart defect). The toxins in marijuana are also linked to neck, lung and respiratory tract cancer.
Most people trying to stop using cannabis can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy in a treatment center. In addition, motivational incentive therapy focuses on giving users something they want or that makes them feel good when they successfully maintain sobriety, and this approach can produce excellent results. More generally, talk therapy (in both an individual and group therapy) promotes an understanding of why cannabis dependence developed and encourages the development of new coping strategies that help the user deal with life’s stresses without turning to drugs.