Cannabis is one of the most common substances of abuse in the U.S. right after tobacco and alcohol. The interest in marijuana has skyrocketed over the years, from 4% to up to 9.5% between the early 2000s and 2012 to 2013.
Many users consider weed to be a “soft drug.” They think of it as a minor substance that can’t cause addiction. But, according to clinical records, long-term use among heavy smokers can contribute to addiction.
In fact, about 9% of those who experiment with weed can become addicted to it. The odds increase at around 1 in 6 among smokers who start using the substance as teenagers, and from 25% to 50% among daily users.
If you want to learn more about weed addiction, you’ve come to the right place. This is a detailed guideline on cannabis abuse, withdrawal, and the types of treatment you can expect.
Can I Be Addicted to Weed?
Seeing as addiction is usually defined as continual use of a substance despite negative consequences, then, yes, you can be addicted to marijuana. And to know more about if you are addicted or not, you need to learn how to spot cannabis withdrawal syndrome (CWS). You should recognize the symptoms, especially if you have trouble quitting the substance.
For example, you might feel irritated or on edge after you stop smoking. Your appetite can change, and you might even experience stomach pain. Many people consider weed withdrawal to be similar to quitting caffeine.
If you’ve been smoking weed heavily for the past couple of months or a year, whether it is for fun or a daily pattern, you will start experiencing withdrawal issues when you abruptly stop taking the substance. This is a clear indication of addiction.
But you are not alone.
Daily cannabis use is more prevalent among 12th graders than daily tobacco use. In 2017, 5.9% of 12th graders were recorded to be using marijuana on a daily basis, while 4.2% smoked tobacco, published the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
To analyze the impact of cannabis addiction, researchers at Duke University studied 496 adult weed smokers. It was estimated that 95.5% of users developed at least one withdrawal issue after quitting the substance, while 43.1% had more than one symptom. The severity and number of symptoms varied based on their smoking habit before they tried to quit.
Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome
People who start taking marijuana as teenagers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop symptoms of weed dependence just 2 years after the first usage, statistics show.
But the problem is, more than 2.7 million people over the age of 12 have some kind of weed dependency. When they try to stop smoking weed, they immediately experience severe cannabis withdrawal syndrome.
Most abstinence symptoms include extreme anxiety, irritability, and appetite changes. In the first three days, they are at their highest peak. The effects subside over time. Reports show that it can take around four days for the appetite to get back to normal.
At this stage, it’s normal for people to experience drastic sleep changes. Because of these symptoms, it becomes difficult for them to avoid the substance. As a result, they become vulnerable to relapse. Weed use among adolescents is particularly problematic.
Since their brain and endocannabinoid system is still under development, the younger generation is a lot more vulnerable to long-term adverse effects from cannabis use than adults are. Therefore, they are prone to developing depression and anxiety.
So, the sooner they start smoking, the bigger the odds of becoming addicted. This, in turn, puts them at risk of using other illegal drugs. Some teenagers even maintain their addiction into adulthood. Here is how each withdrawal symptom affects the body.
Experts believe cravings are the very first symptoms of addiction. The constant desire for relapse is the main behavioral component of addiction. It affects the brain, particularly the cannabinoid receptors, and causes mood and behavioral changes.
Everyone deals with the cravings in their own way. Scientists estimate that the severity of the cravings has a lot to do with gender, genes, and countless environmental factors.
To study the effects of cravings on the human body, experts analyzed 393 participants in 12 different studies who were regular cannabis users. The volunteers were vulnerable to psychophysiological responses or cravings when they stopped taking the drug.
Based on the reports, the participants reported experiencing changes in blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, and skin conductance because of the cravings. Most experienced moderate to low cue-reactivity, while the rest were vulnerable to intense cravings.
That’s why it’s important to get inpatient treatment and a proper detox. That way, you can focus on proper behavioral and psychopharmacological approaches to deal with the cravings. A cannabis abuse rehab center for women in North Texas, like Stonegate Center Hilltop, can provide you with the treatment you need.
People can experience anxiety as a symptom of both marijuana withdrawal and marijuana intoxication. It can be a real problem when the mental instability gets worse over time, particularly after you try to quit.
According to studies, early marijuana use has a much bigger impact on anxiety in adolescence, especially among heavy users. Those who start smoking at a young age may be prone to anxiety when they try to quit.
But, it’s crucial to point out that these insecurities are a normal part of the process when going through withdrawal. When people smoke the substance, the THC enters the bloodstream and lungs. This chemical affects the brain and interferes with some of the organs in the human body.
This compound is known to alter brain cell receptors, functioning, and development. Therefore, some users can experience altered senses, poor focus, bad memory, mood changes, and weak motor skills. In rare cases, people might experience hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.
In teenagers, this can be a real problem. Those who abuse the substance on a day-to-day basis can experience a decline in brain development. The bad memory will make it hard for them to learn, which is a serious issue for those who try to keep up with their studies.
If you start feeling anxious just a week after the last dose, contact your doctor. You might be vulnerable to anxiety.
Addiction can cause behavioral and physical changes in the human body. Data suggests that marijuana does have therapeutic properties. But, when the substance is abused, it’s normal to experience mild agitation, irritation, and restlessness between doses.
The good thing is, irritability is mostly easy to manage. People often experience mild irritation, annoyance, and sometimes aggression. This is a typical outcome when someone tries to stop their addiction. It can last for about a week (or sometimes more). In other words, it’s short-lived.
If you are angry or aggressive, it’s best to seek treatment. Talk to a drug counselor or enroll in a marijuana addiction rehab center for men in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, like Stonegate Center Creekside, to get your mood under control.
It is natural to feel depressed from time to time. But, when that depression is the result of cannabis withdrawal, it’s a completely different story. Withdrawal is a highly disabling condition. When left untreated, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health.
Marijuana is used as a powerful antidepressant. However, because of its psychedelic properties, some users become addicted to it.
Many people start experiencing intense emotional boundaries after they stop taking the substance. Their mental health can slowly decline. Those who can’t deal with these negative emotions on their own won’t be able to implement positive changes in their life.
They will find it hard to overcome these boundaries and move forward. That’s when treatment becomes necessary. A marijuana addiction rehab center in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, like Stonegate Center, can provide users with all the emotional and mental support they need. In time, patients will be able to control their mood changes, stabilize their mental health, and regulate their urges for relapse.
Many people underestimate the impact of cannabis abuse on sleep. They think that bad dreams won’t affect their chances of quitting. But, sleep disturbances are one of the main reasons people relapse.
Based on statistics, over 76% of heavy cannabis users experience insomnia, poor sleep quality, and nightmares after they abruptly stopped taking the drug. Because of the disturbed sleep, they are vulnerable to relapse.
To evaluate the impact on sleep, researchers studied the effect of marijuana abuse in 98 different subjects. The volunteers were categorized into 3 different groups, the non-users, daily users, and non-daily users.
A significant drop in sleep quality was found among 38.8% of daily users, 20% non-users, and 10.3% non-daily users. The reports show that those who abuse marijuana daily are more prone to experiencing sleep disturbances than the users who don’t use the substance regularly.
These studies show that heavy weed use can impact the quality of sleep, which automatically predisposes people to anxiety and depression. This can be a serious issue in the long run. Lack of sleep can impair the cardiovascular system, while the heart can become vulnerable to an unstable heart rate that could cause heart problems or heart attack.
Can I Smoke Marijuana While Pregnant?
Women who are expecting are advised to stay away from marijuana for a good reason. Not only can weed addiction worsen your emotional state, but it can also affect fetal development.
Experts believe marijuana abuse in pregnant women exposes the fetus to increased risk of low birth weight, brain, and behavioral problems. The fetus becomes susceptible to poor brain development, which can later affect their memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.
The THC can also enter breast milk. The child will then consume the compound. Plus, the drug can cause nausea and vomiting, particularly among heavy smokers. This can expose women to dehydration, which is why they will need medical attention.
Therefore, it’s essential to treat addiction as soon as possible. With proper treatments, you can boost your chances of delivering a healthy baby.
Is Marijuana Dangerous?
Marijuana today is a lot more potent than it was 20 years ago. That’s what makes it popular for both medical and recreational purposes. Although there are no reports of a marijuana overdose, it doesn’t mean you can take as much as you’d like. There is still potential for abuse.
In 2011, around 4.2 million patients met the criteria for marijuana dependence or abuse. This made them vulnerable to countless health risks, including learning impairments, poor attention and motor function, throat damage, lung problems, and more.
But, the main issue is that there are plenty of emergency department visits that were caused by marijuana abuse. In fact, 151,000 emergency department visits were recorded in 2010 due to heavy marijuana abuse.
Here is a detailed analysis of multiple illicit drugs that brought people to the hospital.
Since the potency of cannabis has changed over the years, it makes its impact on the human body. Users who abuse the substance, mainly the younger generation, are exposed to numerous health complications. Their underdeveloped brain predisposes them to a high risk of health issues. That’s why it’s important to stop abusing weed on a day to day basis and get proper detox.
What Does Marijuana Detox Look Like?
This plant is packed with numerous compounds, such as CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). These compounds will stay in the body for a while after your last dose. They will influence the duration of the whole detox process.
During detox, your main goal will be to flush out the drug from your system. By the end of the process, there will be no traces left of the compounds in your body. The problem is, every person responds differently to detox.
They can experience all kinds of symptoms, like vivid dreams, poor concentration, sweating, etc. To manage these symptoms, doctors may suggest professional therapy and at-home treatment. You will be expected to drink plenty of water, eat healthily, reduce caffeine, and exercise.
All these remedies play a key role in managing your addiction. But, what many people don’t realize is that marijuana detox can take a very long time, depending on the number of compounds present in your system.
It doesn’t matter if you vape, ingest, or smoke marijuana; the CBD will still enter the bloodstream. However, the THC is the one that gives users that “high” effect. After the high wears off, the THC still remains in the fat deposits for a couple of weeks.
Cannabis will stay in the:
- Blood for 36 hours
- Saliva for 48 hours
- Urine 3 days to a month
- Sweat for 7 to 14 days
- Hair for 90 days
The detox will remove any detectable THC from the system. That includes chewable, capsules, mouthwashes, shampoos, etc. You may rely on teas and cleanses to boost metabolism. Because of their diuretic properties, they can help you urinate more often and wash out the kidneys. In time, the body will remove the contamination on its own and help you stay the course to a healthy detox.
Can I Detox on My Own?
Many people opt for an at-home detox. But, it’s not the safest alternative. When you don’t get the support you need, you are at risk of relapse. It can be difficult to cope with the withdrawal issues, which can become a serious burden for your emotional health.
When you select a treatment facility, like the marijuana addiction rehab center in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, you get access to a powerful support network that can help you overcome all these challenges. A treatment facility is designed to help you get through this transition phase in one piece.
You reduce your risk of health complications because of the vomiting and nausea and get to live a more comfortable life. Besides, having family members or friends monitor your health state is not a good strategy.
They can’t help you when your health worsens or provide you with constructive criticism, while a treatment facility can. You reduce your chances of relapse and get the support you need.
How to Quit Smoking Weed
Cannabis is not as dangerous or addictive as other substances, like heroin or methamphetamine. But, for a heavy user, overcoming the marijuana addiction can be equally as draining. That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage your urges.
If you want to stop smoking after regular and heavy use, the chances of you experiencing withdrawal issues are very high. Some of these symptoms can become intense, which is why you may need proper treatment.
There are a couple of options that can help, such as:
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Contingency management
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Each solution is designed to help patients overcome their addiction and learn to manage their problems. With proper therapy, they can control the unpredictable withdrawal and rehabilitate successfully.
The best way to achieve these results is with direct medical supervision in a controlled facility. The medical staff at the cannabis abuse rehab center for women in North Texas is equipped with the options and supportive care that can provide you with relief. With all the care measures at your disposal, you will reduce your chances of relapse.
Here is how each management strategy can help you beat your addiction and improve your quality of life.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
The first step to stopping the habit is deciding what you want to change. You need to figure out your reasons as to why you want to stop. For that, you need a proper directive, a centered therapy that will work on your self-awareness and motivation.
That’s where motivational enhancement therapy comes into play. The goal is to help patients find their resolve to achieve their goals. Through MET, they get to learn how to become empowered.
All the techniques and counseling strategies used provide a therapeutic approach and a proper guideline. It can help people increase their confidence, improve their behavior, and understand their problems.
To evaluate the impact of a treatment like this, researchers studied the effect of MET on adolescent patients who abused marijuana. After a 60-day testing period, the participants managed to reduce their marijuana use by 16% in the course of 6 days. Though the results are modest, the impact of this therapy does have its benefits.
This is a behavioral therapy that relies on tangible rewards and motivational incentives to help people abstain from marijuana abuse. The strategies used can help you stay sober and change your behavior for a healthy living.
According to research, this is a highly effective treatment option. It’s a potent psychiatric treatment that can promote abstinence and stabilize your mental health.
Whenever you achieve a goal, you will receive a reward. This type of approach will encourage you to stay on the right path. Medical experts rely on a treatment such as this because it’s a worthwhile strategy for patients who can’t take certain medications.
If you have trouble with some drugs, you can rely on contingency management therapy to boost your odds for a successful recovery. The goal is to reinforce your positive behavior and help you stay sober.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
If you are looking for a hands-on approach with centered and short-term treatment, then you need cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s often used for altering behavioral and thinking patterns, particularly in people with certain difficulties, like marijuana addiction.
You will be working out your emotional problems with your therapist or psychotherapist and talk about your addiction. This is a helpful tool for battling addiction, but it’s often paired with other therapies, mainly if the patient needs some additional medication.
But, overall, this talk therapy can help you put your stress under control. That way, you can manage your drug abuse.
Unlike other drug addiction, like heroin or cocaine, which can set in very fast with constant abuse, marijuana addiction takes a long time to develop. You will need some time to actually realize that you’ve become addicted to the substance. If your body experiences withdrawal symptoms after you stop smoking, it means you’ve developed an addiction.
Battling addiction can be a complex problem to deal with. However, with on-time treatment, proper detox, and counseling therapy, you will be able to overcome this health issue and get your life back on track. What matters is that you take the first step and ask for help. Remember, the sooner you start with the treatment, the quicker the results.
Feel free to give our Stonegate Center Admissions Team a call at (817) 993-9733 or shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or a loved one is struggling with cannabis addiction or marijuana abuse. We are in-network with most commercial health insurance providers like BCBS, Aetna, Cigna, HealthChoice of Oklahoma, and more.
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John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction as well as the pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center’s status at the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content creation. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.