Whether or not marijuana addiction is real is a very controversial issue. However, there now seems to be wide-spread agreement that it is at least psychologically addictive. People find that taking the drug interferes with their regular life and this occurs in around 9% of those who regularly use marijuana. If people start using the drug at a young age (when they are in their teens), this percentage rises. Furthermore, those who use marijuana when they are young are more likely to use strong substances when they are older.
A recent study by the NSDUH demonstrated that around 7.1 people in this country use illicit drugs. Some 18% of people who entered rehab treatment stated that marijuana was their main drug of choice. Indeed, in children under the age of 15, 71% cited that marijuana was their primary drug.
It is also known that quitting marijuana leads to withdrawal symptoms in the same way as what nicotine does. It is for this reason that it can be difficult to quite taking it. Some of the commonly reported withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increase aggression
Marijuana Dependence Treatment
It seems that marijuana dependence exhibits itself in the same was as other dependence disorders. However, the clinical outcomes of marijuana are not as severe on the long term. The majority of people who use marijuana daily and have done so for at least a decade have at least six failed attempts at quitting.
Interesting, marijuana dependence is most prevalent in people who have another psychological disorder. At Creative Care, we specialize in offering treatment to those with a dual diagnosis, which means they require support not just in terms of dealing with their addiction but also in terms of coping with a mental health issue. This problem is particularly prevalent among younger people. It is believed that providing behavioral therapy targeting the underlying psychological disorder in particular may be sufficient to reduce or stop the use of cannabis as well.
Unfortunately, cannabis treatment is quite unsuccessful. It is known that most of those who take part in an abstinence program only last for about two weeks. The 50% that does abstain for more than two weeks regularly return to using it within a period of 12 months. Abstinence rates over a one year period are only between 10% and 30%, regardless of the behavioral therapy that has been used. This suggests that a different treatment model may be required. At Creative Care, we believe that having strong family support or other support network is what will make all the difference. Cannabis is, by many, seen as a harmless drug, which means the incentive to stay off it is very low. As medicinal marijuana is becoming more readily available, this is becoming a problem. We need only to look at the epidemic of prescription drug abuse to see how something beneficial can turn into a real problem.
There is no current medication used to treat abuse of marijuana, but scientists are looking into possibilities. At present, the focus is on marijuana withdrawal syndrome. Some research suggests that using drugs such as lofexidine, an agonist medication, improves sleep and reduces cravings. Furthermore, some medication is being developed that could stop the workings of THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. This would stop the appeal of the drug, thereby helping those who currently have an addiction and potentially stopping others from ever developing one.
At Creative Care, we believe that marijuana abuse is almost always created by an underlying emotional or psychological disorder and we will address this during treatment. However, even those who do not have a dual diagnosis may struggle with their marijuana habit and we can provide them with support. We do not offer one size fits all treatment packages, but rather we look at the individual user and ascertain what has caused their behavior and how this can be modified. We use a range of holistic therapies for this, which also help to teach the patient different ways of coping with certain stresses in their lives that may have pushed them towards drug abuse in the past. Please contact us today if you, or a loved one, are currently struggling with marijuana addiction.