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Marijuana, commonly known as “weed” among users, is one of the most popular substances of abuse today. This despite the fact that it is a strong target of federal justice programs and is a common topic in drug prevention education. There has even been growing scientific evidence that it is an addictive substance.
The representation of marijuana in pop culture contributes to this misconception, and leads more and more people into an addiction that find difficult to escape. But, is there a treatment for weed addiction?
It is true that marijuana users typically believe that weed is safe and, until very recently, was believed to not be addictive at all. However, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, weed has been shown to meet all of the criteria necessary to make it a substance of dependence and addiction.
Psychological professionals agree that these criteria are:
- tolerance to the substance, requiring higher or more frequent doses to achieve the same result
- symptoms of withdrawal when stopping use of the substance
- continued use of the substance despite negative consequences
- withdrawing from social interactions and responsibilities in order to use the substance
Many marijuana users find themselves dealing with all of these circumstances, meaning they have an addiction that requires treatment.
One of the most common and effective treatments for all addictions is cognitive-behavioral therapies. Marijuana addicts benefit from these as well.The actual actions involved with cognitive behavioral therapies depends on the individual patient and their needs.
All of these therapies, however, seek to achieve the same things. The goals of cognitive behavioral therapies in addiction treatment are:
- to identify thinking and behaviors that contribute to addiction
- to change these negative behaviors and thoughts wherever possible
- to teach skills for dealing with thinking and behaviors that cannot be changed
Meeting these goals can greatly help people struggling to overcome an addiction to marijuana.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Another common issue faced by many weed addicts is a lack of motivation. This makes it incredibly difficult for them to complete treatment and stop using marijuana. Motivational enhancement therapy helps in this respect.
These therapy techniques use rewards, consequences, and interviewing tools in order to help the addict motivate themselves, rather than seeking to provide outside motivation that is often ignored. This makes these therapies very effective, and are very helpful in marijuana addiction treatment.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contingency management involves monitoring the behavior you are trying to change, namely marijuana use, and either providing or withholding some tangible reward based on whether or not the desired change is achieved. This helps to give weed addicts something real to work for, increasing the chances of lasting recovery.
All of these therapies are very useful in treating marijuana addiction, and are all available in addiction treatment. However, you must seek treatment in order to take advantage of them.