Marijuana is the most common drug used in the United States of America. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Addicts will experience withdrawal symptoms and have a rough road to recovery. Abstinence is key to ensure a full recovery, but most will find that they will relapse and fail at quitting several times before achieving this goal. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, statistics for those seeking help with marijuana addiction show that the average addict was an adult who smoked marijuana every day for at least 10 years and had more than six failed attempts to quit.
9% of those who use will become dependent. This rises to 1 in 6 of those who start their habit early on in life, such as high school aged users. Studies have linked chronic marijuana use to mental illness and show that of those who are dependent upon it, a high percentage also suffer from psychiatric disorders. Breaking away from a dependency on marijuana can be complicated even further by these pre-existing conditions. This also speaks to the type of personality that is attracted to drugs in the first place and the scope gets twisted further as the propensity for addiction and possibility of mental health issues walk hand in hand.
Marijuana addiction is linked to a withdrawal syndrome similar to that of other drugs like heroin. Abstaining from an addiction that a user has become comfortable with and curtailed their life around is a complicated task. Recognition that help is needed is not always forthcoming. So what does an addict look like and how do you know who needs help?
Signs of marijuana addiction include:
- A need to use regularly (daily)
- Failed attempts to stop
- Maintained supply or “stash”
- Spending more and more time/energy to acquire it
- Spending money that you don’t have on it/ stealing to get it
- Risky behavior while under the influence (ex: driving)
- Intense craving for it/not feeling “normal” without it
Symptoms of withdrawal that make it hard to abstain from marijuana use:
- Irrational aggression/anger
- Decreased appetite
- Drug craving
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed reaction time/lack of coordination
As with any addiction, the user has to be aware that there is a problem and be interested in receiving help in order for any type of rehabilitation to have a chance at succeeding. Marijuana users themselves report poor outcomes on personal achievements and the level of satisfaction they attain from their lifestyle. An urge to change their situation and /or lifestyle is not uncommon among marijuana addicts of all ages. Knowing that help is needed and welcoming the means to get that help shine light and give hope while looking for success in recovery from addiction.