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Marijuana Addiction: An Overview

  1. Article SummaryPrint
  2. Marijuana Side Effects
  3. Signs of Marijuana Abuse and Dependence
  4. Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
  5. Seeking Help for Marijuana Dependency
  6. Marijuana Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation
  7. Conclusion

Marijuana is a brown and green mixture consisting of shredded leaves, seeds and flowers derived from the hemp plant. It is known on the street by a variety of names including weed, grass and pot. In fact, unbelievably there are over 200 slang names used for marijuana, with some of the stranger ones being gangster and Mary Jane.

Despite all of the cleverly thought-up names, it is a common misconception that marijuana is not addictive, states the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). However, studies have shown that this is not the case, with the results showing individuals who smoke marijuana on a regular basis are more likely to develop a dependence on the drug. While there is plenty of information regarding marijuana addiction treatment available, it isn't always easy to get people to understand they actually have a problem.

The general population's understanding of marijuana is generally desensitized to the risks the drug pose. Some people view smoking weed as a rite of passage, an almost expected part of growing up and becoming an adult. Others are confused because some states in America allow individuals to take marijuana to reduce the symptoms of a number of painful conditions and illnesses. This misunderstanding surrounding marijuana is part of the reason why individuals do not seek help via marijuana addiction treatment. The ONDCP however clearly states that continued use of marijuana can have potential negative consequences on a person's physical and mental health.


Did you know marijuana has been around since 2347 BC? Despite the passage of time, its reason for use then was much the same as today, to achieve a feeling of euphoria and happiness. However, it wasn't used in Europe until around 500 AD, where it was a common ingredient in Chinese medicine recipes.

Marijuana Side Effects

Smoking marijuana can cause a number of physical effects including, increased heart rate, bloodshot eyes and a ridiculously dry mouth. One amazing fact concerning marijuana side effects is that some people believe smoking the drug actually improves their senses, such as sight and hearing. However, the NDCP are quick to debunk this theory, confirming that there is no reliable evidence to support these claims.

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) scientific studies have shown marijuana to be particularly harmful to a person's lungs. This is because many people smoke it completely unfiltered, before holding the toxic smoke for as long as is possible in their lungs. This is a massive irritant and can ultimately cause irreparable damage to a person's lung tissue.

Another fact given by CESAR is that people who smoke marijuana usually smoke normal cigarettes too. This adds double the pressure to a person's lungs and puts them at an increased risk of getting a number of smoking-related diseases. Marijuana use can also have some worrying psychological effects including paranoia, increased irritability and feelings of acute anxiety.

Studies have also revealed that long-term use of marijuana can effect a person's cognitive and fine motor skills, with some individuals reporting a slowing of movement and slurring of speech. Most people take marijuana for the feeling of euphoria it gives them. It also helps a person feel more confident, sociable and just generally happy. If you would like more information on private marijuana addiction treatment, you can call out 24-hour toll-free helpline on 1-888-287-0471 for confidential advice.


Worryingly, the ONDCP states that young people who smoke marijuana regularly will find it extremely difficult to focus, meaning their education could be affected as a result.

Signs of Marijuana Abuse and Dependence

Marijuana is considered by many as a recreational drug, something they do with friends or to chill out after a stressful day. Initial signs a person may be abusing marijuana are often physical including, rapid speech, increased appetite and loud laughter.

It is also common for users of marijuana to experience what is commonly referred to as "the munchies". This when the individual experiences a strong urge to eat, with sweets and high sugar foods being the most desirable. This compulsion can be quite strong with the person becoming agitated if there is nothing readily available to curb the craving.

Certain marijuana-related paraphernalia is also a good indication an individual abuses marijuana. Items such as rolling papers, a roach clip and bongs are all related to weed.

Signs a person may be dependent on marijuana can vary between individuals. How severe their dependency is will also affect the symptoms they display. People who are dependent on marijuana will usually build up a tolerance to the drug. Friends and family members may notice the person is taking more and more marijuana. This is because the individual’s body has become used to the drug, meaning more is needed each time to achieve the same effects.

It is also common for marijuana-dependent people to develop a preoccupation with the drug. They may always be talking about it or worrying if they will be able to get hold of some more. If for whatever reason they are unable to smoke marijuana they may display signs of agitation, anger and even aggression. They are also likely to become angry if another person mentions marijuana addiction treatment, this is usually due to a mixture of denial and fear. According to figures provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nine-percent of people who take marijuana will develop a strong dependency on the drug.


During the 14th Century people would eat marijuana under the mistaken believe it was a good source of fiber.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

There are myths aplenty when it comes to potential marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Because many people believe marijuana is not addictive, they remain unaware of the potential withdrawal symptoms that can occur when a person stops taking the drug. The problem this poses is a lot of marijuana users take the drug to relieve the symptoms, unaware they are trapped in a viscous circle.

The NIDA believes that marijuana is as difficult to give up as nicotine and that people do not always realize they have physical and psychological withdrawals that need to be addressed. If a person suddenly stops taking marijuana they are likely to experience a range of symptoms including, increased anxiety, difficulty sleeping, cravings and feelings of agitation.

"...psychological tests proved that people who quit smoking marijuana displayed increased signs of aggression and anger. ..."-NIDAAccording to tests completed by the NIDA, psychological tests proved that people who quit smoking marijuana displayed increased signs of aggression and anger. There is also evidence to suggest that more serious marijuana withdrawal symptoms include feelings of intense paranoia and severe depression. CESAR state that individuals suffering from marijuana withdrawal symptoms are more prone to suicidal thoughts than the average person. People who stop taking marijuana with no professional support may find it more challenging than an individual who has chosen to attend traditional marijuana addiction treatment.

Getting help for a marijuana problem is often a difficult step and people may put off seeking treatment through fear of being labeled a drug addict. If you need to talk to someone in confidence about your marijuana addiction options, please feel free to call out toll-free helpline on 1-888-287-0471.

Seeking Help for Marijuana Dependency

There are a number of options available to a person who wishes to seek help for a marijuana addiction. Many individuals delay seeking help because of the mistaken belief that they will be forced to attend treatment as an inpatient.

While marijuana addiction treatment is available under medical supervision in a hospital setting, there are many other treatment options available that do not require a person to stay in hospital. Visiting a doctor is always a good first step, as a medical professional can complete tests that will rule out any underlying health issues that may affect a person's treatment.

A doctor will also be able to explain treatment options, as well as help a person decide which one is the most suitable. For people who do not feel ready to approach a doctor, there are a number of marijuana addiction groups who will be able to offer support in complete confidence. Failing that, speaking to a school counselor, pastor or even a close friend will be the important first step to the individual accepting that they need marijuana addiction treatment.


There is a risk that children exposed to marijuana while in the womb will suffer from delayed development and learning difficulties during childhood.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

The NIDA advises people to attend treatment in a formal setting, preferably where medical professionals are on hand to support their recovery. Unfortunately, the first 12-months following treatment are the most difficult for a recovering marijuana addict and a relapse is most likely during this time. However, with the right combination of treatment there is no reason a person cannot experience a successful recovery.

Did you know that safe-substitute drugs can be given to an individual undergoing a marijuana detox? These are drugs that are designed to relieve the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms, making it a much more comfortable experience for the individual. There has been some bad press concerning safe-substitute drugs, with some professionals believing that they simply create another addiction for the individual. CESAR however beg to differ and provide statistics that show individuals who undergo a marijuana detox with substitute drugs are much more likely to successfully kick their habit. These drugs can be administered under the care of professionals in a hospital or rehabilitation center. In some circumstances, certain substitute drugs can be given to individuals as an outpatient, under the supervision of a doctor or pharmacist.

Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana can last anywhere from 24-hours to a week, although more severe cases may see symptoms last longer. Once the physical dependency has been addressed, it is important the psychological issues are dealt with too.

Combination marijuana addiction treatment involves a detox and counseling. A trained therapist can help teach a person how to develop coping skills. Many people turn to drugs such as marijuana as a way of dealing with anxiety, a strange but true fact given marijuana induces feelings of anxiety in many cases.However, by learning how to cope with problems and life stresses, this reduces the chances of individuals taking marijuana in the future.

Dealing with drug triggers is also an essential part of marijuana rehab. Triggers are influences that will encourage an individual to take marijuana. These can be environmental, social and even mental. For example, if a person has always smoked marijuana in his living room at home, when he returns to this room memories of past highs may tempt him in to taking the drug again.

Counselors educate people on triggers by asking them to address each individual trigger and by working with them to find a solution on how to deal with it. This may be through behavioral therapy, confidence training or ongoing counselor support. Group therapy is also a helpful part of marijuana addiction treatment, as it allows individuals with similar experiences to draw support from each other.



Marijuana is currently playing a huge role in research being carried out by the NIDA. The Institute believes the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes may help in the search for cures for other illnesses.

Marijuana is a popular drug, with an astonishing 17 million people in America actively taking the drug every single day. While withdrawal symptoms and long-term problems are big concerns to those working to help people addicted to marijuana, one of the biggest issues is the fact that weed is a gateway drug. This means it is a starter drug, something people use to experiment with before moving on to more powerful alternatives.

A shocking statistic provided by CESAR reveals that young people who smoke marijuana are three times more likely to move on to harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin as a result. It is this reason medical professionals are quick to dispel the myths that marijuana is a fun drug, with no consequences and no potential for addiction. This problem is so bad that many hardened users of marijuana are already dependent on other drugs or alcohol when they seek treatment. As well as being more likely to move on to harder drugs, people who smoke marijuana as a youngster are more likely to get in trouble with the police, drop out of school and experience teenage pregnancy. While this risk does not apply to everyone, it should act as an incentive for those individuals who do genuinely want to enter marijuana addiction treatment and experience a successful recovery. If you want more information on marijuana treatment, please do call our confidential toll-free helpline on 1-888-287-0471 for advice.


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  1. Question: What is a physical addiction?Submitted By: Arlene B.

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      A physical addiction is where the body becomes tolerant to a drug and requires more to function normally. The body stops producing certain chemicals because the drug is creating them. Once the drug is withdrawn, the body will take a while to restart production of these chemicals.

  2. Question: What is a psychological addiction?Submitted By: Gordon B

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      A psychological addiction is where person feels as though he or she cannot function without the drug, particularly in stressful or social situations.

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      A number of cough medicines contain dextromethorphan, also known as DMX, or codeine, which are addictive substances.

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