Marijuana Anonymous (MA) is a support group designed specifically for people with an addiction to marijuana. It uses the same concept as Alcoholics Anonymous. Members attend meetings, sponsor one another and follow the 12 steps of the recovery program. Addictions are difficult to overcome alone. Support groups help users deal with day-to-day life without the use of drugs.
What Marijuana Dependency Looks Like
Marijuana produces a sense of euphoria and relaxation for users. Chronic users often lose their ambitions, dreams and motivations. Users focus more on their high rather than living a meaningful life. It becomes difficult to focus and concentrate on daily tasks in school, at work and even at home. It also has additional negative mental and physical effects including:
- Deficits in short-term memory
- Chronic bronchitis
In a 2008 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 4.2 million Americans were dependent on drugs. Approximately 15 percent of users in drug treatment programs listed marijuana as their primary drug of choice. The same report indicated that in 2008, marijuana use was a factor in over 374,000 emergency room visits.
Widespread Use and Addiction in the U.S.
Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are the top three most commonly used drugs in the country. The fourth most commonly used drug is marijuana. Marijuana use began to increase in the 1960s and 1970s. Proponents for easing marijuana laws point to its potential medicinal uses. They frequently quote a report from the Institute of Medicine that confirms the medicinal uses for marijuana; however, the same report expresses concern that legalizing marijuana for medicinal use would increase access to non-medical users.
The social debate about the medical use of marijuana provides addicts with the argument that marijuana is not physically harmful. All drugs, even prescription drugs, are physically harmful when used for recreation and not a legitimate medical condition.
“If you are addicted to marijuana, you are well aware of the impact it has over your life.”If you are addicted to marijuana, you are well aware of the impact it has over your life. The addiction becomes the center of life, controlling everything you do. It is a progressive illness and can lead to other addictions, including alcohol abuse.
What Withdrawing Feels Like
Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana are relatively mild and include:
- Mild agitation
- Sleep disturbance
You may be able to quit using marijuana on your own; however, without the support of other people who have experienced the same addiction, it is difficult to stay clean. Marijuana support groups are critical for most recovering addicts in order to maintain a drug-free life.
You can expect Marijuana Anonymous to provide you with a safe and confidential program to help you work through the reasons you became addicted in the first place. It gives you a forum to express yourself. You learn to manage day-to-day stresses without drugs. You can also find the support of a sponsor who will help you deal the cravings you may experience through the process.
The social and medical debate about marijuana may cloud the real issue. Marijuana use is addictive and has the capacity to destroy lives. If you are ready to quit using marijuana, call Project Know at 1-888-287-0471 . To stay clean and sober for life and find Marijuana Anonymous meetings in your area, contact MA to get the ongoing support of an established program.
- The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana alongside LSD and heroin as having one of the highest abuse potentials.
- In 1937, the United States imposed a Marijuana Tax Act that imposed a high tax on the sales of marijuana (it was legal then). The tax was so high that it was nearly impossible to sell legally.
- Cannabis seeds were a food source in ancient China.
- Colonial farmers were required to grow marijuana for hemp in 1619. Clothes, sails and rope came from hemp in the 1600s.