Marijuana rehab and treatment has been a bit of a controversial topic, especially in more recent years. While the popular belief is that marijuana is not addictive, the possibility of developing a dependency and addiction to marijuana is very real. As with any other type of addiction, the first step is acknowledging that there is a substance abuse problem and deciding to seek treatment to help you stop using. While the withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana are not as severe as those of other drugs, there is still a detoxification period. Marijuana is a drug, it has a physical effect on the body and the drug needs to come out of the user’s system.
Once the detox is complete and the drug is out of the system, an abstinence program is put into place. To determine the proper form of treatment or which type of therapy session will work best, an initial evaluation will be done. This may include a physical exam as well as some psychological testing. The therapist will work with the individual to uncover the underlying reason for the substance abuse. From there, they can work to develop new methods of coping and dealing with stress and triggering situations so that the patient can continue a healthy lifestyle post-treatment.
To understand how marijuana can be addictive, you may have to take a look at it’s history. Marijuana’s sordid reputation pretty much began at the turn of the 20th century. By the early 1900’s marijuana was listed as a poison, not necessarily a friendly or innocent introduction to the masses. The 1920’s and 30’s saw marijuana regulated in every state. By the 1950’s mandatory sentencing was imposed on marijuana possession from 2 to 10 years. Although through the 1970’s marijuana laws were somewhat relaxed, it was still prohibited for any purpose.
The late 60’s and the “Summer of Love” began not only the emerging social phenomenon of “Hippies” but also the openness of mind expansion and drug experimentation. The “baby boomers” (born between 1946 – 1964) an explosion of approximately 76 million were to go on to influence almost every aspect of life in the US and Britain. This demographic was to go on to embrace marijuana as their distinct symbol of social rebellion and rejection of the preexisting political and social order.
Serious marijuana research began in the early 1960’s when The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) contracted Universities to study the effects of marijuana and in 1974 The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was established. Marijuana is probably the most studied psychoactive substance and currently the most widely used medical and recreational substance in the US and elsewhere. It is also the second most abused mood altering substance next to alcohol.
Marijuana Treatment and Rehab Stats
The following stats were reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
Alcohol-Related Deaths: An estimated 88,0008 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity. In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities)
Marijuana –Related Deaths: There are many recorded deaths attributed to marijuana intoxication, but nothing like alcohol. One reason is marijuana like tobacco doesn’t kill from an overdose of use. It’s the consequences like cancer, mental illness, suicide and accidents.
The list for marijuana’s negative consequences is long and harmful; nothing justifies a romanticized nostalgic harmless assessment of marijuana in our society. Research and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports studies showing people that started using marijuana between ages 13 and 38 lost 8 IQ points which did not fully return even if they quit.
Marijuana smoke increases breathing problems, lung infections and higher risk for cancer. Marijuana use in pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight and increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain. Children exposed to marijuana in the womb have an increased risk of problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving compared to unexposed children.
Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness in some people, such as: temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.
Is marijuana addictive? Research suggests between 9 and 30 percent of marijuana users may develop some degree of marijuana abuse and many experience withdrawal symptoms that include irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and cravings.
Marijuana, Alcohol or Tobacco: The question of legality generally means availability and prevalence. The greater someone is exposed to marijuana, the higher the pervasiveness of its use. Given the studies saying 9 to 30 percent of those using may develop dependency, legalization will ultimately lead to higher overall health hazards and associated deaths and injuries.