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Mar 22 2018

How to Help Someone Overcome Marijuana Addiction: 15 Steps

#marijuana #addiction #help


How to Help Someone Overcome Marijuana Addiction

Many people think that the most harmful aspect of marijuana use is its potential to be a “gateway” drug—one that leads to the use of more dangerous and more addictive drugs. However, increased research has shown that marijuana can indeed lead to dependency on its own. [1] Those addicted to the drug can experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using, experience declines in their achievements at work or school, ruin interpersonal relationships over their habit, and many other things typically associated with “harder” drugs. If you think someone you know is developing (or has already developed) a marijuana use disorder, you can help the person by knowing how to identify the addiction and how to help him or her overcome it.

Steps Edit

Part One of Two:
Identifying Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction Edit

Learn the facts concerning marijuana and dependency. One of the biggest hurdles to helping someone with a marijuana dependency is proving that (despite popular belief) marijuana use can lead to addiction. Research has shown that overuse of marijuana can overstimulate certain systems in the body which will cause brain changes leading to addiction. It is estimated that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent, and 25-50 percent of daily users will become dependent. [2]

  • Adolescents who use marijuana frequently are at risk for decreased IQ scores later in life with research finding that on this population’s IQ is decreased by about 8 points on average. [3]
  • Additionally, a longitudinal study conducted over sixteen years found that marijuana users are four times more likely to develop depression than non-users. [4]
  • Although not as common, abuse of medical marijuana or drugs containing cannabinoids (such as THC) can also occur. THC is just one of over 100 other cannabinoids that the marijuana plant contains. [5] Because cannabinoids have a large effect on the body—affecting everything from pleasure regulation and appetite to memory and concentration—they can have serious health effects when abused. [6]

Look for symptoms of withdrawal when the person stops using marijuana. Marijuana can produce symptoms of withdrawal if frequent users discontinue use. Withdrawal is the body’s response to no longer having the drug in the system, and it is usually an indicator that there is physical dependence on the drug. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include: [7]

  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Various forms of physical discomfort

Check for behavioral changes that indicate a marijuana use disorder. Other symptoms of dependency can affect the person’s behavior surrounding use of marijuana and not just reactions to not using it. In the past year, has the person:

  • Used much more marijuana in one sitting than intended
  • Tried to stop using marijuana but failed
  • Had strong cravings or desire to use marijuana
  • Used marijuana even though it caused or worsened symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Had to increase usage to achieve the same effects
  • Had use interfere with personal responsibilities, school, or work
  • Continued to use marijuana even though it caused fights or arguments with family or friends
  • Stopped participating in previously important activities in order to use marijuana
  • Used marijuana in situations where it may be dangerous, such as driving a car or operating machinery

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