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Can marijuana be addictive?

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Marijuana, like alcohol, is widely consumed by men and can often lead to addiction and dependency

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Many men have come to our clinic reporting increased use, and in many cases, dependency on marijuana. For many, what once used to be a way to relax, unwind, or reduce pain has become a daily, frequent behaviour that often leads to consequences, impaired function, and dependency that leads to consequences, challenges, and difficulty. It is estimated that 1 in 3 who use cannabis will have a problem with it, while 1 in 11 who use cannabis will develop an addiction to it.

What is a marijuana addiction?

While many people use marijuana without experiencing any negative consequences, some people may develop a dependence on the drug, leading to addiction. Marijuana addiction is a real and serious condition that can have a significant impact on an individual's life. People who are addicted to marijuana may find that they are unable to control their use of the drug and that it becomes a central focus in their lives. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, such as anxiety, irritability, and trouble sleeping.

What are some factors that may lead to marijuana addiction?

There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing a marijuana addiction including:

  • Starting to use marijuana at a young age

  • Using marijuana regularly and in large amounts

  • Having a history of mental health issues

  • Having a family history of addiction

  • Poor coping skills or ability to regulate one's emotions

What does a dependency to marijuana look like?

Dependency on cannabis can manifest in a variety of ways. Some common signs of cannabis dependency include:

  • Using cannabis more often or in greater amounts than intended

  • Having difficulty reducing or stopping cannabis use

  • Spending a lot of time using cannabis, obtaining it, or recovering from its effects

  • Craving cannabis or having strong urges to use it

  • Continuing to use cannabis despite negative consequences, such as problems with relationships, work or school, or physical or mental health issues

  • Giving up important activities in order to use cannabis

  • Using cannabis in situations where it is physically dangerous

  • Continuing to use cannabis despite knowing it is causing problems

  • Tolerance, meaning needing more of the drug to achieve the desired effects

  • Withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and loss of appetite, when not using cannabis

It's important to note that not everyone who uses cannabis will become dependent on it, but regular use of the drug can lead to addiction in some people. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above signs, it may be worth seeking help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.

How can I get help for my addiction to marijuana?

Dealing with a marijuana addiction requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction. Here are some steps that can be taken to help overcome a marijuana addiction:

  1. Recognize the problem: The first step in overcoming an addiction is recognizing that there is a problem and being willing to seek help.

  2. Get professional help: A healthcare professional or addiction specialist can help you assess your addiction and develop a treatment plan that's tailored to your needs. They can also provide support and guidance throughout the recovery process.

  3. Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals understand the underlying thoughts and behaviors that drive their addiction, and develop strategies to change them.

  4. Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment: Rehabilitation centers can provide a structured and supportive environment for people recovering from a marijuana addiction. These programs often include individual therapy, group counseling, and other evidence-based treatments such as medication-assisted therapy, behavioral therapies, and contingency management.

  5. Support groups: Joining a support group such as Marijuana Anonymous can provide a sense of community and help individuals stay motivated during the recovery process.

  6. Relapse prevention: Learning coping mechanisms, triggers and developing a plan for preventing relapse is important for long-term recovery.

It's important to remember that recovery from addiction is a journey, and it may take time and effort to achieve lasting change. However, with the right help and support, individuals can overcome their addiction and go on to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

Want to learn more?

Check out our blog post on what a 12-step group is an how it can help you tackle an addiction: Click here

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