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How to treat marijuana addiction

Marijuana addiction occurs in roughly 9-10% of people who use marijuana regularly. It is characterized by psychological need for weed, despite negative consequences to a person’s finances, health, work or home life.

However, marijuana addiction is treatable. Read on to understand more about marijuana use disorders and their treatment. Then, we invite your questions or comments about help for marijuana addicts at the end. We try to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt response.

Are you addicted to marijuana?

Before you begin treating addiction to marijuana, you must first accept the actual problem. While many marijuana users claim that marijuana is NOT addictive, they often misunderstand how addiction is diagnosed. And they deny that marijuana can be abused.

If you are not yet sure whether you or a loved one is addicted to marijuana and needs help, it can help to identify some of the common signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction. These can include:

  • craving marijuana when not using it
  • feeling uncomfortable if not high
  • hanging out only with people who smoke marijuana
  • increasing doses over time (developing tolerance to THC)
  • losing control over intended use
  • losing interest in family, school, work
  • trying to quit smoking weed and failing (especially multiple times)

Are you or a loved one exhibiting any of these signs? If yes, you may want to consider professional help.

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Treating marijuana addiction

Typically, marijuana addiction therapy occurs in three main stages:

1. Detox, if necessary
2. Psychotherapy and/or behavioral therapy
3. Continued support through group or individual work

Treating marijuana addiction begins with a detox phase during which the body is rid of accumulated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Can you be physically addicted to weed?  Yes, evidenced by the manifestation of clinical symptoms during withdrawal. While many withdrawal symptoms are psychological in nature, others are physicals. Some people experience more mild symptoms of marijuana withdrawal that can be treated at home with over the counter medications (such as headaches or nausea), while heavy users are advised to seek medical assistance, especially for trouble with mood disorders and sleeping problems.

At the moment, there are no medications available to treat the symptoms of physical dependence marijuana, however, researchers are actively seeking new treatments. So far, the medication buspirone has shown some potential for treating marijuana addiction, but this therapy requires additional study.

Behavioral and psychological therapies occur after detox. The purpose of these treatments is to help the individual maintain abstinance and adopt a healthy lifestyle. The most common behavioral treatments include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Contingency management (CM)

All of these have shown promising results with this kind of drug addiction. Additionally, marijuana addiction respond to psychological therapy in individual and/or group settings. The main goal of psychotherapy is to identify the psycho-emotional reasons for marijuana use and the resolution of the same without the need for drug abuse.

Treatments for marijuana addiction

So, where can you go to receive treatment for marijuana addiction? Professional settings which assess, refer, offer, and/or manage treatments for addiction include:

  1. Addiction Treatment Centers: These centers include both inpatient AND outpatient clinics. Better known as rehab, these professional centers offer both behavioral and pharmacological treatment and follow up aftercare.
  2. Detox Clinics: These types of clinics specialize in helping patients detox from drugs while treating the physical withdrawal symptoms and providing medical assistance when needed. While not always necessary for marijuana addiction, severe cases of depression or anxiety should be medically managed during withdrawal.
  3. Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists: These specialists are trained in identifying and later treating drug addictions by means of behavioral treatments or psychotherapy. Seeking help form a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist is highly recommended for heavy users or for those in denial.
  4. Addiction support groups: Spending time talking to people who share your experience and offer mutual support and advice is beneficial for those who seek a drug free life. It is highly recomended that you join a suport group to learn principles of addiction recovery. This can include Ration Recovery, SMART Recovery, 12 step groups, or religious recovery groups.
  5. Social Workers: You can seek help from a social worker if you wish to be referred to an affordable and suitable treatment program or if you want to look for financial aid for addiction recovery.

TIP: When looking for a treatment option, consider you own needs and preferences. The best type of treatment for you is the one that takes your personal needs and preferences into account and meets them accordingly. Additionally, there are plenty of specialized drug treatment facilities across the United States that provide help for substance use disorders. If you consider seeking professionl help for your marijuana addiction, investigate treatment centers in your area that come recommended by doctors and community references.

How to treat marijuana addiction questions

Let us know if you have any questions or comments about treating marijuana addiction. We will try to respond with a personal and prompt reply.

References Sources: NCBI: A placebo-controlled trial of buspirone for the treatment of marijuana dependence.
NCBI: Pharmacological Treatment of Cannabis Dependence
NIH: Principles of drug addiction treatment
NIDA: Available treatments for marijuana use disorders
State of New Jersey: Medicinal Marijuana Program

Photo credit: Blind Nomad

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10 Responses to “How to treat marijuana addiction
10:53 am January 13th, 2015

Marijuna addiction treatment is not a quick and easy process. In general, the longer and more intense the Marijuna use, the longer and more intense the treatment you’ll need.

5:56 pm May 6th, 2017

It’s been a week since I quit cold turkey last night was the first night with no cold sweats. all week I had been waking up around 3:00 AM and not able to get back to sleep. last night was the first night I slept the whole night i’ve had diarrhea and upset stomach and a good portion of the week that has now subsided. The cravings have decreased considerably I try to keep as busy as I can with different activities to keep my mind away from the bad activities so far it’s working for me i’ll keep you posted if I can get clear of this it’ll be a true miracle I don’t think anybody could be a bigger user than I was. if I can do it you can !!!!

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:26 pm May 10th, 2017

Hi Greg. It seem to me that you are managing all symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. Keep up with the good work, and if you still need help, call 1-888-503-1835 for a toll-free and confidential marijuana helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. You will be greeted by a professional and understanding consultant who will assist you in understanding the types of marijuana addiction treatments available to you.

2:53 pm May 13th, 2017

I have been a hard-core marijuana user for almost 40 years it has defined my life for most of that time. everything revolved around it. today is my second week free I am up $300 I am pretty much over the withdrawals just a little cold sweats at night is all now my mind is much clearer and making the right decisions is easier. Keeping busy is the secret to keeping the cravings at bay. be productive. I can’t believe the money and the time I’ve wasted through the years, the things I’ve could’ve done and bought is mind boggling I feel I have smoked my retirement I’ve worked hard all my life and that money I wasted could’ve got me ahead. marijuana has a way of making you think and feel everything is all right when it isn’t i’m sure you still can be productive and a good person when using, but when you quit you’ll be more productive and a better person With your mind clear it’s a great feeling to stick my head up above the clouds once again good luck to all following the same path you can do it if I can. Be the person that you and your family need to be !!! Not the person your “friends” need you to be.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:19 pm May 22nd, 2017

Hi Greg. Thank you for giving your input.

4:32 am May 20th, 2017

It’s been almost 3 weeks, i’m heading into uncharted waters I’ve never went this long without. I feel great no withdrawal symptoms anymore just a little cold sweats at night. The best feeling I get from this is the feeling of freedom. I was a slave to the drug could not go anywhere without it or do anything without it if I ran low I would get uptight I am really starting to feel empowered now I was afraid I might become like a dry drunk angry and unhappy but that is not the case I can still get feelings of elation i’ve been working on a huge business deal at work I feel I can make better decisions and handle people a lot better than before when I was using I always felt a little socially awkward when I was using I used to think about quitting every day but then I would smoke a little and forget all about it all you have to do is plug your nose and jump into the pool of who you really are !!!!!

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:20 pm May 22nd, 2017

Hi Greg. Thank you for sharing! I’m really glad that you quit… Stay strong!

4:35 am May 28th, 2017

Thank you for your feedback Lydia it means a lot, it’s been four weeks a full month and I feel great. My lungs are cleaning out coughing up a lot of bad. also I am dreaming a lot when I sleep. Heavy marijuana users don’t usually dream a lot when they sleep. The money is building up in my bank account fast. I am not suffering from cravings which is a miracle for as long as I have used marijuana. not to mention I don’t want to start all over again. For the people out there that want to follow my footsteps you can do it. there’s a lot to gain from it, you just have to take the first steps and don’t just think about quitting, do it. Don’t waste your life and your money looking for the next bag.

5:41 pm June 5th, 2017

i need to know the steps by steps treatment for marijuana

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:06 pm June 7th, 2017

Hi Roy. Call 1-888-503-1835 for a toll-free and confidential marijuana helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. You will be greeted by a professional and understanding consultant who will assist you in understanding the types of marijuana addiction treatments available to you.

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