How to help a marijuana addict

Is someone close to you addicted to marijuana? We review effective treatments and interventions for marijuana addicts here, as well as the steps for getting help.

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minute read

Is someone close to you addicted to marijuana?  Are you perhaps an addict yourself?

The good news is, there are effective treatments available to you which help address marijuana addiction. In this article, we address the steps you can take for getting help, the types of treatments and and how to help cope with someone else’s addiction to marijuana. At the end, we invite your additional questions or experiences. We try to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt response.

Help a marijuana addict quit

To help a marijuana addict quit, you must first address addiction. Coming to terms with the fact that one is addicted to marijuana is a pre-condition to seek help for the actual problem. As a starter, you can schedule an informal or formal talk with the potential addict, point out what signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction s/he exhibits and offer them your support and help. Getting high on marijuana daily is one sign of potential addiction, as is psychological dependence. Once you have their consent, preparation for the actual treatment can begin.

Typical treatment for addiction begins with a detox stage to cleanse the body from the accumulated toxins. While many people claim that marijuana is not physically addictive, symptoms of withdrawal manifest in regular users after cessation of use. This phase usually manifests as mood disorders, problems sleeping, or even headaches as the psychoactive drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) leaves the body.  Keep in mind that medical supervision in recommended for any case of drug detox, in order to cope with withdrawal symptoms or underlying mental health disorders as they occur.

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Help marijuana addict friend

Q: How can you help a marijuana addict friend?
A: By educating yourself on addiction and its treatment

The stages of treatment are generally:

  1. Getting marijuana out of your system
  2. Addressing psychological dependence
  3. Supporting long -term recovery through behavioral or psychological treatments

Following detox, it is important that a marijuana addict seek psychological treatment to further treat the addiction problem. The purpose of these treatments is to help individuals maintain sobriety, and learn how to live a healthy and normal life without the presence of marijuana. When looking for treatment, it is important to choose know that there are multiple modalities and that you can choose therapies that suit your needs and preferences. The most common psychological treatments include:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – An effective method for preventing relapse. Helpful for identifying problematic behavior and utilizing a range of techniques to cope with such a behavior and stop abusing . For instance, patients learn positive and negative consequences of drug use, monitor themselves to detect cravings and risky situations and get help in coping and avoiding them.

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Contingency management (CM) – Being motivated to quit smoking weed is an important aspect of treatment. CM is an incentive-based method to increase treatment retention and promote abstinence. For instance patients receive vouchers with monetary value that can be exchanged for goods or services if they submit a drug-free urine sample.  The value of vouchers values increase along with the number of drug-free urine samples. Rewarding patients for remaining in abstinence has demonstrated efficacy in increase their motivation to remain sober.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) – An approach designed to help addicts stop their drug use by motivating them to engage in treatment. This is a counseling approach that starts with assessment, after which addicts attend 2-4 individual treatment sessions. During these sessions, the addict is being monitored for changes and receives feedback on the assessment, as well as review for cessation strategies. The main goal of this therapy is to evoke change or encourage sustained abstinence.

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Self help marijuana addiction

If you are aware that you have a problem with marijuana and want to seek help, you are on the right track. The hardest part is to admit to yourself; the rest is a matter of staying determined and persistent. If you need help with your own addiction to marijuana, do not hesitate to talk to someone you know. A close person will be happy to see you better and will be willing to help and support you throughout the process. Nevertheless, do consult a medical professional and stay surrounded with love ones.

Get help for marijuana addiction

In the United States there are numerous facilities that can offer help for marijuana addiction such as:

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  • Addiction support groups
  • Addiction treatment centers
  • Clinical psychologists/psychiatrists
  • Social workers

While most of these facilities and professionals can be helpful, not all of them will everyone’s needs accordingly. Seek professional help to determine which one is the right for you and go for it.

Helping a marijuana addict questions

Do you still have questions about helping a marijuana addict? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We will do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate queries.

Reference sources: NCBI: A Randomized Trial of Contingency Management for Adolescent Marijuana Abuse and Dependence
NCBI: Marijuana Dependence and Its Treatment
NIH: Evidence Based Approaches to Drug Addiction Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

3 Comments

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  1. I have been a consumer of cannabis daily for 39 years, mostly daily and a keen lifetime student on the subject of cannabis in general. I have some experience in the field.

    Your sources are flawed. They are all from government agencies with a policy position that cannabis use is the same as heroin use (Schedule 1 of the CSA). That there are studies that refute the concept of cannabis addiction (akin to ‘coffee addiction’) but they do’t fit your industry’s narrative.

    “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works.”

    None of the treatment options outlined address brain disease. They only attempt to address the physical aspects of use. “If you test clean, I’ll give you a cookie.” is rediculous on any level above canine intelligence or anyone under the age of 13.

    Every ‘symptom of withdrawal’ you note, while true, is not debilitating, nor do they last for more than 5-7 days. At worst they are mild. At best they are just minor side effects, not ‘drug addiction withdrawal.’

    Can someone have the habit of consuming cannabis daily? You betcha. Does that mean they are dependent? Perhaps; depends on the medical ramifications of the use. Addicted? That is an inaccurate term for consuming this substance.

    Via con Dios

  2. How to convince your younge child that is s marihuana addict when he says that he will smoke all his life because it is not bad for you and is his choice?

    1. Hi Flori. The fact that marijuana is being more and more proclaimed as a medicine and a helpful herb, people are beginning to diminish its down sides. Yes, you cannot overdose on it, but there is a real addiction potential. Not as much as with other drugs, but I have people near me who smoke every day, several times…as much as they may be saying it’s all fine – they NEED it to be able just to wake up in the morning and function throughout the day. I guess that counseling and therapy can help him realize the potential risks. Also, it’s not always about addiction. Marijuana is usually sprayed with a lot of chemicals that you also inhale along with weed.

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