Many people believe that marijuana is not addictive. The increasing use of cannabis to manage medical conditions perpetuates this misconception. After all, if something is being used as medicine, how bad can it be?
A key point to remember is that there are hundreds of strains of marijuana, with new ones being created all the time. Each strain has its own unique properties and effects, and only a few of them can be used for medical purposes.
In addition, any substance, legal or otherwise, has potential to be overused. Marijuana is the second most commonly used substance in Canada, second only to alcohol. Regular use over a prolonged period of time can result in addiction, especially if such usage begins in early adolescence. Not only does youth increase the risk of addiction, it can result in more severe and long-lasting effects.
It is generally agreed among professionals that many people who use marijuana for non-medical purposes also use other substances, such as alcohol. Any time two substances are combined, there is a risk of chemical interactions that can range from uncomfortable to harmful.
Marijuana use disorders can develop over time without you or your loved ones noticing. This is especially true in a post-legalization world in which marijuana has a higher degree of social acceptance. It is important to monitor yourself for signs of addiction, so you can get help as early as possible.
It is critical to note that in Canada, it is still illegal to use marijuana if you are below the age specified by the province or territory you live in. This restriction exists for a reason: cannabis use by adolescents can be extremely harmful.
Signs Of Marijuana Use Disorder
There are some simple questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have become addicted to marijuana. If you can answer “yes” to five or six of these, it may be time to seek help.
- Do you habitually use marijuana for no reason?
- Do you use marijuana immediately upon waking up in the mornings?
- Does your life revolve around using marijuana?
- Do you worry about finding a supply of marijuana?
- Do you frequently use marijuana by yourself?
- Do you use weed as an escape from problems?
- Have you tried unsuccessfully to quit cannabis use?
- Has using marijuana ever resulted in problems with memory, concentration, or motivation?
- Have your loved ones expressed concern about your marijuana use?
- If you don’t have marijuana, do you substitute another substance, such as alcohol?
Taking a marijuana addiction quiz may help you identify whether you have a problem. It is important to know that these quizzes are not diagnostic tools, they are guidelines.
Phases Of Marijuana Addiction Recovery
Your addiction recovery process depends on several factors, the biggest one being the kind of treatment program you choose. Some people simply stop using marijuana and rely on the support of family, friends and support groups. Others choose inpatient or outpatient rehab, and each facility has its own way of doing things.
In general, for those who do decide to seek marijuana addiction treatment, recovery happens in phases.
The good news is that marijuana is one of the easiest substances to withdraw from. Most withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable at worst, and none of them are known to be dangerous. The bad news is that withdrawing from marijuana may mean simultaneously withdrawing from another substance, such as alcohol or heroin. These substances can come with harmful withdrawal effects, which can be amplified or complicated by the withdrawal from marijuana.
If you are considering stopping use of any substance, even one with an image of being “harmless”, it is a good idea to do so under the supervision of a doctor. This ensures that you are safe and comfortable, and that withdrawal complications are managed as they arise.
Once you have safely withdrawn from marijuana and any other substances, you can turn your focus to rehab. Most marijuana addiction treatment facilities will put together a customized treatment program that takes your unique needs and circumstances into account. The rehab phase may include the following elements:
- Rebuilding your physical strength through nutrition and exercise programs
- Exploring the underlying causes of the addiction, such as trauma or stress
- Repairing relationships that were damaged during the period of addiction, and learning better communication and conflict resolution skills
- Training in life skills like time management and goal setting, that will help you function effectively in your “real life”.
- Calming practices such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation
When you are approaching the end of your rehab program, you will need to start planning how to manage your transition back to your regular life. This is something you will do with your addiction treatment team, and it will cover things like:
- Referrals to therapists in your area so you can continue the work you started in rehab
- Sourcing in-person and online support groups
- Putting together a relapse prevention plan
- Establishing boundaries between you and anyone you will be living with or having regular close contact with
- Putting together a daily schedule, so you don’t find yourself grappling with overwhelming swathes of empty time
Your addiction treatment does not stop the day you pack your bags and leave the facility. Recovery is an ongoing process that can be punctuated with setbacks, challenges and triumphs. It is increasingly obvious that people who receive some form of aftercare have better chances of achieving long-term recovery, free from relapse. Your aftercare program may include a 24/7 support line, follow-up appointments to monitor progress, and education and training sessions to help you and your loved ones better understand addiction and why it happens.
Where To Go For Marijuana Addiction Treatment
At Thousand Islands Rehab Centre, we believe that addiction recovery is always possible. No matter where you are in your addiction journey, we are ready to welcome you to our safe, non-judgmental environment that is conducive to true healing. We will work with you to put together a treatment program customized to your needs and circumstances, and we will be there through the whole process, from your initial detox right through to aftercare. To find out more, or to book your spot, contact us today.