Did you know that marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States? It’s estimated that about 18% of all Americans used it once in 2019. 1 While many people may think they only use marijuana for recreational purposes, marijuana addiction can have dangerous consequences. Research indicates that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana develop a marijuana use disorder. 1 People who use marijuana at a younger age are more likely to become addicted.
As we look at how marijuana can become addictive and the signs of addiction, we’re also going to explore the effects of marijuana addiction and how treatment at a Costa Mesa rehab can help.
Marijuana Use in the U.S.
As more and more states legalize the use of marijuana, its use is increasing. Studies show that people who live in states where marijuana is legal use it 24% more frequently than those who live in states where it remains illegal. 2
Besides people who use marijuana for recreational purposes, you also have to consider those who use it for medical reasons. Medical marijuana is now legal in 35 states, with an estimated 3.6 million legal medical cannabis patients. 3 People use marijuana for medical purposes, for chronic pain, and to deal with the effects of chemotherapy, anxiety, and insomnia, among other reasons.
The use of marijuana is becoming so popular that it is now surpassing the number of people who smoke cigarettes. Cigarette use has declined over recent years, with only 11% of Americans saying they currently smoke, compared to 45% during the 1950s. 4
Besides smoking marijuana, people are also using the product in different forms. It’s estimated that one in seven Americans use products containing cannabidiol. 5 That’s the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. These products range from edibles to creams, oils, and other items.
How Marijuana is Addictive
While many people may argue that marijuana is not addictive, science proves otherwise. Like any other drug, and people can become dependent on marijuana, forming a marijuana addiction.
People who become addicted to marijuana may need more and more of the drug or a potent version to experience the high they’re looking for. The greater the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a strain of marijuana has, the stronger its effects on the brain. 6 A marijuana addiction occurs when people can’t stop using the drug, although it interferes with many aspects of their lives.
Marijuana use directly impacts brain function, specifically the parts of the brain that are responsible for: 7
The impact marijuana has on the brain depends on many factors. 7 These include:
- How often it’s used
- Concentration of THC
- Age of a person’s first use
- Whether other substances are used simultaneously
People may experience marijuana’s effects almost immediately as the THC passes into the bloodstream, throughout the body, and to the brain. When people eat or drink cannabis products, they can feel the effects within an hour since it first passes through the digestive system.
Consequences of Marijuana Use
When people become addicted to marijuana, there are several short-term and long-term consequences. Because marijuana can impact the brain in many ways, short-term effects can include:
- Memory Loss
- Problems with Coordination
- Lowered Reaction Time
Besides short-term effects, several long-term effects can be more serious. People who develop a marijuana addiction and use it for a long time may experience: 8
- Respiratory Problems
- Increased Risk of Heart Attack
- Increased Risk of Mental Health Problems
- Impaired Brain Function
While health problems can have severe and deadly consequences, marijuana addiction can also lead to legal issues. Possessing marijuana can result in arrest since it is still a federally illegal substance. Since marijuana can impair judgment and reaction time, it can also lead to accidents and poor choices.
When people become addicted to marijuana and stop taking it, withdrawal symptoms can occur. While everyone may not experience all of these symptoms, common issues are:
These symptoms can be mild to severe, depending on the level of addiction.
Signs You Have a Marijuana Addiction
While some people may not think they have a marijuana addiction, several signs can indicate that there is a problem. People who have a marijuana addiction may experience an uncontrollable urge to use marijuana as well as begin to withdraw from their work or other hobbies. Using marijuana and getting high have become the main priorities in life. They may experience the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above when they don’t use the drug. People may also begin to notice that they need more of the drug to reach their high as their tolerance for the drug increases. If you see any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, it’s time to seek professional treatment.
Get Help for a Marijuana Addiction at a Costa Mesa Rehab
Clear Life Recovery is a Costa Mesa rehab that offers help for marijuana addictions. Our treatment plan is tailored to individuals to help them with their specific issues.
Many times, treatment for marijuana addiction begins with a medically-supervised detox before moving into therapy programs. People can benefit from individual and group therapy programs to help them talk about their problems and determine what led to their addictions. The recovery process also includes help to live sober without needing marijuana.
To learn more about our treatment programs for marijuana addiction, call Clear Life Recovery today or contact us online. We have staff available 24/7 to get you the help you need.