Marijuana Use and Addiction
The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is released when the plant material is heated or burned. Rolling up the leaves in a cigarette, or putting a small bit of the leaves into water and drinking that water or vaporizing it, are common ways in which users take in marijuana. But these methods can leave telltale scents behind, along with ashes, ashtrays, pipes and bongs that must be cleaned. As a result, some users eat substances that have been laced with marijuana.
According to an article produced by the New York Times, marijuana snacks have become quite popular in some states, and these products can contain as much as 10 times the THC a casual user might be accustomed to.
As users continue to take in the drug, day in and day out, they may develop a dependence on the substance. According to CESAR, it’s difficult to determine whether or not the drug is physically dependent, but it is clear that the substance can lead to a psychological form of dependence. People come to believe that they need the drug, and while they may not display outer signs of addiction, the psychological dependence they feel is quite real.
Many programs utilize forms of talk therapy in order to help addicted people to improve. In their treatment sessions, they work with mental health experts in order to determine:
- Why they started using
- When they tend to use
- How their lives might improve if they don’t use in the future
- How they’ll handle cravings in the future
The Partnership at Drugfree.org suggests that there are no pharmacological therapies that have been approved for use in people who have addictions to marijuana. Since the drug may or may not cause a physical form of dependence, it’s difficult for researchers to develop medication therapies that could help all people. The evidence just isn’t there yet. This doesn’t mean, however, that there are no therapies that could help people with addictions to this drug. In fact, the opposite is true. Researchers know of a number of ways to help people with this specific type of addiction, and when the right kind of therapy is provided, it can make a remarkable difference.
Therapy might also help to strengthen other areas of a user’s life. For example, if a person uses marijuana out of simple boredom and a lack of nourishing activities, spending time in arts classes, exercise classes or support group meetings could help. All of these therapies help to remind people that sober life can be wonderful, and that there are ways to find joy that don’t involve wrecking the body in the process.
People who have addictions to marijuana may want to get better, but participating in therapies like this is hard, and sometimes, people feel compelled to quit. Contingency management techniques can help. Therapists who use this technique provide prizes or vouchers when clients attend their therapy sessions and provide clean urine samples each time. A study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology suggests that providing these types of interventions can result in greater abstinence rates, as people were willing to work hard to get the prizes. It’s just one way in which therapists can help people to conquer their marijuana addictions.
Finding the Right Program
The best marijuana addiction programs are tailored, based on the preferences and history of the person with the addiction.
Some people need only mild forms of care for their marijuana addictions, for example, and they can succeed in outpatient programs that provide a somewhat limited level of contact with a therapist. However, some people have intense addictions that they’ve struggled with for years. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that the average adult seeking treatment for a marijuana addiction has tried to quit more than six times before.
Spending a little time thinking about the history of the addiction, along with the treatment methods that haven’t led to success in the past, could lead to good treatment decisions in the future. If you need help with this process, please call us at Axis. We can explain how our residential program works, and we can even help you to find out if it’s the right kind of program for the addicted person in your midst. Just call, and we’ll start talking.