Marijuana Treatment Tips

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What Options Should I Consider When Beginning My REcovery from Marijuana Addiction?

Suggested Supplements to 12-Step Programs

Other supportive modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, and even housing support (which can be sought through a case manager/social worker at a local hospital or agency with speciality in addiction recovery) can be beneficial therapies. It is sometimes recommended that an addict in early recovery live in a halfway house, a recovery home (which tends to be far more expensive) or with sober friends. Early recovery from addiction should not include spending significant amounts of time with peers, or even family members who use drugs and alcohol. This behavior will almost always lead to relapse. Some of the people to expect to run into are certified drug and alcohol counselors (CADC), social workers, nurses, physicians and psychologists. The important thing to consider for the latter named professionals is their level of knowledge and experience dealing with your specific area of addiction difficulty.

How Can I Cope with the Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal from Marijuana Abuse?

Physical Effects of Withdrawal from Marijuana Abuse

As stated previously, the psychological effects of marijuana use cessation are numerous. Again, these include insomnia, irritability, anxiety and even unexplainable anger/rage.

Physical symptoms of withdrawal can also be debilitating. Common physical manifestions of withdrawal are headaches, eating problems (early loss of appetite and/or cramping), and heavy sweating. These symptoms are common physiological responses to bombarding one's body with toxins. And, yes, excessive marijuana consumption would be considered toxic to the body.

It is suggested that in order to cope with such symptoms, you drink a lot of water, lay off the caffeine (which will only enhance insomnia) and stay away from too much fatty food. Additionally, practice some new self-care behaviors that you would offer anyone with a severe case of the flu: eat chicken soup, take a bath, relax and read a book, and get some rest.

Should I seek professional assistance for recovery from marijuana addiction?

Medical/Psychological Support for Recovery from Marijuana Addiction

Many people suffer from biochemical stressors such as anxiety, depression or insecurity prior to indulgence of marijuana. This drug is often taken in higher and higher doses to self-medicate such symptoms. Unfortunately, while use may temporarily alleviate discomfort, prolonged use (and the eventual need to withdraw/detox) only exacerbate the problem.

If you suffer from persistent anxiety and/or depression, it is likely that these symptoms will worsen upon marijuana withdrawal and/or cessation. It is recommended that you avoid attempting to self-medicate in other ways (such as turning to alcohol, heroin, sex or overeating) to cope with your anxiety.

It is also suggested that you recognize your need for medical attention and that you seek help from both a psychiatrist and a therapist who are experienced in the area(s) of addiction. Psychiatrists differ from therapists in that they are trained to focus on the chemical components of the addiction and necessary treatment of pre-existing symptoms. The therapist will help you cope with the inevitable feelings and emotions you will experience as a result of use cessation.

In order to receive maximum benefits from these services, it is necessary that you be honest about your addiction and history of use and that you take recommended suggestions from your doctors. In order to find the best doctor/therapist to suit your recovery needs, you should consult with a trusted medical doctor, friend or other recovering addicts to obtain support in this decision.

What Do I Do If There ARe No Mariuana Anonymous Meetings in my City/Area?

Alternatives to Marijuana Anonymous

Since Marijuana Anonymous is a fairly new fellowship, it tends to be harder to find as a resource, particularly in smaller cities. Even major cities tend to only have about two meetings per week. This minimal amount of support, while beneficial, will not be sufficient to ensure your long-term sobriety. Some other suggestions are as follows:

  • If you have computer access on a regular basis, MA offers one online meeting each day. See for details
  • Narcotics Anonymous is a bit larger as a fellowship and is easier to find. Since you are a marijuana smoker, you most likely have used/abused various other chemicals as well. Go to for further details.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is the first of the twelve-step fellowship, the most established, and the easiest to find. All other twelve-step programs are based on the exact philosophy of this original one. It is suggested that you first attend open AA meetings to meet people with a similar problem to you.
Another note: If you are trying to cease marijuana use, the general belief is that all substance use must cease. Even if alcohol isn't your "primary" addiction, it is most likely something that is coupled with your marijuana use.

Do I Need Individualized Counseling as Part of My Recovery from Marijuana Addiction?

Individualized Drug Counseling

It has been researched that drug addicts who add individualized drug counseling as a part of their drug rehab program are more successful than recovering addicts who merely cease use. The role of the drug counselor is to help you deal with the emotional and environmental consequences of your disease. For example, he she will help you deal with how to address your addiction in the workplace (or how to deal with being out of work), housing, consequences of your past behaviors and negative repetitive thought/behavioral patterns. This person will be both non-judgmental and well-educated on the behavioral and distorted thought processes of your addiction. A good place to find CADC's or drug counselors is through local mental health centers or hospitals. If these venues do not have their own drug counselors in house, they will have social workers who can offer you case management/referral services to get the help you need.

How Do I Know What Kind of Treatment is Best for My Drug Addiction?

Learning More About Recovery from Drug Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse website ( has an excellent and comprehensive list of points to consider when seeking treatment for any substance abuse problem. Marijuana is no exception. These "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment" are a recommended starting place to give yourself a brief overview of what your recovery needs might be.

One important point to highlight here is that drug abuse is a chronic condition. It is important that you do not forget at any point in your recovery that marijuana addiction (as with all substance abuse) is considered a mental illness according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (IV). This means that, as with any mental illness, recovery will be a lifelong process with peaks and valleys and that your recovery needs will evolve and change over time.

What are some of the emotional effects of marijuana use?

Emotional Effects of Marijuana

Many regular marijuana users seem to lose their motivation to achieve in school, work, sports, or creative endeavors. Even if they are talented and were doing well in these areas, they may stop trying. At the same time, the money they may have spent on their productive pursuits becomes diverted to drug dealers.

Those who use marijuana as an escape may fail to develop normal social skills and remain childlike in their ability to deal with other people, handle stress, or form their own opinions. Some people become obnoxious and a few may even become violent while high. Others become overwhelmed by heightened input from their senses, and may seem to "shut down."

Taking a high dose of the drug may even lead to cannabis psychosis, which can include hallucinations, paranoia, and a loss of identity.

How Can I Find out More About Marijuana Anonymous?

Marijuana Anonymous as a Form of Relapse Prevention

Marijuana Anonymous is a 12-step recovery program (an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous) where men/women who have a desire to cease abusive use of marijuana come together for support. The website,, is highly recommended for you to peruse if you think you may have a problem with marijuana. Particularly helpful are the "twelve questions" to help you determine if you do in fact have a problem and the international meeting directory.

If you do decide that attendance at an MA meeting would be useful to you, this site also has such useful information as what you can expect when you attend a meeting (because those early days can be very scary) and recommended literature to get you started.

Is marijuana addictive?

Is Marijuana Addictive?

For many years it was thought that marijuana use, however much of a habit it became, was not physically addicting. New research is indicating that it is possible for some users to become physically dependent on the drug.

Studies vary, but some indicate that as many as half of all people who use marijuana routinely will never develop this dependency. For those who do, however, the withdrawal symptoms -- including anxiety, irritability, stomach pain, and decreased appetite -- are real.

These discoveries have fueled new research and treatment methods for helping marijuana users quit the drug. They have also provided reinforcement for people who may have believed they were the only ones with a problem.


Private Rehabilitation Programs Offer a Great Alternative

Addiction presents many personal challenges. One of the hardest challenges to overcome is taking the step to get well. There are many available rehab programs to choose from. Finding the best one for you can be difficult and the decision can seem overwhelming. One alternative to the drove of public rehabs is choosing a private rehabilitation program. One of the perks to choosing a private rehab is having constant, personalized support. This option also offers confidential services that are almost impossible to find in corresponding public-run rehab centers. Having anonymity allows for security and peace of mind. Although addiction can effect anyone, the stigma attached to being 'an addict' can be socially harmful as well as personally hurtful.

What sorts of therapy are available for marijuana addicts?

Behavioral Therapy for Marijuana Users

Research into marijuana addiction therapy has been somewhat lacking, in part because for many years experts did not believe the drug was physically addictive.

One recent study focused on men in their 30s who had been regularly using marijuana for at least 10 years. The study found similar benefits from a 14-session group therapy treatment with a cognitive-behavioral focus, and just two sessions of individual therapy. About 30 percent of the users in both groups were able to maintain abstinence over the following year.

A current area of research involves establishing a system of rewards which patients can earn through continued abstinence, as verified by urine testing.

Programs aimed specifically at teens often include an element of family therapy to establish a family system that supports the young patient's continued abstinence.

Who is likely to become addicted to marijuana?

Predictors of Marijuana Dependency

Various studies point to certain groups as being more likely to experience physical addiction than others. They include:

-- Men were eight times more likely to become addicted than women.

-- Young people with previous problems with antisocial behavior became addicted more quickly than those who were emotionally stable.

-- People whose relatives are addicted to the drug may be at special risk. Scientists are still investigating genetic components of susceptibility to marijuana and other addictions.

Is marijuana my primary addiction?

Marijuana as a Secondary Addiction

If you have a problem with marijuana, chances are you have multiple other substance addictions. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services more than 50 percent of those admitted to treatment for marijuana addiction (in 2000) did not report marijuana as their primary addiction.

If you are beginning your journey of recovery from marijuana addiction it is recommended that you also take a look at your alcohol usage, and any other substances. Many people feel that if they use marijuana more than they use alcohol, then they only have to cease use of marijuana. Although it may seem difficult to cease use (and seek support) for all substances that you are currently abusing, it may save your life.

What can parents who experimented with marijuana tell their kids about the drug?

"Mom, Did You Inhale?"

If you want your kids to stay away from marijuana, stay honest with them. Don't get involved in a deep discussion of your past drug use, but make the point that marijuana today is much stronger and more dangerous than it was a few decades ago. Tell the truth about your experiences, but be clear about what risks you took and what consequences you experienced. As part of your guidance to children about the dangers of modern adolescence, set and maintain an expectation that your children will not use this or any other illegal drug.

Current thinking on preventing drug abuse is that parents play a critical role -- "parents, the anti-drug," as the commercials say. You can't control other adults' behavior, but you can set a good example. If you turn to a glass of wine after a rough day, let your kids also see you find other ways to deal with stress.

Connection with your kids is key to preventing drug abuse. Many teens use drugs because they feel disconnected from friends, society, or themselves. A strong parent-child relationship includes knowing where your children are and who they're with, establishing reasonable limits, listening to daily stresses and larger issues, and time spent simply being together.

Is there a drug to treat marijuana addiction?

Prospects for Medical Treatment of Marijuana Dependency

No medications are currently available to treat marijuana dependency. The only legitimate treatments currently in use are behavioral therapy and self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Marijuana Anonymous. Many current treatment options focus on those who are addicted to both marijuana and another drug, often cocaine.

(It should be noted that Web searches for marijuana treatment turn up many sites promoting Narconon, a program connected with the Church of Scientology. Independent experts say there is no scientific evidence to back up Narconon's treatments, which involve large doses of niacin and hours in saunas.)

Scientists have been researching the workings of THC, the active chemical in marijuana, within the brain. Recent discoveries about the way the brain absorbs THC may lead to the development of a medication that will block the marijuana high, and prevent relapse by reducing or eliminating the appeal of the drug.

How Do I Deal With Court Mandated Rehabilitation?

Court Mandated Rehabilitation

Some of you reading these tips may have been "forced" into rehabilitation from marijuana abuse for a variety of reasons. Maybe you were drinking while you were smoking and received a DUI, maybe you were pulled over and marijuana was found in your possession. Whatever the reason, if a judge mandates that you seek rehabilitation for marijuana/drug addiction then you have no choice but to follow-through.

If you are court mandated to partake in rehab, it is highly likely that you will be required to attend at least one twelve-step meeting per week for approximately six months. Upon attendance, you will be expected to have your court papers signed by the meeting moderator to prove attendance. Inpatient Treatment, Outpatient Treatment and even treatment modalities like anger-management classes and/or therapy may be required.

It is recommended that if you have been court mandated to seek support for your addiction that you do your best to keep an open mind and to embrace yourself in this opportunity for recovery. Chances are that if you got in trouble with the law because of your marijuana use, you are faced with a very serious addiction problem. If you do not take this mandated recovery opportunity as a learning experience, chances are you will use again and end up in the same exact place later.

Is marijuana still popular among young people?

Marijuana and Young People

Research shows that more than one-third of teenagers smoke marijuana at least monthly. These teens put themselves at risk for a variety of medical, social, psychological, and legal problems, at a time when their bodies and brains are still developing. Even short-term marijuana use has been linked to memory gaps and difficulty solving problems.

Because marijuana affects judgment and reaction time, young people who use marijuana run a greater risk of getting involved in dangerous situations including road accidents. In addition, of course, marijuana is illegal and is distributed by networks of often violent criminals. Marijuana use is a crime that can destroy a young person's future.

What are some of the physical effects of marijuana?

Physical Effects of Marijuana

Immediate effects of marijuana consumption include tremors, headache, nausea, poor coordination, breathing problems, and reduced blood flow to the brain. It can also increase the appetite ("the munchies"), leading to consumption of unhealthy amounts of food and weight gain.

Research suggests that marijuana users get into more vehicle accidents and perform worse in school and sports than non-users. The drug distorts perceptions, inhibits clear thinking, and gets in the way of memory and learning. Those who start using marijuana at an early age may find that the drug delays puberty or disrupts young women's reproductive cycles.

In addition, smoking marijuana is more damaging to the lungs than smoking tobacco, and increases the risk of cancer in the lungs, throat, and mouth.

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