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October 15, 2018

Do I Need Marijuana Rehab?

woman sitting on floor by bedIf you can’t get through the day without lighting up, inhaling from a bong, pipe, water pipe, dabbing or other forms of marijuana use, and are experiencing difficulties at home, work or school as a result, you more than likely have a problem that needs addressing with marijuana rehab. Read on for a more detailed answer to the question of whether you need marijuana rehab….

Is Marijuana Addictive?

If you have been using marijuana (cannabis, weed) on a daily basis, you’ve likely taken the stance that the drug can’t hurt you. The fact that 29 states have approved marijuana for medical uses and more continue to do so—plus the fact that 9 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) and the District of Columbia currently allow recreational use of marijuana—probably reinforces your belief that marijuana has to be harmless.

In actuality, marijuana can be highly addictive: its potency is much greater today than in years past and steadily getting stronger; and prevalence of cannabis use is increasing in certain demographic groups. In 2017, an estimated 26 million Americans (9.6 percent of the population) aged 12 and older were current marijuana users. The number of current marijuana users is higher than percentages from 2002-2016 and reflects increases in cannabis use among young adults and adults aged 26 and older.

That’s up 2 million from 2016, when an estimated 24 million Americans (8.9 percent of the population) aged 12 and older were current marijuana users.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana use can progress into a substance use disorder (SUD)— in other words, an inability to stop using marijuana despite the problems to your health and life that it’s causing. Severe substance use disorders are called addiction. For marijuana, the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) specifies the condition as cannabis use disorder (CUD).

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 4.1 million people (about 1.5 percent of the population) had cannabis use disorder in the past year.  

The 2016 NSDUH reported that approximately 4 million people had past-year cannabis use disorder. This included about 584,000 adolescents, 1.7 million young adults, and 1.7 million adults aged 26 or older.

Results from the 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions show that CUD is “highly prevalent, comorbid [with other substance use disorders] and characterized by low quality of life.” Men were more affected than women (3.5 percent vs. 1.7 percent), although women had a shorter onset from use to CUD (mean of 5.8 years for men, 4.7 years for women). Findings show that CUD use is greater among young adults, blacks, those with lower income, and greater among Native American women than white women. Study authors highlighted the need for integrated treatment for CUD and comorbid disorders (such as other SUDs, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline and schizotypal personality disorders) and effective prevention and intervention methods, especially for subgroups at greater risk for the disorder.

What Will Convince You to Get Marijuana Rehab?

Still on the fence about whether you need marijuana rehab? Granted, you may be able to continue on your current path for some time without dire consequences, although your risk magnifies the longer you remain addicted to cannabis, not to mention using alcohol and other drugs simultaneously.

Be honest and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find you are compelled to smoke (or use marijuana) regardless of the consequences?
  • Do you lose hours while you’re high on marijuana?
  • Do you continue to use marijuana despite others pleading with you to stop?
  • Have you made promises to quit and repeatedly tried to quit on your own without success?
  • Do you smoke marijuana even though you know the drug will impair your ability to function normally?
  • Are you making more errors, forgetting important dates, missing deadlines?
  • Have you lost your drive and enthusiasm at work, home or school?
  • Do you constantly think about getting high?
  • Are you constantly high?
  • What happens when you don’t use marijuana for a while? How do you handle withdrawal?

If marijuana use is part of your daily life, it may very well be taking over your existence. In essence, you are robbing yourself of being present and fully engaged in everything and anything that matters most. Why continue to give your life over to cannabis?

What About Home Detox?

There is no doubt that staying home to detox from marijuana dependence or addiction is more convenient. You wouldn’t have to go to a treatment facility to do so. It’s also inexpensive, compared to professional medical detox. Yet, are you even reasonably sure that you can withstand the intense cravings to use that will come after you discontinue use? After all, your pattern has been to use marijuana for a number of reasons, including:

  • To relieve stress
  • Escape reality
  • Delay decision-making
  • Alleviate pain
  • As a means of relaxation
  • Enjoying cannabis with your friends

It’s not that you don’t want to reduce your marijuana usage, or begin to get control of this habit that’s taken over your life, but you may not be well-equipped to handle the psychological withdrawal symptoms on your own. In other words, you may start off fine and be able to avoid using marijuana for a day or two, yet the first sign of stress or being with your pot-using friends will cause you to go right back to your habit.

You need professional help, preferably at an inpatient or residential treatment facility specializing in marijuana rehab, to successfully quit using marijuana.

Learn more about marijuana detox.

How to Find the Best Marijuana Rehab

While there are many treatment choices available to you, you want to know how to find the best one for marijuana rehab— in other words, a treatment facility that specializes in treating CUD and marijuana dependence, with good treatment success rates. If you’re seeking treatment for marijuana addiction and another SUD, perhaps including depression, anxiety or another mental health disorder, you need a rehab center that also treats dual diagnosis in addition to a marijuana disorder.

Primary considerations may include the cost of treatment, how convenient the treatment facility is, whether your insurance covers part of all of the treatment costs, treatment facility’s areas of expertise, staffing ratios, availability of continuing care or aftercare and alumni programs.

Inpatient or residential marijuana rehab will provide you with the safest and most effective way to overcome your addiction. Yet, this treatment choice is also the most expensive and will require you to be away from home. Everything is self-contained during inpatient treatment, all the counseling, therapy sessions, recreational activities, relapse prevention and holistic and/or alternative therapies. If you need something, professional help is always readily available.

Learn more about residential drug rehab.

On the other hand, outpatient marijuana rehab may be preferable. Not only is it less expensive, it also allows you to stay at home and go to treatment at specified days and times during the week, so that you can still work, care for your family and attend to other obligations. Many of the best residential rehab facilities offer outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs that could satisfy your marijuana rehab needs and be less disruptive to your life.

Learn more about intensive outpatient programs.

What to Expect During Marijuana Rehab

Whether you’re seeking treatment for CUD alone or in combination with other SUDs and/or a co-occurring disorder, you’ll be well cared for throughout your stay. You may require detox— it’s not difficult weaning off marijuana, although other substances of abuse have their own timetable and withdrawal symptoms that may need to be addressed. Be assured that the staff of medical professionals will make you as comfortable as possible during detox and the transition to formal rehab.

You should know that there are no current medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of marijuana dependence and addiction. However, there are some medications that may be prescribed during marijuana withdrawal in a treatment facility that can help alleviate physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, including intense drug cravings. Still other medications may be prescribed to help address co-occurring mental health disorders (depression, PTSD, anxiety, and others) and other SUDs.

Effective primary treatment options for CUD include two psychosocial approaches: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI).

  • Briefly, CBT and relapse prevention help you identify and manage thoughts and patterns, along with external triggers, that lead to marijuana use. CBT also teaches problem-solving and coping skills, and promotes healthier behaviors that can help you avoid marijuana use.
  • MI, on the other hand, emphasizes positive change and self-efficacy and building motivation to avoid cannabis use in a non-judgmental and empathic environment. Both CBT and MI can be delivered in individual and group formats, often including family and friends for social support.

You will also undergo individual and group therapy, possibly family therapy as well, and may be involved in holistic and/or alternative treatment approaches.

In the end, only you can make the decision to go to marijuana rehab. It will likely be one of the most important choices you make, because your life will be forever changed for the better.

For related information, see these articles:

Sources:

Addictive Behaviors. “DSM-5 cannabis use disorder in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III: Gender-specific profiles.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28755613

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. “Psychosocial interventions for cannabis use disorder.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4914383/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm#tx2

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” “Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month.” “Marijuana Use.” Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2017-nsduh-annual-national-report

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” “Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month.” “Marijuana Use Disorder.” Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2017-nsduh-annual-national-report

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Is Marijuana Addictive?” Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijuana Addictive” Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Neuropsychopharmacology. “US Epidemiology of Cannabis Use and Associated Problems.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28853439

Preventive Medicine. “Cannabis use, attitudes and legal status in the U.S.: A review.” Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/287056

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