Marijuana addiction, or marijuana use disorder, is a dangerously overlooked issue for many. Despite plenty of assertions that the drug is neither addictive nor capable of causing an overdose, research has proven that this isn’t the case. Unlike other drugs, identifying a marijuana addiction may be more difficult. Learn how to recognize if someone is abusing the drug and how to lower the risk of overdose.
What Is Marijuana Use Disorder?
Despite recent outlooks on marijuana changing and laws being removed, the drug continues to be a significant issue for plenty. Research has revealed that 30% of marijuana users reported having some form of marijuana use disorder. Marijuana use disorder is characterized by a person’s need for the drug or dependence. This person may even feel withdrawal symptoms when they’re not using marijuana. Within the first two weeks of quitting, withdrawal symptoms include:
- Irritability or depression
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Restlessness and other forms of physical pain, such as stomachache and headache
Overall, marijuana use disorder is when the user is unable to stop using marijuana despite its negative impact on their health or social life. Unfortunately, data has shown those who began using marijuana in their youth — teens and younger — are more likely to struggle with marijuana use disorder.
Signs & Symptoms of Addiction
Since marijuana has long been considered “harmless,” it may be difficult to pinpoint if someone has a marijuana use disorder as they will likely not realize it’s an issue. However, there are signs and symptoms to look out for if you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one. Signs and symptoms of marijuana use disorder include:
- Most of their time is spent using marijuana
- Taking more of the drug than needed
- Continuing use despite social or health issues
- Attempting to quit but unable to stay clean
- Using in dangerous situations, such as driving under the influence
- Requiring a higher potency to achieve the same high
As higher THC potencies are becoming more available, marijuana users may be more susceptible to marijuana use disorder as their dosage increases. When a dependency is formed, the user is faced with marijuana use disorder and susceptible to life-damaging addiction.
What Does a Marijuana Overdose Look Like?
While marijuana rarely causes fatal overdose, there are still health dangers, such as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) and acute cannabinoid overdose (ACO). Both conditions are highly unpleasant and, at their most severe, require professional medical attention.
CHS is a condition that results from long-time use of marijuana or those who use the drug more than once a week. Those experiencing CHS will feel extreme nausea, continuous vomiting, abdominal pain, and subsequent dehydration due to repeated vomiting. If left untreated, CHS can become a severe medical condition with lasting health consequences.
The uncomfortable symptoms of CHS can last anywhere from hours to days to months, and the only cure for CHS is to quit marijuana use. Those experiencing symptoms of CHS should seek medical care as repeated vomiting can lead to critical dehydration.
ACO is linked directly to the overuse of marijuana after a single use. ACO mostly occurs in those using synthetic cannabinoid compounds or edibles, as many are unable to measure an appropriate dose. As a result, a person experiencing ACO may feel the following:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Nausea and more
Depending on the severity of these symptoms, ACO may require the user to seek immediate medical attention and head to the emergency room. However, there are no FDA-approved medications to treat ACO. As a result, all the medical staff can do is treat the aforementioned symptoms as best as possible, which may require extended hospitalization.
Treatment for Marijuana Use Disorder
Although many may debate the dangers of marijuana, it can ultimately negatively affect a person’s health and personal life. Choosing to quit marijuana use and seek treatment is the best choice for those whose life is being ruled by marijuana use. At Avalon Malibu, we understand that substance abuse can factor in more extensive issues, such as trauma and mental health disorders.
Chronic marijuana usage and mental disorders are linked, according to researchers. It has been established that marijuana use throughout adolescence is associated with a higher risk of developing psychosis later in life. Cannabis users frequently have various mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.
By treating the source, we can eradicate marijuana use disorder from its root through therapeutic and experiential treatment, including therapy, art therapy, acupuncture, fitness, and more. Not only will you receive substance abuse detox and recovery treatment, but even after you complete your time here at Avalon Malibu, we’ll continue to follow you on your recovery journey for a year via telephone, webcam, and alumni meetings. Once you join Avalon Malibu, you become part of our family.
The compassionate and experienced staff at Avalon Malibu work with you or your loved one to work through what may be causing substance abuse and how to cope with life without marijuana as a crutch. Those seeking treatment for marijuana use disorder will reside in our Cottage House and enjoy the luxurious comfort of our facility and our dedicated team working to begin a lifetime of healing and sobriety with you.
If you feel concerned for yourself or your loved one’s health and safety due to marijuana addiction, you’re not alone. Recovery is achievable but only if you’re willing to take the first step into treatment. Avalon Malibu offers residential treatment programs for marijuana addiction and marijuana use disorder which will allow you to heal your body, mind, and spirit while acquiring the skills you require to live a full and sober life. There’s no better place to seek sobriety and healing than with our experienced and passionate staff at Avalon Malibu. We provide trusted therapeutic programs with lasting results. For a confidential assessment and more information on our substance abuse programs, call us at (844) 857-5992.