Heather Fisher Professional Drug & Alcohol Interventionist

Marijuana Addiction

In recent years some states have legalized marijuana while the media has praised it for its medicinal properties. While many individuals can use marijuana without issue, some individuals develop problematic usage that can be defined as addiction or marijuana use disorder. The National Institute on Drug abuse suggests that 30% of those who use marijuana have some degree of dependency.

Dependence on a substance is what characterized addiction. A person who is struggling with marijuana dependence may experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. Marijuana dependence occurs when the brain builds a tolerance to large amounts of the drug by reducing sensitivity to its own natural endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. This leads the individual to constant usage of a higher quantity of the drug, often causing problems in daily functioning, finance, and independence.

Effects of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is also referred to as weed, pot, ganja, herb, and mary jane in slang terms. It is the dried leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant, which contains the psychoactive mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

Marijuana can be smoked or ingested orally. The effects of the drug produce a euphoric effect.

Research shows that heavy marijuana usage is linked to lower life satisfaction, interference with daily activities, poorer mental and physical health, interpersonal relationship problems, and a decline in academic and career success. Other long term negative effects and risk factors of marijuana abuse include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Symptoms of psychosis and psychotic episodes
  • Altered perception and mid
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulty thinking and problem solving
  • Short term memory loss
  • Irritability and depression when not able to use the drug

Marijuana can also be associated with a range of health issues, including:

  • Acute lung and chest illness
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Fertility issues
  • Immune system damage
  • Lung infection
  • Daily cough

Marijuana Addiction Screening

Adapted from DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days

NOTE: Addiction is progressive, chronic and 100% recoverable when treated.

Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
For help in selecting the proper level of treatment in your area please contact our office.

Marijuana and Mental Health Conditions

Many of those struggling with marijuana use disorder also previously had or can develop a co-occurring disorder or mental health disorder. Many individuals with social anxiety disorder, panic disorder-specific phobias, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, and other types of anxiety disorders will use marijuana to cope with unwanted and unpleasant feelings, emotions, and thoughts.

Marijuana users can also begin to develop psychotic disorders and symptoms present in schizophrenia, such as detachment from reality, confusion, hallucinations, and delusions when overusing marijuana.

Treatment For Substance Use Disorders

If you or a loved one is using or smoking marijuana to the extent that it is impacting their health and quality of life negatively, it is time to seek help. Although there is no medical detoxification from the substance, there are addiction treatment and dual diagnosis programs that use a variety of different modalities, behavioral therapies, and medications to help re-stabilize an individual and help them achieve long-term sobriety. There is no need to feel shame in getting treatment. Addiction issues are not a choice, and everybody deserves true relief, care, and support from the problems they are dealing with. If your loved one is in denial about their use or unwilling to get help, intervention services may assist you in streamlining your efforts to assist your loved one receives the care they need.