Topsail Addiction Treatment

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

What is a Marijuana Addiction?

Marijuana is often perceived as less harmful compared to other substances. This is reflected in the drug being recently legalized in Massachusetts for both medical and recreational use. However, even though it is seen as a safer option, this doesn’t negate the fact that marijuana can be addictive. Yes, its addictive potential may be lower than substances like opioids and crack cocaine, but the risk of developing a dependency still exists – especially with those that frequently and heavily use marijuana.

Known clinically as Cannabis Use Disorder, a marijuana addiction occurs when an individual’s use of marijuana causes significant impairment or distress. This is characterized by the inability to stop using the drug – even if the person understands and feels the negative consequences it can have on their life. The introduction of more potent strains and methods of consumption has also led to an increased risk of addiction.

It is true: marijuana addiction is often less severe than addiction to other drugs. Nevertheless, marijuana substance abuse can still result in significant issues in a person’s life. This is why, for those dealing with marijuana abuse, it is important to seek professional treatment.

Topsail: Marijuana Addiction Treatment Center in Massachusetts

Topsail offers comprehensive outpatient services for individuals struggling with drug abuse. This includes marijuana addiction. Our programs take place in Andover, Massachusetts, at our modern marijuana addiction treatment center.

Our work begins by recognizing the unique nature of each person’s relationship with marijuana – and that is done through an initial consultation. This crucial step involves a thorough assessment of the individual’s health, lifestyle, and co-occurring disorders, and current addiction severity. The gathered information is then used to tailor a personalized treatment plan, one that ensures each client receives the care best suited to their specific needs.

We can then decide which treatment to supply. Our center offers three levels of outpatient treatment, each designed to accommodate varying degrees of marijuana addiction and day-to-day commitments. These levels are listed below.

Overview of Topsail's Marijuana/Cannabis Treatment Programs

Full-Day treatment programs, sometimes called “partial hospitalization programs” or “PHP,” is the highest level of drug and alcohol treatment in an outpatient setting. Consisting of 5 to 6-hour sessions 5 days a week, the intensive Day program at Topsail Addiction Treatment has been created to help patients with significant addiction, and substance abuse issues. It is well suited for individuals who are either beginning their rehab journey or as a transition for people who have recently completed inpatient addiction treatment (PHP is usually the next step after detox and/or residential treatment is complete).

An intensive outpatient program, or IOP, is an immersive treatment program that helps individuals with substance abuse and addiction or alcohol problems while they live at home. IOPs are programs designed so the patient can live in their own residence or a sober living home and take part in an immersive program of continuing treatment at the facility

Weekly Outpatient addiction treatment (OP) tends to be more flexible and less restrictive than inpatient programs. Outpatient recovery programs usually require a specific number of hours and days per week spent visiting a local treatment center.

During these treatment sessions, patients will focus on drug abuse education, individual and group counseling, and learning coping strategies for living with addiction.  Outpatient alcohol rehab can be an excellent standalone option or part of a long-term treatment program. Outpatient addiction treatment can last three to six months — something similar to inpatient treatment — or for longer if required.

Is Marijuana Addicting?

In recent years, the perception of marijuana being a relatively harmless substance has grown for various reasons. Despite this, evidence points towards its addictive potential. This is highlighted by Cannabis Use Disorder being a recognized condition.

Marijuana is an addictive substance due to a certain active ingredient it contains: THC. Known in full as tetrahydrocannabinol, THC acts on the brain’s reward system. Regular use of the drug can lead to tolerance, where users require larger amounts to achieve the same effects. This escalation often sets the stage for marijuana dependence. The result: the body starts to rely on the drug for normal functioning.

When dependent users attempt to quit or reduce their marijuana use, they typically experience withdrawal symptoms – and these can range from mood swings to sleep difficulties. Additionally, marijuana can be psychologically addictive. Users may find themselves using marijuana to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other issues. This can then form a reliance on the drug that’s hard to break.

Not everyone who uses marijuana will develop an addiction. However, the risk is significant – especially among those who start using at a young age or consume the drug heavily. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that, “Approximately one in ten people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start [using] before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to one in six.”

Both understanding and acknowledging the addictive potential of marijuana is vital for not just informed decisions, but also recognizing when drug use has switched into drug abuse.

The Rise of Marijuana Use

Across the United States, there is one illegal substance that stands out as the most commonly used: marijuana. Not only that, its prevalence across the country continues to grow – and shows no signs of slowing down. Marijuana is used across all sexes, all adult age groups, pregnant women, and children. As for the latter, young people often don’t view marijuana use as a risky behavior.

Why is usage on the rise? Once stigmatized and strictly regulated, marijuana is now experiencing unprecedented acceptance and availability. This can be attributed primarily to the wave of legalization across numerous states, including Massachusetts. These legislative changes have not only decriminalized marijuana, but also actively facilitated the establishment of legal markets for marijuana. This includes for both medical and recreational purposes.

Legalized marijuana has also sparked innovation across the industry. The result is a diverse selection of marijuana products and consumption methods, ranging from traditional smoking to edibles, oils, and topical applications. This array of choice broadens the appeal of marijuana. It makes it more tempting for those who might not have considering its use before. The ease of obtaining marijuana legally has also contributed to its increased use. Dispensaries, with regulated and quality-controlled products, offer a safe, accessible means for people to purchase the drug.

The Risks of Marijuana Abuse

Consuming the drug, even if it’s medical marijuana, can open the door to a number of risks. The most negative effects it can cause include:

Cognitive impairment

Regular marijuana use can cause impairments in cognitive abilities. This includes issues with memory, attention, and decision-making processes. This can particularly impact adolescents – whose brains are still developing – where long-term damage is possible. Reports suggest that, for young people smoking marijuana, they can lose up to 8 IQ points permanently.

Mental health risks

For certain individuals, marijuana use has been linked to an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Conditions like schizophrenia can crop up for example, especially in those with a genetic predisposition. It can also exacerbate symptoms in individuals already suffering from mental health conditions.

Respiratory problems

If someone decides to smoke marijuana, this increases the possibility of harmful effects on the respiratory system. Think of it like smoking tobacco. When marijuana smoke enters the respiratory system, it can potentially lead to chronic bronchitis, lung irritation, and an increased risk of lung infections. The long-term effects on lung health are still being studied.

Impaired coordination and rection times

Marijuana use is well-known to impact coordination and reaction times. This means individuals can be slow to react or make clear judgments. This is particularly concerning with activities such as driving, where impaired faculties can result in accidents and injuries.

Cardiovascular issues

Research suggests marijuana use can increase a person’s heart rate and affect their blood pressure. This can be a significant risk to older users of those with pre-existing heart conditions. As a result, potential heart-related complications can make an appearance, and that includes heart attacks.


Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

A lot of people don’t realize that, after a marijuana detox, a number of withdrawal symptoms can be experienced. While the effects are not as severe as other substances, marijuana withdrawal can still pose a significant challenge, one comparable to nicotine withdrawal.

These withdrawal symptoms include:

Irritability and mood swings

One of the most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms is a noticeable change in mood. Individuals may experience irritability, increased anger, or mood swings.

Anxiety and restlessness

Withdrawal from marijuana can result in heightened feelings of anxiety or restlessness. The drug is known for providing calming effects. With these effects no longer present, users might find themselves feeling unusually nervous or anxious.

Sleep disturbances

Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, restful sleep – all of these issues are possible during the marijuana withdrawal period. It can even extend into insomnia or changes in sleep patterns. This can cause significant fatigue and lethargy during the day.

Decreased appetite

Marijuana usage is well-known for increasing someone’s appetite. Due to this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise marijuana withdrawal has the opposite effect. This can lead to weight loss and decreased interest in food, which might affect overall health and wellbeing.

Physical discomfort

Those trying to kick a marijuana addiction can experience a range of physical symptoms. These symptoms can include headaches, sweating, chills, and stomach problems, and they can range from mild to severe.

Intense cravings

During the withdrawal period, the desire to use marijuana again can be strong. Cravings can be persistent, and these are often accompanied by thoughts obsessing over the drug. This makes it a serious challenge for individuals attempting to quit or even just reduce their usage.

Outpatient Treatment Therapies for Marijuana Addiction

With outpatient treatment therapies for marijuana addiction, individuals are able to benefit from a flexible approach to recovery. It allows them to maintain their daily routines while receiving support and treatment. With our addiction treatment program options at Topsail, we incorporate the following therapy methods:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

This therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors related to marijuana use. With cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it helps individuals develop coping strategies to manage triggers and cravings, which supports relapse prevention. Through this process, patients learn to recognize situations which may lead to drug use and develop healthier responses. CBT is effective as both individual and group therapy, and is known for its long-term ability in preventing relapses. Aside from marijuana, CBT has been proven effective as addiction treatment for the likes of alcohol abuse, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine issues.

Motivational enhancement therapy

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is a counseling approach which focuses on rapid, internally motivated change. This is different than simply guiding the patient stepwise through the recovery process. It involves assessing the individual’s readiness to quit, developing an intrinsic motivation for change, and building an effective plan to carry out this change. MET helps individuals resolve their ambivalence about quitting marijuana and supports their commitment to recovery.

Family therapy

Family therapy directly involves the patient’s family in the treatment process. It recognizes the impact of addiction not just on the individual, but the entire family unit. It uses this as motivation and works to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and create a supportive home environment. This therapy can be particularly beneficial for young people with marijuana addiction, as family dynamics often play a key role in substance use patterns.

Twelve-step facilitation

A twelve-step program is used to establish a set of guiding principles, a course of action for recovery from drug addiction. While not specific to marijuana addiction, the principles can be adapted to fit marijuana-related issues. This approach fosters a sense of community and peer support – aspects vital for long-term recovery.

Start Your Marijuana Addiction Treatment at Topsail Today

If you seek treatment for marijuana addiction, you can find it here at Topsail. We help treat many different substance use disorders – including marijuana use disorder – with our dedicated team committed to helping individuals regain control of their lives.

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