Marijuana Treatment Program
The marijuana struggle
Contrary to common perception, marijuana can be addictive. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed about one in 11 users has the potential to become addicted to marijuana. This figure is considerably higher among those who start using marijuana as teenagers (one in six) and even greater among individuals who use it daily (almost 25 to 50 percent). Marijuana is the most widely and commonly used illicit drug, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
As marijuana is quickly becoming a legal affair throughout America, it is steadily losing its associated stigma as well. Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Colorado have so far legalized marijuana for recreational use, whereas 21 other states have allowed the medical use of marijuana.
Sovereign Health Group is a residential rehabilitation treatment company for substance abuse, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. Our expert staff provides our patients with cutting-edge treatment programming and a full continuum of therapeutic care monitored by various licensed health professionals.
Cannabis, also known as weed or herb, has analgesic (painkilling) and antiemetic (anti-nausea) effects when smoked or ingested (with heat prior). Although its main psychoactive constituent, or cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is commonly believed to require heat to “unlock” it, THC as well as its other compounds are technically psychoactive at room temperature, just considerably less effective.
In all three species of plants (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis), THC is produced with carboxylic acid attached to it, requiring heat or even cold as a catalyst to separate the acid from the molecule, increasing its ability to bind with receptors in the brain and the rest of the body more profoundly, effectively boosting its psychoactive potential. When used in edible form, the heat also increases the fat solubility of THC, increasing its stability and availability in its more psychoactive, decarboxylated state. For this reason, THC takes the most amount of time among all the other drugs (about a month for people with an average BMI) to leave their system since the molecules are bonded to fat cells.
The onset of primary physical effects of marijuana is almost instant when smoked and lasts for several hours, depending on individual tolerance levels. These include:
- Red, puffy eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Reduced reaction time
Psychological effects of cannabis include:
- Mood alterations ranging from calmness to high levels of anxiety
- Random or disjointed thoughts
- Short-term memory loss
- Distorted perception of time
Most of these symptoms will wear off as the drug itself wears off but for some, the psychological effects of marijuana can last many months or even years after the individual stops smoking. Anxiety and depression are very common outcomes of marijuana abuse and these two medical conditions are likely to lead to an individual’s desire to self-medicate or a need for prescribed medication to treat the condition appropriately.
Signs of dependence
Even though facts depict that most users do not become addicted to marijuana, it does not mean that it’s not possible. Some marijuana users, with vulnerabilities to stress, depression, mental illness or genetic predisposition, do end up exhibiting classic behaviors that define addiction.
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, cannabis dependence is actually much more common than dependence on other drugs due to the sheer number of people who use marijuana. Recognizing the signs of marijuana addiction can help you determine the severity of your problem:
- Developing a tolerance
- An upset stomach, anxiety or depression when not consuming means a physical dependence has already been developed
- Smoking more marijuana than intended
- Spending most of the time getting high due to an inability to control cravings
- Using pot to relax and becoming dependent on it for relaxation
Treatment with Sovereign
Sovereign’s marijuana rehab centers provide treatment programs that focus on both the physical and psychological effects of marijuana withdrawal. Marijuana abuse can take months or even years to develop into dependence, which is why a user may not even realize that he or she has become addicted to marijuana. Hence, we aim to educate and inform not just our patients, but the general public as well about the hidden consequences that marijuana abuse brings with it.
Withdrawal symptoms may not be too severe, depending on the severity of addiction. In most cases inpatient rehab may not be required unless there is a co-occurring addiction or mental illness. Our intensive outpatient rehab combines counseling and therapy as per the patient’s needs and focuses on wellness, recovery and resiliency. Cognitive behavioral therapy will allow the patients to look outside of their addiction and view their life with a more constructive perspective. We want our patients to recognize their weaknesses and embrace them to emerge stronger in the process.