Marijuana Addiction in the Age of Legalization

Marijuana Use Continues to Rise  

With the perception of marijuana changing from an illegal substance to a socially-acceptable and medical alternative, individuals are starting to abuse the drug more than ever before. With several states legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, also known as cannabis, the number of users becoming addicts has steadily grown over recent years. 

The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) states that marijuana has a “high potential for abuse” and is in the same category as heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. The use of marijuana is much more prevalent now than ever, especially among younger individuals, which is becoming a cause of concern for many families. 

Marijuana is cultivated much differently than in former decades, and its strains are much more potent than they once were. With increased potency comes a higher risk of dependency and substance abuse.

There’s also a wide assortment of products containing marijuana, such as edibles, tinctures, candy, and food seasoning. Unfortunately, marijuana, while it is a widely accepted drug and often used for medicinal purposes, it remains a highly addictive substance and poses a dependency risk for those who abuse it. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

Is Marijuana Addictive? 

Like other Schedule I drugs, marijuana can be addictive. Individuals who use marijuana can develop problem use and dependency, which can often lead to addiction. Those who began using marijuana in their mid-to-late teens and continue to use it into their adult years are much more likely to develop an addiction than those who begin using later on in life. This habit is because certain areas of the brain are still largely developing, and drugs affect this crucial development.  

Just like other abused substances, marijuana addiction often stems from attempts at self medicating underlying mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD.  Unfortunately using substances to mask difficult emotions only makes matters worse in the long run.

Effects of Marijuana Use 

Like many addictive legal and prescription drugs, there are withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting cold turkey or not getting a ‘fix.’ Some of the withdrawal symptoms individuals may experience when they are trying to quit cannabis are: 

  • Mood swings 
  • Difficulty sleeping and insomnia 
  • Restlessness 
  • Irritability  
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Physical discomfort  

Since marijuana dependency works by lessening and reducing the production of neurotransmitters responsible for the sensitivity of marijuana when used, the individual cannot replicate those same effects naturally when they stop using.

When an individual cannot refrain from using marijuana and experiences withdrawal symptoms when they are not under it’s influence, the slippery slope to addiction begins. Stopping the problem before it becomes a severe dependence is a key to ensuring that dependency does not turn into an addiction. 

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction 

For those struggling with marijuana addiction, there are treatment programs available to help them recover and manage their addiction properly. If marijuana use is negatively affecting your life, some of the treatment available are: 

  • Medical detox 
  • Inpatient/residential treatment 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 
  • Personalized counseling and therapy 
  • Therapeutic methods  
  • Dual Diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Support groups such as MA (Marijuana Anonymous) 
  • SMART Recovery 

Overcoming addiction rarely occurs without professional, comprehensive treatment. Studies suggest that more Americans are addicted to marijuana than any other substance, making it a widely used and abused substance.

With the marijuana landscape changing every day, more individuals are likely to ‘dabble’ with the drug. The substance is now offered in so many different forms, including liquid form, it’s especially appealing to young people.  

There are serious negative consequences of the prolonged and chronic use of marijuana, especially with today’s potency being so high. With the increased legalization of cannabis across the nation, the supply will also become more prevalent, which boosts the drug’s social acceptance.

The idea of marijuana as an addictive substance is widely dismissed because it is so widely used and accepted. Unfortunately, this is the exact reason why it’s becoming a growing problem. If you or a loved one struggles with a marijuana abuse problem, recovery through WhiteSands Treatment remains possible.  

Contact our intake specialists today to begin your journey to overcoming your drug or alcohol addiction.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.