Treatment Options for Marijuana Addiction
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance in both Europe and the United States. The drug is derived from extracts of the cannabis sativa plant. It is most commonly smoked but can also be incorporated into various food substances. The drug induces a euphoric and relaxed state, but also leads to memory loss, slow reflexes, increased heart rate and paranoia, among other symptoms. When someone uses the drug to cope with problems in their life, and its usage has begun to affect and even destroy their life, it is likely they are addicted and need to seek help.
What are the Dangers of Consistent Marijuana Use?
There are many physical dangers that come with frequent use of this drug. It puts strain on the heart as marijuana increases the user’s heart rate for a few hours. This can be particularly dangerous for those with an existing heart condition. Another risk is to the lungs, as smoking regularly causes damage to the lungs, leading to a cough and greater risk of infection. Using this drug can be extremely damaging to unborn babies if the mother is smoking while pregnant, and can affect brain development leading to behavioural problems. Using marijuana over a long period of time leads to risk of psychological problems such as memory impairment, and makes a person three times more likely to develop some form of psychosis.
Using Medicine to Combat Addiction
There are no specific medications that are used currently to treat marijuana addiction. However, some of the withdrawal symptoms can be treated. In rehab programs sedatives are often available in the case of extreme anxiety or panic attacks that a patient might suffer knowing they do not have access to the drug. In some cases insomnia may also be treated to help the patient rest well.
In order to go through the detoxification process and stay drug free, it is often necessary for the patient to enter a rehab program. This can either be as an in-patient or out-patient depending on the individual’s circumstances. Within a program they will be surrounded by a strong support network and learn how to build healthy relationships with others. They can make friends here who will encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle and begin to repair the damaged aspects of their life. Through individual or group therapy, ideally both, they will be taught coping mechanisms for dealing with life’s difficulties that do not involve turning back to drugs.
Therapy Treatments for Marijuana Addiction
A counsellor or therapist can treat the patient with forms of therapy including contingency management and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Contingency management is a system whereby the patient receives tangible rewards for completing certain milestones towards recovery and making positive changes in their life. CBT is an effective form of therapy that helps the patient identify their problems, learn self-control and cope with life’s difficulties better. A combination of these therapies is extremely effective in helping those with marijuana addiction fully recover and live healthy lives.