Rehabilitation for Marijuana Addicts

Cannabis sativa is a yearly herbaceous plant belonging to cannabis genus. People have cultivated and reared Cannabis sativa for different reasons since history immemorial. Among the many other uses, the plant is also famous for the presence of psychotic chemical compounds including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are extracted and used as drugs over the centuries. Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the plant which is commonly used as illegal drugs for addiction specially by younger generations including school and college students. Use of marijuana over the years causes several psychological and neural disorders, which needs special treatments and rehabilitation. Hence, rehabilitation for marijuana addicts is as much important as any other drug addiction rehabilitations.

Rehabilitation for Marijuana Addicts

Marijuana as an Addictive

Continuous use of marijuana leads to marijuana use disorder which is a form addiction. This disorder is associated with dependence on the drug, i.e. it is attached with withdrawal symptoms when the user is not taking the drug or marijuana in regular intervals. Users of marijuana or marijuana addicts take this drug mainly in the form of smoke. After inhaling marijuana smoke, its psychotic chemicals including THC spread throughout the body through the circulatory system and soon affects the brain causing different illusionary symptoms which primarily gives smooth and comfortable feeling to the users. Thus, marijuana always acts as an addictive to its users.

Rehabilitation for Marijuana Addicts

Marijuana is not regarded as a harder drug like cocaine or opiate. A marijuana addict may resist the other people’s idea that they have a problem, and that they may defy help or treatment extended by the others. Having a talk with someone proved to be taking marijuana can be annoying and demoralizing for the others specially parents and other relatives.

In such circumstance, a professional interventionist needs to be appointed whenever a person turns hostile when his or her marijuana addiction is broached. A professional interventionist is trained in the psychology of addiction and different aspects of group therapy. This professional person knows how to initiate an open, honest and helpful communication between the marijuana addict and other immediate family members and friends.

There comes a situation when parents, family members or close friends need to intervene into the personal life of the marijuana addict with the help of a professional interventionist in order to stop further deterioration in his or her physical and psychological conditions. This involves presenting how the usage of marijuana has changed the addict’s behavior altogether. The professional interventionist then proposes a treatment plan for the marijuana addict which is decided by the professional after much research on the current condition of the addict. If the marijuana addict refuses to take any treatment, then the parents or family members are trained to announce that if such treatment is not taken then they will break off all contacts with the addict or cut off all financial or other supports to the addict.

In most of the situations, marijuana addicts give consent in this extreme condition. At that point it also assured by the parents or family members that if he or she is taking treatments in proper ways then all his or her relatives and friends will remain with him or her and will also provide all sorts of help.

Treatment for Marijuana Addicts

Depending upon the situation, medical experts admit the marijuana addict to a rehabilitation center or starts treatment without admitting. Treatment for marijuana addiction or usage is quite similar to that of treatment for other drug addictions. In most of the cases, immediate detoxification is required for draining all toxic chemicals taken through marijuana out of the body.

Medical experts ensure that sedatives are made available during severe anxiety or panic attack occurs when marijuana is not in use.
While the therapy is going on, a psychologist helps the patient to recognize the feelings and behaviors that led to his or her addiction, and teaches him or her newer and improved habits of thinking and acting through the following behavioral treatments –

  • Cognitive-behavioral Therapy: It is a form of psychotherapy where an marijuana addict is taught different strategies to recognize and correct problematic behaviors as a measure of self-control. Through this process an marijuana addict is also taught to stop drug use, and control an array of other psychological issues that occur simultaneously.
  • Contingency Management (CM): It is based on a simple principle that if a behavior is rewarded or reinforced, it is more likely that the concerned person will repeat that behavior once again. It is applied on a marijuana addict accordingly.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): It is a specialized counseling method that helps individuals to resolve their inner contradiction about getting regular treatment and stopping their drug use. This method tries to arouse internally motivated change that enhances recovery process. Motivation enhancement therapy includes an initial assessment session with a battery of tests, followed by a few individual treatment sittings with a therapist. The marijuana adict is taught and trained to maintain their mental firmness when the stressors and the temptations of daily life appears every now and then in the real world situations.

Why is Rehabilitation for Marijuana Addicts So Important?

Marijuana has both short-term and long-term effects on the brain. Human body is completely wrapped with millions of neurons. These neurons get signals from the brain with the help of neurotransmitters. In fact, neurotransmitters fill the gap (synapse) between two neurons. When THC present in marijuana reaches the brain, it mimics or blocks these neurotransmitters, thereby forming different signals for the body. TCH is a very active cannabinoid which represses the natural neurotransmitter release to a great extent. Thus, marijuana addicts feel, think and act differently.

Some short-term outcomes of such disrupted or distorted neurotransmission are as follows –

  • Loss of short term memory
  • Loss of coordination among different parts of the body
  • Altered sense of time and season.
  • Frequent mood swing.
  • Poor learning ability and inability to memorize or recall learned materials
  • Lack of problem solving ability
  • Anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks.

On the other hand, use of marijuana from early ages when brain development is actually taking place hinders natural development of brain. On continuous use from early teenage, marijuana disrupts natural functioning as a long-term effect.

The preliminary effects of THC in marijuana are abated within two hours, but the chemicals stay in the body for 20 hours to 10 days, depending on the quantity and potency of the marijuana taken, e.g. if an addict takes 1 mg of THC that has a ‘half-life’ of 20 hours, it will still have 0.031 mg of THC in the body even after four days. The longer the half-life, the longer the effect of THC stays in active state in human body.

Other Frightening Outcomes of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana smokers or marijuana addicts are vulnerable to the identical health issues as heavy tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma and emphysema along.

Some other visible effects include redness of eyes, lower sleep level, dry mouth, lack of concentration and impaired driving skill. Long term users of marijuana also suffer from shortness of breathing, problems in reproductive system, and cardiovascular problems.


Parents, family and friends should try their best to help a marijuana addict to come out of this addiction at the earliest possible time. Treatment procedures, psychological therapy and other means of rehabilitation are there to take care of an addict. After, getting cured and coming back to home, he or she should be given full scope to return back to his or her normal life and activities. Marijuana addicts normally respond positively to rehabilitation procedures. A strong rapport is to be established with them and immediate family members should be careful enough to not create any unnecessary tension in their lives. Strong bondage and rapport with these individuals is required to get them back to mainstream life.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 6, 2018

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