Marijuana is one of the most abused illegal drugs in the United States, with almost 69 million people age 12 and older trying it at least one time. Additionally, nearly 10 million men and women in the U.S. state that they’ve used marijuana within the last month. These statistics clearly indicate that marijuana usage is high, with a good many people likely to be addicted to it.
The makeup of marijuana is a dry, shredded mixture of leaves, flowers, and stems of the hemp plant cannabis sativa. Leading substance abuse professionals assert that abusing marijuana can cause various problems with memory, mood, learning, and social behavior. Many people that smoke marijuana wonder if it’s possible to become addicted. The answer, according to most experts, is yes.
Here are some signs of marijuana addiction:
Tolerance and Withdrawal
Similar to other drugs, if marijuana is used regularly it creates a tolerance for it. So, you will be requiring more and more of this drug to enjoy the same high. If you require more to get high, then if you try to stop smoking it, you will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms like irritability, loss of appetite, anxiety, and insomnia.
Using More of the Drug Than Planned
If you plan to take just a couple of hits, but actually smoke the whole joint and this happens frequently, then you have possibly become an addict.
Spending Maximum Time Getting High
If you are avoiding other activities, not spending time with friends or family, not doing things once you enjoyed, and instead spending time getting high, then you are likely addicted.
Spending Time with People Who Like Marijuana
Are you choosing your friends depending on if they smoke marijuana? Have you started avoiding spending time with those friends who do not smoke it and instead spend maximum time with those who do? If yes, then you have likely become an addict.
Using Marijuana to Tackle Problems
Do you feel the only way to handle relationship problems, problems at work, or bad grades at school/college is to get high? If yes, then you may be addicted to marijuana.
If these signs resonate with you, you could very well be addicted to marijuana. If this is the case, good news is that you can get free from such an addiction easier than you may think.
Tips for Overcoming Marijuana Addiction
Throw Away Your Smoking Paraphernalia and Marijuana
If you get rid of the things that will lure you into smoking again, then perhaps you will not easily give into your cravings. So, if you have any bongs, containers, roach clips, or lighters, throw them out of your house. Destroy your supplies and flush any marijuana that you have down the toilet. Get rid of all the things that may want you to smoke.
Share Your Decision with Those Who Are Close To You
Let your family and trustworthy friends know about your decision and seek their support. They will surely be thrilled, and may likely be ready to do anything to help you. If you are close to anyone who is still an active smoker, make sure you let them know about your decision as well. Ask them not to pressurize you, and if need be, avoid them for a while.
Get Ready For Withdrawal
Withdrawal is temporary, so try not to get too stressed about the matter. Withdrawal symptoms may start on the first day you quit and may reach a peak after 2 to 3 days. The more severe symptoms will gradually level off after a week or two. Depending on how much you have been smoking and your THC levels, (measurable through a lab based urinalysis) the substance may take up to 4-6 weeks to leave your body. You might not experience withdrawal at all, but you still ought to have a plan just in case you experience it. You might feel nauseated, so try to eat bland foods that are easy on your stomach like bananas, toast, rice, or other mild foods.
Try to avoid caffeine and get plenty of sleep. You might feel irritated and anxious, so practice some deep breathing, try to do things that you enjoy, and remember withdrawal is only temporary. Avoid the temptation to use a tranquilizer to reduce your symptoms. The addiction to cannabis can easily be switched to benzodiazepine medications which are highly addicting. In that case, you can establish a cross addiction.
There are many helpful resources available to help you quit, including Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), 12 Step groups, and counselors. Take that first step today and get on the road to freedom.