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In recent years, the question of whether to legalize marijuana has appeared on ballots throughout the country. Millions of Americans have decided that selling and using marijuana should no longer be a crime. But regardless of its legal status, chronic marijuana abuse can be a serious problem making it necessary for some to seek treatment for marijuana addiction.

Marijuana Through The Ages

Marijuana is another name for the cannabis plant. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) the oldest known record on cannabis use comes from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung 2727 B.C. Cannabis was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans and it was used throughout the Middle East and North Africa throughout the Middle Ages.

Marijuana cultivation began in the United States with the arrival of the first European settlers at the Jonestown colony in the early 1600s. From the middle of the nineteenth century until 1937 marijuana could be easily obtained at apothecaries for medical uses; however it was not especially popular as a recreational drug until the early twentieth century with the increase of Mexican immigration to the United States. The drug’s popularity spread from Mexican communities into other areas of society.

During Prohibition the use of marijuana increased as people turned to it as an alternative to alcohol. The drug was ultimately criminalized as an act of congress in 1937.

In 1996, both California and Arizona legalized the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. As of November, 2016, a total of 28 states and the District of Columbia had legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Eight states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and Washington – had also legalized it for recreational use. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 58% of all Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

Despite its increasing legalization, there is still a brisk black market trade for marijuana. The majority of illicit marijuana is brought into the United States by Mexican drug cartels.

Marijuana goes by any number of other names – “pot” surely being the most popular. There are numerous others including Weed, Grass, Ganja, Herb, And Reefer

Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana contains a psychoactive ingredient called delta-g-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as other compounds that are released when it is smoked, brewed into a tea, or eaten when used in recipes for various edibles. When THC enters the bloodstream it travels to the brain where it stimulates the release of dopamine, a chemical that regulates the brain’s reward centers thereby creating the high that users seek. Other effects include:

  • Altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • Altered sense of time
  • Changes in mood
  • Impaired body movement
  • Difficulty with thinking and problem solving
  • Impaired memory
  • Increased appetite
  • Dry Mouth

According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health approximately 44 percent  of all Americans 12 years or older say they have used marijuana or hashish (a marijuana derivative) in their lifetimes. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine states that marijuana has a propensity for addiction. They add that “there is also ample evidence indicating that regular use of cannabis predicts subsequent psychosocial problems and abuse behavior of other addictive substances.”  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse “Research suggests that 30 percent of users may develop some degree of problem use, which can lead to dependence and in severe cases takes the form of addiction.” The following signs may be indicative of marijuana addiction:

  • 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
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Marijuana Addiction Treatment at Sovereign Health

At Sovereign Health of Texas, marijuana addiction treatment often begins with marijuana detoxification. During this process, the patient is able to rid the body of the substance in a safe and controlled environment. When regular marijuana users stop taking it they experience withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, anxiety and cravings.  However, when the individual is in a marijuana detoxification program, our clinicians can monitor the physical and psychological effects of marijuana withdrawal and treat them. From there the individual can seek further treatment and find long-lasting sobriety.

Our approach to marijuana addiction recovery makes sure to address any and all problems the patient is dealing with. We start with a thorough physical examination, we do a comprehensive psychological assessment of each patient to uncover any co-occurring addictions or mental illnesses. From there our professional staff will create an individualized treatment program which uses a variety of evidence-based programs and treatment modalities. We offer these on a residential inpatient basis, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

Our mission is help our patients overcome marijuana addiction and to equip them with the life skills and tools they need to thrive and enjoy lasting recovery. For more information about treatments for marijuana addiction Sovereign Health of Texas, please call our 24/7 helpline.

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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie

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