An addiction to marijuana can be similar to an addiction to any other type of drug; however, there are typically less severe outcomes if the sufferer is only misusing marijuana. Marijuana is not as addictive as other illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Nonetheless, long-term use can still cause an individual to develop a dependence and addiction to it. The majority of people who develop a marijuana addiction have been using cannabis for years and on a daily basis. The treatments for a marijuana addiction are similar to those that are used for dealing with other types of serious addictions.
Most treatments focus on not only treating the addiction itself, but also on the causes of the addiction and relapse prevention. In specific, marijuana treatments can be divided into two groups, which are behavioral and medical.
Behavioral treatments include behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, community reinforcement, support groups, counseling, and the use of incentives. Behavioral therapy will be used to change the individual’s habits when it comes to using marijuana. Many users will abuse marijuana because they are bored and feel as though they cannot find anything that is more interesting to do. In some cases, individuals will use it as a means of stress relief in order to feel better about a particular situation or problem. Essentially, behavioral therapy will focus on showing the user that there are healthier and more productive ways of dealing with boredom or stress. Similarly, cognitive therapy will be used to change the way the user thinks when it comes to using the drug. The focus of this form of therapy is to show the user that he or she can overcome the need or desire to use marijuana, and it is not necessary in order to be entertained or feel less stressed.
Moreover, community reinforcement will be used to help the user understand that he or she is not alone when it comes to abusing marijuana. Community reinforcement is meant to help the addict by giving him or her rewards for reaching particular goals that have been set in a group setting. The community in which he or she participates will work together to help the addict get over the need for marijuana and reach the intended goal. For instance, the goal can be to not use marijuana for a week, a month, or a year. Additionally, there are many support groups that can be contacted if you wish to work with others to help you overcome your addiction. These support groups will use a 12-step program to help you overcome your addiction; this program is typically used for individuals who are suffering from addictions to more serious drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. However, the principles are the same and can be applied to most forms of addiction. Motivational incentives can be added to the 12-step program, as this type of treatment involves using incentives or rewards to help the individual avoid relapsing.
Medical treatments for addictions to marijuana are not as common as they are for other forms of addiction, such as those to heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. In particular, nefazodone can be used to help an individual overcome an addiction to marijuana, but it is only used in very extreme cases. This medication can reduce cravings, difficulty sleeping, and frequency of the chills that can be caused by abuse of marijuana. Nefazodone also is used to reduce anxiety and muscle pain; however, irritability is typically unaffected by this medication.
Individuals who use marijuana are most likely to be using tobacco as well. In many cases, users will choose to mix marijuana and tobacco before smoking it in the form of a joint. Moreover, marijuana addicts tend to smoke a cigarette right before and right after they smoke a joint. For this reason, marijuana treatments should not only concentrate on the addiction to marijuana, but it should also focus on the addiction to tobacco. In most cases, if someone wants to quit smoking marijuana he or she will have to quit smoking cigarettes as well. This is because every time that the individual lights a cigarette, it can make him or her crave marijuana, which puts the individual in a high-risk situation. Thus, it would be preferable to try and quit both smoking cigarettes and using marijuana at the same time in order to avoid relapsing after some time.
Marijuana is not as harmful or addictive as other illegal drugs, but an addiction to marijuana can lead to other more serious addictions, such as addictions to over-the-counter drugs, cocaine, or heroin. Thus, it is important for sufferers of a marijuana addiction to acknowledge the problem and seek treatment.