It is a common misconception that marijuana is not addictive and cannot cause significant harm to your health. This is especially important to note now that its medical use is legal in over half the states1. In fact, marijuana has proven to be highly addictive and is the second most commonly used illicit or licit drug in the world2. Patients seeking marijuana addiction treatment can find the support they need in Dr. Daniel Bober. In addition to being a board-certified psychiatrist with over a decade of experience, he is also dedicated to helping erase the stigma surrounding addiction. Dr. Bober is genuinely invested in helping patients overcome cannabis use disorder at his practice in Hollywood, FL.
Defining Cannabis Use Disorder
Cannabis use disorder (CUD), commonly referred to as marijuana addiction, is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5®) as a problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress2.
However, in order to be clinically diagnosed as a disorder, patients must exhibit two or more qualifying behaviors over a 12-month period. These include overwhelming cravings to use cannabis, development of a tolerance, or continuous use that impacts one's ability to fulfill obligations, among other symptoms2.
Why Is Marijuana Addictive?
Many patients are under the incorrect impression that marijuana is not an addictive substance. Based on this assumption, they feel they can use it freely without consequence. However, there is extensive research that proves otherwise:
- Effects on the Reward Center of the Brain
- A key element of identifying addictive substances is their effect on the brain's reward center. Cannabis use results in an increase in dopamine. Continued use can also affect the sensitivity and structure of the reward center3.
- Withdrawal Symptoms
- According to recent studies, users experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of other types of addictive substances, including cravings and anxiety3.
According to recent research, about nine percent of people who experiment with marijuana will become addicted4. Of those who start using in their teenage years, about one in six will become addicted4. Marijuana addiction can not only have short-term consequences, such as impairment of motor functions and memory, but also affect your long-term health.
Marijuana Abuse Can Affect Your Health
In many cases, CUD is commonly associated with comorbid substance abuse disorders or concurrent substance use. Cocaine, club drugs, and sedatives, such as Xanax, were reported with the highest concurrent use5. Additionally, marijuana abuse can negatively affect your physical and mental health, placing users at increased risk of2:
- Pregnancy complications
- Anxiety disorders
- Lung disease
- Bipolar disorder
- Heart disease
- Neuropsychological decline
Additionally, long-term or heavy use of marijuana can lead to diminished overall life satisfaction and achievement4. Seeking treatment for addiction can significantly improve your future quality of life.
What Treatments Are Available?
At this point in time, there are no FDA-approved (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) medications available for the treatment of marijuana addiction. However, there are a number of therapies which have been shown to be effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on correcting behavior by helping patients identify and address certain issues, whereas contingency management and motivational enhancement therapy focus on incentives to help patients change their behavior.
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana has proven to be highly addictive. Marijuana abuse can negatively impact your physical and mental health.
It is typically recommended that patients also participate in group programs and develop a strong support system with friends and family. Dr. Bober can evaluate your condition and provide collaborative treatment with a therapist.
Identifying Withdrawal Symptoms
Signs of marijuana withdrawal may become evident about a week after drug use is discontinued. Users may experience2:
- Depressed mood
- Decreased appetite
If you observe withdrawal symptoms or behavioral patterns that may indicate substance abuse in a loved one, or are concerned about your own use, help is available.
Compassionate Addiction Treatment
The decision to seek treatment for marijuana addiction can be difficult. Dr. Bober is determined to help you receive the best possible treatment to restore control of your life and improve your health. Begin the recovery process by calling (954) 967-6776 today.
- Marijuana is now legal in over half the states - APA Practice Organization
- Marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in the world - Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
- Marijuana is addictive - California Society of Addiction Medicine
- Nine percent of users will become addicted - National Institutes of Health
- CUD is commonly associated with comorbid substance abuse - National Institutes of Health
- Treatment therapies - National Institute on Drug Abuse