Marijuana use can be habit forming and lead to addiction. This includes edible marijuana, and concentrated forms like hash, wax (aka ‘shatter’), and oils that users ‘dab.’ Marijuana addiction is a substance abuse disorder characterized by a problematic pattern of marijuana use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two of the following, occurring in a 12 month period.
- Marijuana is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended;
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control marijuana use;
- A great deal of time is spent in activities, necessary to obtain marijuana, use marijuana, or recover from its effects;
- Marijuana use causes a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home;
- Continued marijuana use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of marijuana;
- Recurrent marijuana use in situations in which it is physically hazardous;
- Marijuana use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by marijuana;
- High tolerance for marijuana;
- Withdrawals experienced from lack of marijuana use.
The above criteria was taken from the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). If you or a loved one meet two or more of the above criteria, there may be an marijuana abuse disorder present.
How does marijuana addiction or a marijuana abuse disorder look in real life? Those who are marijuana addicts typically prioritize marijuana over many other things in their life. Marijuana addicts may use marijuana to the detriment of work, school, their relationship with significant others, and even their own health.
Treatment For Marijuana
Treatment for marijuana typically happens over a period of 3-12 months based on the needs of each individual. The user may need to go through a detoxification process, especially if other drugs were also being abused. Detoxification can be from 1-7 days. There is typically no counseling or groups during the detox as the purpose of detox is to get the patient medically stabilized and prepared to be able to participate in treatment processes.
After social detox, the recovering person may choose to enter residential or inpatient treatment or “marijuana rehab” for marijuana abuse. Inpatient marijuana treatment (rehab) typically lasts around 4 weeks. During residential marijuana treatment, clients undergo assessments by professional counselors and physicians and participate in group and individual counseling sessions. Many clients continue to experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms in residential marijuana treatment and those symptoms are closely monitored and treated in an inpatient treatment center environment.
Stepping Down through Levels of Care
Following residential treatment for marijuana, many clients enter “partial hospitalization” or “day treatment.” Day treatment for marijuana use disorder at our center is conducted Monday-Friday for about 6 hours per day (30 hours per week) consisting of group and individual therapy. Clients in day treatment level of care typically see a psychiatrist on a regular schedule to continue monitoring of post-acute withdrawal symptoms and other medical issues. Clients will participate in day treatment for up to 4 weeks following residential marijuana treatment. Clients at day treatment level of care may live at their own residence or in a sober living home.
Following day treatment, the next level of care is intensive outpatient (IOP). At the IOP level of care, clients participate in group therapy 3 hours per day 3 days per week (9 hours per week of group therapy) and may continue seeing their individual therapist and psychiatrist as needed. Clients at intensive outpatient level of care may live at their own residence or in a sober living home.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Drug and alcohol testing (including marijuana testing) is an important component of treatment and should be performed as medically indicated at all levels of care. In addition to urine drug screens, NorthStar Transitions offers a cellular Sober Link breathalyzer device to clients in day treatment and intensive outpatient for additional accountability.
If you or a loved one suffers from marijuana addiction or a marijuana abuse disorder, NorthStar Transitions can help! Please click HERE to verify your insurance and an admission representative will contact you within 24 hours to counsel you on the available treatment options and insurance coverage.