Marijuana Abuse Warning Signs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. In 2009, 28.5 million Americans age 12 and older had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.  In recent years, many states in the US have legalized medicinal marijuana prescribed by a doctor, and essentially decriminalized possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana with penalties of civil tickets and small fines.  Although it is not typically considered to be a dangerous and addictive drug in comparison to other illicit drugs, marijuana can have devastating effects on chronic users and can severely impair motor skills, reaction time, and judgment.

Marijuana abuse warning signs: How can you tell?

Under the influence of marijuana, perception and judgment can become distorted, making it extremely dangerous to operate machinery or motor vehicles while intoxicated.  Users of marijuana can experience a sense of euphoria, a jovial sense of being, paranoia, hunger, fatigue, and dry-mouth.  

While short-term side effects usually fade within 2-3 hours, the drug will linger in the body for up to 2-3 days. In extremely sensitive blood tests, traces of marijuana can still be detected 2-4 weeks later.  It is often recommended for drug testing to test hair follicles instead of blood, as substances like marijuana remain in hair for several months after use.
While marijuana is a very commonly abused drug, it is not commonly the subject of addiction.  However, addiction can come in any form, and as with any other drug, there are certain warning signs to look for when in suspicion of a marijuana addiction.

Warning signs to watch for

Signs that family and friends should watch for, especially in young adults and teens, include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Hair and clothing that frequently smell of smoke
  • Marijuana paraphernalia found on their person or in their lockers or rooms, such as cigarette papers or a bong
  • Failing memory or loss of interest in all outside activities with family, old friends, or school
  • Sudden drops in weight
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Laughing or giggling for no apparent reason
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Paranoia

It is important to understand that marijuana use is not proof of, or at all indicative of marijuana addiction.  

Addiction is defined by an unmanageability that causes one or many parts of life to spiral out of control, generating negative or undesirable consequences. Some examples of these negative consequences are troubled relationships, suffering performances in school or at work, legal trouble, financial trouble, and health issues.  For school aged minors still under guardianship, negative consequences may be things like being grounded, losing privileges, and suspension or expulsion from school.  If a marijuana user can stop on their own, there is probably not much cause for concern over treatment or professional addiction help.  One of the defining traits of addiction is an inability to stop their use, despite experiencing repeated (and usually increasingly serious) negative consequences.  However, if an individual is unable to stop their use of marijuana or any substance, an intervention and addiction treatment may be necessary.

Marijuana treatment: Get to recovery

The addict must face the reality that marijuana addiction has made their lives unmanageable and that they are powerless to control their use on their own.  Addiction of any kind leads to a dangerous place that grows increasingly difficult to leave as time goes on.  Since addiction is a progressive disease, it gets worse as time gone untreated increases.  Marijuana addiction does not require a detoxification process, so addicts can go right into treatment without any delay in removing the substance from their body.  Withdrawal from marijuana may cause very mild effects such as aggravation, fatigue and insomnia, and are not known to be too menacing compared to other drugs of addiction.

Marijuana addiction treatment is intended to be a safe and secure place for addicts to cope with life and unavoidable stressors without turning back to drugs. Treatment in a safe and supportive group environment is a priceless tool in getting any individual on a solid path to recovery and long-term sobriety from drugs and other mind-altering substances.  The goal of any treatment center is to provide an stable foundation for sobriety by restoring sense of self confidence and teaching sober survival skills, most often achieved through a series of recovery steps.
Learn more about marijuana withdrawal, treatment, and steps to recovery.

If you or a loved one would like to end marijuana addiction, help is available all over the world, in all price ranges, and offering every modality of treatment.  We can get help you find the right drug treatment center for the specific needs of your or your loved one.

Have questions? Let our trained counselors help. Call now.