Identifying the Signs of Marijuana Addiction

January 23, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

Addiction is a disease that takes many forms, with each individual having their own challenges to overcome and behaviors to amend. One of the most common forms of addiction develops from the recreational use of marijuana. Identifying the signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction is paramount to beginning an effective healing journey. Overcoming prevalent misconceptions and understanding the effects of marijuana addiction is the first step toward a healthy, sober life. 

Dispelling the Misconceptions of Marijuana

With the increased discourse surrounding the legality of marijuana and the use of prescription medical marijuana rising across the country, there has been an equal increase in misconceptions and misinformation surrounding the use of the drug. Despite any push for legal or medical use, marijuana is still a dangerous and addictive drug. 

Any purported benefits do not translate into illicit use, even when used in an attempt to self-medicate other symptoms, such as anxiety and panic. Attempting to self-medicate with marijuana can be not only dangerous but can be the basis for developing an addiction to the drug, causing lasting physical and emotional health consequences. 

While state-level legislations may be legalizing the use of marijuana under certain circumstances around the country, in Arizona, for example, such laws are inconsistent. This causes conflict between both federal and state laws. The use of marijuana, whether illicitly or through a prescription, still presents many dangers, commonly resulting in possession charges or DUI convictions. 

Despite its dangers, marijuana use is common, being the most used federally illegal drug across the country. In 2019 alone, about 18% of the population reported having used marijuana that year. Of those that engage with marijuana, about three in 10 will develop substance use disorder (SUD), with the chances even greater if an individual began using marijuana before the age of 18. Identifying the signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction is necessary to help each individual recognize the many detrimental effects of marijuana use and begin an effective recovery journey.

The Signs of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana has a number of effects on a person’s physical behavior and emotional state. Recognizing the signs of marijuana use and abuse is necessary to open an honest dialogue about treatment, recovery, and sobriety with loved ones. 

Some of the common signs of marijuana use include: 

  • Changes in appetite
  • Red eyes
  • Decreased motivation
  • Slowed reaction speeds
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Altered sense of time or perception
  • Compromised coordination 
  • Lethargy
  • Compromised decision-making skills or an increase in risky behavior
  • Dry mouth

Marijuana also has a myriad of effects on an individual’s life that persist long after the direct effects of the drug have worn off. Long-term use of marijuana can inform the development of anxiety and panic disorders, memory impairment, difficulty managing emotions or mood swings, as well as a plethora of detrimental effects to a person’s body, such as liver damage, lung disease, and more. 

Recognizing Substance Use Disorder

There is no level of marijuana use that is ever completely safe, and its use will always come with a number of negative side effects. However, recognizing when the use of marijuana is becoming increasingly difficult to manage is necessary for taking control of one’s physical and mental health and identifying the development of addiction. 

Some of the signs that an individual’s use of marijuana would benefit from professional treatment and recovery include:

  • Using more marijuana than intended
  • Continuing to use marijuana, even after experiencing negative consequences as a result of the drug
  • Experiencing compromised workplace performance or attendance
  • Feeling as if the use of marijuana is necessary to process stress 
  • Using marijuana as a way to regularly celebrate 
  • Continuing to use marijuana despite noticing negative effects on physical health
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, or irritable when marijuana is not available or when its effects subside
  • Being confronted or asked about the use of marijuana
  • Continuing to use the drug even as relationships or social groups are deteriorating
  • Having attempted to cease the use of marijuana before but re-engaged anyway

Left unaddressed, the use of marijuana can continue to inform each individual’s physical and mental health. For some, using marijuana to help quell feelings of anxiety can become a dangerous cycle. As the effects wear off, an individual may feel compelled to use more of the substance to attain the same effects. Even the lack of marijuana itself can become a major source of stress as SUD develops. 

Pursuing Professional Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Recognizing the many ways in which marijuana addiction has affected a person’s life can be incredibly stressful, and professional treatment is necessary for a truly transformative recovery experience. While attempting to detox and overcome the use of marijuana at home is tempting, it can be challenging to navigate environmental triggers without outside support. 

Professional programs are often essential for addressing problematic marijuana use while creating an effective recovery plan to address any underlying anxieties, depression, trauma, grief, and any other factors that may inform substance use as a coping strategy. From navigating withdrawal and the emotional effects of addiction to addressing each individual’s physical and spiritual needs, professional treatment and detox is the best first step toward a healthy, marijuana-free life.

Marijuana addiction is both common and incredibly dangerous, and overcoming the use of marijuana and establishing a sober life can be difficult. We at Buena Vista Recovery are committed to addressing addiction in any form, from marijuana to opioids, alcohol, heroin, and more. We understand the unique journey that each individual will take through treatment and recovery. From addressing the physical effects of marijuana addiction to its continued emotional impact, we are prepared to help you create a truly transformed life in sobriety. From detox and residential treatment to outpatient care, and all backed by a supportive community of understanding peers and professionals, your time with us is personalized to overcome marijuana use today. Learn more at (480) 741-9414 or complete your insurance verification form here