Marijuana Abuse and Addiction: Knowing the Signs

Cannabis comes from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. It is usually made from the dried leaves and flowers of the plant, or even the seeds and stems. It contains a chemical called THC, which is a psychoactive chemical.

While many people use marijuana (it’s the third most commonly used addictive drug after tobacco and alcohol), most do not become addicted. About 1 in 10 people who use marijuana become addicted; that number increases to 1 in 6 when they start using it before age 18.

Research shows that about 30 percent of marijuana users may have a marijuana use disorder, which can vary in severity.

Cannabis use disorder is broadly defined as the problematic use of cannabis that causes severe distress or impairment for at least two problems within a 12-month period, such as substance use that results in the inability to perform work, social or family obligations, or even when affected or caused by interpersonal The use of the substance continued after the relationship problems.

Signs and symptoms of marijuana abuse and addiction

When your loved one is abusing or becoming addicted to marijuana, it is often necessary to look for signs and symptoms. Knowing these can help you approach your loved ones in a caring way.

marijuana abuse

Substance abuse is when a person’s drug use causes significant negative effects. This could include missing work or school, getting into trouble with the law or school authorities, or putting yourself in danger.

Signs of marijuana abuse may include:

  • Use more of the drug to get the desired effect
  • craving material
  • Giving up a favorite activity because of drug use
  • Repeated attempts to reduce or stop use, to no avail
  • spend a lot of time finding, using, or recovering from drug use
  • adventure under influence

These signs, along with any negative consequences of marijuana use, may herald a substance abuse problem.

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marijuana addiction

Addiction is the continued abuse of a drug even when problems related to drug use occur. Severe substance abuse is often classified as drug addiction.

signs of addiction

Signs of addiction may include:

  • Tolerance to the drug and use more
  • Withdrawal symptoms can occur if less or stop use
  • withdraw from social activities
  • Continue to use despite being aware of all the problems associated with drug use

withdrawal symptoms

Marijuana Withdrawal Syndrome Now Found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is characterized by the presence of at least three of the following symptoms that develop within 7 days of reducing marijuana use:

  • Irritability, anger, or aggression
  • nervousness or anxiety
  • interrupted sleep
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • restless
  • upset
  • Physical symptoms: headache, nausea, sweating

Withdrawal: Types, Symptoms, Treatment

Who is at risk of marijuana abuse?

While anyone who uses marijuana has the potential to abuse it, there are risk factors that can make marijuana abuse more likely. Having these risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll definitely have a substance use problem, but you may be at greater risk.

Risk Factors for Substance Abuse

There are a variety of risk factors that increase your risk of developing substance use problems. These can include:

  • poor
  • family history of addiction
  • family history of mental illness
  • lack of parental involvement
  • abuse
  • Personal mental illness, including depression and anxiety
  • Learning Disability
  • ADHD

Protective factors can help people avoid substance use disorders. Things such as extended family support, parental language-based discipline, and supportive peer groups can help offset some risk factors.

Depression and Anxiety: Feelings, Symptoms, and Treatment

Teen Marijuana Abuse

Teenagers naturally take risks and push their limits. Many teens try illegal substances.

Adolescent brains are immature and still developing. If marijuana is abused over the years, it can interfere with brain development. Side effects may include:

  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • memory, learning and attention problems
  • Increased risk of mental health problems
  • Increased risk of addiction

What are the signs my teen is smoking marijuana?

Signs of marijuana use may include:

  • smells like pot
  • bloodshot eyes
  • mood swings
  • lazy and tired
  • Paranoid
  • Cannabis accessories, such as bongs or pipes

Marijuana Abuse During Pregnancy

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no safe amount of marijuana during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In addition to THC, there are nearly 500 chemicals in cannabis.

These chemicals can cross the placenta and affect the fetus. Numerous studies have examined the effects of marijuana abuse during pregnancy, with conflicting results, possibly due to the use and/or abuse of other substances, including tobacco, during pregnancy.

There are studies of children whose mothers used marijuana during pregnancy. These children were found to have decreased verbal reasoning skills, hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention span.

However, there may be other reasons for these findings, and more research is needed.

Substance abuse in pregnant women on the rise during COVID-19

Treatment of cannabis abuse

There are treatments for marijuana abuse. If you think you might have a problem, there’s help there.

talk therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivation enhancement therapy (MET), and emergency management (CM) have all been used to treat cannabis use disorder, and a combination of the three has been found to be the most effective.

CBT helps people identify the reasons for their use, develop relapse prevention and coping skills, and suggest more effective behaviors.

MET is based on motivational interviewing and helps increase behavioral change by providing non-judgmental feedback and helping people set goals.

The CM uses operant conditioning with target behavior; this means that the desired behavior is rewarded and reinforced to increase the likelihood that it will recur.

What is talk therapy?

support groups

A support group may be another treatment option. Finding other people who are dealing with the same problems as you can be verified, and you can learn from each other different ways of coping. Marijuana Anonymous is one such support group based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.


Motivational motivation is part of CM because it uses operant conditioning for the positive behavior you want to increase. Incentives are most effective when there are many opportunities for reinforcement. Reinforcement follows behavior, and the value of motivators is important to people.

Drug treatment of underlying diseases

Cannabis use disorders are significantly higher in people with mental illness than in the general population.

Marijuana use disorder is higher in the following groups:

  • schizophrenia
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • personality disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of mental health disorders, including medication, may help reduce attempts at self-medication using marijuana.

How to Treat Anxiety Disorders

Tackling Cannabis Abuse

This can be difficult when you are living with marijuana abuse or watching someone you care about deal with it. You don’t have to manage it separately. Talk to your healthcare professional. They can help determine treatment options for your situation and provide resources for family and friends.

Other things you can do to help cope with abuse or addiction include:

  • Seek counseling from a licensed counselor.
  • Join a support group.
  • Keep your schedule busy with other sober people so you’re not tempted to use it.
  • Take stress-relieving activities such as exercise, yoga, or other activities that help you relax.

How to Cope with Anxiety: Tips That Can Help


With continued legalization of marijuana in the U.S. and around the world, it’s hard to say how this will affect marijuana use and abuse. More research is needed on potential treatments for cannabis abuse and how to increase support and access to existing treatments.

marijuana use

Many people can safely use marijuana without becoming addicted or abusing it. But like any mind-altering substance, it always has the potential to be a problem. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are effective treatments available to you.

How to Diagnose Addiction

Prevent marijuana use and addiction

Many people consider marijuana use to be harmless, especially since it is a natural product. While many people are able to use it without becoming addicted or abusing it, it is not a benign substance. Even though you may not be able to prevent marijuana abuse and addiction, there are things you can do to reduce your risk.

Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Addiction

  • Increase family support and supervision.
  • Discuss the risks and side effects of drugs, including marijuana.
  • Encourage open dialogue about substances and risks.
  • Shape healthy behaviors.
  • Implement prevention programs in schools and communities.


Although marijuana has become legal in more states, there is still potential for abuse and addiction. Using more to get the same effect, giving up activities you once enjoyed to use, and withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, mood changes, and interruptions in sleep and/or appetite can all indicate that someone may be suffering from marijuana abuse.

There are a variety of treatment options available, such as talk therapy, support groups, and even medication for the underlying problem if necessary. Recovery is possible.

What are psychiatrists and what do they do?

very good words

Many people use marijuana at some point. However, it can be a problem if usage has become a necessity, or if you suffer negative consequences for it. If you or a loved one may be suffering from marijuana abuse or addiction, consult a trusted healthcare professional. They will work with you to obtain an appropriate assessment and appropriate treatment.

Substance abuse and addiction can be scary and uncertain, but it is treatable and helpful. There are a variety of treatments available, and if one doesn’t work, the other may be better for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is marijuana addictive?

    possible. Cannabis use can lead to dependence if a person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop using marijuana.

    Addiction is when people have to use it, even if it has a negative impact on their lives. Accurate numbers are hard to come by because many studies conflate dependence and addiction. Still, the studies report that about 9 percent of marijuana users become dependent, compared with 17 percent if they start as teenagers.

  • Is marijuana a gateway drug?

    More research needs to be done, but it may be a starter drug for some people who are more dangerous than others.