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Marijuana Addiction/ Use Disorder

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Marijuana Addiction/ Use Disorder:

Contrary to people’s belief, marijuana has been found to be addictive.

Marijuana use disorder in simple sense is marijuana dependence where person feels its need and when he/ she couldn’t have it tends to have withdrawal symptoms like irritability, mood issues, anxiety, restlessness, decreased appetite, cravings, sleep difficulties,

These symptoms peak with 1st week post stoppage and persists upto 2 weeks.

Marijuana dependence results due to adaptation of brain to large amount external drugs (marijuana/ THC) with reduction in production & sensitivity to its endogenous, cannabinoid neurotransmitter.

Use disorder/ dependence become addiction:

When someone can’t stop its usage eve when it starts to interfere with multiple aspects of life.

Approximately 9% of marijuana users becomes dependent with 17% of users becoming dependent if they start early in their terms.

How to diagnose marijuana use disorder:

Signs of Marijuana use, abuse and addiction:

According to DSM-5, a person must have at least 2 of 11 symptoms given below, in a period of 12 months/ one year.

And number of symptoms determine grade of use disorder (mild/ moderate/ severe).

1. Loss of control: using more frequently/ using for longer duration then intended.

2. Inability to stop: being unable to quit using marijuana seen with desire to reduce or stop completely.

3. Social impairments: no involvement in important work, event, social gathering, hobbies due to marijuana usage.

4. Cravings.

5. Ignoring risks.

6. Frustration of existing issues.

7. Trouble in main sphere of life.

8. Tolerance building.

9. Disregarding problems caused by use.

10. Withdrawal

11. Disproportionate focus

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American addiction centers:

Mayo clinic has listed several physical and psychological signs and symptoms indicating recent marijuana use.

1. Sense of euphoria.

2. Increase in taste, visual, auditory senses.

3. Increased heart rate.

4. Increased appetite.

5. Red eyes.

6. Problems with concentration and memory.

7. Sensation of everything slowing down.

8. Paranoid thoughts.

9. Dry mouth.

10. Diminished coordination.

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Behavior/ signs: (AAC. org)

1. Long term effects on brain (drug NIH.

2. Can marijuana use during & after pregnancy.

Marijuana use disorder

1. Long term side effects are usually less severe than other use disorders.

2. People present with marijuana use disorder (MUD) especially adolescents may often have an additional psychiatric disorders.

3. They may be commonly be addicted to other substance abuse like, alcohol and cocaine.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Studies have suggested that treating mental disorder with standard treatment may reduce marijuana use.

Cognitive behavioral therapy shows good effects results in lot of people by helping them understand thoughts and behaviors that lead to drug abuse and help them replace with healthy options.

Motivations incentives/ contingency management helps mental health therapist/ addiction specialist work with you, training you to set goals to remain drug free which on completion would be rewarded by yourself.

Motivations enhancement therapy therapist helps to commit to changing ones behavior.

Family and friends can work to motivate and commit person helping during treatment & after that.

Medicines for Marijuana Addiction

No medicine is currently approved by FDA for treating marijuana use disorder.

Treating associated mental condition like anxiety, depression etc may help stop abusing.

Studies are being done to check efficacy of drugs used sleep, anxiety & others using in treatment of marijuana use disorder (MUD).


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