We know a lot more about the potential medical benefits of marijuana now than we knew even just a few years ago, yet several myths about the merits of marijuana persist. Misinformation is dangerous and can lead to physical and psychological harm to you and others. Let’s set the record straight.
Myths and Facts About Marijuana Use
Some of the most enduring myths about using marijuana include:
- Myth: Marijuana doesn’t harm your brain. Fact: Using marijuana as an adolescent or young adult can injure the areas of your brain associated with learning and memory, and regular use can result in poorer school performance, higher dropout rates, and reduced IQ scores.
- Myth: Marijuana use doesn’t affect everyday activities like driving. Fact: Marijuana use blunts your reflexes, judgment, and coordination. Studies reveal a direct link between the concentration of THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) in the blood and driving ability. Marijuana use doubles the risk of being involved in an accident, and drivers with THC in their blood are up to seven times more likely to be responsible for the accidents they’re involved in.
- Myth: Marijuana use is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Fact: Marijuana use before and during pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding, can interfere with your baby’s brain development and lead to attention deficits, behavioral and memory issues, delayed reading skills, and depression. Marijuana use during pregnancy can also result in premature birth, low birth weight, and more newborn hospital stay.
- Myth: Marijuana improves mood and mental health. Fact: The THC in marijuana increases your risk of insomnia, depression, and paranoid delusions. Those with psychotic disorders are particularly susceptible to worsening symptoms.
- Myth: Second-hand marijuana smoke can’t harm anyone. Fact: Second-hand marijuana smoke contains many of the same carcinogens, irritants, and toxins as smoke from tobacco and wood burning. Babies exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Myth: Marijuana isn’t really addictive. Fact: Approximately 9% (about 1 in 11) of marijuana users become addicted. This percentage rises to 17% when people start using in their teens and goes up to 25-50% for daily users.
The more frequently you use marijuana, and the higher the THC concentration in the product you use, the longer and more challenging your detox process can be.
The Marijuana Detox Process
Marijuana withdrawal usually occurs one to two days after you stop using the drug, and typically lasts between seven and 14 days. Heavier use, especially if long-term, can result in more severe symptoms lasting five weeks or more. Withdrawal symptoms can be emotional and behavioral, and can appear as:
- Irritability, anger and aggression
- Decreased concentration
- Delayed or disturbed sleep
- Vivid and bizarre dreams
- Depressed mood
- Decreased appetite
Hypertension and even seizures have also been reported, though only in rare cases. The symptoms you may experience during withdrawal are dependent on many factors. Don’t let the worst-case scenarios deter you from moving forward with treatment. You may still crave marijuana during withdrawal. Treatment, like proper detoxification, will support you throughout the process.
Common Marijuana Treatment Modalities
can be inpatient, residential, outpatient or a combination and can offer a wide variety of services and program formats to help you achieve long-term recovery.
- 12-step programs: Twelve-step programs allow you to pace your recovery and work toward your goals in a safe, friendly, non-judgmental group setting.
- Family therapy: Family therapy acknowledges that one person’s addiction can affect everyone in the family. By exploring these effects in therapy, you and your family can learn and grow together. Many families grow closer as a result of this process.
- Therapy programs:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps you become more aware of, and manage, your thoughts and emotions, and therefore your motivations and actions.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapy that includes individual and group sessions and focuses on emphasizing your capabilities and reducing harmful behaviors
- Holistic therapy: Holistic therapy addresses you as a whole person and integrates the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your wellbeing.
- Mental health disorders can trigger addictions. If you have a marijuana addiction and a mental health disorder, some treatment centers can treat both conditions to help your recovery and prevent relapse.
Aftercare: Setting You up for Success
Treatment doesn’t end when you walk out the door of a rehabilitation facility. An array of interventions and forms of support will follow you out that door to help you live a substance-free lifestyle and prevent relapse. Drug use relapse rates can be high following detoxification in rehab, especially for marijuana. Contributors to relapse can include:
- Co-occurring anxiety and depression
- Co-occurring use of other substances
- Easy accessibility
- Environmental cues
- Peer pressure
Aftercare is aimed at preserving the gains and maintaining the momentum of your rehab experience. It can help you to build on that foundation, to sustain long-term recovery.
Despite its perceived benefits, marijuana is addictive and can still harm you. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to disabling and can last for days or weeks. Marijuana detox and treatment can look different for each individual person. Therapies may be taken individually or in a group setting, and involving your family members in your recovery can make them strong members of your support network. Your treatment team is also a critical part of your support network. At Authentic Recovery Center, we set you up for success both during and following treatment with clear, collaborative plans for both therapy and aftercare. Our Los Angeles treatment offers an array of options designed to meet your individual needs. If you want to free yourself of marijuana addiction, reach out to us to talk about how to get back on track. You can take small steps towards your recovery to achieve bigger goals. Call us today to start your path to recovery at (866) 786-1376.