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Marijuana Addiction and Abuse in Orlando

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse treatment and it is not a medical emergency, call our 24/7 Marijuana Helpline at 844-584-4185.

Marijuana is a psychoactive substance derived from the cannabis plant, and it is the most popular illicit drug in the United States. Marijuana has many street names, including cannabis, weed, pot, grass and Mary Jane.

Unfortunately, up to 30% of marijuana users will eventually develop a marijuana use disorder. If a person starts using the drug as an adolescent, they are up to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than people who start when they’re older. Overall, about 10% of people who use marijuana are likely to become addicted.

Is Marijuana Legal in Florida?

Marijuana legality in Florida depends on several factors, including whether a doctor prescribed it. Although medical marijuana is legal in Florida in some circumstances, recreational marijuana is still illegal.

Medical Marijuana in Florida

Although marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, Florida first approved marijuana for certain medical conditions in 2014. As of 2022, the qualifying medical conditions for which a person can be prescribed marijuana include:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Conditions in the same class or similar to the ones mentioned above
  • Terminal illness
  • Chronic pain caused by one of the above qualifying medical conditions

As of January 2022, more than 660,000 Floridians have a medical marijuana registration card, and more than 2,800 doctors can prescribe marijuana. Florida has almost 400 medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.

Recreational Marijuana in Florida

Recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Florida. This includes hashish, a drug made from cannabis resin, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Possession of Marijuana in Florida

Depending on the circumstances, possession of recreational marijuana can be a misdemeanor or felony in Florida. For example, possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum jail term of one year and a fine of $1,000. Any amount over 20 grams is a felony, with escalating penalties depending on the amount. The possession of 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana is a felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven years and a fine of $200,000.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana is not only an addictive drug, but it is the third most commonly used addictive substance in the United States after alcohol and tobacco.

A marijuana use disorder can involve dependence or addiction. Marijuana dependence occurs when the brain adapts to the drug’s effect on the endocannabinoid neurotransmitter system, leading to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. In other words, the brain cannot function normally without marijuana.

When someone has a marijuana use disorder, they use the drug compulsively. Their use of marijuana interferes with daily life, and they typically continue to use it even when it causes negative outcomes.

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Experts still debate whether marijuana is a gateway drug. While the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other substances, some do. Studies have shown that people who do use other substances often start with marijuana, alcohol or tobacco products. Some data indicate that you may become predisposed to an addiction to other substances when your brain is exposed to marijuana early in life.

Marijuana Addiction Symptoms

When a person starts to develop a marijuana use disorder, they often show signs or symptoms of addiction. Some symptoms of weed addiction might include:

  • Using marijuana despite not wanting to, or feeling unable to stop using it
  • Spending significant amounts of time using or trying to obtain marijuana
  • Spending large sums of money on marijuana
  • Experiencing legal or financial troubles caused by seeking or using marijuana
  • Prioritizing marijuana over other areas and responsibilities of life

Marijuana Side Effects

Marijuana often causes physical and psychological side effects, which can vary depending on the person. Even in a person who uses marijuana often, side effects can sometimes be unpredictable because there is a wide variation in marijuana’s potency.

Some marijuana now contains up to 20% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in marijuana. Marijuana concentrates can be even stronger and may contain up to 80% THC.

Physical side effects of marijuana use include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Facial flushing
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremor
  • Coordination problems
  • Increased appetite
  • Sedation
  • Bloodshot eyes

Marijuana’s psychological side effects vary greatly depending on the individual, but they can include:

  • Euphoria
  • Disinhibition
  • Relaxation
  • Enhanced sensory perception
  • Increased imagination
  • Distorted concept of time
  • Impaired judgment
  • Emotional changes
  • Short-term memory loss

When used over the long term, marijuana can cause health problems. Serious physical effects include lung conditions like emphysema and asthma, and mental effects include worsening symptoms in people with schizophrenia and other conditions.

Marijuana Withdrawal

Marijuana withdrawal may occur when a person has been using marijuana for a long time and suddenly stops. Among those who use marijuana on a regular basis, about a third will experience withdrawal symptoms at some point.

Withdrawal symptoms often begin 1–3 days after the last time a person uses marijuana and can last up to two weeks. Some withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia, can last for a month.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are common for people who stop using marijuana after they’ve become dependent on it. These symptoms can be psychological, physical or both, and may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Shakiness
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Problems sleeping
  • Troubling dreams
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Depression

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

Marijuana can be found in your system for different amounts of time, depending on what is being tested. In general, marijuana tests look for breakdown products like THC carboxylase. Some marijuana tests include:

  • Urine: Marijuana can be detected in urine for up to 10 days if marijuana is used once a week. However, if marijuana is used daily, it can be detected in urine for up to 30 days.
  • Hair: When a person has used marijuana for several weeks or longer, there is a chance that marijuana may be found in a hair sample. When it is found in hair, marijuana can be detected for up to three months.
  • Saliva: Marijuana can be found in saliva for up to 24 hours.
  • Blood: Marijuana can be found for several hours in a blood sample.

Marijuana Detox

If withdrawal symptoms are predicted to be uncomfortable or dangerous, or if someone has relapsed in the past, intensive medical support may be beneficial. An inpatient detox environment can help a person rid their system of marijuana and get ready for a rehab program to prevent relapse and stay off the drug long-term. Treatments proven to assist in recovery from marijuana include therapy and motivational counseling.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one have developed a marijuana use disorder, you should be aware of your options to quit the drug for good.

Medical detox is the first step in recovering from a marijuana addiction. In detox, you are weaned off marijuana in a comfortable setting. You have round-the-clock medical supervision so that any withdrawal symptoms can be addressed quickly.

After detox, the hard work of rehab begins. Rehab treatment can be either inpatient, where you live on-site, or outpatient, where you live at home or in a sober living environment. In inpatient rehab, you can focus on your recovery without distractions. Intense therapy can help you explore why you began to rely on marijuana, and you start to learn coping skills to live a marijuana-free life.

Outpatient rehab often comes after successful completion of inpatient rehab, but those with a mild addiction may go straight to outpatient rehab and bypass inpatient rehab. In outpatient rehab, you continue therapy either face-to-face or in a teletherapy setting.

Quitting marijuana doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and help is here. Contact our intake specialists today at the Orlando Recovery Center to learn how we can help get you on the road toward recovery.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Addiction.” Marijuana and Public Health, October 19, 2020. Accessed January 18, 2022.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijuana DrugFacts.” DrugFacts, December 2019. Accessed January 18, 2022.

PsychDB. “Cannabis Withdrawal.” March 29, 2021. Accessed January 18, 2022.

U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “Drugs of Abuse.” April 2020. Accessed January 18, 2022.

PsychDB. “Cannabis Use Disorder.” December 25, 2021. Accessed January 18, 2022.

Turner, AR; Spurling, BC; et al. “Marijuana Toxicity.” StatPearls, August 2, 2021. Accessed January 18, 2022.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Florida Laws and Penalties.” Accessed January 18, 2022.

Florida Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). “January 14, 2022.” January 14, 2022. Accessed January 18, 2022.

Florida Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). “Steps to Treatment.” Accessed January 18, 2022.

Ghost Management Group, LLC. “Florida.” Weedmaps, February 19, 2021. Accessed January 18, 2022.

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