Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is physically addictive, and now there is more than just anecdotal evidence to support that fact. A new study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that marijuana users may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug after chronic or heavy use.

John Kelly is a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine and a co-author of the study. He believes that the trend toward legalization of marijuana for recreational use has caused many to diminish the potential harms of the drug, perceiving it to be safer than it is. Even those who experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using marijuana may not realize what it is that they are feeling or why.

Claire Greene, MPH, a corresponding author of the report, said in a hospital news release: “We hypothesize that participants who experience withdrawal symptoms but do not recognize having a substance use problem may not attribute those symptoms to cannabis withdrawal. Those who do acknowledge a substance-use problem may correctly attribute those symptoms to cannabis withdrawal, giving them even more motivation to change their substance use behavior.”

The Motivation to Change

It’s never easy to completely overhaul one’s life, but when that might mean experiencing physical health problems in the form of withdrawal symptoms in addition to overwhelming cravings and associated wellness issues, including irritability and disrupted sleeping and eating patterns, it’s even harder.

Additionally, marijuana is notorious for zapping the user’s motivation to do pretty much anything. Creating the momentum necessary to jumpstart recovery from marijuana dependence can be that much more difficult as a result.

You can help your loved one get over the hump by introducing the option of treatment. This period of contemplation – considering that treatment might be necessary and then beginning to imagine living a live of sobriety – is often a very necessary step that must be taken before treatment can begin. Though it may not look like much is happening to you, offering treatment and giving your loved one the opportunity to consider the benefits of taking you up on that offer is the first step in recovery.

Taking the Plunge

Moving from contemplation to readiness may also require your assistance if your loved one is stalling. An intervention is one option – a formal conversation in which you make it clear that you will no longer support your loved one’s addiction and offer rehabilitation and treatment as the solution. Another option is to simply enroll them in detox services and help them break free from physical dependence upon any substance of abuse immediately.

Contact us at Palm Beach Detox to learn more about the services we provide and how we can assist your loved one in getting clean and sober today.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.