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Marijuana Addiction Treatment and Rehab

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Treatment for Marijuana

Marijuana addiction treatment in an inpatient or outpatient facility can be extremely beneficial compared to trying to get off the drug by oneself or without medical professionals. In professional facilities, patients will learn what causes them to use the drug and how to prevent drug use in the future.

How do I get off this drug?

A variety of different therapies can be used to help patients get off this drug. This includes:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is a form of psychotherapy to teach patients strategies to identify and correct problematic behavior. This helps patients learn self-control, stop drug use, and other problems that can also occur during marijuana drug addiction.
  • Contingency management is therapeutic management approach that helps monitor target behavior and remove tangible, positive rewards when target behavior occurs.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy is a form of intervention that helps produce rapid, internally motivated change. Rather than treating the actual person, this therapy helps mobilize the patient’s internal resources for change and engagement in treatment.

There are currently no medications that help treat marijuana addiction, however, research is developing in this area.

What Are My Options for Treatment?

Medical professionals can help ensure that patients do not hurt themselves during treatment, and sedative medications can help treat severe anxiety or panic attacks during the withdrawal process.

Following detoxification, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facilities are available to help with specific needs of the patient. Both types of treatment offer counseling and education to help prevent drug usage with a drug-free lifestyle. Aftercare programs and peer recovery organizations are also available to help avoid relapse.

Does Treatment Work?

Treatment can be successful for many individuals. The important thing is to make sure that treatment after rehab is still occurring by having a strong support system.

Withdrawal and Detox

What is withdrawal?

Withdrawal happens to the body when it expects to get high from marijuana but is not getting it. This causes the body to react with withdrawal symptoms to try to tell the person it craves marijuana.

What are the symptoms of withdrawal?

Insomnia is the most common symptom of marijuana withdrawal. This can last from a few nights of almost no sleep at all to a few months of occasional sleeplessness.

The next most common symptom of marijuana withdrawal is depression. Withdrawal from marijuana can also cause nightmares or vivid dreams. The fourth most common symptom is anger which can range from constant irritability or sudden, unexpected bursts of anger.

Emotional jags are also very common and can go back and forth between depression, anger, anxiety and euphoria. Loss of concentration also appears at the beginning of the withdrawal process.

Other symptoms can also include:

  • Headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestion problems
  • Cramps after eating
  • Nausea
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Kidney pains
  • Impotency
  • Hormone changes or imbalances
  • Lowered immunity
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Occasional minor eye problems

How long does withdrawal last?

These symptoms usually last for about three months. Loss of concentration is also very common during the first month of withdrawal. Eating problems usually last for only the first month as well.

Why does it happen?

Different symptoms happen for different reasons. Some are because the body is craving the active chemical in marijuana. Others happen because the brain is used to getting the drug but since it no longer receives the drug, it cannot function properly.

Is it dangerous?

Marijuana withdrawal is less dangerous and less severe than other forms of drug withdrawal, however, some marijuana users are multi-drug users. It is important to get professional medical help for detoxification and withdrawal because of this.


Will it hurt?

Marijuana detoxification can cause some symptoms that are painful, however, with professional medical attention, prescription drugs can be administered to help ease the process.

What medications are used during medical detox for this drug?

There are currently no specific medications to help with marijuana withdrawal, however, research is active in this area. Because of the sleep problems that normally occur with marijuana withdrawal, some sleep aids have shown promise in studies. Anti-anxiety (BuSpar) or anti-stress medications, as well as anti-epileptic (Horizant, Neurontin) drugs, have been shown to help improve sleep and executive functions in recent studies.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

What is it like in rehab?

Inpatient treatment centers can be traditional hospitals or luxury surroundings, which are also referred to as residential treatment programs. Different programs have different experiences but many will have medically-assisted detox and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for marijuana addiction treatment. Most centers will also have Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) as well.

CBT is a very specific kind of treatment program that has proven to be beneficial for many patients. This is a flexible and individualized approach that was used to treat alcoholism originally. Based upon the idea that a person’s thoughts and perceptions (cognitive resources) can drastically affect a patient’s behavior, this treatment form focuses attention on the patient’s ability to make good choices. By helping the patient find better ways to identify dangerous or provoking situations that previously led to marijuana use, the patient is prepared to withstand temptation and make clear and healthy decisions.

MET has an intake interview where patients answer a series of questions followed by several individual therapy sessions where they receive the results of the intake questions. In further sessions, motivational techniques are explored to help the patient find their own reasons to successfully continue to live a healthy and drug-free life.

How long will it take?

This depends on the patient and if they were using other drugs or suffering from other conditions such as mental illness. Typically, rehabilitation can take anywhere from one to three months, however, continuing therapy, whether it be group or individual, is important to maintain a healthy and addiction-free lifestyle.

What kind’s treatments are effective for this drug?

Medically-assisted treatment, especially those that help with sleep, can be a big part of treatment towards the beginning. CBT and MET along with a group or individual therapy also help the patient recover and continue to live their lives without relapse.

Ongoing Treatment Options and Relapse Prevention

What is outpatient treatment?

Outpatient treatment is a treatment for marijuana addiction, however, instead of living in the facility, the patient goes home when done. This allows the patient to still be with family, and friends, and go to work if needed. There are pros and cons to doing this type of treatment instead, however, patients should talk to medical professionals to see what type of treatment program is best for them.

Once I stop using, will I relapse?

Although it is possible to start using drugs again after treatment, by having a strong support system, know what triggers the person to use drugs, and continuing individual or group therapy, the patient has a higher chance of staying sober throughout their life.

Can I afford treatment?

Depending on the type of facility and program chosen, marijuana treatment can range from moderate to extreme in terms of pricing. An inpatient facility that provides luxury surroundings and a wide range of alternative therapies can be about $20,000 per month.

Other inpatient residential facilities with more moderate amenities can cost much less. With the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), many more insurances are offering more affordable treatment, including Medicaid. Checking with a patient’s insurance company for rehabilitation options would be best when looking for a rehabilitation center under a strict budget.

Many rehab facilities also offer payment plans so patients can still get treatment without upfront costs.

How can I stay sober?

Having a strong support system of family, friends, and other recovering addicts is extremely beneficial. Especially when a patient gets an urge to use the drug or something triggers the want for a drug, having a strong support system of people a patient can turn to is extremely important.

What are the options after rehab?

Going to 12-step program meetings, other group meetings, along with individual or group therapy can help patients remember why they stopped using and how a healthy life is better for them. Many of these can be free or low-cost. Continuing these types of meetings or therapy sessions are important so if faced with the urge to use the drug, they remember why they quit in the first place.