Treatment for Synthetic Marijuana
Treatment for a synthetic marijuana addiction can happen at an inpatient rehab or an outpatient facility. Side effects from using this drug can be very severe and are known to have caused death. Help and recovery are possible if you’re ready to take the necessary steps.
What are my options for treatment?
Seeking outside help to beat your synthetic marijuana addiction, whether inpatient or outpatient, can be extremely beneficial. It can be a lot more manageable and successful than just trying to quit on your own.
Thankfully, there are many ways to stop using synthetic marijuana. Additionally, you probably have way more support than your even realize. There are a lot of ways to seek help and treatment to help you quit:
- Getting individual substance abuse counseling
- Getting family or relationship counseling with an emphasis on changing substance use patterns
- Joining an intensive outpatient program (evenings and weekends)
- Joining a day treatment program
- Going to a residential rehab
- Going to a psychiatric hospital
- Joining a community support/self-help organization
- Moving into a sober living community
Does treatment work?
Treatment absolutely works. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s totally worth it. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t completely in the clear after the withdrawal process. There are still things you need to work on every day and make sure you have a strong support system to help you deal with any obstacles during your recovery.
Inpatient Drug Rehab
What is it like in rehab?
Inpatient drug rehab problems provide patients with around-the-clock care. This can be especially helpful for those who have used the drug heavily for a long period of time, as well as those who live in unstable environments that could hinder their recovery. The person selecting rehab is responsible for checking into the facility and staying there for the entire length of the program.
How long will it take?
Treatment can last from 28 days to 90 days, depending on the severity of someone’s addiction. Typically, the patient goes through a detoxification process when they arrive, and spend the rest of their time at rehab participating in counseling and therapy afterwards.
What kind of treatment is effective for this drug?
Medically assisted treatment is very important when receiving treatment for a synthetic marijuana addiction. This makes the withdrawal process less painful and more endurable. In addition to medication treatment, it has been suggested that behavioral therapy is a great way to help treat the addiction:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of psychotherapy help to teach people strategies to identify and correct problematic behaviors in order to enhance self-control, stop drug use, and address a range of other problems that often co-occur.
- Contingency management: A therapeutic management approach based on frequent monitoring of the target behavior and the provision (or removal) of tangible, positive rewards when the target behavior occurs (or does not).
- Motivational enhancement therapy: A systematic form of an intervention designed to produce rapid, internally motivated change. This type of therapy does not attempt to treat the person but rather mobilizes their own internal resources for change and engagement in treatment.
Synthetic Marijuana Withdrawal
What is withdrawal?
Withdrawal is when you have been using a certain type of addictive drug and you stop suddenly or abruptly. How long these symptoms last and their intensity vary depending on the type of drug, how much and how often you used and even depending on your biological makeup.
What are the symptoms of withdrawal?
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research on synthetic marijuana withdrawal. This is partly because the wide use of synthetic marijuana is a fairly new phenomenon and research is lagging a few years behind the front edge use.
Additionally, synthetic marijuana products are typically inert botanical products that are sprayed with one or more psychoactive substances. But because there are so many possible substances that could be used, the potency levels vary quite dramatically. This makes it very difficult to find a concrete setup for withdrawal symptoms.
Studies show that synthetic marijuana is much more potent than natural marijuana. There have also been studies that show synthetic marijuana can induce spontaneous withdrawals and behavioral symptoms of withdrawal. A large number of synthetic marijuana users have described common withdrawal symptoms after prolonged regular use.
Typical physical withdrawal symptoms include:
- Breathing problems
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
- Chest pains, high blood pressure and tachycardia
- Tremors, and in rare cases seizures
- Excessive sweating
- Vision problems
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling numb or pins and needles in extremities
Typical mental withdrawal symptoms include:
- Strong cravings
- Irritability and aggression
- Paranoia and panic attacks
- Feeling like you’re going to die
- Memory and concentration problems
- Feeling down and depressed
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Lost touch with reality (psychosis)
- Feeling moody or emotional
How long do withdrawals last?
According to the New Zealand Drug Foundation, synthetic marijuana withdrawal symptoms are the most intense about 3 to 4 days after stopping the drug. They also mention that cravings and other symptoms could last up to a couple of weeks after stopping.
Is it dangerous?
Most people can safely ride out synthetic marijuana withdrawal symptoms at home with the assistance of your doctor or another healthcare worker.
Synthetic Marijuana Detox
Will it hurt?
People who have recovered from synthetic marijuana symptoms have reported they feel like they are going to die. While death from detoxing is unlikely, someone going through the withdrawal process may feel like they are going to die without the drug.
This is because synthetic cannabinoids have caused the reward sensors in the brain to become dependent on the chemicals in synthetic marijuana. Your brain may start to play tricks on you and make you think that you really need synthetic marijuana. But in reality, you are absolutely better off without it.
What medication is helped to detox safely?
Since it is still a relatively new drug, there currently aren’t any specific medications to help with marijuana withdrawals. However, there are certain medications that can help lessen the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
Medications that a doctor might use to treat common synthetic marijuana withdrawal symptoms include: for diarrhea – loperamide, for headaches and cramping – acetaminophen (paracetamol), for vomiting – Metoclopramide, for cramping and GI distress – Buscopan, and for insomnia – promethazine.
Ongoing Treatment Options and Relapse Prevention
What is outpatient treatment?
Outpatient treatment is when someone is treated for addiction at home, but goes through the same process as they would at a rehabilitation center. They are required to check in with an addiction specialist at the center for medication and counseling.
Once I stop using, will I relapse?
As with any type of addiction, there will always be the very real possibility that you can relapse. It just comes with the territory. When you think about relapsing, just take a deep breath and think about why you quit in the first place. You have come so far already and can’t quit now.
Here some helpful tips that may assist you when you think about giving up:
- Soaking in a hot shower or a hot bath will help relieve irritability and anxiety
- If one of your symptoms is nausea, try avoiding heavy meals and eat in well-ventilated areas
- Drink lots of clear liquids, and avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Even though you may not feel up for it, try to get a lot of exercise. It helps relieve anxiety and irritability, and in addition, will help you feel physically tired to help you sleep better at night.
- Try relaxation exercises. These can relieve headaches and help with stress and irritability.
Can I afford treatment?
In most cases, your insurance company will have a stipulation that covers a certain amount of time or a dollar amount that will pay for treatment. Keep in mind that there may be a co-pay, deductible, or a percentage of the cost that you will be responsible for.
The price of treatment will depend on the type of treatment you choose. Outpatient treatment will, of course, be less expensive than inpatient. However, inpatient treatment at a hospital may cost a lot less than inpatient treatment at a private facility.
Fortunately, a lot of private facilities offer discounts to those paying out of pocket, as well as a sliding fee scale based on income and financial need. However, keep in mind that if you make the decision to regain control of your life and beat your addiction, your life is certainly worth the investment of treatment.
How can I stay sober?
After getting clean and transiting back to your normal life, you may come across trigger situations, which are thoughts that spark the thought of getting back into your old drug habit. Visiting places, seeing people, and even certain emotions can certainly cause temptation.
Here are a few things that may help you to stay sober:
- Find a solid support system and surround yourself with sober people who love and care for you, and want to see you succeed. You can also join a local support group.
- Modify your environment – Ask someone you are close with to help clean out your home to get rid of any synthetic marijuana paraphernalia. Try to avoid places that spark feelings of interest towards using again.
- Set goals for the future – This will make it much easier to manage your temptations when they arise. If you keep in mind why you got sober in the first place, it will make it much easier to not give in to temptations.
- Keep any follow-up appointments – If you made appointments with any doctors or rehab centers, make sure you go to them. You may think that at this point you can handle it alone, but you are still very much in need of support.
- Find a moment each day to be thankful for – If you realize all that you have to be thankful for, giving up that happiness isn’t something that you will take lightly.
- Create new and healthy habits to replace the old ones – Find something that will keep your mind off of relapsing or anything that might trigger it. Create a positive habit that you like to do and stick with it.
What are the options after rehab?
In order to help you stay sober after rehab, try joining a 12-step program or other group meetings. You can also try individual or group therapy sessions. These can remind you why you stopped the drug in the first place and how far you have come with recovery.