Marijuana Addiction: Symptoms and Treatment

  • Feb 27, 2020

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance in the United States. Although some people question the concept of marijuana dependence or addiction, diagnostic, epidemiological, laboratory, and clinical studies clearly indicate that the condition exists, is important, and causes harm (Budney, 2006; Budney and Hughes, 2006; Copeland, 2004; Roffman and Stephens, 2006).

Marijuana dependence appears very similar to other substance dependence disorders, although it is likely to be less severe.

Marijuana contains many compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds remain in the system after use, but many factors can affect how long they stay there.

When a person’s body becomes used to receiving THC and CBD, stopping using it may lead to a period of uncomfortable marijuana withdrawal symptoms as the body readjusts.

The most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms are insomnia and headaches. Other side effects of marijuana detox may include: depression; vivid dreams or nightmares starting about a week following quitting and lasting for a month or more; anger or irritability; emotional instability ranging from anger to euphoria; loss of concentration; night sweats; loss of appetite; tremors or shaky hands

Drinking plenty of water, reducing the amount of fat eaten, reducing or eliminating caffeine consumption. Exercising, and warm baths are some remedies that may help with the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal.

Approximately half of the individuals who enter treatment for marijuana use are under 25 years. Adolescents who smoke marijuana are at high risk of adverse health and psychosocial consequences, including sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, early school dropout, delinquency, legal problems, and lowered educational and occupational aspirations. Some 9% of those who try marijuana develop dependence compared to, for example, 15% of people who try cocaine and 24% of those who try heroin.

Marijuana accounts for most adolescent drug treatment admissions and progressively smaller proportions of admissions in each successive higher age group (SAMHSA, 2015)

However, because so many people use marijuana, cannabis dependence is twice as prevalent as dependence on any other illicit psychoactive substance (cocaine, 1.8%; heroin, 0.7%).

How long does marijuana stay in a human body?

According to statistics of American Addiction Centers, marijuana remains in a human body for the following time:

  • Hair: 90 days

  • Urine: 3 days to a month or more, depending on usage

  • Saliva: 48 hours

  • Blood: 36 hours.

In addition, some study also identifies that traces of cannabinoids could remain in sweat for 7–14 days.

One of the factors that affect this time frame is the strain of marijuana a person uses. The strain refers to the specific subspecies of the plant. Different strains of marijuana may contain varying amounts of cannabinoids, which can affect how long they remain in a person’s body.

How often a person uses marijuana can also affect how long it stays in their body. When a person uses marijuana for an extended period, traces of cannabinoids will remain in their body for a longer time. This means they may still test positive for marijuana many months after stopping. In some instances, people have tested positive for THC 3 months after discontinuing use.

What is Marijuana Addiction Treatment?

Many different forms of support exist for those seeking marijuana abuse treatment options. Marijuana treatments often include cognitive-behavioral therapy designed to help users come to grips with their reliance on the drug. Motivational incentives have also shown promise and efficacy in both marijuana treatment centers and outpatient or group-based therapies. The nature of the substance and the fact that it influences different people in widely varying fashions makes one-size-fits-all marijuana treatments exceptionally rare. Most programs for treating addiction and dependence are tailored for the individual.

Detox centers allow those seeking marijuana a place that they can safely deal with the side effects of withdrawal while under the supervision of one or more medical professionals. Unlike opiates and similar drugs, marijuana’s effects are relatively short-lived, and these vary based on the duration of drug abuse and the amount of THC, one of the substance’s more powerful active agents, ingested over a period of time.

Inpatient rehab centers provide more than just a place for detoxification. Classes can help a recovering addict learn new skills or how to apply themselves towards gaining new or different employment when they finish the process. Often, the skills gained during this period will enable the addict to break free of the drug culture that may have led to marijuana abuse. Cognitive-behavioral therapies are often conducted in group settings, and many sufferers may band together and create support groups even after the therapy is completed.

Strong support groups often make the difference between successful marijuana treatment and unsuccessful treatment. Recovering addicts wish to be surrounded by those who understand the struggle they have undergone, but those who do not wish to join such groups may find addiction counseling in one-on-one sessions more beneficial. Sober living may be difficult at first, and lessons learned during the rehab process should provide the necessary tools to escape the drug culture that led to the abuse of marijuana. Aftercare for marijuana addiction may also include drug testing, either voluntary or mandated as part of an ongoing recovery program.

Marijuana addiction is a serious problem for many people. Those who feel they have become addicted to this drug or who know someone who needs assistance should seek the information and resources they need to help overcome the dependence on the substance. Friends, families and other supportive individuals can help stage an intervention to help a loved one come to terms with addiction and start on the path towards recovery. It’s never too late to start on that path, whether you’re walking it yourself or supporting a good friend or family member on their journey. For more information on marijuana addiction treatment or rehab centers in your area and how to live a healthy lifestyle after recovery, call our twenty-four-hour helpline at (909) 971-3333

Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center

Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center

Treatment Center, MD, LCSW, LMFT, ASAM



Phone: (909) 971-3333

Fax (909) 498-9898

1042 East Belmont Abbey Lane, Claremont, CA 91711