How Marijuana Use Turns Into Addiction

“The unfortunate truth is that the lack of serious, early consequences to marijuana addiction allows for a long, slow decline, often without recognition, resulting in later-­stage addiction before the problem is confronted….

how Marijuana usage can turn into addiction - Maui Recovery

“The unfortunate truth is that the lack of serious, early consequences to marijuana addiction allows for a long, slow decline, often without recognition, resulting in later-­stage addiction before the problem is confronted. An individual may wake up years into this chronic illness without a reasonable understanding of how their life got so far off track. Often one has no major medical or legal problems, no sudden tragedy that drives the search for an answer. However, isolation from friends and family, loss of interest and lack of participation in those activities that used to bring joy, and the crushing weight of missed opportunities add up.” – Marvin D. Seppala, MD

How does someone determine the crossing point in how marijuana use turns into addiction? If a substance dangerous of becoming additive is legal, doesn’t that eliminate its safety concerns?

A total of 37 states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands regulate cannabis for medical use by qualified individuals. And the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 21 states, including Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and D.C. with another 10 states having decriminalized its use. Marijuana is legal in many states because when used responsibly it has been proven to aid patients with severe anxiety, autism, and even cancer. In fact, according to The National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health– drugs containing cannabinoids may be helpful in treating other severe conditions. Such as certain rare forms of epilepsy, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. And for some people, perhaps what is more addictive is the relaxation or ease in anxiety from personal problems and a chaotic world. Whichever the case, whether legal or not, any substance that becomes a priority should be put in check. 

What Is The Difference Between Marijuana And Hemp?

The word “marijuana” refers to parts of or products from the plant Cannabis sativa that contain substantial amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the substance that’s primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana on a person’s mental state. Some cannabis plants contain very little THC, and under U.S. law these plants are considered “industrial hemp” rather than marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Marijuana can also be known or referred to as weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja, Mary Jane, among others less commonly heard. Marijuana physically is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried Cannabis Sativa flowers with a crystallized looking element to its features. More potent forms of marijuana include sinsemilla (from specially tended female plants) and concentrated resins containing high doses of marijuana’s active ingredients, including honey like hash oil, waxy budder, and hard amberlike shatter. How marijuana use turns to addiction depends on the user, as more frequent use can become habitual and for some- necessary to function in a normal day.  

Effects Of Marijuana Use Both Physically And Mentally

It’s incredible how much the use of substances, marijuana as we are highlighting, has increased over the years. Marijuana is the most used illegal drug in the United States, with approximately 22.2 million users each month. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “Approximately 4.0 million people aged 12 or older in 2016 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year, which represents 1.5% of people aged 12 or older.” Some of the physical effects Physical Effects with marijuana abuse are; breathing issues, increased heart rate, stress to the immune system, intense nausea and vomiting, brain cell damage, and damages the central nervous system. Short-term effects can include; impaired body movement, hallucinations, mood changes, psychosis, difficulty with thinking and problem-solving, and an altered sense of time. While long-term effects can include; impaired memory, slow learning functions, and loss of mental ability. Known effects are not limited to what we have named above, but if you or someone you love is experiencing any of these- seek help immediately. 

Is Marijuana The Gateway Drug?


Considered by most, there are three or four main drugs that are often given the title of being a gateway drug. These include: nicotine (from smoking), alcohol, marijuana, and prescription pills. But, what exactly is a “gateway drug” by definition? Gateway drugs are milder drugs that can open the door to exposure to or experimentation with harsher substances. For example, many people may feel that nicotine and alcohol are relatively harmless which is why these substances are legal to purchase and use. However, we all know that these substances are indeed not harmless for many people as with addiction being the proof. According to the CDC researchers disagree on how marijuana use turns into addiction or is a “gateway drug”. The idea that marijuana use leads a person to use other more dangerous drugs, like cocaine or heroin, is still under debate. However, there is limited evidence suggesting that using marijuana increases the risk of using other drugs. People who use marijuana and do go on to use other drugs (including tobacco and/or alcohol) may have a higher risk of dependence or addiction to those drugs. This can be found to be especially true if they started using marijuana at an early age and use it frequently.

Such debate about whether marijuana is a “gateway drug” or not distracts from the question of how marijuana use turns into addition. Anyone can become addicted to something that feels good, that temporarily distracts us from our own struggles and negative feelings. Perhaps the real question is why did we use marijuana in the first place? Factors such as family or peer pressure, feelings of loneliness, anxiety or hostility, can maybe help us look closer to the strong roots of addiction that are first laid. Understanding our complex mind and emotions can be helpful on the journey toward recovery from marijuana abuse. Holistic centers, such as Maui Recovery, understand the importance of looking at the whole person instead of just the disorder. But, before reaching out to a marijuana addiction recovery center, let’s take a look at what marijuana addiction can look like. 

Signs Of Marijuana Addiction To Look Out For

As with other types of drug addiction, behavioral and physical signs can signal marijuana addiction in an individual. How marijuana use turns into addiction is still being understood, as there most often various factors. However, there are signs of marijuana addiction to look out for whether in yourself or someone you care about. Physical signs of marijuana addiction can include; red, blurry, and/or bloodshot eyes, extreme hunger, also known as “munchies”, dry mouth, and a constant mucus-filled cough. Behavioral changes to look out for include; cravings for the drug, spending money that should go to household expenses on drugs, distorted perceptions, and cutting back on work, hobbies, and/or social activities once enjoyed. By the way, new hobbies such as excessive screen use, over eating, and couch surfing can be newly seen hobbies enjoyed. A clear observation of how marijuana use turns into addiction and can have negative effects. 

Transformational Addiction Recovery Programs At Maui Recovery

Determining whether you are addicted to marijuana is no small task. Throughout most of the time you have spent using; you will have most likely been convincing yourself that you do not have a substance abuse issue and that you have the power to stop using marijuana whenever you want to. Because of this factor, it will become a complex task to admit to yourself that you have had a problem with this drug for a while now. You will need to break through the thick wall of denial that you have spent months or years tirelessly constructing during your treatment time. Here at Maui Recovery, we want everyone to remember that there is no shame in admitting that you need help and that your state of being will likely begin to improve as soon as you start acting. Even if you remain entirely unsure whether you or your loved one are facing addiction, seeking a professional opinion and support is a fundamental step.

At Maui Recovery, we welcome, nurture, and care for individuals and families through their journey of recovery by empowering their restoration & healing from addiction. We provide dynamic programs that address the Whole Self, transforming a shame core to a love core and cultivating meaningful human connection, intimacy, and purposeful living. How marijuana use turns into addiction is usually from other factors in a person’s life. Whether it be genetics, trauma, family or peer pressure, extreme anxiety and/or depression it doesn’t matter. Maui Recovery goes to the root of a disorder for their clients to help find a successful path toward recovery. The Hawaiian word Ohana, “coming from the same root,” refers to an inclusive and extended family. It expresses the very heart of Maui Recovery. Our experienced staff members know all to well the dangerous grips that marijuana use and other substances can have on someone struggling with addiction. At Maui Recovery we’re certain the process is real and reversing the breakdown of mind, body, and spirit that marijuana use and addiction create is possible. Our staff has seen countless people recover from what often appears as a hopeless condition. 

Programs Designed To Reverse How Marijuana Use Turns Into Addiction

Maui Recovery is unique in that it combines both the best evidence-based treatments and experimental therapies to treat the whole client. Successful forms of treatment such as; Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, as well as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) are used alongside less conventional forms. It’s important to keep in mind that just as each person in this world is uniquely different, so are their causes for addiction and therefore their specific need of treatment. While someone struggling with marijuana addiction may need a more traditional environment set in a hospital, another may need an idyllic environment close to Mother Nature. A group setting of community support may be ideal for someone struggling with how marijuana use turns into addiction, while one-on-one support from a professional may work better for someone else. These factors that come with a program are important to consider when finding the right treatment for how marijuana use turns into addiction. Below are examples of the programs designed and utilized to treat marijuana addiction at Maui Recovery :

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) –  Also known as CBT, this active therapeutic modality is present-oriented, problem-focused, and goal-directed. As an evidence-based treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a proven effective treatment for abuse disorders, such as alcohol addiction, as well as behavioral addictions and specific mental health diagnoses. Understanding the benefits of therapies such as this is helpful in finding psychiatric treatment facilities that work for yourself or a loved one seeking recovery. 

Motivational Interviewing – This form of therapy is a collaborative, therapeutic conversation between licensed clinicians and clients. Motivational Interviewing addresses the common problem of conflict for change with mental health disorders such as addiction. As defined by William Miller, the creator of motivational interviewing, its purpose is to strengthen the client’s own motivation for and commitment to change in a manner that is consistent with said client’s values. Therefore, rather than imposing or forcing changes, the practitioner will “meet the client where the client is” and help him/her move toward his/her goals by drawing out and building his/her readiness to change.

By receiving treatment at a professional marijuana rehab center, such as Maui Recovery, you or a loved one will be able to choose the care needed for life lasting recovery. Most often customizing patient care to ensure that you or a loved one receive the type, quality, and duration of care needed. Combining the best evidence-based treatments with powerful and transformative holistic and experimental therapies to treat the whole client is what we do at Maui Recovery. We understand how marijuana use turns into addiction, and we look forward to facilitating a path of healing and recovery with you. 

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If you’re struggling with an addiction, or know a friend or family member who is, reach out to one of our experts today. We’re here for you.

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