Also known as weed, pot or reefer, marijuana is made from the extracts of the Cannabis sativa or hemp plant. Officially classified as a mind-altering or psychoactive narcotic, the active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A widely used drug throughout North America, upwards of 150,000 individuals enter treatment for a proclaimed addiction to marijuana. Marijuana addiction is defined when the person makes a firm decision to stop smoking only to relapse following intense cravings for the drug.
The withdrawal symptoms from marijuana begin within twenty-four hours and can last up to a full month as the drug is flushed from the body. Symptoms include:
- physical tension
- decreases in appetite and mood
- short-term memory loss
- irregular sleep patterns
- loss of motivation
The most effective treatment for marijuana addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapies that helps the addict change their way of thinking, their expectancies from drug use, their learned behaviors, and helps them better cope with life’s daily stressors. Treatment also includes developing strategies to stay off of drugs by engaging in a healthier and more productive lifestyle.