What Does Marijuana Addiction Treatment Look Like?

If you think marijuana is a low-risk drug and that no one gets addicted to it, think again. According to government statistics, 9 percent of marijuana users will get addicted. Those more likely to get hooked include regular daily smokers and anyone who started using marijuana as a teen. Like other types of addicts, marijuana addicts report experiencing withdrawal and having difficulty controlling how much or how often they smoke. If you think you or someone you care about might have a problem with marijuana, you might wonder what treatment is like. How do you effectively treat this addiction?

Therapy and Counseling

Various forms of therapy or drug counseling are often used to treat people with an addiction to marijuana. It is possible to get good and effective treatment by attending outpatient counseling sessions with a trained and experienced therapist. The most common technique used in these sessions is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. It is a type of therapy that involves learning to identify your negative thoughts and behaviors and take steps to change them.

In addition to CBT, therapists who treat marijuana addiction also use motivational therapy. This is a strategy that pushes the addict to use internal motivation to make positive changes. Contingency management is another therapeutic strategy that makes use of rewards for changing behaviors. The type of therapy that works best for an individual may take some trial and error to find. A good therapist will try several techniques to get to the right one.

Network therapy is a newer kind of counseling that can be done on an outpatient basis. In network therapy, the family and close friends of the addict are deeply involved in sessions. It helps to keep the addict accountable and provides the social support that is important for any type of addiction recovery. Network therapy is also useful for family members who have been harmed by the addiction in a loved one.

Rehab for Marijuana Addiction

Another type of treatment for marijuana addiction is a more intensive approach. Rehab means going to a treatment facility for an extended stay. If you go to rehab, you may stay for a week, a month or a few months. Treatment at rehab involves addiction therapy, similar to what you would receive in outpatient counseling sessions, but it also includes a wide range of other strategies. These may include group counseling as well as alternative therapies like animal or art therapy, meditation, mindfulness, exercise or acupuncture. Rehab is a good option for anyone addicted to marijuana who has failed to make improvements with outpatient therapy alone. 

Medicated Treatment

There are no approved medications to help treat marijuana addiction, but that may change. Recent research has found a drug with the potential to help marijuana addicts stop using. The drug is called nabilone and it is a synthetic version of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. In studies, nabilone helped relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal and allowed addicted users to quit more easily and more successfully. Nabilone has a low potential for abuse and is considered safe for addicts to use because it does not give the user a high.

Exactly what addiction treatment for marijuana looks like depends on the addict and her needs. There are several good strategies for treating this type of addiction. What will be most effective is a program tailored to each individual addict. Whether you or someone you care about is struggling with marijuana addiction, there is a treatment plan out there that will work.

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