The National Institute on Drug Abuse states the marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People might turn to this drug because of the often calming effect it can deliver, but they might also choose marijuana because they believe the drug is somehow safe to use and abuse, with no negative repercussions at any time.
People who use marijuana in unhealthy ways may openly share their thoughts about the drug, but they might also work hard to keep their habits shadowed in secrecy. Thankfully, there are a number of signs that can point to a burgeoning addiction, and attuned families can spot these hallmarks of addiction with just a bit of close observation.
Environmental Clues of Marijuana Abuse
People who misuse or overuse marijuana often leave behind telltale clues in the rooms where the substance use occurs. Common signs include:
- Hidden stashes of plants. Marijuana is a mixture of gray and green dried shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers from the cannabis sativa plant, also known as hemp. It might look a little like oregano or sage, and typically, a user will only have a small amount at a time.
- Sticky residue. Some marijuana users choose to purchase hash, which might look like a gooey, brown lump.
- Suspicious foods. Marijuana is sometimes baked into brownies or cookies, and while those foods might not smell suspicious, they might be marked with drug-related signs or unusual symbols, and they might be stored in strange places where the family doesn’t typically store food. It is important to immediately ensure that these foods are safe from children.
- Accessories. Marijuana is usually smoked using cigarette rolling papers or through use of a vaporizer, pipe, or bong, which is a glass-based pipe that can be a few inches or several feet tall. Lighters or matches are typically stored near these devices.
- The smell. Marijuana gives off a sharp, pungent smell that can vary widely. Some varieties having a citrus-like smell similar to that of a lemon tree, and others can even smell spicy, skunk-like, or have an ammonia-like smell.
Common Behavioral Changes Associated with Marijuana Misuse
A loved one may show difficulty paying attention, difficulty staying on track in sentence formation, or difficulty speaking or thinking quickly. The person may discuss marijuana use with nicknames,, using words like “ganja,” “420”, “weed,” “blunts,” and “Mary Jane” when they are referring to marijuana or getting high.
In addition to language or thought changes, people who have marijuana addiction can also begin to manifest changes in their behaviors. They might become resistant to the idea of setting goals and working hard, for example, and they might even seem like they want to do nothing at all. Researchers call this “motivational syndrome,” and a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry suggests that chemical changes in the brain due to marijuana abuse are to blame. The brain scans provided to people in this study suggest that marijuana can cause a dip in the production of dopamine, which might make people feel less motivation on a daily basis.
In addition to seeming a little sedated, people who abuse marijuana might also become paranoid about issues of privacy, wanting time alone as much as possible. They might become concerned when someone enters a private space without knocking, for example, or they might keep parts of their private rooms under lock and key, so others can’t enter.
Top Physical Symptoms of Marijuana Use and Addiction
While behavior and environment might provide some clues to a burgeoning marijuana addiction, some problems involve the person’s physical and mental health. These are a few warning signs to look for:
- Poor memory
- Red eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Decrease in coordination
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
People who abuse marijuana might also seem as though they’re on an emotional rollercoaster, seeming happy and relaxed one moment, and drowsy and sedated the next. Some people also experience hallucinations or psychotic episodes while under the influence, seeing things that aren’t there or watching for problems that others just can’t see. Higher concentrations of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may produce more hallucinogenic responses.
Treat Marijuana Addiction at The Canyon
IIf you’ve seen these signs in someone you love, we can help. The Canyon is a licensed residential chemical dependency treatment facility that has a highly experienced staff. Each treatment program that a client undergoes is developed by a master’s level therapist and reviewed weekly by a full clinical team. Treatment programs can include therapies such as adventure/ropes therapy, individual psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and EMDR. Additionally, therapists meet with their clients individually on a weekly basis to evaluate their progress and assess their needs. We also provide a nutrition program designed to aid physical recovery.
In short, The Canyon has the tools and resources your loved one might need in order to break free from marijuana addiction and lead a healthy life. Contact us today for more information about our marijuana addiction treatment program here in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains.