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Despite common misconceptions, marijuana is not a harmless substance. As more states continue to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, it can be common to not consider the consequences that can result from the use of marijuana use. 

Even though marijuana can have medicinal value, it is still a drug with dangers that can be associated with habitual use. Just like any drug, marijuana use can lead to addiction and become problematic if these dangers are not realized or handled properly.

Recreational Use vs. Chemical Dependence

There is a big difference between the recreational use of marijuana and having a chemical dependency on the substance, which is known as marijuana use disorder. According to the July 2020 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Cannabis Research Report, marijuana use disorder becomes an addiction when you cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of your life.

Like any drug, marijuana use disorders are associated with feelings of dependence where you can feel symptoms of withdrawal if you stop using the drug. The same NIDA report says that marijuana dependence occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing the production of and sensitivity to its endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Once a chemical dependence has developed and you try to quit your marijuana use, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Physical discomfort 

Even though marijuana can be addictive, withdrawal symptoms might not feel as severe as other drugs. However, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have a problem with marijuana use.

Self-Medicating Mental Health Disorders

It can be common to use marijuana habitually as a way to self-medicate mental health issues like anxiety or depression. While marijuana is becoming increasingly legalized in many states for medical use, you may want to reflect on the reasons why you are using marijuana if you are not prescribed the substance for medicinal purposes. A good place to start is to make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist to help pinpoint if you are using marijuana to self-medicate, and, if necessary, seek alternative methods of treatment.

Problematic marijuana use can sometimes lead to increased anxiety and mental health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana use, especially frequently (daily or nearly daily) and in high doses, can cause disorientation and unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. 

The CDC also says that people who use marijuana are more likely to develop temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations, and paranoia) and long-lasting mental disorders. These statistics are not meant to scare you; instead, they are here to educate you about marijuana use disorder and some symptoms to look out for if you are concerned that marijuana use has become a problem in your life.

Time and Financial Commitment

As with any other drug that is used habitually, there can often be serious time and financial commitments related to your use of marijuana. If you feel like your recreational marijuana use may be becoming a problem, you can validate your concerns by looking at your wallet and calendar.

Some good questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you feel like you are spending too much money on marijuana each month?
  • Are you having any money issues that are directly or indirectly related to your marijuana use?
  • Do you feel guilty or ashamed when you spend your hard-earned money on marijuana?
  • Are you often late to or cancel appointments as a result of your marijuana use?
  • Do you feel like you are wasting time whenever you go to acquire marijuana?
  • Do you feel guilty or ashamed for spending time acquiring and smoking marijuana, as opposed to time with family and friends?
  • Is your work becoming affected by your marijuana use?

It is a great idea to take out a journal or a piece of paper so you can think about and answer these questions honestly for yourself. There is immense power in getting thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. When you see the questions and answers right in front of you, it will become so much easier to formulate the bigger picture and figure out whether or not marijuana usage has become problematic for you.

Impact on Daily Life, Work, and Activities

Another way to determine whether or not your marijuana usage has become problematic is to look at your daily schedule and see if it is having an impact on your daily work, activities, and life on the whole. Some good questions you can ask yourself might include:

  • What kind of effect is my marijuana use having on my daily schedule?
  • Am I feeling guilty or shameful because I use marijuana?
  • Am I feeling worse, physically and/or mentally, as a result of my marijuana use?
  • Is my marijuana usage preventing me from participating in activities I genuinely enjoy?

If you feel like you may have a problem with marijuana use, addiction treatment centers in Dallas can help you as you begin your long-term road to recovery.

Even though more states are continuing to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, marijuana is still considered a drug. Like any other drug, it can come along with bad side effects like feelings of withdrawal. There is a large difference between the recreational use of marijuana as compared to having a dependence on it, which is known as marijuana use disorder. Lighthouse Recovery Texas is an addiction treatment facility that understands the challenges involved with seeking treatment and staying engaged in long-term recovery. We offer a number of treatment interventions and programs for clients to help individualize their treatment experience and make treatment overall more effective. We can help you determine whether or not your marijuana use is a problem. To learn more about our facility, or for more information about marijuana use disorder, call us at (214) 717-5884.