Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Los Angeles


Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Marijuana is a drug that is derived from the cannabis plant. This psychoactive drug has been used for thousands of years for myriad reasons, from religious rituals to medicine. In modern times, marijuana is a highly abused recreational drug. In fact, in the United States, marijuana is the top most abused illegal drug, surpassing even heroin and cocaine. While research does support the legitimacy of medical marijuana for certain highly specific purposes, such as helping cancer patients treat the nausea they experience during chemotherapy and alleviating pain, the vast majority of marijuana use is purely recreational. While marijuana’s legal status has changed in certain parts of the country, such as California, where it is now legal to consume it, even legal marijuana use can be habit-forming and lead to addiction.

Marijuana can be one of the most difficult substances to quit. While it is not as physically addictive as other common drugs of abuse, marijuana use is widely accepted in mainstream culture. Just like alcoholics often find it difficult to admit to a problem in a culture that celebrates drinking, quitting marijuana in a culture where the drug is perceived as “safe” and non-addictive can feel difficult. The increasing legality of the drug and social stigma surrounding addiction can make people with marijuana abuse problems feel like they’re imagining their problems. Many people — and even some treatment programs — fail to treat marijuana addiction seriously. The result is that people who are suffering are forced to face their battles alone.


Despite the drug not being severely physically addictive, substance use disorders can easily occur with marijuana. People who use it throughout the day, those who are unable to control their own consumption, and individuals who have found their quality of life reduced by marijuana abuse are exhibiting all the classic signs of addiction. People who have developed this unhealthy relationship with marijuana will often be unable to stop using no matter how much damage the drug inflicts on their lives — and no matter how much willpower they exert to quit.

If you have tried to quit multiple times with little success and feel that marijuana abuse or marijuana withdrawal is negatively impacting your mental health, you are not alone. Long term sobriety is possible. Treatment programs for marijuana addiction generally emphasize developing life skills, support groups, and behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy. By making use of the resources, expertise, and support of a rehab center or addiction center, even the most hopeless-seeming cases of marijuana addiction can be treated. Marijuana addiction, like other forms of substance abuse, is a legitimate mental illness, though with outside support it can be managed. For those who want it, long term sobriety is possible.

Signs of Marijuana Abuse

Individuals who find themselves unable to stop abusing marijuana likely suffer from marijuana addiction, a condition psychiatrists and mental health professionals refer to as cannabis use disorder. Cannabis use disorder is a mental health condition that increases the likelihood of a range of other co-occurring disorders, such as alcohol use disorder and major depression. As such, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish marijuana addiction from other forms of mental illness without the help of a professional. When it comes to marijuana, drug addiction is diagnosed based on symptoms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the guide medical professionals use to diagnose people who are addicted to marijuana. The signs of marijuana addiction as defined by the DSM-5 are as follows:

Use of cannabis for at least a one year period, with the presence of at least two of the following symptoms, accompanied by significant impairment of functioning and distress:
Difficulty containing use of cannabis- the drug is used in larger amounts and over a longer period than intended.
Repeated failed efforts to discontinue or reduce the amount of cannabis that is used
An inordinate amount of time is occupied acquiring, using, or recovering from the effects of cannabis.
Cravings or desires to use cannabis. This can include intrusive thoughts and images, and dreams about cannabis, or olfactory perceptions of the smell of cannabis, due to preoccupation with cannabis.
Continued use of cannabis despite adverse consequences from its use, such as criminal charges, ultimatums of abandonment from spouse/partner/friends, and poor productivity.
Other important activities in life, such as work, school, hygiene, and responsibility to family and friends are superseded by the desire to use cannabis.
Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.
Cannabis is used in contexts that are potentially dangerous, such as operating a motor vehicle.
Use of cannabis continues despite awareness of physical or psychological problems attributed to use- e.g., anergia, amotivation, chronic cough.
Tolerance to Cannabis, as defined by progressively larger amounts of cannabis are needed to obtain the psychoactive effect experienced when use first commenced, or, noticeably reduced effect of use of the same amount of cannabis
Withdrawal, defined as the typical withdrawal syndrome associated with cannabis, or cannabis or a similar substance is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
The American Psychiatric Association also recognizes that cannabis use disorder exists on a spectrum. Suffering from two to three of the above symptoms is sufficient to be diagnosed with a mild addiction. Patients who report four or five symptoms are deemed to suffer from moderate addiction. Individuals who report six or more symptoms, however, are considered to have a severe cannabis use disorder and generally require immediate treatment.

Risks of Marijuana Addiction

People who are addicted to marijuana are at a higher likelihood of experiencing a number of long term effects on their physical and mental health. These include problems with:

People who are addicted to marijuana are at a higher likelihood of experiencing a number of long term effects on their physical and mental health. These include problems with:

  • Mental illness. Marijuana users experience higher rates of mental health disorders, including major depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, and psychosis.
  • Athletic performance. Marijuana impairs users’ movement, coordination, and timing.
  • Driving. People who consume marijuana before driving are not only at a higher risk of suffering the legal consequences of a DUI, but they are risking their lives. Marijuana impairs reaction speed, coordination, and cognitive acuity.
  • Brain health. Research has shown that chronic marijuana users who began in adolescence have lower IQs than individuals who started later.

Beyond these direct consequences, marijuana abuse also harms a person’s ability to function normally in their own lives. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, people who use marijuana are more likely than other populations to have interpersonal problems with family members and other loved ones. They have worse career and educational outcomes. Marijuana users also frequently report lower overall life satisfaction.

The Physical Dangers of Marijuana Abuse

The psychoactive chemicals in cannabis, primarily tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), mainly affect the brain. However, depending on a user’s route of administration, they may also experience a number of long term effects in their body. People who smoke marijuana are at the highest risk for physical health problems. Smoking is extremely detrimental to lung health. In fact, marijuana smoke contains most of the same irritants, toxins, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. As a result, smoking marijuana leads to higher rates of lung cancer, pneumonia, and bronchitis. However, even users who do not smoke marijuana are not necessarily safe from these physical side effects. Consuming marijuana dramatically raises users’ heart rates. This can possibly increase the chances of a heart attack of stroke.

Beyond the direct side effects, however, it should be noted that marijuana’s effects on mental health have very serious physical repercussions. The THC in marijuana causes users to experience higher anxiety and also influences the same parts of the brain that are affected by major depressive disorder. These side effects, along with the increased appetite that is characteristic of the marijuana high, can cause people to make poorer lifestyle choices that harm their health. Marijuana users are more likely than non-users to abuse other dangerous drugs of abuse which, when used concurrently with marijuana, pose greater health risks than when used alone.

Long-Term Use and Severe Marijuana Addiction

While people who smoke marijuana or consume it using another route of administration are likely to experience a range of both physical and mental side effects over the short term, chronic marijuana consumption also leads to a number of long-term dangers. The primary risk is marijuana addiction, or what psychiatrists refer to as a marijuana use disorder. This generally begins gradually with increased dependence on the drug. Dependence occurs when an individual requires greater and greater quantities of the drug in order to achieve the desired high. As the quantities of marijuana increase, marijuana withdrawal side effects intensify as well. The result is that a person will go to any lengths to avoid entering marijuana withdrawal. Signs of marijuana use disorder, which is sometimes also known as cannabis use disorder, include being unable to control consumption and experiencing adverse consequences as a result of continued marijuana abuse.

Chronic marijuana abuse also causes permanent changes in users’ brains. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals who begin consuming marijuana during adolescence show signs of neurological problems even years later. Research has shown that long-term marijuana use impairs memory, thinking, and learning functions. It may even impair the brain’s ability to grow and form connections. Multiple studies have shown that heavy marijuana users experience significant decreases in IQ. Unfortunately, the neurological and cognitive damage that marijuana inflicts does not fully heal even after a person quits marijuana. However, abstaining from further marijuana abuse is the best way to mitigate these issues. With the help of behavioral therapies and support groups, normal functioning is possible even for long-term marijuana users.

Marijuana Addiction and Mental Health

People who have an addiction to marijuana also have an increased risk of developing mental health conditions. These conditions include major depression, anxiety disorders, other substance use disorders, and schizophrenia. Young people who smoke marijuana that have high concentrations of THC are more than 5 times more likely to develop psychosis than non-smokers. While there are many links between marijuana consumption and mental illness, the reverse is also true. Many people who suffer from untreated mental health problems turn to marijuana as a form of self-medication. The result is often a vicious cycle, wherein marijuana use exacerbates symptoms of mental illness and mental illness leads to greater marijuana consumption. Treating substance use disorders is difficult alone, but the process is significantly complicated by the presence of other conditions. It is essential that anyone suffering from comorbid mental health conditions make use of treatment options that offer integrated treatment for dual diagnosis patients.

The Dangers of Quitting Marijuana by Yourself

It may be tempting to quit marijuana by yourself, especially if social stigma around addiction has led you to believe that seeking help is weak. While some people do manage to quit marijuana on their own, people who suffer from marijuana addiction are by definition unable to do so. Addiction is inherently a problem with self-will; when people develop dependence and addiction on a certain drug, that drug hijacks areas of the brain associated with motivation and decision-making. As a result, even when a person wants to quit, they will often find that they are unable to do so. Some people with marijuana addiction are able to stay away from marijuana for periods of time, such as a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, but without treating the underlying substance use disorder, relapse is inevitable. This experience can be deeply demoralizing and may discourage people from trying to quit ever again.


While marijuana withdrawal symptoms are rarely severe enough to warrant enrollment in a medical detox center, cannabis withdrawal after a long period of heavy use can nonetheless be quite debilitating. When people experience withdrawal from marijuana, their mental health tends to suffer considerably. Some experience physical symptoms as well, such as night sweats. Having access to social support groups, the resources of an addiction treatment center, and the full support of family members and loved ones is absolutely essential to a successful detox. Smoking weed is often lonely for people with marijuana addiction, and quitting cold turkey is likely to be a similarly lonely and arduous experience. Getting help is ultimately not just more effective — it feels better.

Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal

The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are not life threatening. However, for individuals with a history of heavy substance abuse who abused marijuana daily, withdrawal from marijuana can be more intense. Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anger and irritability
  • Sleep problems, ranging from insomnia to increased need for sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Symptoms of major depression or an anxiety disorder
  • Headaches

Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline

The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal last longer for marijuana users who are more acclimated to higher doses. Most symptoms begin a few hours after people stop using the drug. After 10 days, symptoms generally reach their peak intensity. This is when mood swings and cravings can be most difficult to handle. After the peak, the majority of marijuana symptoms will gradually dissipate over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. Some people experience minor side effects months after stopping using marijuana. This phenomenon, which is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome, is common among people with severe marijuana addictions. It is important that anyone experiencing any of these symptoms seek the help of a treatment center that can provide support throughout the withdrawal process.

Best Options for Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Treatment for marijuana addiction is generally pursued throughout several stages. It is helpful for people addicted to marijuana to have support throughout the withdrawal process. However, to avoid relapse it is even more important that they develop a number of coping strategies and life skills to help them thrive in long term sobriety. Taking advantage of multiple treatment programs provides the highest likelihood of successful recovery. Research shows that individuals who stay in treatment programs longer have lower rates of relapse. The best options for marijuana addiction treatment are as follows:
  • marijuana-medical-detox

    Marijuana Addiction Detox Programs

    Attending a medical detox program is a wise first step for individuals with a physical dependence on marijuana. Marijuana withdrawal doesn’t only cause cravings, it leads to a number of mental side effects including mood swings and sleep disorders.. Medical detox centers provide people with support, resources, and a safe space to withdraw from marijuana. As patients progress along the withdrawal process, case workers can help connect them to further addiction treatment programs so that they can build on their progress.
  • marijuana-addiction-inpatient-facility-los-angeles

    Marijuana Addiction Inpatient Treatment Programs

    Inpatient treatment facilities allow individuals to treat the underlying reasons behind their addiction after they’ve detoxed. These live-in programs offer 24 hour care along with a number of resources, from therapy to skill-building workshops. They also help residents develop a sober social support system that will aid them over the long term
  • marijuana-addiction-outpatient-rehab-near-me

    Marijuana Addiction Outpatient Treatment Programs

    Outpatient treatment centers are often recommended for the transitional phase after graduating from an inpatient treatment program, but they can also be used by individuals who require a higher degree of flexibility from their treatment program. Requiring only a few hours a week, outpatient programs offer counseling and treatment plans for long term recovery.
  • marijuana-addiction-aftercare-treatment

    Marijuana Addiction Aftercare Treatment Programs

    Support groups and 12-step programs, including Marijuana Anonymous (MA) which many individuals get involved in during formal treatment programs, are often utilized for many years after graduation. These programs offer programs for continued recovery as well as social support systems. At a formal treatment center, case workers can help individuals plan ahead to develop an appropriate aftercare plan for long term sobriety.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment at Create Recovery Center

Create Recovery Center’s marijuana addiction treatment program is directed by counselors and medical professionals with lengthy experience in addiction treatment. Create Recovery Center offers scientific and evidence-based treatment methods in a nonjudgmental and safe environment. Whether you are beginning the initial process of detoxing or working on rebuilding your life after getting some sober time, Create Recovery Center takes a holistic and personal approach to guarantee that the unique needs of each individual are met.

The staff at Create Recovery Center understand that getting sober involves much more than just abstaining from abusing marijuana. People pursuing treatment at Create Recovery Center take the time necessary to rebuild their lives from the ground up. They secure employment, work to rebuild relationships and develop coping tools and skills that will aid them in the future. We work individually with each patient to make sure they have what it takes not only to avoid relapse over the long term, but to live joyful and fulfilling lives in sobriety.


Services we offer include:

Case management
Medication monitoring
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy
Family Therapy
12-step groups and 12-step alternatives
Groups outings
Career and educational planning
Community involvement

No matter what stage of addiction recovery you’re at, Create Recovery Center is here for you if you’re prepared to make a change. Marijuana addiction can feel demoralizing, but individuals who have made progress in our addiction treatment program have a different story to tell. Long term sobriety is yours for the taking. Contact Create Recovery Center today.