Cannabis use disorder is a condition characterized by the harmful consequences of repeated cannabis use, a pattern of compulsive cannabis use, and (sometimes) physiological dependence on cannabis (i.e., tolerance and/or symptoms of withdrawal). Over time, this plant material has accumulated many names (e.g., weed, Mary Jane, pot, grass, herb, skunk, and ganja). A concentrated extraction of the cannabis plant that is also commonly used is hashish. Cannabis is most commonly smoked via a variety of methods: pipes, water pipes (hookahs or bongs), cigarettes (joints or reefers), or, in the paper from hollowed-out cigars (blunts). Cannabis is sometimes also ingested orally, typically by being mixed into food. Recently, devices have been developed in which cannabis can be vaporized. Cannabis users can develop tolerance to this drug so that it can be difficult to detect when they are intoxicated. Signs of cannabis use include red eyes, chronic cough, cannabis odor on clothing, yellowing of fingertips (from smoking joints), burning of incense (to hide odor), and exaggerated craving and impulse for specific foods. This disorder is only diagnosed when cannabis use becomes persistent and causes significant academic, occupational, or social impairment.
The onset of cannabis use disorder can occur at any time during or following adolescence, but onset is most commonly during adolescence or young adulthood. Individuals are not all automatically or equally vulnerable to developing cannabis use disorder or other substance-related disorders. Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to develop problematic use if they’re exposed to drugs.
If you are taking cannabinoids, under appropriate medical supervision, an individual does not meet this criterion. Cannabis use disorder can include periods of cannabis intoxication and symptoms of withdrawal.
Cannabis Intoxication causes significant psychological and social impairment. Signs of Cannabis intoxication are:
Cannabis withdrawal occurs after the cessation of (or reduction in) heavy and prolonged cannabis use. The symptoms of cannabis withdrawal include:
There is no perfect way to approach a loved one that you assume or know is struggling with a cannabis use disorder. Many people with cannabis use disorder do not seek treatment, mainly because they don’t think it is a problem. Approaching loved ones to tell them that they do have a problem can be difficult. An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need help. If you’re concerned about someone who may have a cannabis use disorder, ask a professional experienced in drug addiction treatment for advice on how to approach that person. You can not force someone to seek professional care, but you can always offer your support and encouragement.
There is no FDA-approved pharmacological treatment for cannabis dependence. Lifestyle changes are important in deciding to stop using cannabis. Reflecting on why you choose to use cannabis and the effects you seek from cannabis may help in your decision to stop using cannabis. Ensuring that your family and friends are aware that you no longer want to use cannabis and developing a support system of friends and family who can support your decision is important. If you have people in your life who continue to take cannabis and do not support your choice to stop using, it may impact your decision and ability to stop. Engaging in other healthy habits like good sleep habits, regular physical activity, meditation, and yoga can be used to replace your cannabis use.
Your decision to seek help for cannabis use disorder is a powerful step towards a brighter future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and embark on your journey to healing. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way.
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