Marijuana Dependency, Say What?
Cannabis laws have changed recently in Oregon. For some people this provides a sense of relief- not only from the medical issues that they utilize the plant for, but also from the threat of criminalization, which has been eradicated. However, other users find that they feel confined by Cannabis. Activities that used to be joyful now require getting high. Emotional distresses are handled by first reaching for a pipe, edible, vaporizer, rather than a sense of connectedness to how one actually feels. Many people utilize Marijuana to excess to treat underlying conditions like depression, ADHD, and anxiety. When long-term and frequent Cannabis users try to quit they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as feeling uncomfortably hot and cold, poor appetite, severe insomnia, anxiety and irritability.
“Chronic cannabis users typically experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. These symptoms are much less severe than those associated with withdrawal from chronic opioid or depressant use, but aversive enough to encourage continued cannabis use and interfere with cessation attempts in some individuals.” – Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2015
Withdrawal effects serve as a negative reward for your brain, which unfortunately, is more likely to be remembered than a positive reward and thus, a cycle of addiction occurs. An example of this thinking would be along the lines of, “last time I tried to quit I didn’t sleep for a week and I had panic attacks so I guess I should keep smoking because it helps.” Marijuana Anonymous explains it well in its literature: “It is the nature of addiction that addicts don’t [sic]believe they are ill. Marijuana addicts, in particular, tend to believe that they must be ‘OK’ since there are much worse drugs, and other people whose lives are much worse off as a result of their using. That is denial.”
Psychiatry is helpful in treating Cannabis dependence by treating underlying mental health conditions that require self-medication. Remember, your brain has its own endocannabinoid system!
Please note: there is no specific medication or drug indicated by the FDA to treat Cannabis dependency.