Most people have heard the song Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty or Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter, Paul & Mary. Many people do not know the hidden meaning behind both songs – marijuana, the toxic friend to many individuals.
When a marijuana user crosses the line from experimental marijuana use into a full-blown addiction, the option of whether or not they will ingest marijuana is diminished. Marijuana becomes an integral part of their lives, a necessity for survival – not an occasional experiment or a weekend indulgence.
Addiction is defined as the state of being “enslaved to a habit or practice” or to something that is physically and mentally debilitating and habit-forming. Addiction is also characterized by the continued use of the substance despite a known detriment of prolonged use, an acquired tolerance to the substance and severe trauma upon cessation of use.
When an individual is addicted to marijuana, the psychological component of addiction can be overwhelmingly strong. Professional treatment is imperative for marijuana addicts, so they can learn ways in which to reintegrate themselves into society as sober, clean individuals. Through rehab, marijuana addicts can learn to retain their identity without having to succumb to the drug.
What Does Detox from Marijuana Involve?
Upon entering a marijuana rehab or detox center, patients will be assessed during the initial intake period. Their blood and urine will be screened to determine the level of toxicity that must be flushed out during the detoxification process. Clinicians on-site are keenly aware of the withdrawal effects associated with cessation of marijuana use, and invest energy in helping the patient transition from a foggy, cluttered mind into a drug-free, clear state of being.
To start, marijuana detox involves flushing the body of chemicals. While a marijuana addict is using, he or she is either ingesting marijuana – from the dried leaves of the Cannabis hemp plant – via brownies, cookies or other food items – or smoking marijuana.
Studies reveal that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is more than twice as potent today as it was 20 years ago. Although the intoxicating effects of marijuana last only two to eight hours, the chemical stays in the user’s system for much longer. Detox involves a strong emphasis on the psychological trauma associated with cessation of use, more so than incorporating pharmaceutical options into the patient’s treatment regimen. Rarely, benzodiazepines are used in the detox process of marijuana; more often than not, therapy in a controlled rehabilitation setting is the primary method of detoxification.
Why Do Marijuana Addicts Need Detox?
Without proper Marijuana addiction detox, addicts risk a relapse. Addiction is both physical and psychological in nature.
Withdrawal effects can include:
- Acute panic reactions
- Generalized anxiety
- Flashbacks and vivid dreams
- Mood swings
- Agitation and restlessness
Throughout the detox process, patients are encouraged to engage in group therapy. Within a group forum, patients can relay their struggles, triumphs and challenges with their peers. Other marijuana addicts in early sobriety will relate on a number of levels, paralleling the addict’s experience and validating his or her feelings.
The Value in Marijuana Detox Aftercare
After the initial detoxification period has commenced, patients are encouraged to follow a comprehensive aftercare program, outlining drug treatment options for the continued recovery from marijuana addiction. Programs are drafted by rehab managers, resident assistants and detox professionals in collaboration with patient input.
Typical elements of an aftercare plan include:
- Local 12-step meetings in which the addict can continue participating in beyond the scope of treatment
- Continued individualized therapy
- Random drug testing, conducted by a family member or spouse, to keep the addict accountable post-treatment
- Addiction education via books, lectures and online forums
- Management of any co-occurring mental disorders, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder or panic disorder
Marijuana addicts must commit to an overhaul of their existing lifestyle in favor of alternative approaches that require emotional sobriety and a clear mind. Many marijuana addicts find that they must forego their social circle, as they have historically surrounded themselves with others who thrive in the culture associated with marijuana use. In such a culture, personal hygiene, academic achievements and monetary success are often devalued.
Through proper treatment, recovering marijuana addicts can reintegrate themselves into society as healthy, flourishing individuals who stay connected with other sober, high-functioning individuals and recovering addicts.