9 Warning Signs of a Marijuana Addiction

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 12, 2021.

While marijuana doesn't have the same addictive properties as many other drugs, its use still comes with risks. The side effects and symptoms of marijuana use can make it challenging to go about a daily routine, and users can develop dependence over time.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has a marijuana addiction, learn the signs so you know when to get help.

Physical Warning Signs

When a person smokes marijuana, the substance works its way into the bloodstream and causes immediate symptoms you can physically see. If you notice the following side effects in a loved one often, they may be dependent on marijuana:

  • Bloodshot eyes: Marijuana smoke irritates the eyes, causing them to become itchy and watery. Excessive scratching or rubbing causes them to become bloodshot.
  • Reduced coordination: Once inhaled, marijuana relaxes the body to the point that the user becomes drowsy, and their movements become clumsy.
  • Delayed reaction time: Marijuana distorts the user's judgment and senses, which delays their actions and reactions to a situation.

Psychological Warning Signs

Marijuana does more than impair the body physically. Repeated marijuana use can also impact the brain. The "high" feeling users get from marijuana comes from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Exposure to THC can cause psychological issues, like:

  • Paranoia: THC can bind to different receptors in the brain. Some receptors, like endocannabinoid receptors, carry the THC to the amygdala, where emotion is processed. THC can then provoke negative feelings of fear and paranoia.
  • Memory impairment: Other receptors can take THC to parts of the brain that deal with memory formation. The THC can then prevent some memory formation, causing short-term memory loss.
  • Poor judgment: THC-carrying receptors impair areas of the brain that are critical when it comes to making decisions. As a result, your loved one may act in ways that are not appropriate or safe.

Behavioral Warning Signs

Marijuana addiction has lasting effects on an individual's body, mind and actions. With the frequent use of marijuana, a person's behavior can completely change. As with any other drug, a person struggling with cannabis use disorder puts their substance first at the expense of other aspects of day-to-day life. They may feel unable to relax without the drug. Over time, they develop a tolerance, needing more and more marijuana to feel the same results.

This addiction can cause a series of changes in how they treat their family and friends and conduct themselves throughout the day. Behavioral changes include:

  • Excessive eating: The excess of THC in the brain can trick a user into thinking they are hungry. As a result, they may continuously eat until the THC is gone. This behavior can lead to weight gain over time.
  • New friendships built around marijuana use: When marijuana use becomes an addiction, the user will want to surround themselves with people who also abuse the substance.
  • Careless behavior: Marijuana can cause the user to lose motivation for daily activities, from exercising to showing up at work. Those who do continue coming to work may not be as driven or focused as they have been before.

Diamond House Detox Offers Effective Recovery Programs

If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, it might be time to seek help. Diamond House Detox is a treatment facility that caters to those who struggle with substance use, including cannabis use disorder. With individualized treatment and aftercare plans, we support our clients in achieving a full recovery.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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