One of the largest issues surrounding the use and misuse of marijuana is a largely antiquated notion that marijuana is “safe” or “not addicting.” Many parents that have young adults using or misusing marijuana often reference the “weed we used to smoke” to make a point that the marijuana being used by their adult child is harmless. Or others point to the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana throughout the country as a reason for it not to be problematic.
However, there are some important points to consider. First, the marijuana and THC products being used today is not the same type of marijuana that people were smoking decades ago. As an example, in the 1970s the average marijuana product typically contained no more than 3-4% THC. That potency level of THC stayed constant till the mid-1990s. However, by 2014 the average THC content in cannabis products had risen to 12% and there have been some scientific studies in recent years that have shown certain strains of marijuana with a THC content as high as 34% THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. It is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gives the user the “high.”
A second point to consider is the argument that the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana makes it safe. It is true that, in relation to other substances, marijuana is much safer than heroin or cocaine. However, the argument that it is safe simply because it is now being less regulated by law does not equate to it being safe. Think of marijuana in the same way as alcohol. Alcohol is legal. Many people drink alcohol regularly with no problems. They use it as a social lubricant or a stress reliever. Many people drink alcohol simply to compliment a meal. However, alcohol is still a dangerous substance and can cause problems for many people that consume it, especially if they are consuming it regularly. While some people enjoy alcohol responsibility and without problems or consequences, a percentage of the population develops a dependence and it can have dangerous consequences to their health, their well-being, their relationships, and their quality of life. Marijuana is no different. While there is certainly some argument to the benefits of marijuana, and many people will be able to use it recreationally or without consequences, some people will develop a dependence on marijuana to function. Still, others may find that their marijuana use and misuse will cause them consequences to their mental health and stability, relationships, employment, and quality of life.
Does Marijuana Abuse Require Detox?
So, does someone with issues with marijuana require detox? Like any other addiction or substance misuse issue, the answer is that they may. While we certainly understand that stopping the use of marijuana will not create a dire medical situation or crisis that may be life-threatening, like a detox from opioids, alcohol or benzodiazepines would be, it’s important to point of the need to stop misusing marijuana is a safe, comfortable, supportive environment.
Effects of Marijuana Detox
Stopping the use of marijuana can be difficult. There can be physical effects, but more concerning is the psychological and psychiatric effects that can occur. There will be some physical discomfort as the body readjusts to not having THC and CBD, but the mental health and psychological effects are the most concerning. Some examples or side effects of marijuana detox may include:
- Loss of concentration
- Emotional instability
- Anger and/or irritability
- Vivid dreams or nightmares
There are numerous examples of young adults with psychological or psychiatric issues who begin to have more severe psychiatric symptoms stopping marijuana use and even more young adults who experience a psychotic episode or mental health crisis once they start using marijuana with a high THC content.
Therefore, as with any experience when substance misuse or substance abuse is stopped, it is always recommended to do so at a facility with both medical staff and mental health clinicians that will be able to support and provide care for any issues that may arise. Additionally, many people that use marijuana also misuse other substances, so for those people that have polysubstance use disorder (using more than one substance), there is little doubt that a detox experience should take place under medical care.
Is Marijuana Detox Dangerous?
People ask if a Marijuana Detox is Dangerous. No, detoxing from marijuana is not necessarily as painful or dangerous as detoxing from other substances. And yes, in relation to other substances, marijuana may not necessarily be as dangerous. Additionally, marijuana certainly may have medicinal benefits or, like alcohol, be able to be used by many people without issues or consequences. However, for that percentage of the population that suffer from addiction or substance use disorder, they will find that using marijuana will cause issues and in order to get off of it effectively and successfully, it is best done in a detox setting with the care and support of medical, mental health, and addiction treatment professionals.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.