Planning a Marijuana Intervention

how to plan a marijuana intervention

Planning a Marijuana Intervention

The global perspective on marijuana is transitioning. North America is gradually passing new laws and pushing boundaries for recreational marijuana after medicinal use became popular. However, reformation of the criminal sentencing for marijuana possession should mirror this. 

Marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant, which can be classified as a depressant on the central nervous system.

If habits around marijuana start to impair normal daily function, it may be time to consider a marijuana intervention. Staging a marijuana intervention requires proper planning, bound by a sense that your support system is there for you at all times. 

How Does Marijuana Affect the Body?

Marijuana inspires the release of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which can project psychoactive activity in the brain. When a person ingests marijuana, it blocks the neurotransmitter anandamide, and the brain begins to require THC to remain normal. 

Anandamides affect the regions that involve:

  • Memory
  • Pleasure
  • Thinking
  • Coordination
  • Perception of time.

THC attaches receptors to the neurons in the brain, altering the functions in their function. This manipulates the hippocampus, the part of your brain that deals with memory and processing. THC hijacks the reward centers of the brain by the increased production of a chemical messenger known as dopamine. 

Dopamine is recognized as the “feel good” hormone, generating a sense of pleasure or euphoria. The brain is hardwired to repeat pleasurable behaviors and avoid painful interactions. Marijuana intake can vary from being smoked to infused edibles. With farms in the US and foreign markets, marijuana still requires more research to determine more of the long-term effects, especially for adolescents. 

Is Marijuana Addiction Growing?

Despite its divisive image, marijuana is one of the most popular psychotropic drugs — mainly for individuals between 18-25. Marijuana is publicly seen as a less harmful drug compared to cocaine, LSD, or opioids. This perception has influenced use among adolescent users. 

Marijuana is typical in polydrug use, such as alcohol or nicotine. Marijuana addiction is growing, however. You might not feel normal unless you are high from marijuana or spend more money than available to get higher doses.

Marijuana addiction is best described as a persistent craving for the substance despite negatively impacting the user’s life in many ways. Picture an alarm system that’s triggered by the need for pleasure and relaxation. Marijuana dependence can begin within two weeks of consistent use. The withdrawal symptoms can start in the first 24-72 hours window of abstinence and may last up to 2 weeks. 

The bulk of withdrawal symptoms can begin in a week, including:

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hallucinations, in severe cases
  • Fevers/chills, in severe cases

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms of marijuana use have been linked to memory impairment, agitation, poor concentration, and decreased ability to make decisions. 

The exact measurement for addiction rates is vague because a person can become dependent but not addicted to marijuana. The potency of marijuana is a rising concern, as medicinal and recreational markets have improved quality over the course of decades. The increased potency might lead to more intoxicated-related accidents, along with dependence.

Teenage marijuana use is a debated topic, considering teens are more likely to experiment with marijuana as a social drug. Teenagers are in a period of exploration and bonding through their peers, often dealing with interpersonal issues. It is suggested that marijuana is a gateway drug, as teenage substance use has increased over the years. 

For example, if these teens ingest higher doses of marijuana than others, they have an increased risk of developing an addiction. This age is critical for mental processing and may negatively affect their development. Marijuana dependence can cause structural and chemical changes in the brain to replenish.

Can Marijuana Cause Addiction?

Ultimately, there is no clear evidence to suggest that marijuana is addictive or otherwise. Since marijuana alters the chemistry of the brain, it can produce psychological dependence on THC. The long-term health effects of marijuana use are yet to be fully determined. Scientific reports have estimated that roughly 30% of marijuana users end up developing an addiction. 

These factors influence the difficulty of determining how addictive marijuana is:

  • Polydrug users
  • Genetic factors
  • Length of use and amount
  • Length of the studies conducted. 

Some side effects of marijuana use could include:

  • Red or dry eyes
  • Decreased motivation
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of coordination

The medical uses of marijuana have shown promising results for patients dealing with chronic pain. THC and cannabinoid-based medicine have been developed to treat patients from cancer to multiple sclerosis. These drugs demonstrate the benefits of non-addictive pain relief, control of nausea, and improved muscle stiffness in multiple sclerosis patients. Marijuana cards can be acquired, as many conditions might overlap between states. 

Some reported long term effects of marijuana use have been:

  • Reduced learning ability
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory loss
  • Increased risk of lung infections

How Is a Marijuana Intervention Different From a Regular One? 

A marijuana intervention program might come in the form of a brief intervention. Family members or close friends may be involved in the marijuana intervention process. Brief interventions have shown promising efficiency at addressing addiction. A conventional intervention may require a professional interventionist and a more outlined plan for a continuum of care. 

A brief intervention is a structured, harm reduction approach to addiction recovery. Brief interventions promote the continuum of care within addiction treatment, guided by an emphasis on behavior change. Brief interventions are recommended for individuals of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. 

Brief interventions typically require screening and can last between 1-4 sessions of 5 to 30 minutes. A main principle of brief interventions is for the subject to acknowledge they are responsible for their own behavior. Your loved one must be encouraged to embrace the value of change within themselves, finding confidence in their own actions.

What Should Family and Friends Be Prepared for?

The family and close friends should be prepared with statements and treatment options for the subject. Express how their addiction has affected you and remain non-judgmental in this process, if possible. If the subject is an adolescent, it’s important to remind them of their emerging childhood and the consequences of their decisions. 

You will want to reach out to others who have dealt with this experience before. It’s important to have clear expectations for the intervention, including goals and what the next course of action is if they deny help. The person may rationalize their behavior and become defensive. This can be frustrating and hurtful to those who only desire to help.

What Preparation Steps Do They Take? 

As a support system for marijuana intervention program, you must be transparent but neutral. It’s essential to create a neural environment and only keep the essential individuals in the intervention team, excluding acquaintances. Keep the interactions positive and focused on how dependence affects their health.

You want to create a bridge of intimacy so that the subject is ready to see that you care about them. Their best interest is at heart, so present them with facts. Avoid blaming the subject as they might become withdrawn from the core of statements you have prepared. Managing your expectations will keep you grounded on what the next steps should be.

How Should They Follow Up after Treatment?

Outpatient treatment programs and support groups offer a wealth of knowledge to guide the person in recovery. This is best suited for those with mild to moderate cases, allowing them the chance to get to the root of their psychological dependence. Outpatient treatment programs deliver quality treatment through intensive therapies and the flexibility to go back home. These therapies can include cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management. 

Marijuana could be used as a coping mechanism for the user experiencing a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. Marijuana is often the drug of choice to self-medicate mental health issues and other pain-related conditions. These are known as co-occurring disorders, which affect a wide range of recovering individuals.

Detoxing from marijuana might be the ideal solution for most cases. Detoxification is the process of removing addictive substances from the body in order to fully receive treatment. Medical detox may be required for those with co-occurring disorders, who have made many attempts to quit, and don’t have a supportive environment for recovery.

Medical detox from marijuana may require tapering off from the substance by allowing the system to adjust without THC. This has been beneficial in similar cases, such as opioids and benzodiazepines. 

For example, if you smoke heavily every day, chances are your withdrawal symptoms will increase by at least 50%. Despite no FDA-approved drug for marijuana addiction, doctors may prescribe medication to alleviate some of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

After treatment, it’s vital to remain supportive and open to recovery. Approximately 40-60% of recovering individuals will relapse.  Boredom and stress are some common factors that erupt the cravings to use. Relapse comes in stages; you might find your loved one fantasizing about marijuana use or missing support group meetings. Relapse can be influenced by feelings of shame or guilt from the addiction. 

What If the Person Refuses Treatment? 

If the person refuses the initial intervention, then a follow-up may be required. Reaching out to a professional interventionist helps if you find that their addiction is negatively impacting their life and other safety precautions. A professional interventionist or social worker could provide you with tools and measures to help your loved one. 

You will want to establish boundaries with the subject if they continue to use after the marijuana intervention. Consider offering to drive them to support groups or counseling as a sign of support.

The person struggling with addiction must replace the time using marijuana with positive coping strategies. These can include a spread of engaging hobbies and activities such as playing music, practicing yoga, and meditation. Hobbies will enable you to discover new interests and skills that continue throughout life. 

It’s crucial to find a community outside of substance use to relate to and build relationships. By maintaining exercise and wellness on a consistent basis, you chart a path for a balanced recovery effort. At the end of the day, recovery is a process that musters on and requires personal accountability to make each step matter. 

Addiction Intervention Offers Support

Staging an intervention can be challenging for the loved ones seeking the subject to receive treatment. Addiction can become a powerful tornado of relapse, shame, and interpersonal conflicts. Recovery is a process that requires motivation and discipline. Addiction Intervention aims to provide credible care and attention to the needs of the patient. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, feel free to contact us today.