Ganja. Weed. Mary Jane. Pot. Skun. Bhang. Hashish. Marijuana. There are hundreds of names for cannabis, and it seems like just as many controversies about it. Most people have an opinion about how, when, and if cannabis should be used. From state to state, the laws differ on cannabis use, but one thing is constant: people use cannabis. Some people use it responsibly. Others struggle with addiction.
Cannabis has earned a reputation that it is not addictive; however, this is not the whole story. Much like alcohol, many people use cannabis and do not form a dependency, but about 30 percent of users become dependent. The percentages for daily users who form an addiction are even higher. While cannabis is not a problem for everyone, it has become enough of a problem for enough people that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) acknowledges Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD).
If you have found yourself using marijuana more often and/or in larger quantities than you intended, you are not the only one. Trying to quit or curb usage alone can be a challenge, but many people have found the help they needed to control their pot use through therapy.
The counselors at Thriveworks Bristol have equipped many clients with the coping skills they need to detox from weed and gain more control over their cannabis use.
Weed and Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)
Weed contains a psychoactive chemical called Delta-9-TetraHydrocannabinol (THC) in its stem, leaves, and buds. THC slows communication between a person’s brain and body, and when ingested in large doses, it has a hallucinogenic effect.
While many use pot in safe and legal ways, many others wrestle with addiction. Because not all use signifies addiction, it can be hard to know when appropriate use has cross into dependency and CUD.
What Is Cannabis Use Disorder?
CUD, as defined by DSM-5, occurs when people use weed for at least one year and experience a loss in their daily functioning and an increase in disturbances from cannabis use. These can be measured through the presence of at least two of the following symptoms:
- Increasing the frequency of weed use.
- Ineffective attempts to stop or curb use.
- Dedicating significant time to usage—obtaining it, ingesting it, and recovering from its use.
- Experiencing cannabis cravings, including having vivid images, strong smells, intense dreams, and/or obsessive thoughts about it.
- Continuing to partake despite harm from use. The harm may be personally, professionally, or relationally.
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms when attempting to curb or quit weed.
- Prioritizing pot use over job, school, family, hygiene, or friends.
- Engaging in risky behavior and cannabis use such as driving a car while high.
- Ingesting more cannabis to feel similar hallucinogenic or psychoactive effects.
DSM-5 has developed a range for CUD that is based upon the number of displayed symptoms:
- 2-3 symptoms: Mild CUD
- 4-5 symptoms: Moderate CUD
- 6+ symptoms: Severe CUD
Sometimes, the most difficult obstacle to treating CUD is recognizing that cannabis use has become a problem. Many things can blind people to the reality that their cannabis use may be harmful: a tolerant culture, myths about cannabis, and self-deception. But when people decide to seek help, therapy for CUD is effective for many people. With the right support and the right guidance, many people overcome their cannabis dependency.
If people want to treat their CUD, many treatment options are available. With the support of family and friends, many people may be able to quit on their own, especially if their CUD is on mild. However, many people need more structure to quit for the long-term.
The way cannabis is stored in the body can make quitting more difficult. The psychoactive chemical, THC, is stored in the body’s fat cells, and it can take the body a while to cleanse it. Some people have reported feeling cannabis’ effects days, weeks, and months after their last use. Facing challenges while treating CUD is normal, and professional treatment may help.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) may give people the support they need to detox and treat the underlying causes of CUD. Through CBT, many people learn about false or negative thought patterns that have contributed to their CUD and are able to replace these with true and positive thought patterns. CBT may also explore when and why people first used pot, and may allow them to process any unresolved wounds.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy at Thriveworks Bristol, VA
Have you felt your cannabis use slip out of your control? Is a little voice nagging you that it may be time to get help? We understand, and the therapists at Thriveworks Bristol are ready to support you as you treat CUD.
We aim to offer client-centered care from your first call throughout your treatment. When you dial our office, know that a person will help you schedule your appointment and answer any questions you may have. Often, people can see their therapist the next day. We work with many insurance providers, and we offer evening and weekend appointments.
Is it time to get started with treatment for your Cannabis Use Disorder? Call today.