Ganja. Weed. Pot. Mary Jane. Skun. Hashish. Bhang. Marijuana. People use hundreds of slang names for cannabis, and it feels like they have just as many opinions about its use. When, how, and if cannabis should be used has sparked a lot of controversy, and the laws from state to state show the variety of attitudes toward cannabis. Despite the varying and often heated debate, there is one constant: people use pot. Some use cannabis in legal and responsible ways. Others use it in harmful ways and may even develop an addiction.
Cannabis has acquired a reputation as a non-addictive substance, but this reputation does not represent the whole truth. Many people use cannabis without forming an addiction, but many people use it and form a dependency. Approximately 17 percent of teen and 9 percent of adult users will become addicted. People who use it on a daily basis experience higher rates for addiction: 25-50 percent. The problem is so pervasive that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) now recognizes Cannabis Use Disorder.
If you are using pot in larger quantities or with more frequency than you ever intended, you are not alone. Many people have tried to quit or curb their use but find they cannot regulate it. Seeking help for cannabis use is a difficult decision, but counseling has helped many people regain control.
Thriveworks Columbia offers counseling for Cannabis Use Disorder, and our therapists have helped many clients learn the skills they need to detox from pot and regain control.
Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD): What Is It?
The psychoactive chemical, Delta-9-TetraHydrocannabinol (THC), is found in cannabis’s stems, buds, and leaves. When in a person’s bloodstream, THC slows the brain’s communication with the body, and in large quantities, it can produce hallucinations.
In many ways, cannabis use is similar to alcohol, especially in that many people use cannabis without forming an addiction, but many others use it and become dependent. Knowing when use crosses into dependency can be difficult.
What Is Cannabis Use Disorder?
DSM-5 defines Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) to clarify the line between recreational and dependent use. CUD occurs when people have used pot for a minimum of one year while experiencing impaired daily functioning with an increase of disruptions from use. These are assessed according to the following symptoms:
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop or curb use.
- Increased frequency of weed use.
- Dedicating substantial time to using cannabis—obtaining it, ingesting it, and recovering from its use.
- Continuing to partake despite relational, personal, or professional harm from use.
- Craving cannabis: having vivid images, strong smells, intense dreams, and/or obsessive thoughts about it.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to curb or quit pot.
- Mixing risky behavior and cannabis use such as driving a car while high.
- Prioritizing weed over job, family, school, hygiene, or friends.
- Using more cannabis to feel the same psychoactive or hallucinogenic effects.
Not all cases of CUD are the same level of severity, and DSM-5 distinguishes between Mild, Moderate, and Severe Cannabis Use Disorder depending upon the number of symptoms experienced:
- Mild CUD: 2-3 symptoms
- Moderate CUD: 4-5 symptoms
- Severe CUD: 6 or more symptoms
Many people try to quit or curb their cannabis use on their own, but run into difficulty. The way THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, is stored in the body can make detoxing or curbing use a challenge. The body stores THC in its fat cells, making it harder to cleanse. Many have reported feeling the effects of cannabis long after their last use. Often, therapy gives people the support they need to treat CUD.
Counseling from a therapist who is familiar with CUD, its withdrawal symptoms, and strategies to overcome those symptoms may provide the guidance and support people need. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) may …
- treat any underlying causes of the disorder
- explore why a person first used or continues to use pot
- help people replace any false beliefs with positive thought structures
- resolve any negative experiences or difficult emotions in a healthy way
- equip people with coping skills to live without cannabis use
Appointments for Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Is your cannabis use slipping out of control? Did you recognize some of your own behaviors in the list of CUD symptoms? Is it time for you to make a change? We get it. Thriveworks Columbia’s therapists have helped many people treat their CUD, and we are ready to support you.
Our office gives client-centered care throughout treatment for each client. That care begins from the first time a client calls our office. A person will answer your call and help schedule an appointment. Clients often see their therapist within 24 hours, and our therapists accept many kinds of insurance.
Is it time for a change? Is it time for some help along the way? Call today.