Marijuana is a popular recreational drug that is also used in some medical applications. Due to the popularity and legalization of marijuana in states across the U.S., it is easy to lose sight of what it really is, a drug. While drugs have their purposes, marijuana, just like opioids, can be addictive and detrimental to a person’s health.
The friendly perception of marijuana makes it particularly harmful. If you or someone you love notices any of the following signs, there may be a problem.
- Unable to start the day without using marijuana
- Unable to cope with stress without using a substance
- Spends too much money on marijuana, doesn’t pay bills
- Puts marijuana before meaningful relationships
Whether you are reading this for yourself or someone you love, understand first that a person must realize there is a problem and want help. Staging an intervention can help your loved one realize the negative impact of their substance abuse in a positive atmosphere that promotes healing. An intervention is a gathering of loved ones, sometimes with the help of a trained professional which can help an addict realize that he or she needs help and empower one to seek it. There is no blame or shame involved, just love, acceptance, and helping hands.
It is best if a neutral, third party can be involved to guide the conversation. You might consider enlisting the help of a professional addiction counselor for this role. Gather only close family members, friends, and coworkers that the person trusts. Form a plan that includes the day, time, and location for the intervention as well as what each individual involved will say to avoid mix-ups. Stick to the plan! Addiction is a touchy subject. If anyone goes off the rails, it could jeopardize your loved one’s success.
Each person should write out an impact statement and read it aloud to avoid getting emotionally overwhelmed. Be sure you read up on marijuana use and addiction prior to the intervention. Some important topics to note are that marijuana is psychologically and, as we are just discovering, sometimes physically addictive. It isn’t easy for a person to “just quit”. There needs to be a detox plan in place, and the person in need of help should know what to expect during and after detox with an emphasis on what will be better for them once they give it up.
A longtime user may have a hard time imagining a life without. He or she should be told specifically how family members intend to offer support and how relationships with affected individuals could change if help isn’t accepted.
There are some important pitfalls to avoid when handling an intervention. For one, everyone involved should be able to manage their personal feelings, no matter how much they’ve been hurt. There should be no blame placed on the subject, as that could push him to want to use. Avoid using terms that are accusatory such as “addict”, “junkie, and “pot-head”. The subject should feel safe and loved, not ostracized or shamed for his or her behaviors.
Don’t try to stage an intervention if the subject is intoxicated. It likely won’t end well. You should also avoid the assumption that a marijuana user won’t experience any detox symptoms. Marijuana is a depressant, much like alcohol. It binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and changes a person’s neurological makeup. A person with marijuana addiction who used heavily over a long period may experience depression, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms. She’ll want to use just to feel better, so she’ll need family support to cope.
Detox symptoms can last from a couple weeks up to three months after cessation. Should a loved one refuse help, don’t allow any codependency to continue. You shouldn’t try to help yourself or a loved one alone. Professional counselors are available and ready to help. It may even benefit your cause to meet in a counselor’s practice as a safe, neutral location.
A seasoned addiction counselor is an asset to your team and will have up to date information on local treatment centers. He or she will be able to guide the whole family through the process of recovery. Don’t wait until more damage has been done. Call today at 302-842-2390.