Idaho Drug Treatment Options for Marijuana Addiction and Abuse

Marijuana abuse and addiction continue to be serious problems in Idaho, as well as in every other state in the U.S.

A period of drug rehab is often needed in order to help people stop using it. People are often surprised to hear that because this drug has a reputation for being non-addictive. While it may not be physically addictive, it is possible to form a mental dependence on it.

The legality of marijuana in several states has only contributed to its popularity. A survey that was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 52.7% of people between the ages of 18-25 have at least tried it. 20% of these individuals reported having used the drug at some point within the last month.

Marijuana has been shown to have its medical purposes, which is one reason it has grown in popularity. It can be effective at treating pain from cancer treatment, and certain mental health issues. But its recreational use and abuse can be very dangerous. More people need to be aware of the risks of abusing this drug, and they need to know that it can lead to addiction. The right Idaho treatment center can offer a way for people to recover.

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What is Marijuana?

Marijuana use refers to the consumption of the dried hemp plant either by smoking, ingesting, or vaporizing. This plant contains a mind-altering compound known as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). It's to most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

While marijuana has been utilized by humans for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years, the increasing recreational use has led to a rapid rise of marijuana potency. As such, the marijuana of today can be drastically different than the marijuana of 50 years ago, making studies on the effects of long-term use quite difficult.

Marijuana Addiction

Other Names for Marijuana

As one of the most commonly abused substances in the world, marijuana has a long list of street names. Here are just a few:

  • Weed
  • Grass
  • Pot
  • Mary Jane
  • Ganja
  • Dope
  • Reefer
  • Roach
  • Chronic
  • Herb

Marijuana cigarettes are sometimes referred to as blunts or joints and marijuana users may be called pot heads and dope heads.

You can find additional street names for marijuana as well as names for marijuana mixed with other substances here.

What Does Marijuana Do and How?

The effects of marijuana depend on the type ingested as well as the dosage. Many users report changes in mood, increased appetite, impaired bodily movements and memory, and an altered sense of time.

Marijuana produces these effects due to the structural similarities between THC and a chemical in the brain known as anandamide. When the brain is flooded with THC, it binds with cannabinoid receptors on our neurons in areas that affect pleasure, thinking, concentration, memory and more.

What is Marijuana Abuse/Addiction?

The terms "addiction" and "abuse" are pretty commonly mistaken to mean the same thing. However, it's important to note that while the two might be pretty closely related, they're actually describing two different things. For instance, just because someone abuses a drug doesn't mean that they are necessarily addicted to that substance. On the flip side, someone can become addicted to a drug without actually abusing it.

When talking about substance abuse then, it's important to realize the difference between these similar but separate concepts.

Abuse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is defined as either the use of an illegal substance or using legal drugs in an inappropriate way. What abuse comes down to, then, is using substances outside the confines of the law and your doctor's orders. For marijuana, the only way you can use it without abusing it is if you are using it medicinally according to your doctor's instructions or if you are in a state where it has been decriminalized.

Where addiction differs from abuse is when the use of the substance creates an actual change in the brain that makes it difficult to stop using. Some signs of this are changes in behavior, experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and being unable to control physical cravings for the drug. Just because you are not technically abusing a drug, however, doesn't mean you won't become addicted to it. Sometimes drugs are prescribed incorrectly and, as a result, can unknowingly cause addiction in patients who adhere to their doctor's orders.

Marijuana’s Legality in Idaho

It is very interesting to note that in some form, marijuana is legal in many of the states surrounding Idaho. But it is not legal at all in Idaho. Even the medical form of the drug is illegal in our state, and the penalties for possessing it are very harsh. They can result in citations, fines or even time in prison.

In Idaho, possessing under three ounces of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor. This carries a penalty of as long as a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. People who are caught with small amounts of the drug can be arrested and taken directly to jail.

Possessing an amount that is more than three ounces is a felony in Idaho. This crime is punishable by as many as five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Likewise, selling marijuana is also a felony which can mean life in prison.

The penalties increase as the amount of marijuana increases. Some people believe that the laws in Idaho are much too strict.

On July 30, 2019, a petition was filed with the Secretary of State. This petition is known as the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, and it requires 55,000 signatures by April 30, 2020. This will put it on the ballot for a vote this November. If it receives the right number of signatures and it is voted for, it may become law.

The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act is 20 pages long and it includes all of the rules that will be in effect, such as:

  • The term “marijuana” includes all parts of the cannabis plant, its compounds and derivatives.
  • Who would be qualified to use medical marijuana.
  • The marijuana card holder would be able to have up to 4 ounces on their person.
  • Their “agent” and “caregiver” could also have up to 4 ounces on their persons.
  • Cardholders, agents and caregivers are allowed to grow up to 6 plants on their property

Marijuana Use Disorder and Identifying a Disorder

While substance abuse disorders were historically classified as either "abuse" or "dependence," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which guides the diagnosis of all mental disorders has been updated. Now, rather than having two separate categories, "substance abuse" and "substance dependence" both fall under the single category, "substance use disorder."

The list below from NIDA provides eleven symptoms that the DSM-5 classifies as indicating a potential substance abuse disorder. Read through the descriptions below and see if your situation or that of a friend matches any of the scenarios. If more than two have occurred within 12 months, the DSM-5 considers it to be indicative of the disorder.

  • Marijuana is used for a longer amount of time or in larger doses than originally intended.
  • A regular desire to use more marijuana is present or efforts to cut back are unsuccessful.
  • Obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of marijuana takes up a great deal of the individual's time.
  • Persistent cravings for marijuana.
  • Failing to fulfill obligations at work, home, or school because of marijuana use.
  • Continuing to abuse marijuana despite its use causing damage to social relationships.
  • Abandoning activities (social, occupational, or recreational) that once held great importance due to marijuana abuse.
  • Using marijuana in situations that are physically endangering such as while driving.
  • Continuing to abuse marijuana despite knowing that it's continued use is causing physical and psychological problems.
  • Development of tolerance, demonstrated by needing higher amounts of marijuana to achieve the same effect or a diminished effect from continued use.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms or using more marijuana to avoid such symptoms.

Side Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Some of the lesser-known long term side effects of marijuana abuse may be more detrimental than you'd like to think. For instance, using marijuana during developmental years such as the early and late teens has been linked to reduced thinking, memory, and learning functions. It is important to note, though, that the science is still out on marijuana and there are also studies that show no correlation between marijuana use and development.

What is known about marijuana use, however, is that it can have a variety of physical impacts on long-term health. The smoke from marijuana inhalation, for example, is a known lung irritant and may cause problems including regular coughing and phlegm, a higher frequency of lung illnesses, and more lung infections.

Marijuana can also cause a jump in heart rate, possibly creating a risk factor for other cardiovascular malfunctions like heart attack. It can also cause low birth weight and developmental problems in a child if a pregnant mother uses marijuana.

The long-term mental effects of marijuana should also be a cause for concern as they may include temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, and worsening symptoms in schizophrenics.

What's more, the recent discovery and classification of what's known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, which involves severe abdominal pain and violent vomiting and is brought on by chronic marijuana use, shows that much more research needs to be done on the true effects of this substance.

What to Do If Someone You Know Is Abusing Marijuana

One thing that's incredibly important to remember when you are confronting a friend or family member about their marijuana abuse is that addiction is a disease. The structures of an addict's brain are physically altered to increase drug seeking behaviors. As such, it may be difficult to reason with them and they may become defensive.

Try giving them the DSM-5 test listed above. Sometimes it just takes is seeing the signs written in front of them for someone to recognize their addiction. If they still remain unconvinced or refuse to take the test, try to get them to go to a professional physician. Hearing from an authority in the area that they actually have a problem could be all they need to start seeking treatment.

Marijuana Withdrawal

A common misconception is that marijuana is not addictive. While the true physical addictive properties of marijuana are still being evaluated, the mentally addictive properties may be just as cumbersome as physical ones.

Addiction is determined based on the pattern of behaviors, not just the physical effects of withdrawal.

As such, if your marijuana use is characterized by an inability to stop consuming the drug or the symptoms listed by the DSM-5 above, you may still be addicted.

When compared to other substance abuse problems like alcoholism or an addiction to opioids, the withdrawal symptoms for marijuana are relatively tame. Some of these symptoms are grouchiness, decreased appetite, cravings, anxiety and sleeplessness.

These symptoms have been reported to increase in intensity depending on how long an individual has been using marijuana regularly and to what degree.

What Types of Treatment are Recommended in Idaho for Marijuana Addiction?

Most people who are addicted to marijuana will only need to go to rehab for recovery help. In most cases, drug detox will not be needed because withdrawal symptoms are generally not very severe. Many addicts find that the support they receive during rehabilitation is enough to help them through the withdrawal phase.

But it is very important for people who are addicted to marijuana to go to drug rehab. When a person starts abusing it, they are usually doing so for a reason. They may be suffering from a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or bipolar disorder. For them, using this drug becomes a way to self-medicate, which does not make their problem go away. It only covers it up, and eventually, it may stop working completely.

There are both inpatient and outpatient programs available in Idaho. Both can be effective. People often would rather choose an outpatient rehab because it offers more flexibility.

Ashwood Recovery: Offering Marijuana Addiction Recovery on an Outpatient Basis

At Ashwood Recovery, our outpatient rehab program is considered one of the best in Idaho. We have two locations in Nampa and in Boise. We also participate with several health insurance companies, which helps to keep costs as low as possible.

There are three levels of care available at both of our Ashwood Recovery locations. Our clients are placed in either traditional outpatient rehab, partial hospitalization or our intensive outpatient program. Regardless of what level of care they need, they receive personalized treatment plans and plenty of attention from our staff.

Ashwood Recovery

Find Out More About Marijuana Abuse, Addiction and Recovery Options in Idaho

At Ashwood Recovery, we know how difficult it can be to recover from marijuana addiction. We have worked with many people who struggled with this problem, and our staff is very experienced in treating them. Above all, we are caring, compassionate and determined to give them the help they need.

Are you or someone you love addicted to marijuana? You may find it extremely difficult to ask for professional help, but that is the very first step in recovery. Once you do, you will find that you have a team of people ready to guide you into a life of being clean.

Do you have questions about marijuana abuse or addiction? Would you like to talk with someone about your treatment options in Idaho? Please contact us.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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  • MedlinePlus - With information provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this site is a comprehensive collection of drug facts, statistics, and other resources.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - The NIDA is a substance abuse focused extension of the National Institute of Health and contains numerous resources and publications on many different substance use disorders.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - This agency founded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contains information on both mental disorders and substance use disorders.
  • How to Confront and Addict in Your Life - An especially helpful article on how to help someone you care about face their substance use disorder and get treatment.