How to stop using marijuana
Neuroscience proves how rewards stimulate the brain to help you quit successfully
As it becomes legal and decriminalized in more states, marijuana (cannabis) addiction is on the rise. Marijuana has become much more potent than it was just a few decades ago. More than 30% of marijuana users have developed problem use, known as marijuana use disorder, which can develop into addiction.
If you’re wondering how to stop using marijuana, if you have tried marijuana rehab treatment without success, or if you know someone who needs help with marijuana addiction, Affect’s digital outpatient treatment program works. You can reduce or quit using marijuana without going to rehab.
If you’re having problems with marijuana and want to take control of your life again, Affect is here to help. We have a revolutionary program that comes to you through a smartphone app. It has been proven to be twice as effective as traditional treatment, helping our members quit using marijuana and start building healthy, happy lives as they form new habits.
Affect’s app uses gamification and rewards to activate the areas of your brain that are stimulated by marijuana
Is marijuana addiction dangerous?
There are negative effects from using marijuana that include depression, anxiety, paranoia, and in some cases, psychosis. Like any drug, marijuana affects the brain and causes problems with attention, memory and learning. If you smoke marijuana, there is damage to the lungs and heightened risk of respiratory infections.
There are many more risks associated with heavy marijuana use. Even though medical marijuana can be prescribed for certain conditions, using marijuana may raise your chances for clinical depression or worsen the symptoms of pre-existing mental disorders.
Marijuana affects the way your brain functions in many ways. It impairs your judgment and ability to make decisions, which can have very negative consequences. You can engage in risky behaviors and unsafe activities you wouldn’t normally do that cause bodily harm or land you in jail.
How do I know if I am addicted to marijuana?
Marijuana use disorder becomes addiction when someone can’t stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of their life and leads to negative consequences.
If you find you are craving marijuana, use more than you intend to, are skipping work or school or missing out on time with family or friends so you can use, can’t stop using it even though it is causing physical or mental problems, are experiencing issues with memory and attention, you may have developed marijuana use disorder.
Marijuana use disorders are often associated with dependence. This is when someone feels withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. People who use marijuana frequently and stop often report irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and other forms of physical discomfort.
If you have tried to quit using marijuana repeatedly and failed, your use disorder may have developed into addiction.
Why is Marijuana addictive?
Marijuana contains a number of compounds called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the main cannabinoids found in marijuana. It’s the compound that gets you “high.” The other major cannabinoid found in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you “high” and typically doesn’t cause any negative effects.
Your body has its own system for naturally producing cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, which are produced as your body needs them to help keep a number of its internal functions running smoothly.
Marijuana dependence occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing production of and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
Marijuana is addictive because it rewires your brain’s reward system where chemicals are produced that make you feel good. When you take marijuana, THC produces a flood of chemicals, including dopamine, which make you feel great. Your brain loves this feeling and wants more of it.
The problem is that after using marijuana for a while, your brain gets used to it. So, you need to use more and more marijuana to feel as good as you did before. This is called building up a tolerance. As you use more, more harm is done.
Do I need to go to rehab to stop using marijuana?
“Rehab” or “rehabilitation” is short-hand for a variety of traditional treatment options, usually offered in physical locations that range from residential hospitals to outpatient clinics with daily scheduled sessions. While these types of programs offer intensive care, they can be difficult for people to attend, due to work, childcare, transportation, or financial limitations.
People generally do not need to go to “detox” for marijuana addiction. While there are symptoms of withdrawal that can be very uncomfortable, marijuana use does not result in dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms the way opioids and alcohol do that require supervised withdrawal management in a hospital or rehab facility.
Affect was designed to make treatment accessible to anyone, anywhere, without going to rehab. Our program is entirely digital and delivered through a smartphone app, which means you can do it from home or work, in the city or in the country. We accept both employer and Medicaid insurance, so you don’t have to worry about high healthcare costs. It’s convenient and cost-effective, but it’s also complete, ensuring you get care that is supported by science and is customized for your needs.
What’s the best way to quit using marijuana?
It can be very difficult to quit using marijuana on your own. Support from licensed and experienced counselors and a solid recovery program are often necessary.
Affect’s program was designed specifically to treat addictions like marijuana. It uses research-proven techniques and was created by some of the best researchers and scientists in the field of addiction treatment.
Since marijuana rewires the brain’s rewards system, research has proven that the best way to beat marijuana addiction is to stimulate the brain’s system in other ways. The most effective method is by winning rewards for doing things that help you quit. This method is known as “contingency management.”
To understand how it works, think about how you win points and beat levels in a game and how good it feels each time you do. The more you win, the more you want to keep playing. And even when it gets hard to beat a level, you keep going until you get that victory. Contingency management turns your recovery into a kind of game you don’t want to stop playing. Along the way, you start developing new healthy habits.
It is very common to relapse while recovering from marijuana addiction, and this is why traditional rehab clinics with strict abstinence requirements have failed to treat it. Research shows that gradually reducing use over time works better for stimulants like meth and marijuana, a method addiction specialists call “harm reduction.”
Traditional methods developed primarily for alcohol and opioid addiction use certain medications to help people gradually reduce their dependency. But, there are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of marijuana addiction. There are medications that Affect’s medical team can prescribe to help reduce depression, anxiety, and also manage cravings where it’s appropriate.
Does Affect’s program work to beat marijuana addiction?
Yes it does. Affect’s digital program is shown to be twice as effective as traditional methods to treat marijuana addiction and help people quit.
Our members dramatically increase their number of sober days in just the first month. Their energy and health improves and their brains start to recover. With the help of licensed addiction counselors, members explore the roots of their addiction and learn how to identify and control triggers without feeling the need to use marijuana. As withdrawal symptoms fade and healthy habits are formed, our members rebuild their lives as they recover from marijuana. You can read what they have to say about our program.
Affect’s program is also unique in supporting “whole recovery” of our members’ lives. Care teams include advocates who provide members with support for housing, employment, healthcare and more.
Let’s get started getting better. We’re here for you.