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Marijuana Treatment

Marijuana is an exceptionally addictive drug; once a user has been hooked, she often requires marijuana treatment. Usually, the first step clinicians have to take is to motivate the patient to change his relationship to drugs. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), every year 100,000 people seek treatment for marijuana abuse. Since marijuana does not have any available medications that are designed to help with detoxification and relapse prevention, health professionals utilize a variety of treatment methods when treating patients. Up until a few years ago, it was difficult to locate treatment programs that were tailored for marijuana users. It was also discovered that treatments for marijuana dependence required similar therapies as other drug abuse problems.

These treatment methods include detoxification, behavioral therapies and the patient regularly attending support groups meetings like Narcotics Anonymous. To attract marijuana users into marijuana treatment researchers have been finding different ways to help them abstain from using drugs. Since there are no medications for treating marijuana dependence currently available, treatment programs instead focus on counseling and group support systems as a means of helping the addict win his battle.

Typically, a marijuana treatment group is based on abstinence where a group of 10-12 individuals strive to end their marijuana dependency. A recent study showed a case where 14 groups were started; once a week they met (for 14 weeks) and were championed by two co-therapists. Individuals could join without having to prove that they had ceased smoking weed before requesting assistance; as a result, many people entered the groups with different dependency levels.

This intervention was created to help people stop using marijuana by the 4th week. If they were unsuccessful in accomplishing this, they were not requested to leave the group. Instead, they were encouraged by the therapists and group members to continue trying to stop using the drug. Another model for marijuana treatment includes one-on-one intervention. This intervention is succeeded by an assessment session that provides an overview to the patient, a detailed discussion about her marijuana use, the reasons why she favors or opposes quitting, and responds to questions she may have about quitting or modifying her use.

More progress has been made in treatment to help marijuana users, including a variety of programs implemented to help adolescents in particular. University research centers host many of these programs, where most of the young clients report marijuana as their preferred drug. Others are located in independent adolescent treatment centers. Family doctors are also a recommended source for information and are particularly helpful in handling adolescents’ marijuana issues. Since 1992-1996, the amount of adolescents below age 18 receiving substance abuse treatment on any given day in America almost doubled from 44,000 to 77,000.

With so many youngsters turning to marijuana as their “experimentation drug”, the need for marijuana treatment has become critical. Educating our young ones on the dangers of marijuana use is one of the best ways to keep isolated from the drug.

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