Marijuana Addiction Treatment & Rehab
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Last Updated - 12/29/2022View our editorial policy
- Treatment involves detoxification to eliminate marijuana from the system, followed by treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab.
- Treatment for marijuana addiction involves various forms of behavioral therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management and motivational enhancement therapy.
- There are no approved drugs for the treatment of marijuana addiction but certain medications can help alleviate specific symptoms.
- Dual diagnosis treatment may be necessary if marijuana addiction is comorbid with another substance use disorder or mood disorder.
- Outpatient psychotherapy and participation in support groups are necessary to avoid relapse after the completion of treatment at rehab.
Treating marijuana addiction can involve behavioral therapy an outpatient or inpatient rehab after detox. These treatment programs teach individuals the coping skills necessary to resist drug use and to live a sober life.
Long-term marijuana use can lead to dependence and addiction that may require enrollment at a marijuana rehabilitation center. Treatment for marijuana addiction at a rehab center involves teaching individuals coping strategies to deal with triggers that provoke drug use.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment Options
Treatment of marijuana addiction usually involves behavioral therapy. These behavioral approaches may take the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy or contingency management. There are no pharmacological drugs approved for the treatment of cannabis addiction but medications may be used to alleviate symptoms of insomnia and depression that may arise during treatment.
Some of the treatment options for marijuana addiction include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy involves identifying thoughts and behaviors that lead to drug use and teaching strategies to cope with such thoughts, enhancing self-control. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also be useful in addressing
- Contingency Management: This therapeutic approach is based on the positive reinforcement of desirable behaviors such as abstaining from drug use and submitting samples for drug screens in exchange for money or other rewards.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This involves helping the individual find the internal motivation to change their drug-seeking attitude and actions. After an initial assessment, subsequent sessions involve discussions about the individual’s drug use and focus on coping strategies.
- Other Forms of Therapy: Other forms of behavioral therapy include family therapy that addresses both drug abuse and other social issues like family conflict, depression and unemployment. Support groups such as 12-step programs are especially helpful after finishing treatment at a rehab clinic.
Although no medications have been approved for the treatment of marijuana addiction or withdrawal symptoms, there are some pharmacological drugs that have shown some promise. Oral tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance in cannabis, has been shown to be effective in helping treat withdrawal symptoms. The antidepressant, nefazodone, has also been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and muscle pains that can emerge during detox.
Marijuana Rehab Programs
Marijuana addiction treatment usually begins with a detox program followed by treatment at a marijuana rehabilitation center. After completing treatment at a rehab, a continuation of treatment is generally necessary to prevent relapse.
This is the first step in the treatment of marijuana addiction, and involves the elimination of the drug from the body. Enrolling in a medical detox can help the individual cope with adverse withdrawal symptoms. The aim of treatment at a detox clinic is to help individuals cope with marijuana withdrawal symptoms, rather than addressing issues underlying their drug use.
Residential, or inpatient, rehab for marijuana addiction generally involves residence at a rehabilitation center for a few weeks or months. Inpatient rehab involves 24-hour care in a safe and structured environment where patients can focus solely on the problems associated with their drug use.
This type of rehab offers intensive treatment with various forms of behavioral therapies, support groups and activities. Treatment at cannabis rehab aims to help patients understand the psychological, social and behavioral causes of their behaviors and develop coping strategies to deal with addiction triggers. Treatment also involves developing a sense of personal responsibility and accountability and improving interpersonal skills.
Outpatient rehab for cannabis addiction requires patients to visit a treatment center a few times each week, allowing individuals to continue with their education or jobs. Outpatient rehabs vary in the intensity of treatment provided, ranging from low-intensity drug education to intensive treatment programs comparable to inpatient rehab. Outpatient rehab is generally less expensive since it does not include the cost of room and board. Outpatient rehab is best suited for patients with a low to moderate addiction to marijuana.
Dual diagnosis refers to the co-occurrence of a substance abuse disorder like marijuana addiction with another substance abuse disorder or mental health disorder. In cases of co-occurring disorders, individuals may use a drug to alleviate the symptoms of the mental health disorder; however, the use of the substance generally results in the worsening of the symptoms of the mental health disorder.
Due to such an interaction between the co-occurring disorders, it is necessary to treat both conditions at the same time. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation centers are specialized for the treatment of co-occurring disorders, which requires knowledge and skills to treat both disorders as well as an understanding of their interaction.
Aftercare and Sober Living
Recovery from marijuana addiction is a lifelong process with a high risk of relapse — even after finishing inpatient rehabilitation. This makes aftercare programs necessary after the completion of treatment at rehab, and generally involves outpatient treatment like psychotherapy and support groups. Besides aftercare counseling and recovery group meetings, there are also sober living communities that provide residence for individuals who have finished rehab a drug-free living environment. Sober living communities generally require patients to adhere to guidelines and attend meetings to ensure abstinence.
Related Topic: Halfway Houses vs. Sober Homes
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab
Inpatient rehab provides around-the-clock care and intensive treatment in a drug-free environment. In the absence of any distractions, the individual can focus on the problems related to their substance use. Inpatient rehab has a structured environment with individual and group therapy sessions, support groups and activities. The intensive nature of therapy also allows patients to consider and address deeper issues underlying substance abuse, including psychological and social issues.
Outpatient rehab allows individuals to continue with daily life activities such as education or work and may allow them to return to their families. Outpatient rehab may also be intensive but there is more variability in the treatments that outpatient rehabs provide. Furthermore, the scope of treatment at an outpatient clinic is generally limited by time. Individuals may be exposed to triggers that stimulate drug use at home or at work, and this may lead to relapse. Outpatient clinics tend to be less expensive than inpatient rehab.
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How Long Does Rehab Take?
The total duration of the rehabilitation depends on many factors, including the severity of the addiction, the duration and frequency of drug use, personality traits and presence of co-occurring mood or substance use disorders. Duration of the treatment may also depend on the therapeutic approach adopted by the treatment clinic and the individual’s response to treatment. Generally, a minimum rehabilitation period of 90 days is recommended, with longer programs being more effective. In cases of severe addiction or comorbid disorders, a longer duration of six months may be necessary.
What Does Marijuana Rehab Cost?
The average cost of drug rehab differs from one treatment center to another, ranging from $200 to $750 each day. The cost of rehab varies depending upon the amenities provided and the type and level of care provided. Even modestly priced rehabilitation facilities may provide the necessary level of care and amenities required for treatment and recovery, with many expensive clinics providing luxury living facilities but a similar level of care.
The cost of rehab can keep individuals with marijuana addiction from seeking treatment. However, most private insurance plans cover some part of the expenses, if not the entire sum required for treatment. If a patient does not have a health insurance plan, the rehabilitation facility may provide a discount or a payment plan. Federal, state and local assistance may also be available for individuals who are unable to afford treatment on their own.
Does Insurance Cover Marijuana Rehab?
Most private insurance plans cover treatment for substance use disorders including rehabilitation for marijuana addiction. The cost of treatment covered by the insurance company may vary depending on the specific insurance plan. It may also be necessary to ensure that a particular rehab center is an in-network provider. Plans brought through the Affordable Care Act also cover 60–90% of the cost of treatment of marijuana addiction and the law does not classify substance use disorders as a preexisting condition.
Choosing a Marijuana Rehab Center
Choosing the right rehab center can be complex. It is essential to choose a program that provides individualized, evidence-based treatment and involves medical professionals.
Some of the factors that should be considered while choosing a rehab for marijuana addiction include:
- Effectiveness of treatment: For a treatment to be effective, it should address the issues related to drug abuse that are specific to an individual. Such individualized treatment also involves the use of treatment methods that are most effective in addressing these specific issues. A medical professional may be able to provide guidance regarding the suitability of a specific treatment program for the individual’s drug dependence.
- Staff: The staff should be comprised of a multidisciplinary team that has the knowledge, skills, and accreditation to provide care and treatment for addiction to drugs like marijuana.
- Cost: Treatment at the rehab center should be covered by the individual’s insurance plan due to the substantial costs of treatment.
- Location: It may be preferable to choose a rehab in one’s city of residence to facilitate visits from friends and family. This may aid in organizing family therapy sessions and can help ensure support from the family both during and after treatment. However, it can also be beneficial to leave one’s home environment and familiar triggers.
What to Expect When You Go to Rehab
The first step after enrolling in a rehab involves an assessment of the individual’s drug use history, their current symptoms and the presence of other substance use or mood disorders. An individualized treatment plan is tailored for the patient based on this assessment. This is followed by detox, which involves the elimination of the drug from the body and the management of withdrawal symptoms using medications or behavioral therapy, or a combination of the two.
Subsequent treatment involves individual and group therapy sessions, other forms of behavioral therapy, participation in 12-step programs and other activities like yoga and meditation. Therapy aims to teach individuals strategies that can help them resist drug use and coping with stress and other addiction triggers. Rehab also involves helping individuals to develop interpersonal skills and other skills that are necessary to live a sober life.
Most rehabs have strict rules requiring mandatory participation in therapy sessions and activities. Rehabs may also have restrictions on the possession of electronics like phones and laptops. Prior to completion of treatment at the rehab, strategies for aftercare should be devised to ensure long term recovery.
What Happens After Rehab?
Recovery from any substance use disorder, including marijuana addiction, is a lifelong process. Undergoing detox and enrolling in a rehabilitation facility sets an individual on a path to recovery. However, the duration spent in a cannabis rehab is generally not adequate to deal with the possibility of relapse to drug abuse. Staying sober long term usually requires continuing with treatment after rehab in the form of psychotherapy at an outpatient clinic.
Participation in a support group like Marijuana Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can also be helpful in preventing relapse. Engaging in new hobbies and participating in social activities may help individuals who are recovering from marijuana addiction integrate into society.
How Rehab Helps
Enrolling in rehab after detox reduces the chances of relapse, whereas a longer duration between receiving treatment at a detox facility and subsequent treatment at rehab is associated with a higher risk of relapse.
Treatment at a rehab provides the individual with a better understanding of the behavioral, psychological and social factors contributing to their addiction. Treatment often encourages patients to examine the beliefs and behaviors that lead to drug use, teaches them skills to cope with stress and to recognize other triggers that cause drug use.
Rehab also equips individuals with the skills necessary to reintegrate into society by aiding the development of interpersonal skills and helping them develop a sense of personal responsibility and accountability.
Budney, Alan J., Roger Roffman, Robert S. Stephens, and Denise Walker. “Marijuana dependence and its treatment.” Addiction Science & Clinical Practice December 2007. Accessed July 19, 2019.
National Institute of Drug Abuse.” Marijuana: Research Report.” July 2019. Accessed July 19, 2019.
National Institute of Mental Illness. “Dual diagnosis.” August 2017. Accessed July 19, 2019.
National Institute of Drug Abuse.”Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says”. February 2016. Accessed July 19, 2019.