Addiction is a complicated topic, and conversations surrounding the use of addictive substances are often met with resistance, making these conversations very delicate. Talking about marijuana addiction is no different, and this unique substance can present additional hurdles in the conversation ahead. However, despite the situation, marijuana addiction still needs to be discussed. Preparing for the conversation can ensure that one’s message stays clear when helping a loved one recognize their use and how it has affected those around them.
The Importance of Having the Conversation
Marijuana addiction is serious, and its consistent use has many negative effects. Not only is it detrimental when in active use, slowing one’s reaction speed, compromising decision-making skills, and affecting one’s memory and attention span, but its long-term effects are just as destructive. An increase in risk-taking behavior can come coupled with the use of the substance, not only making marijuana dangerous itself but also promoting other dangerous behaviors.
Addiction, if left unchecked, will continue to develop as one’s tolerance increases. The more marijuana is used, the more the drug is needed to achieve the desired high, effectively making addiction exponentially more detrimental to one’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
Addressing a Fluctuating Legality
Despite the use of marijuana as a prescribed drug for anxiety, panic, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marijuana is still a federally illegal drug. While some states have adopted its legality, its status as a federally prohibited substance still stands, making the nuanced laws around its use challenging to navigate. However, this gray area has caused a lot of misinformation about the drug to circulate, even touting it as non-addictive or simply “not a big deal.”
These notions are often birthed from the idea that if the substance is legalized, it must not present too much risk. Discussions surrounding marijuana will often involve these notions or bring up its legality as a justification for its use. However, it is essential to remember that when prescriptions for marijuana are prescribed, they help with specific diagnoses under certain circumstances and do not indicate that the drug poses no risks, especially for recreational use.
Approaching the Conversation
There are a few ways to approach a conversation about marijuana use. While employing specific strategies can help keep the conversation focused and fair, it is still a delicate situation to navigate. Consulting with professionals can further aid each individual in creating a plan to address the topic.
Before tackling such a complicated topic, taking the time to educate oneself about the short and long-term effects of marijuana use is essential. Knowing the effects of the drug can allow one to understand and identify signs and symptoms of its immediate use, from the inherent effects of the drug and the “high” that come with it to the lasting dangers it presents.
This education can help those addressing others about their use identify specific instances where one may have been under the influence of the drug and provide real-world context, experience, and anecdotes about how the use of the drug has affected others. Knowing about marijuana and addiction is also beneficial as it can help keep the conversations personal and relevant. Knowing, with evidence, that drugs were involved in a certain scenario and bringing up the specific circumstance can be an essential source of perspective, making one’s use not speculation or statistic but a real-world, personal trial to overcome.
Conduct in a Safe Time and Place
It is common for those using marijuana to become defensive, deflect the blame, or change the subject entirely when addressed. Holding conversations in a safe space can help mitigate this discomfort, promoting a fair atmosphere. Talking to a loved one in their bedroom or a familiar shared space such as a living room or dining room can all add an air of equality.
Likewise, blindsiding one with the conversation can promote even more defensive tactics, and talking about one’s use should be done when there is time to sit and have a dialogue. This allows time for all parties to discuss things in a non-confrontational way. Avoiding time constraints, such as just before work or getting back from class, can promote an open time for discussion.
Address the Intent
There are a number of reasons why one may feel compelled to use marijuana, and it is essential to listen to another’s reasoning behind their use. For some, the use of the drug may be centered on coping with anxiety or stress, particularly about one’s work or worrying about an upcoming test or project. Others may use the drug as a recreational, social tool, in which case exploring why one feels that drugs are needed for a particular social outlet can be a part of the personalized dialogue. Addressing the intent behind one’s use, rather than only the act of using marijuana, not just helps an individual feel heard but also helps create a personalized recovery strategy for an individual.
Keep a Calm Dialogue
Emotions will run high. Staying calm and avoiding accusations or lectures can establish oneself as a support rather than a hurdle or source of stress. Allowing others to talk about their use and genuinely listening to another’s side with a calm and supportive tone can set the atmosphere for an ongoing dialogue.
Marijuana addiction can affect many facets of one’s life, and overcoming an addiction of any kind is a difficult task. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to marijuana and are ready to take the first step towards your sober future, we at Excel Treatment Center can help you today. We offer an array of programs to help you begin your sober journey. From taking your first step into detox or attending our outpatient program, we can personalize your stay to help you address your unique needs and goals. Art therapy, music, writing, mindfulness practice, and much more are all available to you, backed with comprehensive education, relapse prevention, and life skills programs. For more information on Excel Treatment Center’s treatment options and to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, call (877) 331-4114 today.