Cannabis use should not be taken lightly. Aside from alcohol, it is the most commonly used drug in the United States. An estimated 22 million Americans have used it in the past year,  and each year, over 300,000 people enter drug treatment for cannabis.

In 2017, there were almost 11,000 cannabis-related treatment admissions to centers and facilities in New Jersey, according to the Department of Health Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Even though it is legal in several states, and is a drug widely accepted in some parts of pop-culture, marijuana use can have many adverse side-effects. Tobacco, alcohol, and prescription painkillers are all legal but can pose serious health risks – and cannabis is no different. It has been linked to mental illness, and many people have found themselves addicted.

The Excel Approach to Cannabis

doctor interviewing patient

At Excel, we offer high-quality medical and psychiatric care for those experiencing cannabis addiction. We take a compassionate approach – we know that no two people’s stories are the same. As such, we tailor our treatment programs to meet our clients exact needs.

We appreciate that there is lots of false information about the safety of cannabis, and we understand that cannabis addiction can be severe. Despite this, with the right support, it is possible to recover. This starts with a professional detox and is supported throughout by our program of recovery.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a plant which is primarily smoked for its narcotic effects. It usually resembles dried green plant matter and has a very distinctive smell. It is also consumed in cannabis-infused foodstuffs, such as cookies and candy, known as edibles.

Due to its wide availability, people are smoking cannabis earlier and earlier in their lives. This is worrying, as exposure to drugs as a teen dramatically increases the risk of addiction later in life.

Short Term Effects of Cannabis Use

The effects of cannabis can vary from person to person. While one person may not experience any negative effects, another person will.

Some of the common effects are:

  • Increased appetite
  • Red eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Giggling
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Paranoia

Long Term Effects of Cannabis Use

Cannabis is many times more potent now than it was twenty years ago. As yet, there hasn’t been the opportunity to study the long-term effects of modern, super-strength cannabis on people’s brains.

However, researchers have found that long-term use of marijuana can cause:

Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms

Despite misinformation around cannabis being non-addictive, recent research has shown that it can be both mentally and physically addictive.

Some tell-tale signs of cannabis addiction are:

  • Obsessing over cannabis
  • Falling behind in work or study
  • Losing interest in other activities
  • Lying about cannabis use>
  • Possessing smoking papers or other items related to cannabis use
  • Trying and failing to stop or reduce cannabis use
  • Being under the influence of cannabis whilst driving
  • Using cannabis despite negative effects
  • Problems focusing
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Appearing sleepy
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination


As cannabis addiction can present differently for different people, making a complete list of the symptoms is impossible. THC – the active ingredient in cannabis – interacts with areas in the brain which control time, sensory perception, thoughts, emotions, and concentration.

With prolonged exposure, the brain adapts to the presence of THC in the bloodstream. If you stop abruptly, you can experience unpleasant symptoms.

According to the DSM-V, some of the more common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Problems concentrating
  • Feeling depressed
  • Anxiety
  • Urges to use cannabis

Many people find themselves continuing to use cannabis daily to prevent these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Attempting to stop using cannabis alone can be problematic and is best done with the support of understanding medical professionals who know what you are going through. With the correct assistance, it is possible to detox from

Cannabis Withdrawal Time Frame

No two people’s bodies are the same, and as such, marijuana withdrawal can vary from person to person. The acute withdrawal effects usually last for around two weeks. As THC is stored in fat cells, it can take up to a month to leave the body, and as a result, clients can experience residual effects over the coming months. We advise clients to continue their recovery in one of our programs to support them through this period.

If you or a loved one is worried about the effects of cannabis withdrawal, rest assured that medical intervention can make the process bearable. While most marijuana detoxes can be done without the use of medication, prescriptions can be given by a doctor if essential to help ease any discomfort.

The Causes of Cannabis Addiction

Addiction can be very complex, with a wide variety of causes. It is likely to be a combination of factors which can include genetic, environmental, and situational factors.

Before starting any treatment, we carry out a thorough assessment which gives us a clear understanding of the potential causes of your addiction. However, we know that during detoxing and the recommended therapy that follows, other issues may surface. We make sure that our programs are always flexible, and we can change to suit your needs.

Other Drug Use

Known as “polydrug use’, it’s more common than people think. The detox facilities we work alongside are experienced in dealing with all kinds of addictions. During the assessment period, you can discuss your drug use confidentially with one of our highly-trained professionals. Using this information, they can create a personalized detox plan which suits your exact needs.

Prescription Medication Use

If you are taking prescription medication under a doctor’s advice and you use it as prescribed, then you would continue to do so during treatment. We will, however, need to know which medicines you are currently taking. This helps us to tailor your detox and ensures any medication we prescribe does not cause any adverse reactions. That said, if your prescription medication is a contributing factor to your addiction, we can discuss this at your initial assessment.

Mental Health Treatment

At Excel, we understand the complex relationship that drugs can have with mental health. We know that many people ‘self-medicate’ and we also know that cannabis use can make symptoms of existing mental health conditions worse. We can offer therapy which can help people to cope with the symptoms, and we can also arrange for our clients to get access to treatment if required.

Care After Detox

Substance abuse is a complex and deep-rooted condition, and for many people, detoxing is not enough. Although detox is the first step in recovery, it does not treat the underlying conditions which caused the addiction in the first place. Most of the self-discovery and healing will take place after the detox.

It is advisable that following detox, you engage in one of our bespoke outpatient or partial care recovery programs. Here, you can work on what was driving the addiction, learn how to cope without using drugs, and meet with peers who are on the same journey you are. Our programs have helped hundreds of people build a solid base for their recovery, and we can help you too.


Because no two recovery journeys are the same, it is impossible to give a definite answer. It is a highly personal process that depends on the person, their background, and what they want to get from treatment.

Our programs are centered around group therapy and individual therapy and are underpinned by the 12 Steps. We are not a boot-camp – we believe that by showing our clients care and compassion, we can allow them to flourish. If you or a loved one is struggling with cannabis addiction, please reach out to us today – we’re here to help.

The Excel Treatment Center does not provide residential detox. We are happy to refer clients to an insurance friendly, licensed detoxification facility that can effectively provide detoxification services to you or your loved one.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us today for our support services at (973)-989-7500.

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