What is Marijuana?
Marijuana, also known as cannabis or weed can be viewed by some as a relatively innocuous or low-risk drug, contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol—more commonly known as THC—which is a mind-altering chemical that distorts how the mind views the world.1,2
The drug can be smoked or consumed and is a green, brown, or gray mix of parts of the marijuana plant.3 It is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, with an estimated 37.6 million users in 2016.4
Chronic marijuana use can become quite problematic, and those who struggle with the issue may display patterns of behavior similar to those seen in individuals who compulsively use drugs more commonly acknowledged as addictive substances, such as stimulants or opioids.
Just like these “harder” substances, people with cannabis use disorders continue to use despite the resulting negative consequences, which may occur across a broad portion of their lives—impacting their work, school, and/or personal relationships.1,5 According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, without treatment or participation in recovery work, addiction is a progressive disease and can lead to disability or early death.6
An addiction hotline is typically a free and confidential service designed to put you in touch with treatment resources, including for marijuana addiction.
Side Effects and Overdose of Marijuana
Marijuana can have both short-term and long-term effects on users. Short-term effects may include the following:1,2,3
- Altered senses
- Changes in mood
- Impaired memory
- Changes in sense of time
- Increased appetite
- Hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
- Psychosis (when taken in high doses)
With chronic use of marijuana, there can be long-term effects including:1,2,3
- Problems with brain development.
- Breathing problems.
- Impaired learning.
- Intense nausea and vomiting.
- Increased heart rate.
It is possible to overdose on marijuana, if a person takes too much of the drug. Overdose symptoms can include anxiety, panic, and a rapid heartbeat. Rarely, symptoms can even include paranoia and a psychotic reaction, which may involve hallucinations and/or delusions.1,3
Chronic use may result in a substance use disorder (SUD), which is when a person is unable to stop using the substance even though it causes health and social problems in their life.1
With the risk of both short- and long-term effects of marijuana, there are several hotlines that you can call to get help for yourself or your loved one. Addiction hotlines are typically free and confidential services designed to put you in touch with treatment resources. Many of these helplines have someone available to talk with you 24/7, so now is always the right time to call.
What Questions Should I Ask?
When you call an addiction hotline about marijuana addiction, you may wonder what to ask. You are trying to gain as much information as you can about your options for help, so a few questions you might ask include:
- What kind of therapy tends to help people stop marijuana use?
- Are there any treatment providers near me?
- Will I have to go to rehab and, if so, what is that like?
- Will my insurance cover treatment? (Have your insurance card available if you have current coverage.)
- What should I do if I have a loved one who needs treatment?
- How can I help a person I care about to go to rehab?
Should I Call a Marijuana Hotline?
A hotline may be able to give you some very helpful information such as:
- Facts about marijuana use and addiction.
- How to help a loved one get the help they need.
- What the many treatments and levels of care available for addiction are, including inpatient and outpatient therapy, and which option may be best for you.
- How to find, decide on, and/or contact a rehabilitation center or other treatment provider.
- What support groups and other resources are nearby.
I’m Too Afraid to Call
It’s understandable being nervous when you first reach out for help. However, be assured that the people answering the phone won’t judge you and are there to help. A call to a reputable helpline is private and free and can help calm any fears you may have about treatment. If you are ready to make that positive change today or just to take a step in that direction, call an addiction hotline to start you or your loved one on the path to recovery.
Helplines for Marijuana Addiction
There are several drug information hotlines that can answer questions about marijuana and other types of drug use, provide you with information about various addiction treatment options, and/or provide help with other issues that are sometimes connected to addiction. However, if you are in immediate danger or are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a government clearinghouse with extensive information on addiction prevention and intervention. Their helpline staffed 24/7: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
- The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) maintains a website with education about marijuana and other drugs, prevention, the signs of addiction, and treatment, as well as referrals to local affiliates that can provide information and help individuals find needed resources in their community. Their 24-hour Hope Line provides referrals to affiliates: 800-622-2255.
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has information about prevention, substance use warning signs, and treatment. They provide a parent helpline: 1-855-DRUGFRE (855-378-4373). Hours for the helpline are available on their website.
- Boys Town seeks to help children, families, and communities struggling with various issues, including addiction. Their helpline is available 24/7 to provide callers with advice and help them find needed resources: 800-448-3000.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides support to individuals in suicidal crisis or other emotional distress, as well as prevention information, crisis resources, and guidance for professionals. Their lifeline is available 24/7: 1-800-273-8255.
- The National Runaway Safeline provides help for young people who have run away, are homeless, or are otherwise at-risk. Their helpline is available 24/7: 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929)
Other resources that may be helpful for individuals struggling with marijuana addiction include:
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Marijuana Anonymous: MA is a fellowship focused on helping members abstain from marijuana. Individuals can find information on the website or can call 1-800-766-6779.
- More general recovery organizations: Organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery may be helpful alternatives to MA.
Drug-Specific Hotline Numbers
There are also toll-free alcohol abuse hotline numbers and resources available.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Marijuana.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. (2019). Marijuana.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. (2019). Marijuana.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Marijuana and Public Health.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2011). Definition of Addiction.