Ask an Expert: I'm Addicted to Marijuana, Help!

By Jay Westbrook 02/19/15
Today's question is what to do if you find yourself addicted to marijuana.

I think I am becoming a weed addict and don't want to go into any kind of program. I don't like how it feels not to be stoned but am starting not to like being stoned as much, and the comedowns are harder. My head is like non--working in the mornings so I am getting up earlier to exercise, a good thing, before I go to work (believe it or not I am an accountant and handle certain business affairs for a large company that does not drug test because it is in the entertainment industry).  Point is I am between a rock and hard place and if you just tell me to go to some program, it's not going to work.  What else you got for me?  -- Roger (not my real name)


Jay Westbrook:  You remind me of a friend who suffered with an intermittent toothache. He went to the dentist and said, “my tooth hurts, not all the time, but enough to interfere with my functioning and sleep.  I don’t want any x-rays or drilling; what can you do for me?” – to which the dentist replied, “not much.”

In the first sentence of your question, you said, “don’t want to go into any kind of program.” I’m really not sure what you mean by that, but I’m hoping you meant that you’re uninterested in a residential treatment program where you actually go to a facility and stay for 30 or more days to treat your substance abuse – whatever the actual substance might be, and the issues underlying it. 

If that’s what you meant, then there are alternatives to that kind of program. If, instead, you meant you’re unwilling to open to any kind of treatment, then we are probably at an impasse until your situation worsens, and your misery and/or desperation increase.

One of the options I would strongly suggest is a 12-Step Program called Marijuana Anonymous (MA) - It is modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, but is specific for those who have a problem with marijuana. You can read a great deal about it at their website, and can also find meetings to attend, to see if this seems like a viable solution for you. It is suggested that you commit to trying six meetings, so that you can really get a feel for their Program and the people in it.

Of course, another option is to see a counselor or therapist to explore issues like 1) why you smoke weed, 2) why you don’t just stop if it’s causing you problems, 3) why you’re willing to jeopardize your career and happiness for the weed, and 4) how you might be able to quit (residential treatment program, Marijuana Anonymous, hypnosis, acupuncture, therapy, etc.).

It’s interesting, people who have a problem with peanuts (a peanut allergy, teeth that crack when they bite a hard peanut, choking on the peanuts, etc.) usually just stop eating them. The same seems to go for people who have a problem with strawberries, or shellfish. It might be well-worth exploring why you seem unwilling to completely stop the weed, now that it’s causing problems in your life. That insight might well be the key to you finding a way to stop. I hope this helps – let us know.



G Jay Westbrook, M.S-Gerontology., R.N, is a multiple award-winning clinician (Nurse of the Year), Visiting Faculty Scholar at Harvard Medical School, speaker and author who specializes in both substance abuse recovery and End-of-Life care and is an expert in Grief Recovery©. He has both consulted to and served as a clinician in multiple treatment centers and hospitals, guiding clients through their grief, and working with them and their families on healing broken relationships. His lectures to physicians and nurses include trainings in When Your Patient is a Substance Abuser: Currently or Historically. He can be reached at [email protected].    Full Bio.

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