How to know if your marijuana use may be problematic?
Marijuana, a substance that has been around for centuries, has become an increasingly hot topic as it has become decriminalized and even legal in many states. For many, marijuana offers very real medicinal value, for others it offers joy and entertainment and for others still it remains a problematic substance. How can one know if their marijuana use is unhealthy or unsafe, especially now in a time where marijuana use has become so mainstream and widespread? Continue reading this blog to better understand some of the warning signs that your marijuana use may be dangerous.
First, consider your tolerance for marijuana. As is true with most substances, as your use increases, so too does your tolerance. Do you need more and more marijuana to feel similar effects as to when you first started? If so, this would indicate that your tolerance has gone up. Another physical reaction that can indicate overuse of marijuana is withdrawal. Though marijuana withdrawal is notably less severe than other substance uses, individuals in withdrawal may notice loss of appetite, irritability, insomnia or anxiety. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms when you are not intaking marijuana, this likely suggests that your body is becoming accustomed to having marijuana in it and therefore is struggling without it.
It is also important to consider when you are smoking (or having an edible) and why. Do you find that you are smoking in response to a bad mood? Many people will smoke when they are feeling down and depressed, but according to Madeline Weinfeld, LMSW marijuana will actually often exacerbate these depressed thoughts and feelings rather than relieve them. While marijuana has a reputation to calm people down, increased use when one is depressed or anxious can actually have the opposite of the intended result. Are you smoking before an activity? Perhaps instead of one? Do you find that smoking is causing problems such as tardiness to work or disengagement from social activities? Consider the very real effects your smoking is having on your daily life.
In response to an increase in tolerance or withdrawal symptoms or an observation that you are using marijuana to cope with mental health issues or instead of other important tasks of your daily life, consider taking a break from marijuana use. Is this a stressful or scary idea? If you find you are unable to pause use, or more definitively quit use, this is a strong indicator that you may be becoming too dependent on your use.
Below are the links to couple of questionnaires that will help you explore your relationship with marijuana and better understand if you may have a marijuana use disorder. If you are concerned about your marijuana use, consider consulting a therapist or other trained professional for support. Therapists at Gateway to Solutions are equipped to support you and your marijuana use, and also can help connect you with other resources in the community as well.