How Do I Know If I Have a Problem With Marijuana?

Reviewed Nov 27, 2017

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Summary

  • You don’t have to be addicted to have a problem.
  • The longer you wait to take care of it, the worse it will get.
  • You might not see your problem, but others will.

If you use marijuana, you may or may not have a problem. It depends on how often you use it and why.

Do I have a problem?

Start by asking yourself some questions:

Is your use of marijuana getting in the way of your life, your relationships, your job, your future?

Have you quit school, flunked tests or missed out on promotions because you were too stoned to do a good job, or just did not care enough to try to succeed?

Marijuana is sometimes called the Great Un-Motivator. Like many drugs, it works on the part of the brain that controls attention, memory and learning, and does not let those areas work properly. That sloppy-brain effect can last for days or weeks after the more pleasant effects of pot wear off, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time,” according to the NIDA. Research shows that students who smoke marijuana are more likely to drop out of school or to get lower grades than those who do not use it.

Are you missing work or not doing a good job at what you do? Are you not paying attention to getting or staying healthy? Are you eating poorly, not getting any exercise or not socializing with people outside of those you may like to use pot with?

“Marijuana saps your energy. It takes away your ‘get up and go’,” says Jenny Karstad, who supervises a treatment program at a New England mental health center.

When you first started smoking marijuana, maybe you felt giddy and mellow. But, after a while, you only felt good when you were high. Then, your life started falling apart because you were missing work or doing poorly at school, getting into arguments with parents or loved ones. The worse you felt, the more your smoked, until getting high became the most important part of your day.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We often celebrate by indulging in alcohol and rich food, but too much booze, chocolate or even broccoli, can make you sick. Again, it’s not always what you use, but how much and why.

“Marijuana may not cause cancer but it can wreck your plans and interfere with your life,” warns Joseph Lee, M.D., medical director for Hazelden Youth Services.

Is someone nagging you to quit?

Karstad says people do not always come to her center for drug or alcohol treatment, but rather because they sense there is something wrong in their life.

Often, someone has told them to get help, and they want to stop the nagging more than they want to stop drinking. Eventually, they see it is all connected.

Are you coughing a lot?

Marijuana contains tars and other substances that can damage your lungs. There are at least 50 toxins in the marijuana that people smoke, but there may be other, even more dangerous chemicals in it that were sprayed on by growers.

Are you forgetting important dates and promises?

Marijuana affects the memory centers of the brain. It screws up your perception of the passage of time. One of the pleasures and perils of the drug is it makes you lose track of time.

Are you having trouble driving or using machinery?

Marijuana upsets balance and coordination, which could lead to accidents. You might hurt yourself or someone else, even long after you have used the drug.

Would you rather stay home and smoke pot than participate in the world around you?

“Long-term marijuana use can lead to depression,” says Karstad. She sees many people who started using pot when they were young teens. Over the years, they increased the amount they smoked, while they increased their misery.

“If you are 30 years old, still living at home, stoned every day, playing video games or generally not functioning as an adult, you have a serious disorder,” says Tessina. “Your use is compulsive enough that it interferes with your life and maybe with your overall health.”

Are you always uncomfortable? Are you only at ease when you are smoking pot?

It may be time for you to find out why you are so unhappy. Drug use often covers over signs of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety or other mental health issues that you can deal with under the guidance of a skilled professional. Why be miserable? Life is flying past you. Stop and take control of your today and tomorrows. No one needs to be unhappy all the time.

Are you concerned about your children using pot or other drugs?

If you want your kids to stay away from pot and other drugs, be a good role model. Children learn values, in part, by looking at the way their parents live, says Dr. Lee.

Am I addicted?

“The definition of any kind of addiction—whether sex, alcohol, drugs or overwork—is not cut-and-dried. It's based on an evaluation of whether the person is ruining his or her life to satisfy the need,” says psychotherapist and author Tina Tessina. “If a person is jeopardizing his or her health, job, or family to smoke grass, that person needs to get help, and get it fast.”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your use of marijuana may be a problem. You may not be addicted, but you could be on your way to a more serious dependency.

There are many places to get help. Do it now before your problem causes other problems.

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.drugabuse.gov/

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Jenny Karstad, MA, LADC, LCMHC, clinical supervisor, Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center, Brattleboro, VT; Joseph Lee, MD, psychiatrist, medical director for youth services and national advocate for adolescent addiction and mental health issues, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers, Minneapolis, MN; William Shryer, DCSW, LCSW, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Centers, Danville, CA; Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs, Long Beach, CA
Reviewed by Sandrine Pirard, MD, PhD, MPH, VP Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • You don’t have to be addicted to have a problem.
  • The longer you wait to take care of it, the worse it will get.
  • You might not see your problem, but others will.

If you use marijuana, you may or may not have a problem. It depends on how often you use it and why.

Do I have a problem?

Start by asking yourself some questions:

Is your use of marijuana getting in the way of your life, your relationships, your job, your future?

Have you quit school, flunked tests or missed out on promotions because you were too stoned to do a good job, or just did not care enough to try to succeed?

Marijuana is sometimes called the Great Un-Motivator. Like many drugs, it works on the part of the brain that controls attention, memory and learning, and does not let those areas work properly. That sloppy-brain effect can last for days or weeks after the more pleasant effects of pot wear off, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time,” according to the NIDA. Research shows that students who smoke marijuana are more likely to drop out of school or to get lower grades than those who do not use it.

Are you missing work or not doing a good job at what you do? Are you not paying attention to getting or staying healthy? Are you eating poorly, not getting any exercise or not socializing with people outside of those you may like to use pot with?

“Marijuana saps your energy. It takes away your ‘get up and go’,” says Jenny Karstad, who supervises a treatment program at a New England mental health center.

When you first started smoking marijuana, maybe you felt giddy and mellow. But, after a while, you only felt good when you were high. Then, your life started falling apart because you were missing work or doing poorly at school, getting into arguments with parents or loved ones. The worse you felt, the more your smoked, until getting high became the most important part of your day.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We often celebrate by indulging in alcohol and rich food, but too much booze, chocolate or even broccoli, can make you sick. Again, it’s not always what you use, but how much and why.

“Marijuana may not cause cancer but it can wreck your plans and interfere with your life,” warns Joseph Lee, M.D., medical director for Hazelden Youth Services.

Is someone nagging you to quit?

Karstad says people do not always come to her center for drug or alcohol treatment, but rather because they sense there is something wrong in their life.

Often, someone has told them to get help, and they want to stop the nagging more than they want to stop drinking. Eventually, they see it is all connected.

Are you coughing a lot?

Marijuana contains tars and other substances that can damage your lungs. There are at least 50 toxins in the marijuana that people smoke, but there may be other, even more dangerous chemicals in it that were sprayed on by growers.

Are you forgetting important dates and promises?

Marijuana affects the memory centers of the brain. It screws up your perception of the passage of time. One of the pleasures and perils of the drug is it makes you lose track of time.

Are you having trouble driving or using machinery?

Marijuana upsets balance and coordination, which could lead to accidents. You might hurt yourself or someone else, even long after you have used the drug.

Would you rather stay home and smoke pot than participate in the world around you?

“Long-term marijuana use can lead to depression,” says Karstad. She sees many people who started using pot when they were young teens. Over the years, they increased the amount they smoked, while they increased their misery.

“If you are 30 years old, still living at home, stoned every day, playing video games or generally not functioning as an adult, you have a serious disorder,” says Tessina. “Your use is compulsive enough that it interferes with your life and maybe with your overall health.”

Are you always uncomfortable? Are you only at ease when you are smoking pot?

It may be time for you to find out why you are so unhappy. Drug use often covers over signs of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety or other mental health issues that you can deal with under the guidance of a skilled professional. Why be miserable? Life is flying past you. Stop and take control of your today and tomorrows. No one needs to be unhappy all the time.

Are you concerned about your children using pot or other drugs?

If you want your kids to stay away from pot and other drugs, be a good role model. Children learn values, in part, by looking at the way their parents live, says Dr. Lee.

Am I addicted?

“The definition of any kind of addiction—whether sex, alcohol, drugs or overwork—is not cut-and-dried. It's based on an evaluation of whether the person is ruining his or her life to satisfy the need,” says psychotherapist and author Tina Tessina. “If a person is jeopardizing his or her health, job, or family to smoke grass, that person needs to get help, and get it fast.”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your use of marijuana may be a problem. You may not be addicted, but you could be on your way to a more serious dependency.

There are many places to get help. Do it now before your problem causes other problems.

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.drugabuse.gov/

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Jenny Karstad, MA, LADC, LCMHC, clinical supervisor, Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center, Brattleboro, VT; Joseph Lee, MD, psychiatrist, medical director for youth services and national advocate for adolescent addiction and mental health issues, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers, Minneapolis, MN; William Shryer, DCSW, LCSW, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Centers, Danville, CA; Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs, Long Beach, CA
Reviewed by Sandrine Pirard, MD, PhD, MPH, VP Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • You don’t have to be addicted to have a problem.
  • The longer you wait to take care of it, the worse it will get.
  • You might not see your problem, but others will.

If you use marijuana, you may or may not have a problem. It depends on how often you use it and why.

Do I have a problem?

Start by asking yourself some questions:

Is your use of marijuana getting in the way of your life, your relationships, your job, your future?

Have you quit school, flunked tests or missed out on promotions because you were too stoned to do a good job, or just did not care enough to try to succeed?

Marijuana is sometimes called the Great Un-Motivator. Like many drugs, it works on the part of the brain that controls attention, memory and learning, and does not let those areas work properly. That sloppy-brain effect can last for days or weeks after the more pleasant effects of pot wear off, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time,” according to the NIDA. Research shows that students who smoke marijuana are more likely to drop out of school or to get lower grades than those who do not use it.

Are you missing work or not doing a good job at what you do? Are you not paying attention to getting or staying healthy? Are you eating poorly, not getting any exercise or not socializing with people outside of those you may like to use pot with?

“Marijuana saps your energy. It takes away your ‘get up and go’,” says Jenny Karstad, who supervises a treatment program at a New England mental health center.

When you first started smoking marijuana, maybe you felt giddy and mellow. But, after a while, you only felt good when you were high. Then, your life started falling apart because you were missing work or doing poorly at school, getting into arguments with parents or loved ones. The worse you felt, the more your smoked, until getting high became the most important part of your day.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. We often celebrate by indulging in alcohol and rich food, but too much booze, chocolate or even broccoli, can make you sick. Again, it’s not always what you use, but how much and why.

“Marijuana may not cause cancer but it can wreck your plans and interfere with your life,” warns Joseph Lee, M.D., medical director for Hazelden Youth Services.

Is someone nagging you to quit?

Karstad says people do not always come to her center for drug or alcohol treatment, but rather because they sense there is something wrong in their life.

Often, someone has told them to get help, and they want to stop the nagging more than they want to stop drinking. Eventually, they see it is all connected.

Are you coughing a lot?

Marijuana contains tars and other substances that can damage your lungs. There are at least 50 toxins in the marijuana that people smoke, but there may be other, even more dangerous chemicals in it that were sprayed on by growers.

Are you forgetting important dates and promises?

Marijuana affects the memory centers of the brain. It screws up your perception of the passage of time. One of the pleasures and perils of the drug is it makes you lose track of time.

Are you having trouble driving or using machinery?

Marijuana upsets balance and coordination, which could lead to accidents. You might hurt yourself or someone else, even long after you have used the drug.

Would you rather stay home and smoke pot than participate in the world around you?

“Long-term marijuana use can lead to depression,” says Karstad. She sees many people who started using pot when they were young teens. Over the years, they increased the amount they smoked, while they increased their misery.

“If you are 30 years old, still living at home, stoned every day, playing video games or generally not functioning as an adult, you have a serious disorder,” says Tessina. “Your use is compulsive enough that it interferes with your life and maybe with your overall health.”

Are you always uncomfortable? Are you only at ease when you are smoking pot?

It may be time for you to find out why you are so unhappy. Drug use often covers over signs of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety or other mental health issues that you can deal with under the guidance of a skilled professional. Why be miserable? Life is flying past you. Stop and take control of your today and tomorrows. No one needs to be unhappy all the time.

Are you concerned about your children using pot or other drugs?

If you want your kids to stay away from pot and other drugs, be a good role model. Children learn values, in part, by looking at the way their parents live, says Dr. Lee.

Am I addicted?

“The definition of any kind of addiction—whether sex, alcohol, drugs or overwork—is not cut-and-dried. It's based on an evaluation of whether the person is ruining his or her life to satisfy the need,” says psychotherapist and author Tina Tessina. “If a person is jeopardizing his or her health, job, or family to smoke grass, that person needs to get help, and get it fast.”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your use of marijuana may be a problem. You may not be addicted, but you could be on your way to a more serious dependency.

There are many places to get help. Do it now before your problem causes other problems.

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.drugabuse.gov/

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Jenny Karstad, MA, LADC, LCMHC, clinical supervisor, Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center, Brattleboro, VT; Joseph Lee, MD, psychiatrist, medical director for youth services and national advocate for adolescent addiction and mental health issues, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers, Minneapolis, MN; William Shryer, DCSW, LCSW, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Centers, Danville, CA; Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs, Long Beach, CA
Reviewed by Sandrine Pirard, MD, PhD, MPH, VP Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

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