Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Marijuana addiction treatment can occur in a residential or outpatient setting. It begins with building motivation for achieving sobriety and is followed by weeks or months of counseling and therapy. Many people benefit from attending support group meetings after treatment.

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Fostering motivation for sobriety is one of the primary goals of marijuana addiction treatment. Rehab also teaches people skills for overcoming cravings, avoiding relapse and living healthy lives.

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Many cities have decriminalized marijuana possession. Some states have legalized recreational marijuana use. As result, a large portion of the American public believes weed is harmless. This misconception may deter people from seeking treatment for marijuana dependence or addiction.

Using the drug is not associated with a high risk for contracting diseases. Marijuana overdoses aren’t deadly, but people addicted to the drug can experience major mental health issues and life problems.

Marijuana addiction is a disease. It can exacerbate mental health problems, including schizophrenia and anxiety. And the drug can be hard to quit. Marijuana rehab treats the effects of addiction and helps people rebuild their lives.

Why People Seek Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Many people seek marijuana addiction treatment when they’re unable to stop using the drug on their own. They may notice that weed starts causing problems that they can’t prevent.

Common reasons for seeking treatment include:

  • Failing to quit using marijuana despite multiple attempts
  • Relying on marijuana to feel happy or normal
  • Feeling worsening anxiety or paranoia
  • Experiencing work or legal problems associated with drug use

Some people don’t recognize the impact of marijuana on their lives. They only attend treatment because of a court order or pressure from friends and family members. That’s why treatment usually starts with therapy designed to increase motivation for sobriety.

What Happens During Marijuana Rehab?

Marijuana treatment often begins with motivational enhancement therapy. This therapy is designed to reduce ambivalence about sobriety. Patients learn marijuana is an addictive drug that can cause health and social problems. They also discover that they can be happy without weed.

Rehab for marijuana can occur at an inpatient or outpatient facility. People addicted to the drug should attend inpatient treatment, which requires them to live at the rehab facility throughout treatment.

Those who are dependent on pot but not addicted may benefit from outpatient treatment. Because they can control their drug use better than people who are addicted, they can generally live at home and visit the rehab facility for therapy. They experience withdrawal and cravings, but they don’t exhibit compulsive and reckless behavior.


Detoxing from marijuana isn’t as complicated as detoxing from other drugs. Unlike alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, marijuana withdrawal can’t kill you. It isn’t as painful as withdrawal from heroin or other opioids.

However, marijuana withdrawal can cause irritability, depression, sleep problems and cravings. People who try to quit marijuana say withdrawal symptoms make quitting more difficult.

Depending on the facility and the treatment plan, rehab for marijuana addiction may begin with detox. During this period, patients are kept as comfortable as possible. Other treatment plans may not include a designated detox period. Outpatient treatment usually introduces counseling and therapy immediately.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is a primary component of inpatient and outpatient treatment for marijuana addiction. Counseling often begins with motivational enhancement therapy, which builds desire for sobriety.

Next, patients usually receive cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy teaches skills that help people reduce blame, foster hope and identify ways to improve their lives.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a counseling manual for treating adults with marijuana problems. The manual describes a brief outpatient treatment model that comprises 10 treatment sessions.

The Brief Marijuana Dependence Counseling Model includes:

  • One assessment session
  • Two motivational enhancement sessions
  • Seven cognitive behavioral sessions

Contingency management has also shown promising results as a treatment for marijuana addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It can be incorporated into a treatment plan that includes other types of therapy. Contingency management rewards patients with gift cards or vouchers for passing drug tests.

Inpatient treatment for addiction can include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy and contingency management approaches. It also includes supplementary group therapies.

Group Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy can also be implemented in group therapy sessions. During inpatient therapy, patients may attend multiple cognitive behavioral group sessions per week. Outpatient treatment may begin with individual sessions and end with group sessions.

Rehab facilities also provide a variety of educational groups that teach patients about life skills, nutrition and wellness. Patients may attend groups focused on the science of addiction, relapse prevention or other topics.

Many treatment plans include an introduction to Marijuana Anonymous, a 12-step program for people in recovery from marijuana addiction. Twelve-step programs complement counseling sessions. They’re also valuable aftercare resources.

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Finding Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Most rehab centers treat marijuana addiction. Certain private therapists may also specialize in treating marijuana dependence. Insurance plans are required to cover treatment for substance use disorders, including marijuana use disorder.

You can find treatment for dependence or addiction by calling a marijuana hotline. These toll-free helplines can direct you to nearby treatment facilities and support groups. They may also be able to evaluate the severity of your problems with marijuana and help you understand your payment options.

Marijuana addiction is a debilitating disease. Without treatment, people addicted to the drug can experience serious mental health problems. They may lose their job or have trouble feeling happiness. However, inpatient or outpatient therapy can assist people who are struggling to quit on their own.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Chris Elkins, MA
Senior Content Writer,
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.

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