Just because a drug is legal does not mean that you cannot abuse it or develop a dependency to it. Take a look at the millions of people dependent on prescription drugs and alcohol – which both are legal - and you, will understand. The legalization of marijuana does not change the fact that chronic, long-term use can lead to abuse and dependency.

What the Numbers Say

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 10 percent of people who use marijuana will either abuse it or develop tolerance and dependency issues. Furthermore, the number increases to 1 in 6 for teens and 25 to 50 percent in individuals who use it on a daily basis. Additionally, marijuana abuse accounted for nearly 4.5 million individuals, according to a 2010 survey and 18 percent of individuals entering substance abuse rehab in 2009.

Withdrawal: This too shall pass!

Individuals with marijuana dependency may experience withdrawal symptoms that can make it difficult to quit. The side effects of withdrawal generally appear within a week and may include the following: cravings; anxiety; irritability; insomnia; and aggression.

The Risks of Long-Term Use

Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicates that long-term marijuana use can have a negative impact on learning, memory and attention capabilities and that the deficits can be lasting. Chronic and excessive users put themselves at serious risk for developing mental illness including psychotic reactions and in some cases schizophrenia.

Addressing Abuse and Dependency

In individuals with a pre-disposition to addiction may develop dependency quickly which may lead to compulsive substance seeking behavior. In fact, many users seeking treatment for marijuana abuse reported that they were “hooked” from the first time they smoked it.

A significant number of teens who smoke marijuana are more like to receive lower grades and to drop out of high school than their peers who do not indulge in use. Marijuana abuse can ruin relationships with friends, family and coworkers, as well as destroy careers and deplete finances.

Getting Help through Detox and Rehab

Quitting marijuana can be difficult for many individuals. In the past, it was believed that a person could stop their use cold turkey, at home without any help. However, most find that they can significantly reduce the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and receive the support needed to quit when they seek help from a medical detox treatment and rehab program.

Medical detox treatment will safely and effectively remove the chemical toxins from your body as a result of marijuana use. Once detox has been successfully completed, most find that entering a rehab treatment program or joining a community support group can be very beneficial in long-term recovery, as well as help to prevent relapse.

Author's Bio: 

Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, HDTV, Wi-Fi and personal massage. Patient confidentiality is always protected.