Marijuana Abuse Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Marijuana is a commonly abused substance consumed by people of all ages. Despite the popularity of this drug, it remains a potentially dangerous substance that can negatively impact an individual’s life.

Understanding Marijuana Abuse

Learn about marijuana and substance abuse

When taken for recreational purposes, marijuana induces feelings of relaxation, detachment from one’s surroundings, and pleasurable sensations when it’s smoked, eaten, or inhaled via a vaporizer. Additionally, this drug is one that is often abused at the same time as other drugs, which further adds to the danger of consuming it.

If you’re a regular abuser of marijuana, then you’re probably familiar with how this drug can adversely impact day-to-day functioning. In fact, if the abuse of this substance has become the main priority for you and resulted in many problems, then you may be searching for proper care to mitigate this sort of substance abuse problem. Luckily, there are many options for care available that can put an end to this sort of concern. By engaging in a reputable addiction clinic’s substance abuse treatment program, an addiction to marijuana can be successfully overcome once and for all.


Marijuana abuse statistics

The American Psychological Association, or APA, states that marijuana is a frequently abused drug among people of all ages. This psychoactive substance is often abused by more males than females, and experimentation with this substance typically occurs during early to mid-adolescence. Additionally, many experts in the fields of mental health and addiction firmly believe that early abuse of marijuana can lead to the abuse of other drugs and/or alcohol later in life.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for marijuana abuse

A substantial amount of research has been dedicated to determining why and how someone comes to struggle with the abuse of drugs like marijuana. The following summarizes what researchers have concluded and may be helpful to you in understanding why you or your child is battling an addiction to marijuana:

Genetic: Substance abuse is a problem that can be found within families. The reason for this is because there are specific genes that can make the abuse of substances more appealing and cause an addiction to form more quickly if drugs and/or alcohol are abused. Therefore, if you’re trying to understand why you are grappling with the abuse of marijuana, it could be helpful to take a look at your family background to determine if this sort of issue has impacted the lives of your loved ones.

Environmental: Depending on the people you spend time with, the places you go, and how easily marijuana can be acquired, the risk for abusing marijuana either goes up or down. This is an example of how one’s environment can impact the potential for abusing marijuana, which can play a significant role in the onset of this type of substance abuse. Furthermore, if you don’t have appropriate social or familial support or lack the skills needed for coping and to manage peer pressure, the possibility of abusing marijuana increases as well.

Risk Factors:

  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Having easy access to marijuana
  • Family history of substance abuse and/or addiction
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Being of younger age

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of marijuana abuse

Depending on how long you’ve abused marijuana, the amount you consume, and how often you take this drug, the signs and symptoms of a marijuana abuse problem can vary. If you’re experiencing a good number of the following behavioral, physical, cognitive, or psychosocial symptoms, then you may be an excellent candidate for professional treatment:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Using marijuana when it’s unsafe to do so
  • Unexplained absences from work
  • Trying but failing to stop the abuse of marijuana
  • Social isolation
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Decline in performance at work
  • Being in possession of drug paraphernalia

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased appetite
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Dry mouth
  • Bloodshot eyes

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor decision-making
  • Perceptual disturbances
  • Impaired judgment
  • Experiencing the sensation of time slowing down

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Euphoria
  • Declined interest in things that one once found enjoyable
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation


Effects of marijuana abuse

If you are abusing marijuana, it’s quite likely that some negative effects will happen as a result of abusing this drug. Therefore, if you’d like to prevent the effects of marijuana abuse, it’s best to seek professional treatment at a reputable clinic. In doing so, the following effects may never become an issue for you:

  • Worsening of mental illness symptoms if present before the abuse of marijuana occurred
  • Respiratory problems
  • Relationships problems
  • Poor work performance
  • Polysubstance abuse
  • Onset of mental health concerns
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Job loss
  • Cognitive deficits

Co-Occurring Disorders

Marijuana abuse and co-occurring disorders

Whether they existed before marijuana was ever abused, or if they manifested after the abuse of this substance occurred, there are many mental health concerns and other substance abuse problems that can occur alongside a marijuana abuse problem. Therefore, if you receive professional treatment for your marijuana addiction, the below-listed disorders may also be addressed at the same time:

  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of marijuana withdrawal and overdose

If you are a regular and/or heavy user of marijuana, then it’s likely that uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms will manifest when the abuse of this drug stops. To know if you are struggling with marijuana withdrawal, pay attention to see if any of the following effects are present when you’re not under the influence of this drug:

  • Weight loss
  • Sweating
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Shakiness
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased appetite
  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Abdominal pain

It was hard for me to open up in group therapy, but after I did, I was able to share more and more each time. Group was crucial to my recovery process.

– Anonymous Patient
Marks of Quality Care
  • Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA)
  • The Jason Foundation
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval