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8 Signs that Marijuana Use is Heading for Trouble

December 29, 2016

There is a new trend in terms of the impact of chronic marijuana use. It is known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. The symptoms include severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Common to those who suffer this impact is seeking relief through hot showers. As odd as all this may sound, it is true.

The remedy is simple. Cease using marijuana.

With the rise of medical and legal marijuana both in the US and Canada, this syndrome is starting to be seen more and more.

As my colleague, Dan McGann notes, “The daily chronic user appears to have increasing symptoms of cannabinoid hyperemesis along with low motivation and anxiety… lack of drive leading to low productivity, therefore low self-esteem – to isolation – to depression and anxiety and then more weed to self medicate and the cycle continues…”

Treating people who abuse marijuana is challenging. As another colleague, Dr. Brenda Steinnagel, notes of chronic marijuana users, “It is hard to penetrate the almost evangelical fervor with which they defend their drug and its use.”

Indeed, unlike other addictions, those who chronically abuse marijuana treat its use almost like a sacrament, holy in nature and yielding divine properties. These chronic users do not hide their marijuana use, but rather seem to cerebrate it all the while their lives fall off track. The common trajectory from a psycho-social perspective includes increasing isolation and depression. The depression is often masked by the fatiguing effects of the marijuana. The effects of chronic marijuana use do mimic depression with symptoms of lethargy, difficulty sleeping and lack of motivation.

How do you know if your loved one is suffering the effects of chronic marijuana use? Look for these signs:

  1. Openly extolling the virtue of the drug;
  2. Daily use;
  3. Increased fatigue, despondency and lethargy;
  4. Increasing inability to carry out the tasks of independent living;
  5. Increasing absences from work or school;
  6. Increasing isolation;
  7. Decreasing network of friends or increasing network of those with a similar disposition to marijuana;
  8. Increase in conflict with parents or those in authority such as at school or work.

If your loved one or friend is exhibiting these symptoms, it is likely they need considerable help to address their chronic marijuana use. These are not problems that typically resolve easily or on their own. Persons who are so taken by their chronic marijuana use often need external influence in order to address their behavior.

The person who is chronically using marijuana will likely be the last person to seek help. Hence help is often initially directed to the family to help cope and set boundaries, limits and expectations for acceptable behavior.

Concern is often expressed by the family for the inability of the chronic marijuana user to fend for themselves and hence some family members may express reluctance or fear about holding the user accountable and fear to have the user expelled from their home. While that level of intervention may be necessary in some cases, it is not necessary in all cases and care should be taken with vulnerable persons not to create more harm in the process.

Marijuana is not the harmless substance so many regular recreational and chronic users would like to have others believe. This is not to say it cannot be used recreationally, much like alcohol, but that there is a significant difference from occasional recreational use at safe times and the chronic use that leads to a cascade of psychological, emotional, behavioral, social, academic and vocational problems.

A significant sign of going down a dangerous path is extolling the virtues and evangelizing the drug use. Even by then, the road to recovery may be long and arduous.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships

  1. The generalization of the one pop shop sex is bad for us why are we born? What assumption that the sterile world is the perfect world, perhaps thats only our uninspired imagination

  2. Excellent article. Informative and thorough in content. Concise and specific in treatment recommendations and suggestions. Useful for the layman and/or treating clinician.

  3. Nate permalink

    I see this all the time! Great article! Anyone commenting or reading have anymore ideas for treatments? I feel as though in practice when I’ve encountered this, I hit a wall after having tried many interventions.

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