As more states decriminalize marijuana, people all over the country are having conversations about the benefits and consequences of making it legal. Advocates for marijuana reform laws claim that making the drug legal will help people address underlying mental and physical health conditions that could influence someone to misuse substances such as prescription painkillers. People who are against decriminalizing marijuana often make the claim that it serves as a gateway drug that could lead younger adults to try stronger types of drugs. There is also the concern that marijuana strains today are increasingly stronger than the plants that were grown in the past. Whichever side of the fence that you live on, there is definitely some truth to each side’s argument. Exploring the changes that are occurring throughout the United States helps you to understand more about how decriminalizing marijuana can impact someone’s decision to seek addiction treatment.
Although marijuana may be viewed as less threatening than other types of drugs, it is still important to understand that it can be addictive. Using marijuana can also have dramatic consequences for people who are susceptible to developing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Young people may also be at greater risk for having adverse reactions from the use of marijuana due to the fact that their brains are still developing. Someone who is developing a dependency on marijuana may display the following behaviors.
•Developing a higher tolerance
•Spending all of their money on marijuana
•Using marijuana every day or multiple times each day
•Hiding their use of marijuana
•Experiencing trouble at work or school
•Having episodes of memory loss or paranoia
Using marijuana can still lead to criminal charges for people who flout the new laws. For example, someone who is underage could still face penalties for possessing marijuana. It is also illegal to cultivate or sell marijuana without a license in most places, and you are typically restricted to only having a certain amount in your possession at anytime. While some people may still go to jail for misusing marijuana according to the law, one of the benefits of decriminalization is that it opens up more opportunities for people to get help with addiction through established treatment programs.
Encouraging Open Conversations About Drug Addiction
Decriminalizing marijuana can help more people to seek treatment because they are no longer being immediately sent to jail when they are caught with it in their possession. For some young adults under the age of 21, being caught with marijuana can sometimes open up a dialogue about other drugs that they use. When the courts have more options for helping someone decide to seek addiction treatment, many young adults can start their recovery sooner.
The hot topic of marijuana decriminalization also has the benefit of getting people to talk more about drug addiction. Discussions about marijuana often center upon how people can use the drug to address some of their mental health symptoms such as anxiety. This can then lead to further talks about the connection between coexisting mental health conditions and drug addiction. As people begin to feel less of a stigma surrounding addiction, they are more likely to be willing to seek help when they know that their behaviors are out of control.
People need to feel safe to decide to seek addiction treatment. Eliminating the fear of being in trouble with the police is an important part of helping someone to decide to go to rehab. Now that marijuana is decriminalized, law enforcement officers are beginning to look at people with addiction as having a treatable problem that doesn’t necessarily make them criminals. The realization that addiction is not a character flaw makes it easier for someone to reach out for help.
There are many factors that influence whether or not someone will seek treatment, and decriminalizing marijuana can have a major impact on how people feel about rehab. However, one of the biggest influences for someone deciding to get sober is knowing that they are supported by their friends and family. If you suspect that someone you know is misusing drugs of any kind, then you can use the topic of marijuana decriminalization as a springboard for a larger discussion. Make sure to keep an open mind, and establish an atmosphere of trust that helps your loved one open up.
Are you or someone that you know in need of drug addiction treatment? We can help! Give us a call at 833-610-1174 today!