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Young Adult Marijuana Addiction Treatment & Rehab: 10+ Facts About Marijuana Use Disorder

May 19, 2022

Table of Contents

Young Adult Marijuana Addiction

What are Marijuana and THC, and What Effects Do They Have on the Body?

According to the NIH, marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, and stems that come from the Cannabis plant.

Marijuana is among the most commonly used addictive drugs, along with tobacco and alcohol.

SAMHSA reported that in 2018, over 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in the past year.

Vaping devices that contain THC have also become popular among young people.

THC is a chemical present in marijuana responsible for its mind-altering effects.

Marijuana affects brain cells in regions of the brain responsible for coordination, memory, judgment, and pleasure. Many young adults may use marijuana to get “high.”

Can you become addicted to marijuana?

Marijuana can lead to a substance use disorder (SUD) or addiction.

Over time, the brain and body can get used to marijuana, and this can cause people to continue to use it to feel “normal” again.

Determining a marijuana addiction can be difficult, especially in this day and age. Like alcohol, recreational use of marijuana has begun to become normalized while the negative effects on one’s health go ignored.

How common is young adult marijuana addiction?

According to SAMHSA, about 1 in 10 people who engage in marijuana use will become addicted, when an individual starts before 18 years old, the addiction rate increases to 1 in 6.

The Symptoms Of Marijuana Addiction In Young Adults

How do you know if a young adult needs marijuana addiction treatment?

Some signs of marijuana addiction in young adults can include:

  • Poor academic performance or loss of interest in school
  • Changes in peer groups
  • Isolating themselves from family or friends
  • Lying or keeping secrets
  • Lack of interest in things they used to once like
  • Decreased motivation
  • Easily agitated
  • Becomes defensive when questioned about certain activities
  • Increased anxiety
  • Defiant behavior

Can extended marijuana use lead to mental health issues in young adults?

Yes, extended marijuana use can lead to mental and physical issues in young adults.


Some effects that extended marijuana use can have on young adult’s mental health include:

  • Temporary hallucinations or paranoia
  • Worsening symptoms in those with schizophrenia
  • Psychosis
  • Short-term effects of marijuana on the brain can include:
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty thinking or problem-solving
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired body movement
  • Altered senses
  • Delusions
  • Physical effects of marijuana may include breathing problems, increased heart rate, and nausea or vomiting.

Treatment Options

What is Young Adult marijuana addiction treatment?

At Sandstone Care, young adult marijuana addiction treatment aims to provide an individualized treatment plan to learn healthy coping mechanisms, avoid relapse, and achieve sobriety.

Residential Extended Care for Young Adult Marijuana Addiction

Sandstone Care’s Residential Extended Care for Young Adult Marijuana Addiction provides a therapeutic, recovery-based setting for young adults ages 18 to 30 to receive addiction and mental health treatment support.

Residential treatment provides 24-hour care in a live-in setting.

Treatment plans are made to address each individual’s needs and set up so that young adults can still receive a continuum of care that provides support after moving on.

Sandstone Care also offers age and gender-specific housing options so that young adults can feel comfortable throughout the treatment process.

Locations: Colorado


Day Treatment for Young Adult Marijuana Addiction

Day Treatment, also known as Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), involves 25 hours of a weekly program for young adults ages 18 to 30 for 3 weeks. Various therapies can help young adults understand their addiction and mental health and begin to heal.

Locations: Colorado, Maryland, Virginia


Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) for Young Adult Marijuana Addiction

The goal of Intensive Outpatient Programs, or IOP, is to help young adults understand and address substance abuse and marijuana addiction along with other mental health conditions.

This program lasts for 8 to 12 weeks, and individuals also receive support through bi-weekly sessions with a licensed senior clinician and a primary family therapist.

Sandstone Care also provides IOP virtually and can be fitting for someone who may live far or have other health concerns that may interfere with in-person treatment.

Locations: Colorado, Maryland, Virginia


Therapeutic Sober Living for Young Adult Marijuana Addiction

Therapeutic Sober Living is a drug-free, structured living environment that helps develop a balanced and independent lifestyle. Sober living homes are gender-specific and available for young adults ages 18 to 30.

Sober living homes can be suitable for young adults who may not have a stable or supportive environment. It can also be helpful for those who are struggling with transitioning to a life without marijuana or other substances.

Locations: Colorado, Maryland, Virginia


What kind of Marijuana Addiction Treatment Works Best for Young Adults?

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy commonly used for young adults struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

Through CBT, young adults can learn strategies and healthy coping mechanisms that help to identify and fix problematic behaviors. In doing so, they can learn self-control, stop drug use, and identify and address any co-occurring problems.

CBT can help treat marijuana addiction by addressing underlying mental health conditions and behaviors that may play a role in marijuana use.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is also a type of psychotherapy that was originally used to treat individuals who were suicidal or diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.

Today, DBT has proven to be effective for other forms of mental illness and addiction.

DBT includes multiple aspects of other cognitive-behavioral approaches; however, two of the main fundamental aspects of DBT are acceptance and change.

DBT can help young adults with a marijuana addiction because it focuses on behaviors and thought processes that lead young people to substance abuse.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is centered around the idea that an individual should acknowledge and address difficult emotions to improve their well-being.

An important part of ACT is mindfulness. This idea allows someone to observe and improve self-awareness.

When using ACT as an approach for substance abuse, it can help young adults cope with the difficult feelings that may lead to the use of drugs or alcohol.


Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency Management is a therapeutic approach that uses positive, tangible rewards for positive behavior.

CM is used in schools, behavioral health centers, and residential treatment centers.

Studies demonstrate that incentive-based approaches like CM are highly effective in treating, increasing the continuation of treatment, and promoting abstinence from drugs like marijuana.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

MET is designed to produce internally motivated change. Instead of intending to treat the person, it promotes internal change and involvement in treatment.

According to the NIH, MET has been successful in playing a role in the treatment of marijuana dependence when combined with CBT.

MET can be helpful for young adults who may be struggling to get help for marijuana addiction. Generally, MET is most useful for getting people involved in treatment for substance abuse rather than changing drug use.

Family Therapy

Substance abuse and addiction not only affect the individual but also their family and friends.

The whole family needs to be involved in the treatment and healing process. Through family therapy, each individual can share their experiences and feelings.

Family therapy can help families build better problem-solving skills and improve communication.

Family therapy provides successful results for both adolescents and young adults.


Group Therapy

Support groups play a large role in the treatment process for marijuana addiction.

Support groups can provide a sense of community and a strong support network for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

Through support groups, individuals can share their experiences and learn from each other. It also provides a safe space to talk about things that may be difficult.

Young adulthood can be a time of new situations and transitions. It can feel isolating and lonely when someone is struggling with mental illness, SUD, or addiction.

Having people to talk to can make a big difference when dealing with difficult or painful emotions. It can be reassuring to know that you are not alone.


Vocational Support

Young adults have a lot on their plates between school, work, and personal life.

All these factors can create a lot of stress and result in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Problems at school or work can play a factor in the development of marijuana addiction.

Getting support in school or work positively impacts the treatment process for marijuana abuse and helps to build confidence a positive self-image, and helps to set up young adults for success.

FAQ Section

Is Independent Or Group Marijuana Addiction Treatment More Effective For Young Adults?

The treatment approach for marijuana addiction is unique to each individual.

Since the reason that young adults use marijuana varies, the effectiveness of different treatments varies as well.

Often, treatment can involve different forms of therapy that include both independent and group treatment.

How Do You Get A Young Adult To Go To A Treatment Program For Marijuana Addiction?

It may be difficult to convince a young adult to get treatment for marijuana addiction.

They may feel challenged because adults and parents typically disapprove of marijuana use but then may feel that it is normal around their friends.

This can cause mixed feelings about getting help.

It is essential to educate yourself on marijuana abuse and addiction.

Learning more can help you better understand how you can help someone struggling with marijuana addiction.

Educating yourself and others can help someone better understand how marijuana can impact their mental and physical health.

Planning an intervention is also an option. This includes talking to them about the negative health risks that come with marijuana use and addiction and also the impact it has had on them and their loved ones.

The purpose of an intervention is to convince a person to get professional help.

When discussing marijuana addiction, it is also important to avoid any negative attitudes or comments that can discourage someone from trying to get help.

Are There Different Kinds Of Marijuana Addiction Treatment Options For Young Adults?

Yes. There are various marijuana addiction treatment options available for young adults.

Marijuana addiction treatment is unique to each individual. The causes and circumstances that come along with substance abuse and addiction are not always the same; therefore, the treatment approach should not always be the same.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

The amount of time treatment takes depends on the type of treatment received.

For example, day treatment for young adult marijuana addiction involves about 25 hours weekly for three weeks.

IOP can be anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.

Are Loved Ones A Part Of Young Adult Treatment?

Yes. Sandstone Care is dedicated to age-specific care and the involvement of the whole family.

This includes the idea that every aspect of treatment is based on young adults and their loved ones.

Counselors and therapists will work with the participants and their families and close friends to improve relationships and reestablish bonds.

Sandstone Care understands that substance abuse and addiction affect both individuals and their families. Family therapy is integrated into the treatment process to address any problems within the family and open up communication.

What Is The Main Point Of Marijuana Addiction Treatment?

Marijuana addiction treatment aims to change behaviors and unhealthy coping mechanisms to become sober and prevent relapse.

Do Young Adults Go Through Marijuana Withdrawal?

Young adults may experience marijuana withdrawal during treatment.

According to Drug and Alcohol Dependence, cannabis withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Cravings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeping problems

Supervised detox by medical professionals can help a person stop using marijuana safely.

Detox programs may be helpful for those who may struggle to stop using marijuana on their own, who have other mental health conditions or co-occurring disorders, or who do not have a stable and supportive environment.

How Can A Young Adult Keep From Relapsing After Substance Abuse Treatment?

Relapse is a normal part of recovery but can also be very dangerous.

It also does not mean that treatment completely failed.

If an individual uses the same amount of drugs they did before they quit, they can overdose because their bodies are not used to the levels of exposure they had before.

One way to keep from relapsing is by avoiding triggering situations or people.

It can make it difficult to recover while attending parties where drugs or alcohol are present. It is helpful to avoid people who use substances, as it may become tempting to use drugs again if the people around you are doing it too.

It is also important to try to get rid of any cues or triggers that may be related to substances in your home.

Having a strong support system can also help keep young adults from relapsing throughout the recovery process.

It may also be difficult or different transitioning to a life without drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, it may feel boring or weird trying to figure out what to do without it.

Keeping busy with positive and healthy activities can help avoid boredom and the urge to want to use substances again. Things like new hobbies, classes, exercise, or volunteer work can be some ways to occupy yourself.

What Should A Young Adult Do If They Relapse?

If a young adult relapses after receiving treatment for marijuana addiction, it is important to reach out for professional help and contact their doctor so they can go back to treatment, change things about their treatment, or try a new form of treatment.

What Percentage Of Adolescents Develop An Addiction To Marijuana? Is It More Common In Young Adults?

According to the NIH, about 1 in 11 of those who use marijuana will develop an addiction. If you begin in your teens, this number goes up to about 1 in 6 or 17 percent.

Marijuana use is on the rise amongst young adults and college-aged students. The NIH reports that it has continuously increased over the last five years. In 2020, among college students, 44 percent reported using marijuana in the past year.

Young people are more vulnerable to SUDs and addiction because of the developing brain.

Does Marijuana Addiction Lead To Other Drug Addictions?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some research suggests that marijuana is a gateway drug.

This means that someone who abuses or has a marijuana addiction is likely to use other substances and develop an addiction to other substances.

Exposure to cannabinoids in adolescence can alter the brain and make it more vulnerable to substance use disorders and addiction later on in life.


Young adult marijuana addiction treatment aims to provide an individualized treatment plan to learn healthy coping mechanisms and achieve sobriety. Sandstone Care supports teens and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Call (888) 850-1890.

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