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An Evolving Opinion on Marijuana

A look into drug rehab centers position on marijuana use and legalization.Recently Canada's premiere centre for addiction research, The Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto stated that they are in support of legalizing both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. The New York Times, arguably the Western World’s number one newspaper took the formal editorial position that the prohibition on marijuana use should be repealed. The Times covered the subject in great depth in six additional parts over a period of weeks.

The media is full of both positive and negative reports on marijuana consumption. Its status legally and socially is changing with more and more jurisdictions and social occasions legalizing or tolerating its use. We hear about positive medicinal uses, and positive social uses in two CNN documentary specials. On the other hand, marijuana has been linked to psychological problems for some vulnerable younger individuals (CBC, David Suzuki, The Down Side of High) . As an addiction treatment center we have a keen interest in these overarching themes and the big-picture implications marijuana holds for our society and for health.

However when it comes to treatment we have to take a look at marijuana from a different perspective. We have to look at it from the individual point of view, examining how it directly effects each patient and his family. In this context we now think of marijuana in much the same way we consider alcohol products. So if you have the occasional joint or bong with friends and simply get a bit of the giggles and the munchies, you would probably not need to get treatment for that. However if you were smoking regularly, and consuming high potency (high THC) marijuana or marijuana concentrates (as dabs) to the point that it compromised your functioning, leaving you with no motivation and being couch locked - then you should seek help for what has become a disabling psychological addiction. It’s the same position we have for alcohol. The occasional drink or beer is not a problem. Drinking or smoking to the point of compromising your health, your productivity, and your ability to function is a serious problem; and one requiring treatment.

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