All too often people enter treatment for addiction from a variety of substances with the belief that marijuana is not a drug.  “Alcohol is my problem, not marijuana” or “Marijuana is not addictive” - the list of justifications people use could fill an entire page.  We have all heard the term “gateway drug” in reference to marijuana but often the thought process is that this occurs early in the stages of addiction. However, we have seen that marijuana can be a gateway drug at any point in addiction or recovery.

Contrary to what many believe - marijuana IS a drug.  Although a relapse on marijuana won’t cause immediate death, it’s no less dangerous than any other relapse.  Many people have stated that a relapse to their drug of choice often began with marijuana.  It begins sometimes slowly or sometimes quickly but always ends with the same outcome.

By smoking marijuana, an individual triggers the feeling of getting high and it’s not long before they are looking for the high that they experienced the first time they used the drug.  Soon they begin engaging in the same behaviors and pattern of usage that led them to seek treatment previously.  Health concerns, trouble at work and school, relationship strains are just some of the problems we see from marijuana use which are universal problems seen with most drugs and alcohol.

With some states legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, it’s easy for someone in recovery to think its okay to go back to using marijuana after having not used for a period of time.  It’s important for an individual to remember that no matter what the circumstances are, the behavior is almost always a bigger problem than the substance itself and the progression of addiction never stops.

Abstinence based treatment has always been the most effective form of treatment and results in the highest success rates.  It’s important to educate people with the facts when it comes to marijuana but it’s even more important to educate them about the disease of addiction as well as the impact marijuana use can have on recovery and treatment.

New Hope Recovery Center Chicago has substantial experience treating all forms of addiction including marijuana.  If you or a loved one has been negatively affected by the use of drugs or alcohol, please contact us at 773-883-3916 or via email at for an assessment.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center