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With marijuana use growing in legality and acceptance, what is the role for marijuana rehab?

The headlines around marijuana use can be found nearly every day. One recent example: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson talked openly about smoking daily.

However, we know marijuana is addictive. As we’ve noted: “While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted and won’t need marijuana rehab, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent on the drug or addicted to it.”

Indeed, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that “Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug (22.2 million people have used it in the past month) according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.3 Its use is more prevalent among men than women—a gender gap that widened in the years 2007 to 2014.”

Further, Marijuana use is widespread among adolescents and young adults.

DrugAbuse.gov continues: “According to the Monitoring the Future survey—an annual survey of drug use and attitudes among the Nation’s middle and high school students—most measures of marijuana use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders peaked in the mid-to-late 1990s and then began a period of gradual decline through the mid-2000s before leveling off. Most measures showed some decline again in the past 5 years. Teens’ perceptions of the risks of marijuana use have steadily declined over the past decade, possibly related to increasing public debate about legalizing or loosening restrictions on marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. In 2016, 9.4 percent of 8th graders reported marijuana use in the past year and 5.4 percent in the past month (current use). Among 10th graders, 23.9 percent had used marijuana in the past year and 14.0 percent in the past month. Rates of use among 12th graders were higher still: 35.6 percent had used marijuana during the year prior to the survey and 22.5 percent used in the past month; 6.0 percent said they used marijuana daily or near-daily.”

More reporting on marijuana addiction has come out as its use becomes more popular.

The Washington Post reports: “Many people are unaware of marijuana addiction. But in the public health and medical communities, it is a well-defined disorder that includes physical withdrawal symptoms, cravings and psychological dependence. Many say it is on the rise, perhaps because of the increasing potency of genetically engineered plants and the use of concentrated products, or because more users are partaking multiple times a day.”

In fact, the Post notes that “According to Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 2.7 million Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for marijuana dependence, second only to alcohol dependence.”

The piece quotes a physician who has been treating addiction: “There should be no controversy about the existence of marijuana addiction. We see it every day. The controversy should be why it appears to be affecting more people.”