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Treating Cannabis Use Disorder

Foundry Steamboat offers specialized treatment for people experiencing cannabis use disorder (CUD).

Foundry Treatment Center Steamboat helps individuals and families negatively affected by cannabis use.

Cannabis Use Disorder, like other addictive disorders, is a serious but treatable health problem. If you, someone in your family, or someone in your care needs help, please contact us. If we believe that another provider or level of care better suits your needs, we will do our best to help you find appropriate treatment. Substance use disorders are progressive, life-threatening illnesses. Please do not wait to seek treatment.

A growing number of people are experiencing Cannabis Use Disorder — the inability to stop using THC products despite experiencing negative consequences. Effectively treating Cannabis Use Disorder poses challenges that specialized programming can help to address.

• An estimated thirty percent of regular cannabis users may develop a debilitating substance use disorder with far-reaching negative effects.

• The idea that high-potency THC use poses no danger is demonstrably false and misleading. The risk for developing cannabis use disorder is real, and a growing number of people across the country are seeking treatment.

• Treating cannabis use disorder can require a longer treatment duration than treating other substance use disorders.

• Foundry Steamboat Treatment Center is experienced treating cannabis use disorder and offers specialized CUD programming.

For more information, or to find out if Foundry Steamboat may be an appropriate treatment resource, please call (844) 955-1066.

More about Cannabis Use Disorder and our approach to treatment

Cannabis Use Disorder is a growing problem with significant health implications and requires specialized care. Unfortunately, widely held misperceptions about the potential dangers of cannabis use and a lack of care providers experienced in treating cannabis-related disorders make it harder for people to get the help they need.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to develop problematic cannabis use, including addiction. In his 2015 book Marijuana, psychiatrist and addiction specialist Kevin Hill listed three popular myths: that cannabis is not harmful, that it cannot lead to addiction, and that stopping the use of marijuana cannot cause withdrawal symptoms.  

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Cannabis is more accessible and potent than ever. Beliefs about the effects of cannabis and patterns of use have been changing since its widespread commercialization began. The ability to legally buy and use high-potency THC products leads people who develop problematic use and the treatment providers charged with their care into uncharted territory. Proponents of legal marijuana have succeeded in making the substance widely available for use. However, the researchers and regulators whose job is ensuring public safety and issuing health warnings have not been able to conduct the testing and studies to determine how best to inform consumers about potential harms and side effects. Similarly, the healthcare field has little experience addressing the relatively new and unstudied long-term impacts of using high-potency THC.

There is much to learn about preventing and treating problematic cannabis use disorder. However, the process of educating doctors to diagnose better and treat the condition is underway. Ben Cort, Foundry Steamboat CEO, is a leading educator, speaker, and author on cannabis use, treatment, and policy. Cort recently co-authored a chapter of the medical textbook “Cannabis in Medicine — an Evidence-Based Approach” with Dr. LaTisha Bader. The chapter identifies new and emerging best practices in the treatment of CUD. The book, required reading for student physicians, is the first to deal specifically with cannabis use disorders.  

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What we do know is that more people are seeking treatment for cannabis use disorder and its debilitating side effects. Behavioral healthcare professionals nationwide are seeing an alarming increase in CUD patients presenting with significant physical and mental distress, high rates of psychosis, and active addiction. These cases can be complex and may require a prolonged treatment stay. People with cannabis use disorder may also find it harder to feel a sense of belonging in community support groups that tend to address issues related to recovery from alcohol, opioids, methamphetamine, and other so-called “hard drugs.” Those experiencing cannabis use disorder may experience less empathy from people who hold the dangerous misperception that cannabis is not addictive or dangerous.  

Research indicates that thirty percent of users will develop cannabis use disorder. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for people who use cannabis to know if they are predisposed to developing problematic use. The regular use of cannabis can exacerbate underlying and previously undiagnosed mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.  Cannabis use disorder, like other substance use disorders, is primarily signified by an inability to reduce or stop using cannabis despite wanting to and experiencing negative consequences. Like people who develop problematic use of alcohol, heroin, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and other substances, people with cannabis use disorder can no longer choose whether they use and spend more of their time, energy, and resources obtaining and using cannabis. And just as other substance use disorders, cannabis use disorder puts sufferers at greater risk for physical harm and injury, co-occurring mental health disorders, financial and legal problems, job loss, family problems, and a reduced ability to pursue goals.  

While cannabis use disorder shares commonalities with other use disorders, it also poses unique challenges. Because THC is efficiently stored by fat cells, it can remain in our system and be released into our bloodstream for an extended period. Many substances, like alcohol and benzodiazepines, can typically be eliminated from the body within days, ideally during medically supervised detoxification. However, long-term cannabis consumption can result in a buildup of THC that requires weeks or months to dissipate. As a result, people who use cannabis regularly may feel its effects long after discontinuing use.

Cannabis use disorder can also lead to intense and extended episodes of psychosis — a disconnection from reality that can include hallucinations and delusional thinking. It can be difficult for people in psychosis to carry on a normal conversation or remember important information. This sensation can be extremely frightening and intensify anxiety.

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is often encountered in the early stages of treating cannabis use disorder. CHS causes sufferers to experience constant nausea, bouts of vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss. CHS symptoms must be medically treated before people with the condition can participate in other aspects of treatment.

Many people are surprised to learn that its idiosyncrasies make treating cannabis use disorder more challenging than treating other substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder. For example, patients may need more time in supervised stabilization before being able to participate in holistic programming. They may require specialized psychiatry and other medical interventions to reduce symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders and physical side effects. And they also face the reality that most recovery-oriented treatment services and support groups are not knowledgeable about supporting people recovering from cannabis use disorder.

The Foundry Steamboat approach to treating Cannabis Use Disorder  

Foundry Steamboat is a treatment provider organization that is deeply familiar with issues surrounding problematic cannabis use and is experienced at overcoming current barriers to effective care. The program provides a holistic approach that includes adequate time for stabilization and medical support, psychiatry and medical services to address mental and physical health symptoms, education for clients and family members, family system work to create a supportive home recovery lifestyle following treatment, and help connecting to appropriate aftercare services and supports.

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Ben Cort, Foundry Steamboat CEO and author of Weed, Inc. — Ben is a prominent speaker, author, educator, and national policy advisor on cannabis

Foundry Steamboat is a national source for cannabis use information and advocacy. Ben Cort, Foundry Steamboat CEO, is a national speaker, author, and policy advisor on issues related to cannabis. In addition to helping shape the CUD treatment program at Foundry Steamboat, Cort regularly advises organized labor groups, professional organizations, and college athletic programs about cannabis issues.  

As active members of the Colorado behavioral health community, Foundry Steamboat has experienced intensified rates of cannabis use disorders firsthand following Colorado’s decision to be the first state to legalize recreational cannabis use. The treatment team, which consists of experienced doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and wellness experts, have experience working with individuals and families affected by acute cases of cannabis use disorder.

For more information, or to find out if Foundry Steamboat may be an appropriate treatment resource, please call (844) 955-1066.

Call today to get started on your journey or if you have any questions.

Contact Foundry

Call today to get started on your journey or if you have any questions.

(844) 955 1066