Marijuana Addiction and Abuse in Ohio

Written by Erica Weiman

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD

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Last Updated - 10/25/2022

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Updated 10/25/2022

Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. It refers to the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. It can be smoked in pipes or hand-rolled cigarettes, and it can be cooked into foods or consumed in teas. There are many nicknames for marijuana. It’s often called pot, weed, Mary Jane, herb, grass and many others. It is considered a psychoactive substance, and it contains THC, a chemical that alters brain chemistry.

When marijuana is smoked or ingested, THC enters the person’s bloodstream. The short-term effects of marijuana can vary from person to person, and they could include mood changes, impaired memory and altered sense of time, among others.

Marijuana addiction has been a controversial topic in addiction research, but experts now agree that it is possible to develop a marijuana addiction.

It is important to know the side effects of benzodiazepines as well as the signs of potential benzodiazepine abuse. If you think someone you love may be abusing benzodiazepines, it is important to know what to look out for.

Is Marijuana Legal in Ohio?

Although marijuana remains a Schedule I illicit substance at the federal level, many states have loosened their laws surrounding marijuana use. This includes allowing medical use, recreational use or both. Ohio is one of the states that has considered changing its laws surrounding marijuana, but it is not yet legal to recreationally use marijuana in Ohio.

Medical Marijuana in Ohio

Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio to treat certain medical conditions like epilepsy and chronic pain. Adults over the age of 18 years can register to legally purchase up to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. Those under the age of 18 must have the marijuana purchased by a caregiver.

The state can revoke this registration in certain cases, like if the person sells their marijuana or is no longer diagnosed with the medical condition for which the marijuana is meant to be used.

Recreational Marijuana in Ohio

Although some individual cities in Ohio have decriminalized the use of marijuana, recreational marijuana use is still not legal in the state. As of December 2021, there are bills in the Ohio house of representatives as well as a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state. 

Possession of Marijuana in Ohio

Possession of recreational marijuana in Ohio can land you in legal trouble, depending on the amount of marijuana you have. While carrying less than 100 grams is a misdemeanor that carries a $150 fine and no jail time, carrying between 100 and 200 grams can put you in jail for 30 days. Carrying larger amounts is a felony that carries up to an eight-year prison sentence.

We offer physician-led treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in Ohio. Call us today to speak with a Recovery Advocate for free about your treatment options.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Research suggests that between 9% and 30% of marijuana users will develop a substance use disorder. It’s also possible to develop a marijuana dependence that can lead to withdrawal if the drug is stopped suddenly.

Withdrawal can occur when someone’s brain has gotten used to the substance. When marijuana is in your system frequently, your brain will stop producing endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. If you suddenly quit the drug, your brain will struggle to make up for the deficiency.

A psychological or situational addiction to marijuana is more common than physical dependence. People become addicted to the way they feel when under the influence of the drug. If they use it frequently with a group of friends, they may not want to lose the group of friends if the person stops using the drug. 

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Although most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other illicit substances, marijuana is considered a gateway drug. This is because people who use other illicit substances often first experiment with alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. Some data suggest that marijuana alters the brain in ways that make it easier to become addicted to other drugs.

Marijuana Addiction Symptoms

Some signs of marijuana use are similar to those of other addictions. Signs of a drug addiction can include:

  • Changes in the person’s social circle
  • Mood changes
  • Changed sleep habits
  • Changes in energy levels
  • Missed appointments or deadlines
  • Problems at work, school, or at home
  • Reckless behavior
  • Legal troubles

Marijuana paraphernalia may also be found if a person is using marijuana. This can include a variety of items like:

  • Bongs: These pipes filter marijuana smoke through water before the drug is inhaled.
  • Hookahs: Similar to a bong, these items have a bowl on top and multiple mouthpieces, so more than one person can smoke at a time.
  • Pipes: These items are used for smoking marijuana, and can be made from wood, acrylic, glass or plastic.
  • Grinders: These small boxes are used to grind marijuana before smoking.
  • Rolling paper: This cigarette paper is used to roll marijuana cigarettes, or joints.
  • Vape pens or e-cigarettes: These electronic items are used to inhale marijuana vapor.
  • Roach clips: These small metal clips are used to hold joints.

Marijuana Side Effects

Marijuana use often comes with some side effects, including:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Increased pulse rate and blood pressure
  • Coughing due to lung irritation
  • Increased appetite
  • Distorted perception
  • Coordination problems
  • Sedation
  • Memory and learning problems
  • Difficulty thinking and problem-solving

These symptoms can become more severe when a person uses marijuana over the long term. Chronic lung conditions like asthma can develop after long-term marijuana smoking. Further, chronic marijuana use is linked to mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Marijuana Withdrawal

Suddenly stopping marijuana after frequent use can lead to withdrawal. This is especially true when a person uses the drug on a daily or near-daily basis for several months. Marijuana withdrawal is a recognized medical condition whose symptoms can include:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems
  • Low appetite

Someone who is heavily dependent on marijuana may start to experience withdrawal between one and two days after stopping the drug. These symptoms can last up to 14 days but may last up to five weeks in some cases.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

Marijuana can be detected in your system for varying lengths of time, depending on what is tested. Marijuana traces can stay in:

Marijuana Detox

Because marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and disrupt daily life, many people attempt to self-medicate their symptoms with over-the-counter medications or other illicit drugs. However, this can be difficult or even dangerous. Experts recommend an inpatient detox followed by a rehab program, especially when a person has:

  • Severe marijuana dependence
  • Mental or physical health issues
  • Social problems

A medically-supervised detox can help ease withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to avoid relapse. Unlike a home detox, a medically-supervised detox has a full medical team supporting you. Medications such as mirtazapine for sleep and gabapentin for general marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be prescribed, if appropriate. 

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

There are many treatment options available for people in Ohio who are struggling with a marijuana use disorder. Facilities like The Recovery Village Columbus offer detox as well as inpatient, outpatient and aftercare programs to treat marijuana addiction.

View Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijauna DrugFacts.” DrugFacts, December 2019. Accessed December 24, 2021.

State of Ohio. “Program Rules.” Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. Accessed December 24, 2021.

Tanaka, C. “Will Ohio legalize recreational marijuan[…]ide before lawmakers.” Cleveland 19, November 30, 2021. Accessed December 24, 2021.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Ohio Laws and Penalties.” Accessed December 24, 2021.

Gryczynski, Jan; Schwartz, Robert P; Mitchell, Shannon D; et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-repor[…]isk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed December 23, 2021.

ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” October 2021. Accessed December 23, 2021.
Cansford Laboratories. “Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing.” Accessed December 23, 2021.

U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “Drugs of Abuse.” April 2020. Accessed December 23, 2021.

Davis, Jordan P; Smith, Douglas C; Morphew, Jason W; et al. “Cannabis Withdrawal, Posttreatment Absti[…] A Prospective Study.” Journal of Drug Issues, January 2016. Accessed December 23, 2021.

PsychDB. “Cannabis Withdrawal.” March 29, 2021. Accessed December 23, 2021.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Cannabis.” Drugs and Lactation Database, November 15, 2021. Accessed December 24, 2021.

Bonnet, U., Preuss, UW. “The cannabis withdrawal syndrome: current insights.” Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation, April 27, 2017. Accessed December 24, 2021.


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