Suppose you have a loved one using cannabis, the legal stuff or not, no matter how they use it, by bong or by brownie. In that case, if it is getting in the way of their ability to take care of normal daily responsibilities, it’s more than likely a real problem. And a problem is a problem. Right? Well, when it comes to talking about some of the more unpleasant side effects of using cannabis with your loved one, you may have already experienced how complicated answering that question may be.
The right to use cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes appears to be riding a wave of almost patriotic fervor across the nation, apparently now even backed by Big Tobacco, ready to capitalize on a previously taboo cash crop. And as cannabis use becomes more of a socially acceptable staple of both coming of age and legally dispensed mood-altering substances, families negatively impacted by its effects find it harder to find qualified drug rehab industry professionals ready, willing, and able actually to help them. From a treatment standpoint, one of the most common insurance-company-driven contentions is that cannabis use is not addictive. Therefore, withdrawal is not an issue, theoretically making detox not a medical necessity, thereby making it almost impossible for treatment providers to get paid for their services if the presenting problem appears to be cannabis-related.
Nevertheless, similar to alcohol and prescription medications, just because cannabis may be legal in your state, or even have real medicinal qualities, you may still be at risk of experiencing significant negative side effects, even if the substance is merely used in moderation or by prescription. And therein lies one of the most challenging issues to explore when considering whether or not to plan a Cannabis Intervention. Just because your loved one may have experimented with cannabis, or perhaps even use it on a regular recreational basis, does not necessarily mean that they are now about to throw everything away just to keep using it.
As a Professional Dual Diagnosis Interventionist, I receive calls throughout the day from families all across the country expressing concern for the welfare of a loved one who appears to be spiraling out of control. Their loved ones are usually presenting with a myriad of symptoms associated with disorders such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, and psychosis. While at the same time, they are almost always using any variety of mood-altering substances, now, more than ever, garnished robustly with cannabis somewhere in the mix. And, as with understanding the side effects of any drug, understanding the full impact of cannabis use may take some time, along with a more educated awareness of some common negative symptoms to watch out for:
- Poor productivity at work
- Financial troubles
- Poor academic progress
- Legal issues
- Interpersonal conflicts
- Mood swings
- Impaired judgment
- Memory loss
- Slowed reaction
- Increased appetite
- Bloodshot eyes
- Poor coordination
Even after carefully considering all of the symptoms highlighted above, you may still not be able to confirm with complete certitude that cannabis use, or for that matter, the use of any combination of mood-altering substances, is in fact the culprit holding your loved one back from being able to take care of their daily responsibilities, and in many cases, thoroughly disrupting family homeostasis and equilibrium. For a more robust perspective, and in some instances, I sometimes encourage prospective clients to try and talk about their concerns directly with their loved ones first before hiring me to come out to perform an Intervention. If someone is open to listening to your concerns and then willing to help address those concerns promptly without incident, my services may not necessarily be needed at that time. While at the same time, if a Professional Intervention is in fact required, I want my clients to feel as though they tried to get through on their own before bringing in professional outside reinforcements to do so.
From my experience, here is the best way to try and open up an understanding, meaningful, and non-judgmental dialogue with a loved one who appears to be experiencing negative symptoms of cannabis use:
Start off by letting them know how much you care about them and exactly why you felt it was important for you to share your concerns. From my experience, people usually don’t care how much you may know about them until they know how much you care.
To reach your loved ones at their core, where self-esteem is metabolized, Initially focus on their redeeming qualities along with specific examples of how they demonstrated those qualities through the years.
Then present your concerns along with specific incidents that add depth and validity to your observations. Be as graphic as your comfort level, and your loved one will allow.
Stay away from trying to tell your loved one how they should think, act, or feel. The goal in this approach is to provide an opportunity for your loved one to gain their own insight, thereby helping them feel as though they may now have the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves as they work to resolve the problem.
Once you have shared all of your concerns, be prepared to let your loved one know that you are ready, willing, and able actually to help them figure it all out.
Then give them a moment to absorb all of your observations. Patiently wait for their response, rebuttal, and/or refusal to accept any or all of your statements and help.
If they are receptive and willing to get into action to address the identified problem, be prepared to connect them directly with resources that may help.
Nevertheless, suppose the conversation begins to go south. In that case, it might be best to retreat to a more emotionally secure fallback position early on, without engaging in an all-out debate about whether or not cannabis is legal, medicinal, and mind your own business!
With all of that said, if you tried unsuccessfully to get through to your loved one in crisis on your own, it may now, in fact, be the right time to enlist the help of a well-trained, compassionately-firm, and solution-focused Professional Interventionist to help before the situation on the ground goes from bad to worse, regardless of whether or not the problem is with cannabis, or any other combination of mood-altering substances, potentially co-joined with any myriad of underlying mental health issues. And when it comes to planning a successful Intervention, time is always of the essence. However, when it comes to an Intervention in which cannabis use appears to be the primary mood-altering substance in question, at least from my experience, it’s essential to be as well versed in as many legal, medicinal, and social implications as possible that go along with its use. The reality is that as a Professional Interventionist, especially when it comes to planning for a successful Cannabis Intervention, I have to be able to comfortably refute, rebut, and reframe some of the most remarkably profound arguments in favor of cannabis use. One of the most common being that recreational cannabis use is akin to having cocktails after work with a friend in accounting.
As you can see, actually deciding on whether or not your loved one is in fact, in need of a Cannabis Intervention may not be that easy, given any number of mitigating factors. However, at least from my professional vantage point, perhaps the most important overriding factor to consider is whether or not cannabis use is getting in the way of your loved one’s ability to take care of normal daily responsibilities and function independently. And suppose you do decide to move forward with an Intervention. In that case, one of the first decisions to make is whether or not you will be trying to manage the process yourself or enlisting the services of a Professional Interventionist.
Suppose you have been trying to get help for a loved one battling negative cannabis use symptoms, even for only a brief period. In that case, you probably already understand how complex the situation can be, even if they happen to be covered under the most comprehensive insurance policy on the market. And as with any medical condition, most people would prefer to have a professional there by their side to help them care for a struggling loved one. However, when it comes to hiring a Professional Interventionist, most families find themselves carefully considering at least two main overriding factors, cost, and comfort level. To help bridge the proverbial gap, I suggest that you reach out to a reputable and well-recommended Professional Interventionist for an initial complimentary consultation to discuss your case in detail. Be sure to address all of your concerns as well as financial constraints.
Finally, whatever the mood-altering substance may actually be, cannabis or not, or whether or not you decide to secure the services of a Professional Interventionist, like myself, here are some basic steps to follow in preparation for planning a proper Intervention:
Step 1: Select treatment options based on the presenting symptoms, as well as the resources available for care. Although treatment options may change during the process, it is important to have initial programs available to choose from.
Step 2: Start building an Intervention Team. Consider including those who have an emotionally vested positive interest in the welfare of your loved one, such as close family and friends, and perhaps even an employer who may be able to provide a healthy serving of caring leverage.
Step 3: Then have everyone participating in the Intervention prepare an Impact Letter. Begin each letter with positive reinforcement and specific examples of redeeming qualities. Then outline concerns in a non-judgmental, caring, yet firm manner. Finally, complete the letter with a list of healthy boundaries that each member of the Intervention Team is willing to hold for accountability purposes.
Step 4: Once everyone participating in the Intervention is prepared, and initial treatment options have been selected, present your concerns with care and conviction. If your loved one is not willing to accept help at the time of the Intervention, be prepared to follow through with all of the healthy boundaries previously established.
Step 5: Finally, and thinking positively, once your loved one has accepted treatment, make sure they actually get to treatment in the most expeditious and organized manner possible following the Intervention to avoid any delay in the recovery process.