7Investigates: Marijuana Anonymous

You’ve heard of Alcoholics Anonymous. But what about Marijuana Anonymous?

7News spoke to a local member of the marijuana addiction support group who has a new warning for pot addicts in the age of legal weed.

“I felt addicted to it because when I would tell myself not to do it, I couldn’t stop,” said a local woman who works a white-collar job in the Boston area and wished to remain anonymous.

She told 7News she started smoking pot when she was 18 years old. But in her 30s, it took over her life.

“I’d wake up, I’d do it. I’d go home for lunch, I’d do it. I’d come home immediately after work, I would do it,” she said. “I smoked pot while I drove. I smoked pot constantly.”

She said that by the time she hit bottom, she was soaking marijuana in high-potency cannabis oil and then eating it raw.

“There were all these lines that I was crossing, and it became more of a compulsion,” she said. “And it was endangering myself and other people.”

She said she also suffered panic attacks and delusions.

“I had a moment of clarity where I was like, ‘This is insane. Like, you can’t live like this. You have to stop,’” she said.

That’s when she discovered Marijuana Anonymous – essentially, Alcoholics Anonymous for people addicted to pot. The group holds regular meetings across Massachusetts, and it follows a twelve-step program similar to the one popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous.

And while the physical toll of pot addiction may pale in comparison to opioids or alcohol, experts said it can be nearly as destructive mentally and emotionally.

Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist who specializes in cannabis and the Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said he’s seen marijuana addiction derail lives.

“We treat patients like that every day,” Hill said.

He said about 10 percent of adult users become addicted. They’re people who continue to use pot over and over despite the harm it causes to themselves and those around them.

Now, the legalization of recreational pot in Massachusetts has sent a dark cloud over people trying to overcome their addictions.

“They’re hearing all about cannabis every day. That can be a trigger for them, Hill said.

“Society is saying, ‘Oh, you know, it’s OK.’ But I know, for me, it is not OK, like, I have no self-control,” the member of Marijuana Anonymous said.

She said she’s now almost four years clean. But now that pot is legal in Massachusetts, she said more and more people are showing up for Marijuana Anonymous meetings.

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