Recognizing signs of medical marijuana abuse


A study suggests that medical marijuana may become addictive and the user may abuse it. That’s why…to recognize signs of medical marijuana abuse and addiction

It is important for everyone involved in the medical marijuana industry to know how to identify cannabis use disorders, which are misuse, abuse, and dependency. While most agree that medical marijuana use is not physically addictive, it can be habitually addictive.

An estimate suggests that around 10% of adults living in the US suffer from drug use disorder at some point in their lives. Due to the increasing legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, more people are likely to develop an addiction when there is misuse and a lack of education. Even though the popular belief is that marijuana isn’t addictive, but that’s not true. THC, one of the 113 known cannabinoids of the cannabis plant is addictive and people with mental health disorders and people under the age of 18 are at a higher risk of addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a study suggests that “marijuana use can lead to a form of addiction in severe cases.”  This is why several state laws now require dispensary facilities to train employees to recognize signs of medical marijuana abuse and addiction.

Signs of Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

The 5th edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association states the prevalence of two or more of the following symptoms indicate that a person may be abusing marijuana.


Some signs include:

  • Losing control of the ability to use the prescribed amount of medical marijuana
  • Thinking of trying to cut back on medical marijuana abuse but failing to do so because of addiction
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using marijuana; the withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, headaches, cravings, sleep disruption, mood swings, weight loss or gain, digestion issues, changes in appetite, nausea and cramps (especially after eating).
  • Developing a tolerance for medical marijuana and requiring more and more to achieve the same effects
  • Failing to do important things
  • Abandoning the things and activities they once enjoyed
  • Becoming reclusive and avoiding family events
  • Continuing the abuse of medical marijuana even if it is causing relationship and social issues
  • Neglecting appearance
  • Spending a better part of their day seeking medical marijuana, abusing it, and recovering from its effects

If you or someone you love is struggling from addiction or substance abuse, please contact Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline @ 1-800-662-4357.


As mentioned earlier, the Department of Health and Senior Services, under the article 19 CSR 30-95.080 requires dispensary facilities to train employees to recognize the signs of medical marijuana abuse. If you are a dispensary owner, you can train your employees with the help of iCannaLearn. They recently added a new course, Recognizing Medical Marijuana Abuse, which teaches the employees of a licensed medical marijuana facility to recognize signs of abuse and ways to educate and advise the patient. With this course, the dispensary employees will learn how to identify marijuana impairment, misuse, abuse, and dependency and the appropriate responses for each of these concerns. iCannaLearn can also provide a customized LMS that can help dispensary owners to customize and easily manage their employee’s training.

For more information about iCannaLearn courses or LMS, feel free to call us at 417-553-2121 or email us at