COBURG, Ore. - In Oregon, marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use, but one local drug rehab facility is concerned about pot addiction.
Serenity Lane is an alcohol and drug treatment facility in Coburg.
Staff members said they're seeing an increase in people with what they call "Marijuana Use Disorder."
Manager Jerry Gjesvold at Serenity Lane said they see addiction trends years in advance. Just like the opioid epidemic, Gjesvold said we are seeing the beginning stages of a growing marijuana addiction.
"Well, we know now that in the DSM-5, which is the manual that's used to diagnose substance use disorders, there's a specific marijuana use disorder diagnosis," said Gjesvold
Gjesvold said they see more patients as young as 18 years old even though the legal age for recreational marijuana use is 21.
"[Marijuana use] has become a much more acceptable, and because of that there's more people that are using it," Gjesvold said.
He said youth tend to be at higher risk for addiction. It's because they use devices like vaping and assortments of marijuana like hash oil.
Products with higher THC concentration are more dangerous, but are easier to hide from parents.
"The universal response on the part of parents is that, 'I had no clue,'" Gjesvold said.
The interim medical director, Paul Steier, at serenity lane says highly concentrated levels of THC can have a negative impact on the developing brains of young people. "They have trouble sequencing, doing numbers, word recollection," Steier said.
Steier said in some cases it creates schizophrenic types of behavior. He said side effects from marijuana use disorder persist for a minimum of five months.
"But there clearly is a withdrawal experience from cannabis, especially in the habitual users, who the people who sort of wake and bake," said Steier.
Steier said the withdrawal experience is the same as other addictions causing changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.