Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Marijuana Anonymous: Support for Teens

Marijuana Anonymous, or MA, isn’t just for adults who are battling cannabis addiction. This 12-step group also welcomes teenagers who have a problem with marijuana and who want to stop using. Through meetings with other marijuana users and the guidance of a sponsor, teenagers can overcome the trap of addiction and regain their hope for the future.

Marijuana abuse is on the rise among teenagers, reports the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. National survey results show that as of 2012, over 6 percent of American 12th graders were smoking pot every day, compared with just over 5 percent in 2007. Marijuana is perceived as safer, more “natural,” and less addictive than other drugs; however, chronic cannabis use can cause long-term cognitive problems, memory loss, psychomotor impairment, depression, anxiety and addiction.

Benefits of MA

The benefits of the 12-step approach to addiction recovery have been well documented. According to Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 12-step mutual help organizations like MA can support abstinence and reduce the rate of relapse in young adults recovering from addictions. Listed below are just a few of the ways that MA can help teens:

  • By providing a social network of peers who are committed to sobriety
  • By giving them a forum where they can validate their experiences with addiction
  • By teaching them valuable practical coping skills for dealing with recovery
  • By connecting them with a more experienced member, or sponsor, who can guide them through the phases of recovery
  • By reducing the risk of a relapse after graduating from drug rehab

Attendance at MA meetings is free — only a small donation is requested to help with overhead costs. Twelve-step meetings are available in communities across the country. If you can’t find a local meeting, online groups are available.

MA and Recovery

Marijuana Anonymous provides support, strength and coping skills for teenagers in recovery from substance abuse. By attending meetings on a regular basis, marijuana addicts can form meaningful relationships with other teenagers who share their commitment to sobriety. Whether or not you believe in a religious deity, participation in 12-step program can show you how to draw strength from spirituality. Members learn how to address the aspects of their character that contribute to addiction and how to become responsible, active participants in a recovery community.

American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, recovering addicts can improve their chances of success by attending 12-step meetings at least once a week. However, many marijuana addicts go to meetings several times a week — even daily. When meetings aren’t available, you can call your sponsor or meet with another addict in your group for strength and support.

How Do I Find a Meeting?

Marijuana Anonymous meetings are held in most major communities. You can find a meeting by searching online for “Marijuana Anonymous” in your community. If you’re enrolled in a drug rehab program, you may be introduced to MA as part of your treatment plan. When you’re ready to make the transition back to the “real” world, your treatment team can help you find meetings in your hometown.

At Muir Wood, we draw from a full range of recovery services — including 12-step recovery programs — to help teenage boys create purposeful, drug-free lives. Our admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about marijuana abuse and to help you find the services you need to help your son.