Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can there be marijuana addicts if marijuana is not addictive?

A: The idea that marijuana is not addictive is a common misconception. While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent or addicted to the drug. We who seek recovery in MA generally consider ourselves to be marijuana addicts. Whether our addiction is physical, mental, or both, matters little. When it comes to the use of marijuana, we have lost the power of choice.

Q: Why do I need MA to quit using marijuana?

A: Maybe you don't. If you haven't crossed the line from using to addiction, then you can probably quit using marijuana any time you'd like. Marijuana Anonymous is for those of us who crossed over that line into addiction and for whom "just saying no" is no longer an option. We need more than just willpower to refrain from using. We need the help of other addicts who understand our problem. If you are an addict, we are here to help you.

Q: What happens at MA meetings?

A: The meeting is a safe place where marijuana addicts discuss their experiences and learn about recovery. Meetings are run by volunteers from the group. Each meeting is free to choose its own format. There are speaker meetings, topic discussion meetings, step study meetings, and other types of meetings. In general, meetings provide a supportive, non-judgmental environment where addicts help one another.

Q: Do I have to speak at meetings?

A: No. All participation in MA is voluntary. Some meetings ask newcomers to introduce themselves (first name only) so the group can get to know them better, and some meetings reserve time especially for newcomers to speak if they want to. But no one will think it strange if you don't speak at a meeting. Many of us like to just listen.

Q: Why is the program called "Anonymous"?

A: Anonymity is one of the most important traditions of Marijuana Anonymous and other 12-step programs. Everything that happens in MA is confidential. We identify ourselves by first name only. There are no membership records. What is said in meetings is not repeated outside the meetings. We respect each others' anonymity. As stated in our 12th Tradition: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, every reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Q: How does someone join MA?

A: Just come to a meeting. There is no signing up or enrollment, and there is no need to reserve space in meetings. The only requirement for membership in MA is a desire to stop using marijuana. If you haven't stopped using yet, you are still welcome in MA. You just need to have a desire to stop.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: There are no dues of fees for membership. During the meeting a donations basket will be passed around to pay for room rental, literature, and other necessities. Donations are voluntary, and if someone wants to contribute they might put in a dollar or two.

Q: Is MA a religious program?

A: MA is not religious. 12-Step programs like MA suggest acceptance of a power greater than ourselves which we sometimes call God. Each of us may define a higher power in our own way. For some, it is the deity of an organized religion. For others, a power greater than ourselves could be defined as nature, society, or some other concept. There is room in MA for many different beliefs.

Q: Do I have to stop drinking?

A: The only requirement for membership in MA is a desire to stop using marijuana. However, many of us have found that we need to stop using alcohol and other non-prescribed drugs in order to recover from marijuana addiction.

See the pamphlet, Dangers of Cross Addiction.

Q: What is MA's opinion on the legalization of marijuana?

A: Marijuana Anonymous has no opinion about marijuana laws. In general, MA has no opinion about any issues outside of our 12-step recovery program. This is to insure that MA is not drawn into controversy which would undermine the program's usefulness. Individual MA members may have opinions about outside issues; when members share their opinions, they speak only for themselves, not for MA as a whole.

Q: What is the effect of marijuana on pregnancy?

A: Marijuana Anonymous does not offer medical advice or opinions. Medical questions, such as the effect of marijuana on pregnancy, are best answered by medical professionals.

Q: Do marijuana addicts go through withdrawal?

A: While MA does not offer medical advice or opinions, we have surveyed many MA members concerning their experiences. The pamphlet, Detoxing from Marijuana, contains empirical knowledge concerning what happens to marijuana addicts during the early stages of abstinence from using marijuana.

Q: What is a "home group"?

A: Many members choose a specific meeting as their home group, and attend this meeting regularly. When we choose a meeting as our home group, we make a commitment to support the meeting's long-term success. This practice insures a core of members are there to participate, guide, and serve. Having a home group does not preclude us from attending other meetings.

Q: Can you provide any information that will help me convince my child (or spouse, friend, parent, etc.) to quit using marijuana?

A: You can find links to MA literature posted on this website. Our literature explains who we are and how our program works. However, it is unlikely that literature alone will convince someone to quit using. A person cannot be forced or nagged or prodded into recovery; they must come to the realization on their own that they are an addict and powerless over marijuana.

See the pamphlet, For the Loved Ones of Marijuana Addicts.

You can get more information related to this question from Mar-Anon SF, a 12-step group based on Al-Anon, now meeting in San Francisco, for people whose lives are adversely affected by family or friends who use marijuana.