Marijuana Anonymous: What Is It & How Does It Work?

2 min read · 5 sections
Marijuana Anonymous (MA) is a 12-step program variant that uses the principles created by Alcoholics Anonymous to help users overcome addiction to marijuana.

How Does Marijuana Anonymous Work?

Participants in Marijuana Anonymous typically attend meetings to discuss their issues with marijuana, share stories of recovery, and how life is like now. Meetings are to be kept anonymous and things mentioned or talked about during the meeting should be confidential and anonymous.1 The basis to breaking addiction for MA participants is to “surrender ourselves to a Power greater than ourselves,” which may be God, a state of spirituality, or other source of strength. The greater power is frequently associated with God, but MA stipulates that that they are not associated with any religious organizations and accept people with all beliefs.1  

What are the 12 Steps of Marijuana Anonymous?

The 12 Steps of Marijuana Anonymous are:2

  1. We admitted we were powerless over marijuana, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to marijuana addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Who Should Attend MA Meetings?

Those struggling with addiction to marijuana typically attend MA meetings. Some symptoms of marijuana addiction include:

  • Using marijuana for longer or more than intended.
  • Missing out on prior engagements and responsibilities to spend time using or obtaining marijuana.
  • Continuing to use marijuana despite consequences to the user’s health or wellbeing.
  • Experiencing cravings and/or withdrawal.

Marijuana Anonymous uses “The Twelve Questions of Marijuana Anonymous” to see if marijuana addiction may be impacting your life. Answering yes to any of the 12 questions may indicate and issue with marijuana abuse:3

  1. Has using marijuana stopped being fun?
  2. Do you ever get high alone?
  3. Is it hard for you to imagine a life without marijuana?
  4. Do you find that your friends are determined by your marijuana use?
  5. Do you use marijuana to avoid dealing with your problems or to cope with your feelings?
  6. Has your marijuana use led to financial difficulties and/or legal consequences?
  7. Does your marijuana use let you live in a privately defined world?
  8. Have you ever failed to keep promises you made about cutting down or controlling your use of marijuana?
  9. Has your use of marijuana caused problems with your health, memory, concentration, or motivation?
  10. When your stash is nearly empty, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more?
  11. Do you plan your life around your marijuana use?
  12. Have friends or relatives ever complained that your using is damaging your relationship with them?

Is MA Free?

There are no fees or dues required of participants though contributions from participants help MA pay for their bills.1

Should I Go to Rehab Instead?

Everyone’s situation and relationship with marijuana is different. Marijuana rehab facilities will frequently use the 12-steps as part of the treatment process if patients are interested. If you believe you or a loved one’s marijuana use is becoming a problem, you can give us a call at There, an admissions navigator will listen to your story, determine your options, and help you attend treatment if needed.

The process of overcoming marijuana addiction in rehab typically starts with medically supervised detox, wherein patients are supported as they undergo withdrawal. Then, patients will typically enter the inpatient rehab phase at the same facility. In inpatient rehabilitation, patients will attend therapy, meetings, and get help understanding their addiction and ultimately learning strategies to reach long-term recovery.

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