Is Marijuana Addictive? The Truth Behind This Controversial DrugAlyssa
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that stems from the cannabis plant. It can be smoked as well as infused with food products in what are called edibles. Marijuana does have medicinal purposes related to glaucoma and pain relief, but many people use marijuana recreationally for its euphoric high.
In recent years, more and more states have been legalizing marijuana for recreational use. As states continue to follow suit, concerns over the addictive quality of marijuana is rising. Many fear that the legalization of this drug could lead to problems down the road.
Is Marijuana an Addictive Drug?
It is a common misconception that this drug is not habit-forming, but marijuana can be addictive, and frequent use of marijuana can lead to the development of a marijuana use disorder.
Research backs marijuana’s addictive qualities. One study found that as many as 30% of regular marijuana uses have some degree of a marijuana use disorder and 8.9% of cannabis users are estimated to be dependent on the drug.1,2 Early exposure to marijuana seems to also play a role as well. Marijuana users who started using this drug before the age of 18 have been found to be between four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than those that started in adulthood.3
Why Do People Believe Marijuana Is Not Addictive?
Although marijuana is addictive, why do so many people believe otherwise? One possible reason is that marijuana is not nearly as addictive as other drugs like cocaine or methamphetamines. While these drugs are often so addictive that people need to check into rehab centers to help them quit, many people who use marijuana will never develop this same type of dependence. You don’t hear nearly as many accounts of people checking into rehab because of marijuana either. Another possible reason for this misinformation is because marijuana use has become so mainstream. With so many states starting to legalize marijuana, many people may believe that marijuana is completely harmless.
Some people are more prone to get addicted to marijuana as well. Genetics, use habits, and a person’s mental health can all play a factor in whether or not they become addicted to marijuana. Marijuana can lead to both physical and psychological dependence as well. Physical dependence on marijuana may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, sweating, fever, or chills.4 Those who frequently turn to marijuana to ease their anxiety or other mental health problems may develop a psychological dependence on the drug when this coping style become habitual.
Marijuana addiction symptoms include:
- Cravings for marijuana
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Neglecting responsibilities in favor of getting high
- Using regardless of the consequences
This unhealthy relationship with weed may not be as severe as addiction to other drugs, but it should not be dismissed. Not everyone who uses marijuana will become dependent on it, but if you find that you are addicted to marijuana, you should get help. Our holistic treatment center can help you work through both your physical and psychological dependency issues associated with marijuana so that you can move forward to a life without weed.
At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, our medical detox center is here to help people with substance abuse disorders throughout their sobriety journey. Recovery from an addiction is not easy, but our experienced staff is here to help every step of the way. If you or a loved one is ready to find lasting sobriety, reach out to us today by calling 888-280-4763.
- Jama Network – Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013
- NCBI –Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).
- NCBI – Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: Association with recent use and age
- NCBI – Diagnostic Criteria for Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome