Why Do People Think Marijuana Isn’t Addictive
Debates about the safety and addictive potential of marijuana are highly politicized. Though numerous studies have documented its potential medicinal benefits, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency maintains that it is a Schedule 1 drug, with a high potential for addiction and no potential benefits or approved medical uses.
Marijuana advocates may go to the other extreme, asserting that marijuana is safe in all contexts and is never addictive. One 2016 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences even found that doctorsâ political beliefs can sway their opinion on the addictive potential of cannabis.
You can be addicted to weed, just as you can become addicted to any other mind-altering substance of pleasurable behavior.
You Use Marijuana To Deal With Problems
Think about the way youre using marijuana. Have you been using it to deal with your problems? When you have bad grades or problems with your boss or even relationship issues, do you feel your only option is to try and get high? If this is the case then youre getting deeper into your marijuana use and addiction.
Another way you can identify that youre addicted to marijuana is if you depend on it to feel relaxed. If you take weed before starting work or doing anything creative or other tasks, then its a clear sign that you have developed a heavy dependence on it and you are already addicted to the substance.
Why Is Cannabis Drawing Concerns
Despite the legal status and medical purposes of weed, it is quite difficult to turn a blind eye from the statistical data surrounding marijuana abuse and addiction.
According to the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, 28% of Canadian youth are using marijuana and this figure is significantly higher compared to the same group demographics in other developed countries.
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What Happens When You Try To Quit Smoking Pot And Youre Addicted
Pot smokers who are classified as marijuana abusers frequently report that they have withdrawal symptoms that include sleeplessness, no appetite, anxiety, cravings to use, and irritability. While any of these can make quitting difficult, the combination of several symptoms can make it difficult to stay on the road to recovery. This is where SMART Recovery can help.
We Know Why People Become Addicted We Understand Why They Don’t Want To Quit However The Majority Of People Who Use Or Smoke Marijuana Do Not Become Addicted
Marijuana use disorder becomes addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. Estimates of the number of people addicted to marijuana are controversial, in part because epidemiological studies of substance use often use dependence as a proxy for addiction even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted. Those studies suggest that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it,24,25 rising to about 17 percent in those who start using in their teens.26,27
To summarize this excerpt, the ‘use disorder’ of weed becomes an addiction when you cannot force yourself to stop using it, despite having one or more compelling reasons in your life to do so.
According to DrugAbuse.gov, only 10% of people will become addicted, a much lower rate than heroin or methamphetamines. If that’s the case, then why is it so important to reach out to and try to help marijuana addicts?
Paralleling the rise in marijuana use disorders, treatment admissions for primary marijuana dependence have increased both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of total admissions, from 7 percent in 1993 to 16 percent in 2003 . The extent of marijuana use and its associated consequences clearly indicate a public health problem that requires systematic effort focused on prevention and intervention.
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What Is Medical Marijuana
While marijuana is a commonly-abused illicit drug, there has also been a significant debate in the United States about marijuanas medical value in recent years. Between 1996 and 2020, 33 states and four territories passed comprehensive medical marijuana and cannabis programs. In those areas, doctors may prescribe marijuana for patients who many benefit from its use.
- What is medical marjiuana used for?
- HIV and AIDS
The U.S. states and territories where medical marijuana is allowed include:
In addition to allowing the sale and use of medical marijuana, a few of these states also allow recreational use of the drug. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve medical marijuana as an official medicine, there are a few pill cannabinoids the agency has approved. Marijuana contains about 100 cannabinoids that create powerful effects. According to a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, THC and cannabinoid drugs potential therapeutic benefits include:
- Pain relief
- Control of nausea
- Improving muscle spasms, stiffness, and fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients
Who Becomes Addicted To Marijuana And Why
Genes are one strong predictor of developing an addiction, said Dr. Alex Stalcup, medical director of the New Leaf Treatment Center in Lafayette, California.
Studies of identical twins raised in different families support this theory. They have higher rates of an addiction co-occurring, which means that if one of them develops an addiction, the other is at greater risk for developing one, than fraternal twins raised apart.
But family ties may also help some people avoid progressing to a state of addiction.
When we look at the criteria for addiction, it has a lot to do with people tempering their behavior, explained Carl Hart, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Columbia University in New York and author of High Price, in a 2016 interview with Healthline.
It has a lot to do with responsibility skills Its not perfect, but when you look at the people who are addicted, and you look at people who have jobs and families, they have responsibilities, theyre plugged into their societies, they have a social network, the addiction rates within those kind of groups are dramatically decreased from people who are not plugged in with jobs, families, social networks.
Those who dont become addicted also tend to have more options.
Mental health conditions, which have both genetic and environmental causes play a large one in a persons chance of developing an addiction.
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How Great Is The Risk Of Becoming Addicted To Marijuana
First, lets clarify what is meant by addiction. Actually, there are two different terms that are often used interchangeably and incorrectly. Addiction and dependence are not the same thing.
When a person is physically dependent on a substance, such as alcohol or heroin, it means that they will develop withdrawal symptoms, or even die, when that substance is withheld, depending on the substance and the severity of the dependence. Dependence is a physiologic condition. Examples are seizures and death for alcohol pain, sweating, and vomiting for opiates and insomnia and irritability for Cannabis.
Addiction, on the other hand, is a behavior, like lying, stealing, and violence associated with the perceived need for a substance. For examples, alcohol addicts sometimes lie to their family about their consumption, or even abuse their spouses and children. Cocaine or methamphetamine users have been known to rob stores or burgle homes to get money for their substance needs.
Cannabis use can trigger a host of physiological effects, though many are harmless or outright beneficial for people who have been diagnosed with certain conditions .
Yet, we know that some Cannabis users will develop withdrawal symptoms if they stop using Cannabis. This is a physical dependence. These symptoms typically include insomnia and moodiness, and usually last 3-7 days. Harmful behaviors and social interactions, however, are not typically seen in Cannabis users.
Other Risks Of Cannabis
Other risks of regularly using cannabis can include:
- feeling wheezy or out of breath
- developing an uncomfortable or painful cough
- making symptoms of asthma worse in people with asthma
- reduced ability to drive or operate machinery safely
If you drive while under the influence of cannabis, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident. This is one reason why drug driving, like drink driving, is illegal.
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Building Up A Tolerance
Dependence on marijuana happens when users build up a tolerance for the substance and need more and more of it to experience the same effect.
When a drug enters the brain, it overrides the brains natural processes, boosting a specific function far above, or below, normal levels.
The brain may become resistant to the effects of the drug in an effort to protect itself, so that next time the person uses the drug, it doesnt have as strong an effect. In order to feel the same high, the person has to take larger and larger doses.
Over time, users may graduate from smoking marijuana to using it in high-dosage edible forms or propane-extracted concentrates called dabs.
A 2012 study found that people who use marijuana have fewer receptors in their brain for endogenous cannabinoids, the signaling molecules that marijuanas active component, THC, mimics.
THC also affects the brains reward system and the release of the pleasure hormone dopamine.
It is very well-known that dopamine is one of the most important neurotransmitters that regulates reward, motivation, and self-control, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA and one of the authors of the study.
All of the drugs, whether legal or illegal, that can cause addiction apparently can stimulate dopamine signaling in the main pleasure center of the brain By stimulating dopamine, they activate the main reward centers of the brain. This is why when someone takes a drug, it is pleasurable.
Loss Of Interest In Activities
Someone who is addicted to marijuana will prioritize their drug use over other aspects of their life. They will likely cut back on activities that previously brought them joy or withdraw from them altogether.
A person with marijuana addiction may struggle to maintain healthy relationships with their friends and family if they withdraw from socializing in order to use the drug.
In addition, marijuana dependence has been linked with a lack of motivation. Someone who is addicted may lack the drive to engage in activities, pursue goals, or keep up with responsibilities, including school and work.
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Dangers Of Teen Marijuana Addiction
Research has examined how . Though findings are mixed, many experts acknowledge there are potential negative effects of weed on developing brains.
Some studies suggest that teenagers who use marijuana frequently may experience short-term effects such as problems with memory, learning, coordination, and judgment.
A large cohort study followed nearly 4,000 young adults over a 25-year period into mid-adulthood. It found that although cumulative lifetime exposure to marijuana is associated with lower verbal memory test scores, exposure did not affect other cognitive abilities like processing speed or executive function.
There are also potential long-term effects. Some studies suggest an association between regular marijuana use in teens and “altered connectivity and reduced volume of specific brain regions.”
However, other studies have found that the differences in brain structure between those who use marijuana and those who don’t could be attributed to “predispositional factors,” including genetics. More research is needed on the direct effect marijuana has on the brain, while taking into consideration the many variables such as frequency of use, genetics, environment, and more.
Withdrawal Symptoms When Not Using Marijuana
Quitting any substance abuse is no easy task. When you decide to stop using marijuana, this could lead to some withdrawal symptoms. Experiencing these symptoms is a sign that you are already physically dependent or addicted to weed. Some common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, irritability, depression, weight changes, and flu-like symptoms.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment Center Today.
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You Can’t Get Addicted To Weed Is A Dangerous Refrain Heard All Across The World
In a sense, weed is not addictive in the same way that heroin is. Your body does not develop a physiological need for it. However, the active ingredient in weed, 9tetrahydrocannabinol , quickly invokes a resistance in the human body. More and more weed or weed products are needed to stay high.
What are some of the positive aspects of weed that encourage people to avoid withdrawal
THC interacts with the reward system of your brain and dumps dopamine, much like harder drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and others. This leads to a sense or feeling of euphoria and stress relief.
Weed allegedly can treat certain types of pain – a self-medicator dependent on weed may not want to get clean due to an injury or pain.
Weed can also interfere with the formation of memories, and the cessation of it may force an individual to deal with a trauma or other event that weed helped them to forget.
Other symptoms of withdrawal include diminished appetite, stomach or digestion issues, depression, chills, inability to focus on a task, sweating, headaches, rapid mood changes, irritability, insomnia or other sleeping disorders.
Many users will also experience intense cravings for marijuana, similar to the way a smoker craves a cigarette.
Intervention For A Marijuana Problem
If Marijuana is hindering a healthy and productive life for someone you care about, staging an intervention can be a good way to help them make a change. Oftentimes, people who have become addicted to Marijuana do not believe they can be addicted, which is why they havent gotten help. An intervention is the perfect time to present them with the facts: Marijuana is addictive and can have a negative impact on their life.
Parents of teens who have started abusing Marijuana regularly may stage an intervention to explain the potential developmental issues that may crop up in the future. Learn more about staging an intervention.
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Figure Out Why You Want To Quit Marijuana
The idea of being free from marijuana addiction sounds great to many people. However, without a reason to break free, achieving every other step on how to quit marijuana becomes harder than it should be.
Before starting any program, treatment or medication, ensure you are clear on what actually is motivating you to go ahead with the process. In the long run, that reason will help spur you to add more days to the count instead of backsliding.
Although every patient has unique reasons to stop using marijuana, here are the common ones. Marijuana addiction is:
- Causing problems with your relationships
- Affecting your concentration, memory and mood
- Becoming your way of dealing with stress
- Becoming spontaneous, almost like you have no control over when you should use it
- Reducing your happiness and causing anhedonia
How Do I Stop Smoking Marijuana
SMART provides our members with tools and skills that they can use to help them recover from marijuana addiction as well as alcohol, or other drugs or negative behaviors. SMART Recovery, which can be used as a support group alternative to Marijuana Anonymous , uses a 4-Point Program®, with each element designed to help you overcome your problems with abusing marijuana:
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How Long Does It Take To Become Addicted To Weed
According to a study published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2018, an estimated 43.5 million Americans aged 12 and over, or about 16 percent of the population, used marijuana in the year prior. While most people can stop using weed relatively easily, this isnt the case for everyone. Some people can and do become addicted to weed. Among those who started using weed during their teen years, about one in six of them become addicted.
Marijuana has a reputation for being a harmless drugits not addictive or dangerous in the same way that nicotine or opioids are, and users can generally stop taking the drug without having to worry about life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. However, that doesnt mean that its impossible to develop a dependence on marijuana. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 1 in 10 marijuana users develop a dependence on the drug. This means that their bodies have become used to the presence of weed and if they stop taking it, they experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability or sleeping difficulties.
Addiction can develop differently from one person to another. One person may develop a dependence on or addiction to marijuana fairly quickly, while others may not develop an addiction for years. For those who have unsuccessfully tried to quit using marijuana, professional help is often necessary.