Is Marijuana Addictive?

A question being asked by those concerned with the effects of smoking weed is: “Is marijuana addictive?”  Due to the increasing number of fatalities linked to the use of synthetic marijuana and a spike in consumption of natural marijuana, many parents are seeking answers.  This is a realistic concern, especially since there is so much conflicting information about the advantages and disadvantages of using this drug and the new stronger strains that are emerging.

How it can Cause AddictionIs Marijuana Addictive?

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana can be addictive and chronic abuse is linked to a mild form of withdrawal syndrome.  Experts say, the overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system caused by habitual use of marijuana effects neurological changes that lead to addiction.  Addiction, as described by NIDA scientists, is a condition that drives obsessive seeking and drug using despite negative consequences that disrupt important areas of an individual’s life.  In other words, a marijuana addiction is indicated by uncontrollable cravings and use of this drug.

Studies show at least 10% of those who engage in recreational use of marijuana become dependent or addicted.  This number increases to 17% in individuals who begin using marijuana during the teenage years and between 25% and 50% among those who consume marijuana frequently throughout the day, every day.  And, according to the National Study on Drug Use for Health data for 2013, over four million of the estimated 6.9 million Americans dependent on illicit drugs were dependent on marijuana.

Further insight is provided by Leslie L. Iverson, professor of pharmacology at the University of Cambridge and author of the Science of Marijuana who report that 10 to 30% of regular marijuana users will develop a dependency on this drug.  Still, these numbers could be greater with the higher concentration of THC that regular marijuana users are exposed to today.  Experts do believe that this may be directly related to these rising potencies since there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking treatment at emergency rooms across the country that test positive for marijuana. This may correlate to the fact that experienced marijuana smokers may not be fully compensating for the variations in THC strength of the marijuana they are smoking today.

Signs of Addiction

  • You smoke marijuana also referred to as pot, ganja, bud, and weed to name a few every day and multiple times throughout the day.
  • You experience the following withdrawal symptoms that peak within the first week after halting habitual use of marijuana:
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability,
  • Sleep problems
  • Decreased appetite
  • Obsessive cravings
  • Certain music, people, places and odors triggers your desire to use marijuana and you are unable to resist the urge.
  • You spend a lot of your time thinking about getting and using marijuana throughout your day.

There are a number of variables that can lead to marijuana addiction such as genetic predisposition, consistent exposure to marijuana favored environments and the use of this drug for medical reasons. According to NIDA scientist, other factors besides biological mechanisms and social may contribute to a dependence or addiction to marijuana which are unknown and that require further research.

Getting Help

White Sands Treatment Center provides drug treatment programs to help you or someone you love overcome substance abuse and addiction. For more information about how to get treatment for your addiction, dial 877-855-3470 today. 

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