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addicted to marijuana

Can You Get Addicted To Cannabis?

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana or is it Just in Your Head

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Tuesday Oct 17, 2017

Can You Get Addicted To Cannabis?



One of the favorite myths that prohibitionists love to spread about cannabis is that it’s addictive. Is that really true?


Generally speaking, cannabis isn’t addictive. Well… you could say it’s just about as addictive as chocolate or Netflix is. Most cannabis users have no problem quitting cannabis when needed.


However, there is one thing called a cannabis use disorder. Also referred to as cannabis dependence, cannabis use disorder is “the continued use of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment, ranging from mild to severe.” So a dependence is possible, but it’s extremely rare; with just 1 out of 10 people developing a cannabis dependence according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Some people are also more prone to cannabis use disorder than others, based on a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. These risk factors include peer pressure, drug availability, parental death before the age of 15, low self-esteem, low socioeconomic status, and positive attitude toward drug use.


Difference Between Physical Dependence and Psychological Addiction


Not a single person has died from cannabis use or addiction, unlike other substances ranging from alcohol to opioids. But since cannabis dependence is significantly less severe than other kinds of dependencies, defining what exactly makes a dependence remains a gray area even for scientists and researchers. It is agreed, though, that cannabis dependence is more of a chronic habit that is of the psychological variety than a harmful physical addiction.


According to the National Institute of Health, cannabis abuse and dependence is defined as when “Adults seeking treatment for marijuana abuse or dependence average more than 10 years of near-daily use and more than six serious attempts at quitting.” The NIH also states that dependency is when users “continue to smoke the drug despite social, psychological, and physical impairments.”


Other harmful substances such as alcohol and cocaine are those that are TRULY addictive. The American Addiction Centers states that substances like opiates, alcohol, and benzodiazepenes are particularly dangerous when people experience withdrawals because attempting cold turkey detox can be life-threatening. People who are addicted to alcohol and opiates experience a physical need for their body to get their “fix” of the substance, otherwise they can’t function normally. Generally, withdrawal symptoms will include shakiness, cold sweats, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, depression, irritability, and headaches; and if you do the research, you’ll see that cannabis can actually cure these withdrawal symptoms for people who are weaning off alcohol and opiates instead of cause them.


Cannabis is dependence is more of psychological, because it tends to affects a user’s feelings instead of body. When a person experiences cannabis dependence, they feel that they need it to go back normal. Cannabis users who quit cold turkey don’t require hospitalization to manage their withdrawal symptoms or even prevent death. However, in the few cases of cannabis dependence, they may experience minor withdrawal symptoms temporarily such as anxiety, cravings, and depression.



Defining Cannabis Use Disorder


Medical experts have established that experiencing two or more of these symptoms within a 12 month period may qualify as a cannabis use disorder:


  • Using large amounts of cannabis over a longer period
  • Trying to cut back your consumption but just can’t
  • Spending too much time trying to get cannabis
  • Strong cravings and a desire to use
  • Inability to meet obligations at home, school, or work
  • Using cannabis affects your relationships
  • Using cannabis even during hazardous situations
  • Using cannabis even when it presents physical or psychological problems
  • Developing a tolerance (needing more to achieve the same high)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms or needing cannabis to relive or avoid withdrawal symptoms


Other symptoms that you should think about if you think you have a cannabis dependence:


  • You use up all your stash quickly
  • You can’t function without it; it makes you irritable and anxious
  • You can’t afford your cannabis habit and it causes you to spend money that you don’t have
  • You’re missing out on employment opportunities and activities because you aren’t high
  • You get into legal trouble because of your habit



If you love cannabis but worry about addiction, keep in mind that addiction is highly unlikely. Make sure that you’re a responsible recreational user, only using it at times that won’t hinder your productivity or affect your personal relationships. If you feel that you have a cannabis dependency, it’s all about confronting it and taking the necessary steps to manage the issue and be a responsible user.




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