The Addiction of Marijuana – Fact Or Fiction?
By Seb Grant
Many marijuana users say they can “take it or leave it” when it comes to getting high, and sometimes they use this rationale to assert that their marijuana habit is not an addiction.
So what exactly is this addiction of marijuana, and is it real or not?
While it may indeed be true that some people will never form a dependence on weed, the same can be said for those who use alcohol occasionally, and we all know that alcohol can cause addiction in those especially prone to its effects.
Before we make a determination on the addictive properties of marijuana, let’s take a second to define the word ‘addiction’.
Addiction is defined as being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit forming. Moreover, when addiction is present, the absence of the substance will usually cause intense cravings.
When marijuana is NOT an Addiction
According to our definition, there are a certain number of people who can use marijuana occasionally and sporadically and never become tolerant to or dependent on its effects.
However, these people represent a small percentage of the total number of people that use marijuana. Most marijuana users will develop a regular habit, and over a period of time will begin to show some of the classic signs of addiction.
The Addiction of Marijuana
Most people who smoke marijuana do so for the intoxicating effect it produces-a relaxed and almost euphoric state-and once these effects are experienced, the desire to replicate the feeling becomes very strong. Over time though, the small amount of marijuana that once produced these feelings cannot do so any longer, and users tend to smoke more and more attempting to achieve the same effect. This is the classic sign of tolerance-an early and reliable sign of addiction.
Dependence is another clear sign of marijuana addiction. Many people, especially those who have used marijuana regularly for long periods of time, begin to find that it’s difficult to function without it. When they’re not high or under the influence, they can spend much of their energy planning how they will attain the drug. Their entire world begins to revolve around the addiction, leaving very little room for anything else.
Consequently, as marijuana takes priority, these people often begin to experience problems in their lives, including difficulties at work and in their relationships.
The Ultimate Test
If you’re unsure whether or not your marijuana use has spiraled into an addiction there is a very simple way to find out for sure: Quit.
Stopping your marijuana use abruptly will give you a clear picture of how marijuana is affecting you. If you begin to experience the effects of withdrawal, including cravings, depression, irritability, anxiety, trouble sleeping and a whole host of physical symptoms, chances are your marijuana use has become a dependency and you actually are addicted to marijuana.
There is a small percentage of marijuana users who will avoid addiction, most, however, will not. Marijuana is a powerful, psychoactive drug which alters the mood and brain activity in those who use it. Over time, tolerance to the drug increases, requiring larger amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect. This increased tolerance eventually leads to dependence and begins to create a number of problems for those addicted.
If you believe your marijuana habit has become an addiction make the effort today and seek out help in quitting. The sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll be able to reclaim your life, and the easier it will be.