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Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana? The Answer Might Not Be What You Think

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana? The Answer Might Not Be What You Think

Despite any biased claims to the contrary made by the pro-marijuana segment of the population, it is an irrefutable fact that is marijuana is addictive and it is morally, cognitively, and physically dangerous. When these effects are compounded by combination and the larger picture is considered, it is glaringly evident that any attempt at legislation that expands the availability of marijuana only further erodes an already slippery slope.

What Is the Biggest Lie Told about Marijuana?

“Marijuana is not addictive.” Let’s look at the real facts and look at all the addictive behaviors that are common to a regular weed smoker:

  • increasing tolerance
  • unsuccessful attempts to quit
  • neglected responsibilities
  • an inordinate amount of time spent seeking, purchasing, and using the drug
  • neglect of personal responsibilities and obligations
  • a disruption in other important life activities

Using the above criteria, there is no reasonable doubt—marijuana is addictive.

Are There Any Other Criteria Demonstrating a Marijuana Addiction?

One of the most on-point definitions of marijuana addiction is “continuing a behavior despite negative consequences”. Here are some “negative consequences”:

  • In 2007, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in California disseminated statistics stating that more than 42 % of parolees with past convictions for some marijuana-related crime were incarcerated again in less than two years.
  • Over 6000 people are sentenced to U.S. federal prisons every year for marijuana-related crimes, receiving an average sentence of 36
  • More than 38% are hit with mandatory five-year or ten-year MINIMUM sentences.
  • Defendants facing marijuana-related charges are the least likely of all drug offenders in federal custody to receive discretionary sentence reductions.
  • A 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, compiled statistics over an eight-year span, and the results show that high school dropouts are approximately twice as likely to have used cannabis within the past month than those students who stayed in school–at a rate of 3% to just 15.3%.
  • A drug conviction can ruin any chances a person has for a good job. So can a positive drug result. Pre-employment urine tests are registering as positive at the highest rate in years, and marijuana is the most commonly-appearing illicit substance.

Dr. Barry Sample, the director at Quest Diagnostics, a firm that specializes in medical research, says, “Employers are having some difficulty finding employees who can pass their drug tests.”

  • Even when cannabis is permitted by State Law, individual companies still have the authority to prohibit drug use among its workers.

Employer’s rights were upheld by judicial decree recently when an appeals court in the state of Michigan made the ruling that a Wal-Mart acted in accordance with their company policies and did not violate State Law when they terminated a worker for using medically-prescribed marijuana.

Another Benchmark of Addiction Is “Increased or Unintended Usage”. Is That Occurring with Weed?

Somehow, even when people are aware of such severe consequences and repercussions, the use of marijuana in America is on the rise.

  • A 2007 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that nearly 6% of those individuals responding reported using weed within the past month.
  • That figure went rose to 3% just five years later, in 2012, preceding the legalization of marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington. Alarmingly, the respondents to the survey were 12 years old and over.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has authoritatively determined that marijuana is addictive.

  • According to the Institute’s findings, approximately 9% of users become addicted.
  • Individuals who began smoking marijuana during adolescence or who smoke it daily become addicted at the statistically very significant rate of 17%, or approximately 1 at of every 6 habitual users.
  • Up to 50% of all pot smokers admit to doing so on a daily basis.
  • Just as importantly, among those checking into drug rehabilitation programs, over 60% of patients 15 years of age or younger report that pot is their preferred drug of abuse.

Think about those statistics. No objective person can refute that certain other drugs – cocaine, for example – are addictive. Yet in truth, only around 15% of all cocaine users end up addicted. Since the total number of marijuana users is so great, the total number of marijuana addicts is likewise more than double that of any other drug.

  • Over 4% of US citizens fit the established clinical standards for diagnosis of marijuana dependency, compared to just 8% for cocaine and a mere .7% for heroin.
  • On the European continent, 29% of all new patients beginning a drug rehabilitation program self-report that marijuana is their primary problem.

Marijuana Withdrawal

Is It Hard to Quit Smoking Marijuana?

When you consider unsuccessful attempts at abstinence, marijuana reaches another dubious benchmark that identifies it as an addictive substance.

  • The average adult entering a professional treatment facility for marijuana dependency has attempted to quit on six previous occasions.
  • The typical user has smoked marijuana daily or near-daily for an average of 10 years, and continues the habit even when dealing with legal issues, psychological disorders, physical decline or impairment, difficulties at work, or emotional pressure to quit from concerned friends and family members.

Marijuana Detox

Is Marijuana Withdrawal Real and What Does it Feel Like?

As is the case with other substances that are considered addictive, individuals attempting to detox from marijuana experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • increased irritability
  • insomnia or interrupted sleep
  • heightened anxiety
  • loss of appetite
  • almost-irresistible drug craving

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms: Anxiety Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms: Increased Irritability Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms: Cravings Unfortunately, there is at present no approved medication that can ease the uncomfortable symptoms of marijuana withdrawal, although there is continuing research.

So What’s the Bottom Line When it Comes to Marijuana Addiction?

When you look at it objectively and with a clear, unbiased mind, it is obvious that the regular use of marijuana can result in a clinical diagnosis of drug dependency/addiction in a significant percentage of users. Marijuana is a drug that can cause major, life-changing problems for its users, including criminal convictions, prohibitive fines, incarceration, isolation, and disappointment from family and friends, job loss or difficulties in finding work, and ever-worsening cognitive and physical decline. Rational people have no choice but to come to the conclusion that marijuana is addictive, and because of that conclusion, they should refrain from using and encourage their loved ones to do the same.

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Full Infographic:

Is Marijuana Withdrawal Real And What Does It Feel Like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Office of Applied Studies. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights—2009: National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Office of Applied Studies, DASIS Series: S-45, DHHS Publication No. SMA 09–4360, Rockville, MD, 2008. Lukas, Scott E.; Orozco, Sara (2001). “Ethanol increases plasma Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels and subjective effects after marihuana smoking in human volunteers”. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 64 (2): 143–9. doi:10.1016/S0376-8716(01)00118-1. PMID 11543984.