Is weed addictive?
Marijuana is one of the most widely used recreational substances, and it is now legal in many places for recreational and medical purposes. As a result, questions regarding whether marijuana is addictive are circulating.
Marijuana, according to research, has the potential to be addictive, particularly when first used in youth or adolescence.
Continue reading to learn more about marijuana addiction’s science and potential treatment options.
Is marijuana a habit-forming substance?
According to student surveys, around 1 in 17 high school seniors admitted to consuming marijuana daily in 2018. The surveys’ authors also discovered that the drug’s perceived risk had decreased dramatically since the mid-2000s.
With such high use rates, more people are at risk of developing marijuana addictions. However, the majority of persons who use the substance do not create an addiction to it.
Because of the low likelihood of marijuana addiction, some proponents argue that the drug is not addictive, which isn’t the case. Marijuana, like any other mood-altering chemical, has the potential to become addictive.
Marijuana addiction estimates vary based on how each research team defines addiction, who they poll, and other reasons.
According to a 2011 study
According, the overall chance of addiction among marijuana users in the United States was 8.9% between 2001 and 2005, implying that 1 in 11 people who use the drug will become dependent.
Addiction rates were much greater among people who used marijuana before 18, with around one out of every six people developing an addiction.
According to other estimates, the figure is significantly greater. According to a 2015 study on general marijuana use in the United States, 4.1 per cent of adults said they had used marijuana in the preceding year.
In 2012–2013, 30.6 per cent of those who admitted to using marijuana satisfied the criteria for a marijuana use disorder. The study’s authors point out that as more adults in the country use the substance, the risk of addiction rises.
What makes marijuana so addicting?
Marijuana, like many other substances, alters the way dopamine is processed in the brain. According to medical experts, dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a sort of molecule in the brain that fosters feelings of motivation and reward.
Marijuana usage over a short period increases dopamine activity in the brain, leading to increased sensations of euphoria and pleasure.
Marijuana usage, on the other hand, can reduce dopamine production over time.
If this happens, some people will use more of the substance or use it more frequently to get the same high that marijuana used to deliver. Like the desire for other narcotics, the quest for a dopamine rush can lead to dependence and addiction.
Dependence is the first stage of addiction when a person uses a drug to feel normal.
Some people believe that using marijuana helps avoid unpleasant experiences like insomnia, anxiety, or depression. This may encourage people to use more frequently over time, raising the risk of addiction.
Meanwhile, some people who cease using marijuana regularly suffer unpleasant side effects like cravings, irritation, discomfort, and sleep disturbances that can last up to two weeks.
People who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms may reintroduce marijuana to alleviate their symptoms, leading to increased reliance on the drug.
How can you tell if you have an addiction?
People are more prone to develop a marijuana addiction if they use the drug heavily or for a long time or use it to treat sadness or insomnia.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction:
- need the use of the substance to feel happy or normal
- need increasing amounts of marijuana to feel normal or experience any effects
- marijuana urges distract you, especially after you’ve quit using the drug
- Anxiety, depression, insomnia, rage, appetite changes, and irritability are some of the withdrawal symptoms.
- When someone uses marijuana while at work, it has serious effects, such as making them miss work.
- despite the personal effects of marijuana use, such as relationship issues or financial difficulties
- marijuana use in potentially risky settings, such as when driving
- putting aside interests or duties to locate and utilise marijuana
- unable to abstain from utilising the substance
When people go through marijuana withdrawal, their symptoms usually worsen over a few hours and peak within the first week. Symptoms normally go away after two weeks.