How Addictive is Marijuana and Is It Worth Worrying About?

For decades many people considered marijuana a gateway to harder drugs

drugs like cocaine or meth. One toke of cannabis and the user was certain to end up in rehab some years later after following a path that started with seemingly innocent Mary Jane. But are the old tales true? How does marijuana work and does it have addictive properties? Read on to learn more about marijuana use and its properties.

Addition or Dependency?

One of the most commonly used “illicit” drugs, many people believe that marijuana isn’t addictive at all. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that the drug can lead to something called marijuana use disorder. While dependency is mild, the institute reports that about 30 percent of people who use the drug develop some form of the disorder.

For those who do develop marijuana use disorder, the symptoms include irritability, mood problems, sleep issues, restless, decreased appetite, and cravings. These symptoms peak around two weeks after stopping cannabis use and eventually go away. Because some states have legalized marijuana, many people mistakenly believe that the drug is not addictive at all. However according to American Addiction Centers, for some users the drug is addictive physically but not necessarily psychologically.

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Psychological Vs. Physical Addiction

The two main factors of physical addiction are tolerance and withdrawal. This means over time, users typically need more of the drug in order to achieve the desired results. According to Freedom Treatment Centers, when addicts stop using a substance, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal. For marijuana, withdrawal symptoms are typically incredibly mild when compared with other types of drugs and are not a huge cause for concern for most users.

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As for a psychological addiction, users develop an intense focus on the substance to the point that it becomes a main focus of their lives. Ultimately, individuals who are psychologically addicted are unable to stop without rehab or some type of detox center even if they desperately want to quit using. The fact is, most users of cannabis do not experience psychological addiction.

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While the legality of marijuana is changing rapidly, users should still use care when using it to ensure they do not become overly reliant on it, just like they would with alcohol or other substances. While cannabis can be addictive, it is a relatively mild problem compared with harder illegal drugs and isn’t a major cause for concern among most users of this drug. Depending on the reasons for use, the potential benefits of use may end up outweighing the possibility of addiction.

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