Is Weed Addictive? Everything You Need To Know

Is weed addictive?

Marijuana And The Effects Of Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, but is weed addictive? 

In 2017, 40.9 million Americans aged 12 or older reported using marijuana at least once in the past year.

Marijuana is also the most commonly abused substance among people seeking treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will develop a dependence on it. 

This means that they will have physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug and feel compelled to continue using it because of cravings.

So - Is Weed Addictive?

But is weed addictive? Is it possible to become dependent on pot?

The answer is complicated, there are few studies on how marijuana works in the brain and body. 

There is growing evidence that weed can cause dependence and addiction in some cannabis users

Here we will look at what makes marijuana addictive and what happens when someone becomes dependent on cannabis.

Marijuana And Other Drugs

Marijuana isn’t considered as addictive as other illegal drugs by some experts because dependence isn’t as severe as with other drugs like heroin or cocaine. 

But research shows that 9% of users become addicted within a year of trying marijuana for the first time — and 17% become dependent after just two years of use.

If you smoke weed occasionally or once in a while, it’s unlikely that you will become addicted to it. 

But if you smoke weed on a regular basis, then there is an increased risk of becoming addicted to it, just like any other substance that gives you pleasure when used regularly (e.g., alcohol dependence).

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant. It can be smoked or eaten. Marijuana is often called pot, weed, grass, or hashish. 

It comes in a variety of forms including dried leaves, which you roll into a cigarette (or joint) to smoke; resin (hash), which you may bake and eat; and liquid (hash oil) which you can mix with food or drink.

Marijuana has been used for thousands of years for religious and ceremonial purposes. 

Marijuana use disorder (MUD) is a mental health diagnosis that refers to a problematic pattern of marijuana use leading to clinically significant impairment, including failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.

In many cultures, it has been used as medicine.

Although marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, some states have only legalized its medical use while others have decriminalized recreational marijuana.

How Addictive Is Weed?

The active ingredient in marijuana — delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — binds to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and body. 

These receptors are part of an endocannabinoid system that affects many physiological processes like appetite, mood and memory formation.

The answer to the question ‘Is Weed Addictive?’ isn’t simple. Your risk of addiction can depend on many things such as your age when you started using, and the frequency and quantity you use. 

Younger adults are at a higher risk of cannabis addiction than others.

Weed Addiction By Age Groups

One study found that people who start smoking weed at an early age are more likely to become dependent on it later in life.

For example, if someone starts smoking at age 13 instead of 17, they may be twice as likely to develop an addiction later in adulthood. 

Another study found that those who used cannabis daily for ten years were four times more likely to be addicted than those who used it occasionally.

While a 3rd study found no evidence for physical dependence after chronic use of marijuana for six months in patients with no history of substance abuse

What Are MUD And CUD?

Marijuana use disorder (MUD) is a mental health diagnosis that refers to a problematic pattern of marijuana use leading to clinically significant impairment, including failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.

The term “cannabis use disorder” (CUD) is used by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a replacement for the term “marijuana dependence.”

Marijuana use disorder affects about 3 in 10 marijuana users, according to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

6 Factors Affecting Weed Addiction

For some people, marijuana is addictive, but for many others, it’s not. It all depends on factors like age of first use, frequency of use, and method of consumption. 

6 risk factors affecting the likelihood of addiction;

  1. Family history of addiction or mental illness
  2. How the weed is grown (impurities can be added)
  3. Using other drugs at the same time
  4. Your body chemistry
  5. Underlying depression or anxiety
  6. Gender (women have higher rates than men). 

Cannabis isn’t for everyone—but if you think it’s right for you, enjoy!

How Much Weed Is Too Much?

The signs of marijuana addiction vary depending on the person and their situation. 

Some people who get hooked on pot may never experience any serious consequences, while others may develop serious relationship problems, health issues, or mental illness due to their drug use.

Difficulties With Excessive Marijuana Use

It’s common for people who smoke marijuana regularly to have trouble sleeping and eating properly and suffer from poor focus and judgment at work or school. 

They may also experience financial difficulties related to their drug use, such as losing their job because they’re high at work or losing money through gambling or other activities that require money management skills — all signs of marijuana addiction.

Marijuana use can lead to dependence, which some experts view as a type of drug addiction.

This happens when you are physically or psychologically dependent on marijuana to feel good or get through a day.

Resilience To Weed

Marijuana is not physically addictive as other drugs, but some people develop a psychological dependence on it. 

Some people also develop tolerance and need larger amounts over time to achieve the desired effect they once did from smoking smaller amounts.

While being dependent on something doesn’t necessarily mean anything wrong has happened yet, it does mean that there’s potential for abuse or addiction down the road if things aren’t kept under control properly by yourself (or others).

Does Weed Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States.

It is addictive because you can develop tolerance and dependence on it. 

Tolerance means that you need more of the drug to get the same desired effect, while dependence means you have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug.

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are usually mild and don’t last long. They can include;

These symptoms depend on how much marijuana you were using before quitting. 

People who have a history of mental health problems or people who use marijuana heavily may have more severe cases of withdrawal symptoms.

Are There Marijuana Addicts?

Is weed addictive? It’s a question we get asked a lot and hopefully, you are starting to understand the complexities a little further.

Marijuana addiction is rare, and most people who use marijuana will not become addicted to it.

If you have heard that marijuana is just as addictive as other drugs, like cocaine or heroin, you may be surprised to learn that this isn’t true. 

While it’s possible to develop a substance use disorder (SUD) from using marijuana—which is different from being addicted—the vast majority of users do not develop an SUD.

Understanding Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)

The NIDA report found that 9% of adults and 17 % of young people aged 18-25 meet the diagnostic criteria for cannabis use disorder (CUD). 

CUD is the preferred term by scientists because it doesn’t imply that one has an addiction, which is more than an increased tolerance or withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. 

While some people will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking weed, others won’t.

But if you’re trying to figure out if you have a problem with weed, look for these signs and symptoms of dependency:

  • You spend too much time or money on weed
  • Failed to stop or reduce your use of weed despite negative consequences
  • Feel like you need weed to function normally (or even get out of bed in the morning).
  • You’ve had problems with family members or friends because of your relationship with weed (e.g., arguments about your use, or them making comments about it).

Supporting Those With Weed Addiction

Long-term marijuana abuse can cause changes in brain structure, which can lead to cognitive impairment and memory loss over time.

People who smoke pot regularly or use it very frequently may become dependent on it, but this isn’t the same as being addicted.

Drug dependence means that your body has come to rely on regular marijuana use so much that you experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it.

If you are concerned about your marijuana use or the use of someone you care about, consider getting help with marijuana addiction treatment options.

Is Weed Addictive? The Bottom Line

The fact remains that marijuana can have a negative impact on your physical health, relationships and daily life if used too frequently or in high doses

Marijuana addiction can cause serious health effects.

A recent study found that one in 11 high school seniors reported using marijuana daily or near-daily, which is considered a high-risk behavior for developing a substance use disorder later in life.

Marijuana has been shown to be effective in treating some medical conditions, including pain relief and nausea. 

However, there are also severe side effects of using marijuana and a high potential for developing a substance addiction.

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