Addiction to Marijuana
Nearly 40% of people have tried marijuana, and the drug is now legal in 23 states, plus the District of Columbia. Most marijuana users are able to use the drug without a problem, and doctors are increasingly prescribing it for a host of ailments. Unsurprisingly, many people have responded to this information by insisting that marijuana is not and cannot be addictive. Alcohol, like marijuana, is highly addictive, as are prescription drugs. Don’t be fooled by marijuana’s status as an increasingly legal drug, or by the fact that it may have some medical benefits. About 10 percent of marijuana users become addicted, but your risk of addiction increases exponentially if you use this drug daily.
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How Marijuana Affects Your Brain and Body
Most drugs are classified as stimulants or depressants, but marijuana’s classification remains the subject of some controversy. Dozens of cannabinoids—chemicals that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your brain—exist in marijuana, though it’s just one chemical, THC, that gets you high. Theoretically, if doctors could remove THC, you might be able to benefit from the cannabinoids without risking addiction.
Doctors have documented a number of positive benefits to using marijuana, but if you don’t have a medical condition, then there’s no benefit at all to smoking this potentially addictive drug. Instead, you expose yourself to a number of risks, including:
- Anxiety and paranoia; marijuana, especially when eaten, can provoke panic attacks.
- Respiratory difficulties
- Changes in mood or personality
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression; in the short-term, marijuana may help alleviate feelings of sadness. Over time, though, it can affect neurotransmitters in your brain, rendering you more vulnerable to depression.
- Changes in eating habits; regular marijuana users may gain weight due to marijuana’s notorious ability to trigger the “munchies.”
Who is at Risk for Marijuana Addiction?
Anyone can become addicted to marijuana, but some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others. In addition to a family history of addiction, chronic use of marijuana, and spending lots of time with people who use marijuana, some other risk factors include:
- A history of depression or anxiety, since marijuana offers temporary relief of these symptoms.
- A history of trauma or PTSD. Some studies suggest that marijuana can help with these symptoms, but self-medicating without a doctor’s supervision renders you vulnerable to addiction.
- Insomnia, since marijuana can help you get to sleep.
Addiction tends to get worse over time. But because marijuana doesn’t typically cause the severe addiction symptoms you might expect with cocaine or meth, many users don’t realize they’ve developed an addiction until that addiction has overtaken their lives.
Am I Addicted to Marijuana?
Marijuana addiction is something some people continue to deny is possible. If you’re not sure whether you qualify as an addict, some common symptoms of marijuana addiction include:
- Working or driving while high
- Difficulty concentrating without marijuana
- Relying on marijuana to feel “normal,” or to cope with emotional pain
- Trying but failing to quit using marijuana
- Lying to yourself or to loved ones about marijuana usage
- Needing progressively larger doses of marijuana to get the same result you once got with a lower dose
- Suffering health problems, such as a persistent cough, due to marijuana use
- Getting into legal trouble because of marijuana
Marijuana might be considered a “soft” drug, but it’s still a dangerous one. If you have an addiction, help is available, and treatment offers your best shot at a brighter tomorrow. Contact Addiction Rehab Centres Canada today!