According to Statistics, only 10% of people who experiment with marijuana will develop a problem with dependence, though I believe the numbers to be much higher for the psychological addiction of marijuana.
There are many people who will try to tell you that marijuana is not addictive. As someone who believes that pot is beneficial in many different ways, who believes that weed should be legalized and who smoked herb on a daily basis for over 35 years and who still smokes it occasionally, I will tell you that these people are either delusional or they are trying to fool you.
As far as I could tell through personal experience as well as extensive research, though there is little if any physical addiction associated with cannabis use and/or withdrawal from the drug, there is definitely a psychological and/or mental addiction. Pot smokers will get accustomed to the effects of marijuana and eventually come to need these effects for normal functioning.
Once psychologically addicted, cannabis users will start to feel symptoms of withdrawal within a day of their last joint. Users get accustomed to the anxiety relieving properties of the drug, and when they can't have it, start to feel anxious. Many people also come to use marijuana as a coping tool for stress, irritability, depression and other problems, only to find that with time they rely on marijuana to deal with everyday life.
Cannabis smokers also develop a tolerance to the drug, so that a chronic user will consume as much as 10 times the quantity during a "party" as a beginning or casual user. The greater the quality and quantity of the drug the greater the risks of addiction, so that with heavy use and time, marijuana users often find themselves psychologically dependant on pot without even realizing it.
An impairment or distress caused by marijuana is likely to exist if there is the manifestation of three or more of the following symptoms occurring at any time:
- When the user has built a tolerance, or the need for increased amounts of marijuana to achieve the desired intoxication effect
- When cannabis is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
- When there is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control cannabis use.
- When a great deal of time is spent to obtain marijuana, like by driving long distances and/or visiting multiple dealers.
- When medication such as anti-depressants, pain relievers are taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Increase of the consumption of alcohol and or cigarettes.
- When due to excessive use of the substance or in recovering from its effects, important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced.
- When you would like to quit or have tried to quit but can't.
That's marijuana addiction in a nutshell. You may also want to read my article, Are You Using or Abusing Marijuana? from May 24, 2011, on Addicts Not Anonymous, as well as Is Marijuana the Wonder Drug that could Help Millions of People? from May 8, 2011, on my Health-be.com blog.
Do you believe you are abusing or are addicted to marijuana? Do you exhibit any of the symptoms described above? Would you like to quit smoking marijuana but can't?
Please let Addicts Not Anonymous readers know about your experiences, thoughts and feelings with a comment, bellow.
Written By: Tom Retterbush
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