Cannabis Addiction

Cannabis Addiction

There is limited information available about marijuana addiction due to the controversy as to whether this drug truly causes an addiction or not. While the drug may have benefits when used for a medically prescribed purpose, it also has dangers – especially when abused. When it is used over a long period of time it is known to cause dependence, tolerance, and even addiction. Marijuana is typically smoked to produce a relaxed and euphoric effect but some choose to eat the substance for a milder, longer lasting high. However you take it, you do run the risk of feeling like you need to use marijuana daily and being unable to stop using it on your own. Below is a look at the characteristics of marijuana addiction and some methods of effectively coping with the urges to smoke pot.

If marijuana is causing problems in your life, treatment can help you!

Some say that weed is highly addictive and can cause adverse effects both physically and psychologically especially when the user quits while others state that the drug has no real addictive qualities at all. So what’s the truth? Is marijuana really addictive?

Physically, smoking marijuana can lead to a number of consequences such as changes in appetite, changes in mood and increased heart rate. However, the physical signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction are not near those of an addiction to heroin or other hard drugs. Does this make smoking pot ok? Some would argue and say yes, while others explicitly state NO.

Psychologically, marijuana can increase anxiety and paranoia, lead to depression and reduce the brain’s ability to think clearly. Most of these symptoms will wear off as the drug itself wears off but for some, the psychological effects of marijuana can last many months or even years after the individual stops smoking pot. Anxiety and depression are very common outcomes of marijuana abuse and these two medical conditions are likely to lead to an individual’s desire to self-medicate or a need for prescribed medication to treat the condition appropriately.

The Addictive Potential of Marijuana

Marijuana abuse and addiction can lead to anxiety and depression. Long term use or marijuana is said to have some addictive potential, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In most cases, first time users will not become addicted and even occasional users who smoke pot recreationally will not become addicted to the drug. However, daily, long term use of marijuana can lead to many harmful effects. Abruptly stopping or no longer using marijuana after a prolonged phase of marijuana use can lead to the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Cravings
  • Mood swings

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

As the above marijuana withdrawal symptoms progress, they will typically peak around the third or fourth consecutive day of not smoking pot. Within about a week or two, all symptoms of marijuana addiction will usually have gone away and the user can return to normal. Unfortunately, there are some symptoms of marijuana use that can last into a prolonged period of time. Most of these symptoms are mental or psychological in scope and will require some type of treatment and or counseling in order to overcome. That said, according to Columbia University addiction to marijuana is both psychological and physical.

Mental Effects of Marijuana use include:

  • Anxiety that does not go away or actually gets worse as a result of smoking pot
  • Depression or a depressed state
  • Social intolerance or a lack of desire to be social
  • Schizophrenia or feeling like everyone is out to get you
  • Acute psychotic reactions

Effects of Marijuana on the Heart:

  • Increased heart rate by 20-100%
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular vulnerabilities

Effects of Marijuana on the Lungs:

  • Carcinogenic toxins create lung cancer
  • Increased exposure to disease
  • Increased risk of pneumonia
  • Increased risk of cold

Effects of Marijuana on Life:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Physical impairment
  • Mental impairment
  • Reduced cognitive abilities
  • Poor social life