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Is Marijuana Addictive?

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Is Marijuana addictive?

Marijuana use can lead to dependence or even addiction to the drug, known as MUD (Marijuana Use Disorder) or CUD (Cannabis Use Disorder).

Dependency on marijuana usually refers to a physical dependence, and one may experience withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include: irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks. Many have also reported experiencing brain fog after quitting weed.

Addiction commonly follows dependence, and can be noticed through changes in one’s behavior, caused by the biochemical changes to the brain due to prolonged misuse. Additionally, one addicted to marijuana is unable to refrain from taking the drug, even as it disrupts their life.

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What makes Marijuana addictive?

Marijuana (which is comprised of cannabis) contains THC- the main psychoactive ingredient- and causes people to feel ‘high.’ The THC binds with the receptors in the brain and nervous system, particularly the part that controls pain and our moods, causing the euphoric feeling. Addicts crave the ‘high’ feeling, causing them to continue to ingest marijuana even as it interferes and disrupts one’s daily life.

Over time, those who misuse marijuana constantly will become physically reliant on it as the body adjusts and starts to need it in order to function normally. This is because the marijuana changes the circuits in the brain, making one less sensitive to the chemicals.

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How addictive is Marijuana?

Studies show about 1 in 10 adults who use marijuana can get addicted. Additionally, around 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder (addiction). People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.

Around 4 million people suffered from marijuana addiction in 2017 and over 200,000 people went for treatment in 2015. People often want to know how addictive weed is, and the answer is that, unfortunately, addiction is extremely prevalent and widespread.

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What factors contribute to developing MUD?

The first factor that can cause marijuana use disorder, is age. Children who use marijuana at a young age are far more likely to get addicted. Additionally, people who misuse other substances, such as alcohol, and those who have mental health issues (including anxiety, depression, mood disorder, etc.) are also more likely to suffer from addiction. The environment one is in can make a big difference, in addition to where and how often you use marijuana. If you use it often by yourself, the chances of developing MUD go up. It has also been suggested that there is a genetic component as there may be several gene variants that can increase the risk of developing this disorder.

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What are the effects of Marijuana legalization in the US?

Marijuana has been legalized in the US as of June 2014 for medicinal purposes, because studies showed that marijuana can be used to assist with chronic pain, chemotherapy side-effects, muscle spasms (such as Multiple Sclerosis), seizures, and eating disorders, among other disorders. Both the Washington and Colorado states have actually legalized marijuana for recreational use too.

The effect of legalizing marijuana is that marijuana use and/or dependance has increased in those 21 years of age, or older. People 12 to 20 years old were 5 to 6 percent more likely to try marijuana for the first time. Additionally, it is difficult to determine medically who suffers from ‘chronic pain’, causing recreational marijuana users to obtain medical marijuana by posing as ‘chronic pain’ sufferers.

California legalized medical marijuana 1996 and then later legalized it for recreational use, hoping that it would weaken and even end the black market of marijuana abuse. Instead, the marijuana on the black market became cheaper and therefore more people were able to access it.

The National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys noted that the states that legalized marijuana for medical use has seen increased violence to, and burglaries of, marijuana dispensaries; increased offenses involving driving under the influence of marijuana; increased sales of marijuana to children under the age of 18, or to customers who are not suffering from a serious medical condition, among other unpleasant effects.

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Is Marijuana physically addictive?

Studies show that constant misuse of marijuana in adolescents lead to a loss of IQ points by mid adulthood. Furthermore, when abstaining from marijuana, people often experience withdrawal syndrome (common symptoms detailed above).

With time, the body develops what is known as ‘tolerance’ to marijuana, meaning that the user must increase the dose of marijuana to achieve the same effect. The more one develops tolerance, the higher the dosage must be in order to feel the euphoric ‘high’ feeling. These factors prove that marijuana is physically addictive.

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How to cure Marijuana Use Disorder

Marijuana Use Disorder does not go away on its own. If you or your loved one is addicted to marijuana, it is important to recognize that outside assistance is needed to cure from this disease. Reach out to a reputable rehab, such as Avenues Recovery, who can help you or your loved one detox, get the appropriate therapies and support from those who truly understand what is needed to heal. Contact Avenues today.

To help you identify marijuana abuse and addiction in loved ones, read our online resource about signs that someone is high on marijuana.

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