Did you know that roughly 12% of American adults regularly smoke weed? This is a figure that has remained unchanged since 2015. This same study also discovered that men are nearly twice as likely to smoke weed as women and that men between 18 and 29 are the most likely to smoke.
Moreover, marijuana is slowly becoming more accepted and legal as well. As the years go on, individual states are legalizing weed for recreational use. In addition, Canada legalized marijuana several years ago.
However, just because weed is becoming legal does not mean it is without issues, one being addiction. Of course, many regular weed smokers might say that weed is not addictive but is this really the case?
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Some studies suggest that as many as 9% of regular marijuana users become dependent on it after a certain amount of time.
One issue is that researchers don’t define dependency the same way. Just because someone is dependent on weed does not necessarily mean that they are addicted to it. However, as many studies have done, addiction and dependence will mean the same for today’s purposes.
Yet, it is clear that those who start smoking weed before they’re 18 are four to seven times more likely to become addicted or dependent on it. In addition, studies show that up to 17% of people who start using marijuana regularly in their teens become dependent on it.
Moreover, other studies suggest that up to 30% of marijuana users may have what is known as marijuana use disorder. In other words, regular users may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it, and most would say that they are dependent or addicted to it. In 2015, as many as 4 million Americans qualified as having a marijuana use disorder.
Based on these figures, it is safe to say that smoking marijuana regularly can be addictive. That said, why some people get addicted to it and others don’t is quite a mystery.
After all, based on these figures, the minority of users get addicted to weed, not the majority. Furthermore, according to recent studies, up to 50% of a person’s susceptibility to becoming addicted lies in their DNA.
Smoking Weed, the Brain, and Dopamine
One reason marijuana can be addictive is for the same reason many other drugs are addictive. It’s all about the human brain and how endorphins work. One of the most essential endorphins, chemicals that regulate mood (and more), is dopamine.
The brain naturally produces dopamine in the so-called reward center of the brain. Marijuana, just like alcohol, nicotine, opioids, and more, causes a spike in dopamine production, causing an incredible feeling of reward, elation, happiness, and calmness and helps relieve stress and anxiety. This is why smoking marijuana feels good in the short run.
The more a human brain produces dopamine because of weed (or any other drug), the less dopamine the brain produces naturally. Therefore, if a person stops smoking weed, they may show withdrawal symptoms. If a person experiences withdrawal symptoms due to any substance, they are addicted to that substance.
Signs of a Marijuana Addiction
If you are unsure if you are addicted to marijuana, there are a few telltale signs that you have an addiction. The following signs are strong indications that you may be addicted to or dependent on marijuana.
A General Loss of Interest
If you are addicted to marijuana, you will likely prioritize its use over most or all other activities. In other words, it may take over your life.
If you are addicted to weed, you will experience intense cravings once you have not used it for a while.
If you have to keep using increasingly more marijuana to achieve the same desired effect, you are likely addicted to it.
Continued Use Despite Negative Impacts
If you use weed even though you are aware of its negative consequences on your life, you are likely addicted. An inability to fulfill work or relationship commitments, cognitive impairment, paranoia, impaired memory, motor skills, and financial instability are all negative consequences.
One of the most significant telltale signs that you are addicted to marijuana is experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you do not use it for any amount of time. These withdrawal symptoms can occur from one to seven days after use.
Examples of marijuana-related withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, trouble sleeping, irritability, decreased appetite, anxiety, depression, headaches, sweating, stomach pain, and more.
If you want to quit smoking weed but have trouble controlling cravings and withdrawal symptoms, a good resource is Online Therapy.
How To Stop Smoking Weed
Let’s finish things off by providing you with some valuable tips on stopping smoking weed.
- Understanding your triggers is extremely important. If you know that certain situations will make you want to smoke weed, stay away from those situations.
- The company we keep is vital. Although you might like your current friends, quitting weed will be nearly impossible if all of your friends use it around you. Get some new friends.
- Exercise is a great way to quit any addiction. Exercise can produce that same dopamine rush as weed, not to mention that it serves as a great distraction. Keeping your mind occupied also helps when it comes to quitting the addiction.
- One of the best things you can do to quit any drug, weed or otherwise, is to create a support system. This generally involves having family and friends to fall back on when things get tough.
- Another option is to seek professional treatment for your addiction. This could mean joining some sort of addiction group therapy, addiction treatment at a rehab facility, a psychiatrist or addiction expert, or even engaging in online and self-help addiction treatment programs. If an at-home online program sounds good to you, Online Therapy is something to look into.
Marijuana Addiction – The Bottom Line
As you can see, based on the evidence, marijuana may be addictive. Not all people will get addicted to it, but there are enough that do. If you feel your marijuana use interferes with your life, seeking treatment is recommended.
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For addiction therapy and consultation options please visit: Online Therapy.
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