Can You Get Addicted to Weed?

Written by Jackie Calkins

Is Weed Addictive?

It’s hard to deny that cannabis consumption has become much more popular in recent years. Weed is now legalized for recreational use in a number of states (24 at the time of writing) and dozens more are considering legalization, while medical marijuana programs have spread across the entire country. 

With so many people deciding to take part in this trend, it is important to know what effects come with using marijuana—especially when it comes to addiction. To help answer this crucial question, we’ve dug into current research on both sides of the issue: Is weed addictive? An honest look at the data reveals some surprising facts about how abuse can impact not only individuals but also those around them long-term. 

Weed Has Grown in Both Popularity and Potency

From skyrocketing potency levels to life altering consequences due lack of awareness and understanding, let’s explore how today’s version of marijuana is different from two decades ago and discover the hidden risks of cannabis use.

Recreational Marijuana Use is Legal in These 24 States as of 2023:

Colorado California Vermont
Washington Maine Guam
Alaska Massachusetts Illinois
Oregon Nevada Arizona
Washington, D.C. Michigan Montana
New Jersey New Mexico Maryland
New York Connecticut Missouri
Virginia Rhode Island Delaware

An Overview of Weed, Then and Now

Marijuana, also known by a dozen different slang terms like weed, herb, Buddha, and trees, has a long and complex history. Its use can be traced back thousands of years, with evidence of its medicinal, spiritual, and recreational use found in many different cultures. Despite this long history, the legality and social acceptance of marijuana has fluctuated over time. 

Today, some countries and states have legalized pot for medical and/or recreational use, while others still consider it illegal. This has sparked a flurry of debate about the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana, as well as concerns about safety and addiction. It’s crucial to approach the topic of marijuana with honesty and clinical accuracy, acknowledging both its long history and current place within our cultural landscape.

Exploring the Science Behind Marijuana Use & Abuse

Marijuana use and abuse are complex topics that merit honest and clinically accurate discussions. Despite the growing popularity of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, its effects on the human body are still largely uncharted territory. 

Research has shown that marijuana use can have both short-term and long-term effects on the brain, including impairing cognitive function and altering the brain’s reward system. Moreover, chronic marijuana use has been linked to an increased risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. 

Weed Isn’t a ‘Hard Drug’ But It Isn’t Harmless Either

It’s true marijuana use can yield some benefits, in specific, controlled scenarios. But, it is important to approach its use with caution and an understanding of its potential risks. Some people may believe that marijuana is harmless and devoid of addictive properties, the reality is that it can be habit-forming. In fact, studies have shown that about 1 in 10 users will become addicted to marijuana, with that number increasing for those who start using it during adolescence. 

This addiction can lead to negative consequences, such as decreased motivation and productivity, and may require professional help to overcome. The negative effects of weed are much more subtle than most drugs. This may equate to less risk, but it also means the negatives are easier to downplay or remain in denial about. 

Developing Physical Dependence on Weed

When it comes to substance use, there is a clear distinction between dependence and addiction. Dependence generally refers to a physical reliance on a substance to function normally.

Someone who is dependent on a substance will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it. When it comes to weed, dependence is mild. But, any regular heavy marijuana smoker can tell you that quitting abruptly usually leads to some withdrawal effects.

Weed Withdrawal Symptoms Can Include:

  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of libido
  • Reduced appetite
  • Depression

Forming a Mental Addiction to Weed

Mental addiction to weed is a complex psychological condition that involves compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite negative consequences. Addiction is characterized by a loss of control over substance use and a craving for the drug. An addiction to marijuana is about more than cravings. It’s about building your life and structuring your activities around marijuana use. Wrapping your identity up in weed. Consider this, if you can’t imagine seeing a movie or going to a concert or party without marijuana, you might just have an addiction to the stuff. 

How Do I Know if I’m Addicted to Weed?

The truth is, if you’re addicted to or dependent on weed, you probably already know it. In fact, you’ve probably made jokes about your reliance on marijuana with your friends. You may not, however, have given serious thought to it. We often use humor as a coping mechanism to ease feelings of fear or guilt. 

The truth is, many people use marijuana safely in moderation with minimal downsides. Just as lots of people drink alcohol in moderation and don’t have serious consequences. We can’t tell you if you’re addicted to weed, only you can decide that. But, something made you read this blog. Whether it’s you or a loved one you’re concerned about, an honest assessment of the situation is what is needed.  

Some Questions to Ask Yourself About Marijuana Use:

  • Are there places you won’t go unless you have marijuana to smoke?
  • Would running out of marijuana on a Friday ruin your entire weekend?
  • Do you avoid hanging out with people simply because they don’t use weed?

How to Get Help if You Struggle with Marijuana Use

If you have tried to cut down or quit smoking weed with little success and you’re aware that it is causing problems in your life, then it is worth considering getting some outside help. There should be no stigma about getting help for marijuana dependence. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, give JourneyPure at the River at call at: (615) 410-9260