What is Marijuana Addiction?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana absolutely can lead to problem use, which is known as marijuana use disorder. In fact, the study suggests that around 30 percent of men and women who use marijuana will develop a substance abuse disorder. Individuals who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are between four and seven times more likely to abuse the chemical substance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe marijuana in detail. Their description reads, “Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope, or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It contains mind-altering (e.g., psychoactive) compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as other active compounds like cannabidiol, or CBD, that are not mind-altering.”
Marijuana dependence occurs when an individual consumes a significant amount of this drug over a prolonged period of time. Eventually, the brain adapts to marijuana, reducing the production of its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for a wide range of bodily functions and physiological processes, from memory and mood to appetite and pain-sensation.
Signs of Marijuana Misuse & Dependence
If you believe you or someone you love has been suffering from a diagnosable marijuana use disorder, there are several signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) outlines a list of diagnostic criteria used to identify the presence of a substance use disorder. If you answer “yes” to two or more of the following questions, seeking professional help from a medical detox center is likely a good idea.
- Do you sometimes end up using a larger amount of marijuana than you originally intended, or do you use marijuana more frequently than you intend to?
- Have you wanted to cut back on your dose or quit entirely, only to find you were unable to do so for any significant period of time?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time obtaining marijuana, using marijuana and recovering from its effects?
- Do you often think of using marijuana/do you ever experience intense cravings?
- Has your drug use interfered with your ability to fulfill personal obligations or negatively impacted your performance at work or at school?
- Have you experienced interpersonal problems as a direct result of your marijuana use?
- Have you given up activities which were once interesting or important to you in order to engage in marijuana use?
- Have you been engaging in risk-taking activities more often than normal, like driving while under the influence of marijuana or combining marijuana with other substances like alcohol or opioid narcotics?
- Do you continue to use marijuana despite physical or psychological health concerns directly related to the drug?
- Have you developed a physical tolerance, meaning a higher dose is required in order for the desired effects to be achieved?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when marijuana use is stopped abruptly?