How Addictive is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a complicated topic when it comes to the legal system. Many believe it should be legalized for free use, while others feel the risk is too great to have the drug more accessible to the public.

Marijuana is made of a mixture of dried cannabis leaves and is smoked like cigarettes, or mixed into food. Used for an increased sense of euphoria, relaxation, and other symptoms, such as increased appetite and laughter, it is a “feel good” drug.

Many argue over whether or not marijuana is as addictive as other illegal substances, such as heroin and cocaine. Casual users believe it is completely harmless, but some researchers disagree that marijuana is safe and that it can be highly addictive. But how addictive can it become to most users?

Characteristics of Addictive Drugs

Though some drugs are more addictive than others, anything can become addictive under the right circumstances. An addiction is defined as a chronic, recurring brain disease that creates compulsive habits regardless of any potential negative side effects.

Drugs are more addictive substances because they can alter the brain and its activities with chemicals that influence three main parts of the brain: the limbic system, the brain stem, and cerebral cortex. These parts of the brain control emotions and stimulation, heart rate and blood pressure, and perception and critical thinking, respectively.

When these drugs stimulate the brain with relaxation, the brain and body will crave drugs to create this feeling constantly. When a person stops using a drug, this can create a dependence on said drug.

Marijuana’s Addiction Potential

While casual marijuana users may argue against marijuana’s addictiveness, scientists claim to have research that shows otherwise.

Many can use marijuana without becoming addicted, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that 30% of marijuana users will develop marijuana use disorder. Additionally, younger users are more likely to struggle with marijuana use.

The National Institutes of Health has also found that 2.5% of adults experienced marijuana use disorder in 2016. This percentage may be small but accounts for six million adults with marijuana addiction and even less who sought treatment.

Signs and Treatment of Marijuana Addiction

No specific type of person is more susceptible to addiction, but there are traits that can make them more vulnerable. These include genes, trauma, home environment, mental health issues, early drug exposure, and peer pressure.

Most signs of addiction to marijuana rely on the inability to avoid using it. This includes unstoppable cravings, using marijuana to “escape” or feel “normal,” and avoiding responsibilities in order to get high.

Treating marijuana addiction is not something that can be achieved alone. The first step comes with seeking help from friends, family, and professionals. There are many facilities that can help victims through the detox process, creating healthy habits, and breaking an addiction altogether.

If you or a loved one is struggling with marijuana addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Long Term Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.

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