Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana might well be a growing menace for some, but for others, the greenish-gray blend shredded flowers and leaves is their lifeline to sanity.

Known as grass, weed, pot or ganja, people smoke pot mostly in hand-rolled cigarettes known as joints. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drugs, some 22.2 million people used marijuana in some form in one month.

It is the euphoria that so addictive

It is used essentially by teens and young adults, and when smoked, chemicals in the plant pass into the bloodstream and to the brain, and an almost instant euphoria and relaxation settles over the smoker. Pleasant experiences aren't guaranteed though and some people experience fear and anxiety. Getting onto a 'high' where everything and everyone is wonderful can be addictive, so the question arises 'is marijuana addictive?'

People use marijuana for all kinds of purposes:

  • for anxiety control
  • for social leisure purposes
  • for pain relief - medicinal purposes

Many time users of marijuana don't become addictive. For millions of users, they can start and stop smoking marijuana easily, but its not like that for everyone - there are those for whom marijuana poses a risk of addiction. Today, there are countries that have legalized medical marijuana for its great pain relieving properties.

The main mind-altering chemical in marijuana which is responsible for the intoxicating effects that are so irresistible to people is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC. Found in resin produced by the leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant, you'll also find some 500 other chemicals and compounds which are chemically related to THC.

THC’s chemical structure is similar to anandamide, a chemical in the brain, and the body recognizes it. THC disrupts mental and physical functions and causes some profound effects such as impaired judgment. This can be chaotic for someone trying to drive a car.

Teenagers more prone to addiction

Marijuana use can certainly lead to problem-use, known as a marijuana use disorder. Teenagers, and particularly those who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are far more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults. Marijuana dependence happens because the brain is able to adapt to the weed by producing less of its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.

Without marijuana everything looks gray and the user is unable to stop using the drug. According to the NIDA, about 9% of of people who use marijuana become dependent.

Your genes are a strong predictor of addiction. Mental health, anxiety and stress are also a huge risk factor for addiction

Many people use marijuana and never allow it to become a problem, even though they are dependent on the drug. For others, their usage gets out of control, problems start emerging, they feel down and out, and there's a terrible craving for more.

Using special marijuana detox methods will help overcome this addiction.