While marijuana use has been seen as less of an issue compared to other drugs, it still has a heavy impact on its users. Frequent marijuana use can lead to the development of dependencies, one of the precursors to addiction. Both the mind and body can become dependent on marijuana and with the drug becoming more accessible, it’s important to understand how addictive marijuana can truly be.
How Addictive Is Marijuana?
Marijuana itself, like many addictive drugs, does have significant health benefits associated with medicinal use. Concerns of addiction or marijuana abuse arise from recreational use when done frequently over time. Addiction will see users choosing to consume marijuana instead of other responsibilities such as taking care of family members or performing well at school or work.
Just how alcohol addiction is known as alcohol abuse disorder, addiction to marijuana is listed in the DSM-5 as cannabis use disorder. The DSM is what medical professionals use to diagnose various conditions in order to be consistent throughout the field. Those diagnosed with cannabis use disorder often exhibit the same addictive tendencies as those addicted to drugs considered more dangerous.
What Makes Marijuana Addictive?
Individuals who regularly use marijuana will find that attempting to quit can result in adverse side effects. The reason for this is that marijuana triggers certain neurotransmitters in the brain, a process typically handled automatically. When the brain is provided with outside chemicals, it alters how it functions to accommodate the presence of the substance.
Breaking this dependence leads to withdrawal, the period of time it takes for your body to learn how to function without marijuana being found in your system. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Cravings for marijuana
These symptoms can range in severity with the more impactful side effects being associated with heavy use over a long period of time. When the body adjusts to marijuana’s presence, it requires more of the substance in order to achieve the same effects as before. This is known as a tolerance and becomes a slippery slope once one begins forming.
What Should I Do About Marijuana Addiction?
If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one becoming addicted to marijuana, first make sure you analyze the relationship you have with the substance. Regular use in small amounts isn’t a red flag, but if other activities are being ignored or pushed back to consume marijuana, problem use could be starting.
Reducing marijuana use is the only way to break away from addiction to the substance. Taking that first step is easier said than done as withdrawal symptoms can be too overwhelming for many. In these cases, it’s best to seek out professional addiction treatment from a local treatment center.
Reach out to our team here at Hickory Treatment Centers today for a free and fully-confidential consultation. We’ll address any questions or concerns you may have in order to create the ideal treatment program for you or a loved one.