3 MIN READ | Mental Health

Tommy Williamson

Marijuana Addiction: Is Marijuana Addictive?

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Tommy Williamson, (2022, September 14). Marijuana Addiction: Is Marijuana Addictive?. Psychreg on Mental Health. https://www.psychreg.org/marijuana-addiction-marijuana-addictive/
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The legalisation of marijuana usage in the US has made it available for anyone to purchase for recreational and medicinal purposes. Marijuana is no longer considered an illegal substance in many regions. As many states in the US pass laws legalising recreational marijuana, we should anticipate these figures to climb. With several states legalising marijuana, it’s understandable that people are wondering, ‘Is marijuana addictive?’ The brief answer is yes. Marijuana can be problematic for certain people. Marijuana usage on a regular basis has been linked to the development of physiological dependency, withdrawal symptoms, and addiction. 

How common is marijuana addiction? 

In reality, cannabis addiction is far lower than that of other substances. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every ten marijuana user will develop an addiction. Individuals who begin using before the age of 18 account for 1 in every 6. While this figure is still significant, it is not as high as that of other addictive substances. For example, the addiction rate for heroin users is close to 100%. Having said that, there is still a high need for marijuana addiction rehabilitation services

Marijuana is classified as an addictive substance by both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). According to the NIDA, regular marijuana users might develop problematic usage, resulting in marijuana use disorder. 

The fundamentals of marijuana use 

Marijuana has been accepted as an additional type of treatment for various physical and mental illnesses in the medical community in recent years. It can be used to replace pain medicines and, in rare situations, stronger medications in healthy persons. Those suffering from mental diseases are more prone to use marijuana; nevertheless, those suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other problems are more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol or an illegal substance. 

In terms of substance usage, many users have begun to prefer marijuana to alcohol, prescription medicines, and illegal narcotics since it supposedly: 

  • Raises relatively fewer side effects 
  • Controls symptoms 
  • Reduces withdrawal symptoms 

What is marijuana use disorder? 

Marijuana usage can lead to the development of a marijuana use disorder, which can progress to addiction in extreme situations. According to NIDA, recent data indicate that 30% of marijuana users may have some form of marijuana use disorder. People who start smoking marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to have a marijuana use disorder. 

Marijuana use problems are frequently related to dependency, which occurs when a person has withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance. Marijuana users commonly experience irritation, mood and sleep troubles, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or different types of physical discomfort that peak within the first week of quitting and persist for up to two weeks. Marijuana dependency develops when the brain adjusts to high doses of the drug by decreasing synthesis and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid messengers. 

Marijuana use disorder progresses to addiction when a person is unable to quit taking the substance despite the fact that it interferes with many elements of their life. Estimates of the number of marijuana addicts are debatable, partly because epidemiological studies of substance use sometimes utilize dependency as a proxy for addiction, even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted. According to these studies, 9% of individuals who use marijuana become dependent on it, rising to roughly 17% among those who begin using it in their teens. 

Signs of marijuana addiction

It is crucial to highlight that the majority of marijuana users do not get hooked on it. Those who become addicted or dependent on marijuana will almost certainly exhibit the standard behavioural indicators of addiction. Here are some examples: 

  • A higher tolerance necessitates an increase in consumption 
  • Spending more time thinking about using the drug 
  • The substance will begin to take precedence 
  • The need to obtain the drug with additional funds and resources 
  • They will begin to displace erratic mood swings when they run out or no longer have access to it 
  • They will refute statements made by others that substance abuse has resulted in negative changes 

Seeking marijuana addiction treatment 

So, whether you feel marijuana is hazardous or not, it has been established that it may be addicting. Over 200,000 people seek treatment for marijuana addiction each year, with thousands of those people trying to quit for years (or even decades) before enrolling in a residential treatment facility.  

Experts advise you to assess whether your consumption is becoming troublesome, regardless of your habits. Some directory of centres for addiction treatment programs goes beyond the typical treatment methods offered at other neighbouring treatment clinics to offer you a precise and tailored plan for the future. 

Contact them today to learn more about how we can assist you.


Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 


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