While not as addictive as other legal and illegal drugs, there is a debate within medical circles about the nature of Marijuana addiction, or if it such a condition exists at all. Certainly users can display the common signs of addiction while they are using and mild withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit the drug.Marijuana, or cannabis, addiction is still a highly contested condition. The drug is not as addictive as alcohol, nicotine or caffeine - yet to say that it is not addictive is wrong. Over 70% of users find it difficult to control their use, and around 9% of users become fully addicted.
Regardless of the medical literature surrounding cannabis addiction, marijuana has affected thousands of lives across the UK. Feelings of relaxation seem to provide relief from the stresses of life, and users often talk of how they use the drug ‘recreationally.’ However, this can soon turn to habitual abuse. Akin to all other substance users, cannabis addicts seek relief in the very drug which causes them such problems.
A user’s tolerance of cannabis changes rapidly with their use. After a few doses they may find it more difficult to receive the same high, but after a few months of abstinence their tolerance will completely disappear. This is because the brain becomes desensitized to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. THC is stored in the fatty cells of the body, and so it takes months for a user to become completely free of the drug.
Generally, one of the most difficult things to identify is whether someone is suffering from a cannabis addiction. Symptoms of dependence therefore surround the user’s control of their drug use, and whether that use is affecting their everyday life.
If you use more than you originally intended, or for a longer period of time, then recreational use has most likely become habitual. Giving more importance to acquiring, paying for and smoking the drug than education, work or relationships is also a sign. If the drug is causing interpersonal or social problems, then it is likely you are suffering from an addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, agitation and insomnia, or intense dreams if you are able to sleep. These usually only last for two or three days, but cravings can be more difficult to deal with. If you think you or a family member may be suffering from cannabis addiction, get in touch with a reputable addiction clinic and seek advice.