Is Marijuana Addictive?
CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) considers Marijuana an addictive substance.
Frequent Marijuana use can lead to “Marijuana use disorder”–a dependency on the drug where withdrawal symptoms will occur if the user does not consistently take it. These symptoms are felt most intensely within the first two weeks of abstinence and include: restlessness, physical discomfort, decreased appetite, cravings, mood instability, and difficulty sleeping. According to a national statistic, thirty per cent of users are said to suffer from some form of marijuana use disorder, particularly those who begin using Cannabis before the age of 18 who are four to seven times more susceptible to form dependencies. Similarly, when exposed to cannabinoids as adolescents, rodents show diminished brain dopamine reward centers in adulthood, making them more vulnerable to other addictions. Rats who have been given THC consistently show an increased behavioral response when exposed to other drugs such as Morphine.
Marijuana is also particularly addictive to users who suffer from depression and anxiety. While it offers seemingly quick relief, experts say this is a biological trap. Once tolerance sets in, the user will require more and more of the drug to allay their symptoms, which will ultimately come back more intensely, the more they try to abstain. A Yale study suggests that genetic makeup is a key predictor of potential addiction, and also uncovered a marijuana addiction gene that was connected with risk for schizophrenia. The research concluded that addicted marijuana smokers were twice as likely to have schizophrenia than their abstaining counterparts.
Relatively speaking, compared to other drugs like opiates, alcohol, and tobacco the addiction rate of marijuana users is lower and withdrawals are less severe. Even still, rehabilitation programs are available for addicts and are generally conducted in three ways.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Based on the idea that thoughts affect behavior, this treatment focuses on developing the user’s ability to make better life choices. The treatment urges the addict to identify dangerous situations where temptation to relapse might occur, and make conscientious plans for how to avoid them.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Most often employed when the patient does not believe they have a problem. Here, the patient answers a series of questions in a one-on-one interview, to determine the state of dependency. For those who are found to suffer addiction, the interview is followed up with several therapy sessions where motivational techniques are employed to encourage the addict to stop using.
Marijuana Rehab Centers
Patients are kept under medical supervision, and subject to intensive psychotherapeutic treatment. Underlying trauma is addressed, and patients are exposed to new coping mechanisms for uncomfortable emotions aside from resorting to drug use.Back To FAQ