Last updated: 09/20/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Marijuana is an extremely popular drug that is used recreationally by many people. It is usually smoked, but sometimes people mix it into food. There is often some confusion about the addictive and medicinal properties of marijuana (weed).
Why Do People Use Marijuana?
The NIDA states that “marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States.” People often smoke it in order to feel its high, which is caused by the over-activation of the endocannabinoids. Recreational users also experience:
- “Altered perceptions and mood”
- Coordination impairment
- Problem solving and thinking difficulties
- Redness of the eyes
Marijuana also has medicinal uses as well, and “some states have approved” it to “ease symptoms of various health problems” like the nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy (NLM). It is not approved by the FDA as a medication.
Is Weed Addictive?
According to the NIDA, “long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction; that is, people have difficulty controlling their drug use and cannot stop even though it interferes with many aspects of their lives.” These are classic signs of addiction that can be compared wit many other drugs. Most people who become addicted to marijuana start when they are young and use the drug often, at least once a day.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug which means that it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” (DOJ). While most marijuana use is illegal, it takes a long while of chronic use for a person to develop a weed addiction.
Signs of Weed Addiction
Though many individuals who use marijuana are not necessarily addicted, it is important to know the signs if you believe you or someone you care about may be in danger of marijuana addiction. People who are addicted to marijuana might exhibit many or all of these signs:
- Constantly having bloodshot eyes
- Attempting to cover up the smell of marijuana smoke with other strong smells like perfume
- Feeling like the only way to have a good time is when they are smoking marijuana
- Feeling like they cannot get through the day without smoking marijuana
- Exhibiting withdrawal symptoms after being unable to smoke including:
Marijuana also irritates the lungs and the more of it is smoked, the more issues a person might begin to have. The respiratory problems of people who are addicted to marijuana are very similar to those of tobacco smokers. The drug also raises the heart rate and increases the risk of heart attack while a person is smoking.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
Like most substances, there are detox and rehab facilities that help with marijuana addiction treatment. Medically-assisted detox and therapy are the common methods of treatment for marijuana addiction, and individuals should choose rehab facilities or treatments based on their specific needs. Marijuana can be an addictive substance, and it is much more difficult to stop abusing a drug after you are already addicted to it. If you believe you or someone you know may be addicted to marijuana, seek treatment as soon as possible.