Can You Get Addicted to Weed?

Can You Get Addicted to Weed?

The answer to the most frequently asked question depends on who you ask. Those who oppose marijuana legalization claim that this drug is very addictive and that the legalization of marijuana will only increase the number of drug users with an addiction, especially among youth. The marijuana enthusiasts and frequent users, on the other side, claim that there is no  such thing as marijuana addiction.

Where is the truth?

Surely, marijuana addiction differs from the one caused by heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine and other similar substances. For instance, when it comes to heroin, a person becomes physically dependent on the drug. After frequent use of heroin, the body stops  producing opioids in a natural way, forcing the person to consume the drug again and again. But when a person stops using marijuana, they do not experience the same withdrawal symptoms that opioid users do. According to a report from Scientific American, marijuana only rarely leads to addiction because its main chemical compounds—THC and CBD—do not seem to be physiologically addictive.

Why does the U.S. government warn people about marijuana dependence?

According to a study conducted by the NIAAA, in 2012-2013, 2.9 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced marijuana use disorder. But can we say that marijuana addiction and marijuana use disorder are the same? Well, not exactly. There is a special list of 11 symptoms of marijuana use disorder outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Addiction and dependence: is there any difference?

Physical addiction and psychological dependence are not the same.  Dr. Don J. Sharpsteen, a Psychology professor at Missouri S&T, says that there is a huge difference between these two problems. Dr. Sharpsteen agrees that marijuana users can become dependent on weed, but it would be a psychological, not the physical dependence on the drug. He explains that while the DSM’s list of marijuana use disorder symptoms includes  both physical and psychological symptoms, it would be better to separate them so you can see if a person has psychological dependence or suffers from physical addiction.

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