14 Sept 2020

Marijuana Addiction a rising concern

For some strange reason, marijuana has got a reputation for not being addictive. There have been critics of marijuana addiction, but in reality it is an addictive drug. Overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system, brought on by marijuana use over time, can change the brain like any other addictive substance.

Overall, about 9 percent of marijuana users become addicted, but the number goes up to 17 percent among people that start using it in their teens, and then shoots up to 25 to 50 percent among daily smokers. Marijuana is definitely one of the most widely used drugs, with 4.2 million of the estimated 6.9 million Americans depending on or abusing drugs.

The rock bottom for a marijuana addict may not be as stark as it is with other drug use, and the withdrawal is more mild, but can still get control of a person’s life and cause problems. The withdrawal period includes irritability, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite or cravings, restlessness, and various forms of discomfort that usually peak during the first week and can last up to two weeks.

There is a lot of cross-addiction with marijuana so NA meetings may not be right for someone dependent on only that. There is a growing trend of Marijuana Anonymous meetings that cater specifically to people with those needs. It is important to establish an understanding community in order to derive real change, especially in an increasingly difficult environment.

Marijuana potency has increased quite a bit since the 1990s. A few decades ago, the average THC content of a plant was 3.7 percent for marijuana, and in 2013 it was 9.6 percent. The full extent of the effects of marijuana on the brain have not yet been studied.