With the legalization of marijuana in many states for recreational and medicinal purposes, many people do not believe marijuana is any more addictive than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. However, regular use of both cigarettes and alcohol can lead to addiction. Therefore, you could also easily become addicted to marijuana if you use it regularly.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant and contains numerous chemicals. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary chemical that has psychoactive effects when people smoke or consume marijuana products. THC is in the buds and leaves of female cannabis plants, along with other cannabinoids that have varying effects.
Can I Get Addicted to Marijuana?
THC and other cannabinoids pass throughout the body until they reach the brain. These chemicals are similar to natural brain chemicals. As such, the brain recognizes THC and allows it to attach itself to neurotransmitters that alter our concentration, coordination, movement, sensory functions, thinking, memory, and perception of time.
In addition, the THC binds itself to other neurotransmitters in the part of the brain where we experience pleasure. As such, THC can bring about a sense of calmness and euphoria while affecting our other senses.
For instance, some people notice colors look brighter or laugh uncontrollably at just about anything. Many people also experience the “munchies” because the drug stimulates their appetite.
The pleasant effects one experiences with marijuana are reinforced as a positive behavior by the brain. Subconsciously, you will want to experience these pleasurable effects again. Continued use of marijuana will cause the brain to crave the drug for the chemical changes and alterations THC, and the other cannabinoids have made in the brain.
So, marijuana is addictive. However, there is a difference between being dependent on marijuana and having an addiction to marijuana. When someone is dependent on marijuana, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the drug wear off. When someone is addicted to marijuana, they cannot stop using it regardless of the negative consequences in their life.
Tolerance and Negative Side Effects
Just like other addictive substances, the body will develop a tolerance to marijuana. To achieve the desired effects, you will need to smoke or consume larger drug quantities. However, larges doses of marijuana can result in some of the negative side effects of abusing the drug, such as:
- Acute Psychosis
- Panic attacks
Potency and Risk of Becoming Addicted to Marijuana
The potency of marijuana can also impact the risk of dependence and addiction. The higher the potency of THC and other cannabinoids, the higher the risks of developing dependence and addiction to marijuana. Unfortunately, with many growers cross-breeding different strains, the potency of marijuana has increased by more than 15% compared to the potency of plants from the 1990s.
Signs I Am Addicted to Marijuana
Several signs could indicate you are addicted to marijuana. If you are worried that you are dependent on or have an addiction to marijuana, ask yourself the following:
Do you crave marijuana even though you just used it a few hours ago?
The more you abuse marijuana, the more your body craves the drug. As tolerance grows, you may even feel like you did not even use it, so your body craves more.
Do you count the hours until you can use marijuana?
If using marijuana is something you look forward to and is more important than other activities, work, or school, you most likely have an addiction. However, you should also be concerned if your only interest is using marijuana.
Do you go out of your way to find marijuana?
A common sign of marijuana addiction is associating with other people who use this drug so you can hopefully share their marijuana when you do not have any. You may also engage in drug-seeking behaviors, such as offering sex in exchange for marijuana.
Do you experience withdrawal symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms become more noticeable when you are struggling with marijuana abuse. You may notice symptoms such as:
- Increased irritability
- Feeling anxious
- Decreased appetite
- Hot and cold flashes
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Hot and cold sweats
Effects of Marijuana Abuse
The effects of marijuana abuse can lead to all sorts of problems. You may lose your job and experience financial hardships. You could damage relationships with your family and friends. In addition, you could even find that you are putting yourself into risky situations and making impulsive decisions that have dangerous or negative impacts.
Is There Help for People Addicted to Marijuana?
The first step to getting help for marijuana addiction is undergoing supervised detox to remove all traces of marijuana from the body. Marijuana addiction treatment includes both residential rehab and intensive outpatient programs.
Recovery for Marijuana Addiction in Orange County, CA
When you are addicted to marijuana and want help to overcome your addiction, find the recovery and addiction treatment you need at Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, CA. We offer personalized marijuana detox and addiction treatment programs. Call or visit our admissions page today for further information about our marijuana rehab programs and treatment options.