Because marijuana is now legal in California and so many other states, people do not talk as much about dependence or addiction. Even if marijuana is less addictive than many other substances, it doesn’t mean that marijuana addiction does not ruin lives just like other substance addictions. The big question is how do I know if I am addicted to marijuana?
Anytime we ask ourselves if we are addicted to something, it is likely that we have some type of problem. Asking the question can be the first indicator. Marijuana carries with it a high rate of dependency, which does differ from addiction. Whether or not we are dependent upon marijuana or if we are actually addicted, it is an excellent question to ask.
Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana
Perhaps the most extensive research about marijuana that has been done is the medicinal use. Most often, Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil is what people use for medical purposes. Some of the serious medical conditions that are commonly treated with CBD oil include seizures, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. This treatment, when prescribed and supervised by a medical doctor, often works when other treatments have failed.
CBD oil is actually derived from the hemp plant and does not contain THC, therefore it does not produce a “high” like marijuana products. This means that is also not addictive. Even if there is so much more to be learned about CBD oil and its efficacy in medical treatments, some aspects of its safety have definitely been established. There are still risks in using it, and it is yet to be regulated by the FDA. But again, CBD oil is not addictive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 30 percent of adults who use marijuana will become dependent upon it. Dependency occurs when we feel symptoms of withdrawal when we are not using marijuana. Our brain becomes used to large quantities of the drug in our brains, and will actually change production in some of its own transmitters to compensate. So when we stop using the drug, there is a physiological response.
Some of the symptoms we can expect to have when stopping our marijuana use include irritability, sleep difficulties, mood changes, restlessness, decreased appetite, cravings, and other forms of physical discomfort. These symptoms often peak within the first week of abstinence and can last for up to two weeks.
While the stats for marijuana dependence vs. addiction vary due to different criteria from various sources, the estimates are that one adult in ten who uses marijuana will become addicted. Marijuana addiction includes the same struggles as a dependency, including the withdrawal symptoms. The big difference is that those with an addiction cannot stop. Despite the drug interfering with multiple aspects of our lives, preventing us from functioning, no matter how hard we try, we cannot quit. At least not on our own.
We can know if we are addicted to marijuana if we are giving up other activities in order to use marijuana, such as time with family and friends and important events. Additionally, addiction leaves us more susceptible to the side effects of the drug, including problems with learning, memory, and attention. Certainly, if this sounds familiar, it is worth looking into treatment.
Consequences of Potency
Not enough is known about how the potency of marijuana impacts us. Being plant-based and unregulated by government or health officials, there is no control over what we are ingesting each time we use marijuana. Anyone who has used marijuana will say that it is not the quantity, it is the quality. To that end, NIDA did do a study that has alarming results: the potency of THC in marijuana that was confiscated in the 1990’s vs. 2014 rose three times within just 15 years. The theory is that the higher levels of THC will result in more side effects, more dependency, and more addiction. Other consequences are completely unknown at this time. While we wait for science to catch up with legislation and recreation, we should be very careful that we know what we are putting into our bodies, particularly since the short and long-term effects are still unknown.
Can I Overdose on Marijuana?
By definition, no, using too much marijuana is not directly fatal, meaning we cannot directly overdose on THC or marijuana. That we know of. However, too much of the drug is likely to land us in the Emergency Room. People often experience increased levels of anxiety, paranoia, panic, hallucinations, increased blood pressure or heart rates, and severe nausea or vomiting. Additionally, marijuana, when mixed with other drugs, including prescription drugs, can contribute to serious health problems and even fatality.
How do you know if you are addicted to marijuana? There is not a blood test, but you know if you have a problem. Maybe it is merely dependency, or maybe it is addiction. Either way, it can be very difficult to stop on your own. Accessing treatment gives you a safe way to stop using marijuana, and gives you the tools to a better quality of life without dependency or addiction. You deserve to see clearly, to live free of dependency and addiction. Make the call today for a better future.
Find out how to treat marijuana addiction by calling AToN Center at (888) 535-1516. You can truly free your mind in recovery.