Marijuana is one of the most widely used illicit substances on the planet. Legalization and medicalization movements have brought under fire one pressing question when it comes to marijuana use: is it addictive? Many argue that marijuana is not addictive, because the chemicals in the cannabinoid make up are not addiction forming. However, many others argue that marijuana can create a dependency and in time an addiction.
With addiction to hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, the brain stops producing certain neurotransmitters naturally; for example, dopamine and opioids. Both the brain and body become chemically dependent on the drug for regular, normal functionality. When the use of hard drugs abruptly stops, there are difficult symptoms of withdrawal that come from it. Most of the time, people who regularly use marijuana do not experience adverse symptoms when they stop using.
In some cases, a marijuana user will find that without the drug they cannot eat, sleep, or focus like they normally do. In addition, they may find that they suffer some symptoms similar to withdrawal from other drugs. They may sweat, have a change in appetite, feel sick, and experience depression, anxiety or paranoia.
Another characteristic of what would constitute marijuana addiction is tolerance. Marijuana users develop a tolerance to the type and amount of marijuana that they smoke. Chronic marijuana smokers need a larger and larger amount of marijuana per day to achieve a similar or greater high as normal.
The small scale of people who suffer from a chemical dependency on marijuana are said to have “marijuana use disorder”. Marijuana use disorder and marijuana addiction are not the same, but are categorized together. Doing this blurs the definitive line between physical addiction and psychological dependency.
To be diagnosed with marijuana use disorder, at least 2 of 11 criteria need to be met.
Some of these criteria include:
- Wanting to stop using marijuana but being unable to
- Cravings and urges to use marijuana
- Not managing daily responsibilities because of marijuana use
- Continuing to use marijuana despite negative effect on relationships
- Needing more marijuana to get the desired effect of being high
- Withdrawal symptoms occur when not using marijuana; the only thing that relieves them is more marijuana
- Taking more marijuana at a time than intended, or using it for longer periods of time than wanted
If you or a loved one meet these criteria you may have marijuana use disorder. Don’t be discouraged by the normalization of marijuana. If substance abuse is negatively impacting your life, it is time to get help.
Call Aurora today for more information 1-844-515-STOP.