Is marijuana addictive?

Yes, marijuana is addictive. More about marijuana’s main addictive ingredients and marijuana addiction here.

minute read

YES. Marijuana can be addictive, although less than 10% of smokers go on to develop an addiction.

So how exactly do people become addicted to marijuana – is it based on how marijuana works in the brain? How do you know if you have a marijuana addiction? And is it possible to stop smoking weed without withdrawal? We’ll review these questions here. And at the end, we invite your questions about the addictive potential of marijuana or about general marijuana use. We try to answer all questions personally and promptly.

What is marijuana used for?

Marijuana is used in a few states as a medicinal treatment for various chronic conditions, including depression and nausea from chemotherapy. In these jurisdictions, marijuana is treated similarly to prescription drugs, legal only to use under a doctor’s supervision. However, as a substance, marijuana us still illegal on the federal level and considered a Schedule I drug – illegal to own or use.

What is marijuana made of?

Marijuana is a naturally-growing plant. Typically, the stems, seeds, leaves, or buds of the plant are shredded and then smoked. Marijuana is also sometimes ingested cooked into food, or brewed into a tea. The chemical THC is contained in the plant, and it’s what causes psychoactive effects of euphoria when marijuana is used.

How addictive is marijuana?

Marijuana is not as addictive as many other drugs. Only 9% of users develop a physical dependence on the drug. Using marijuana on a daily basis raises the risk of addiction considerably, with anywhere from 25-50% of daily users addicted. Furthermore, using marijuana at a young age (in the teen years) also increases the risk of addiction. For casual users of the drug who don’t have a daily habit, marijuana is not as likely to cause an addiction or dependence, although temporary memory loss on weed can affect you.

How do you get addicted to marijuana?

You’re more likely to develop an addiction if you use marijuana every day. Over time, chronic use becomes addiction. Plus, if you use marijuana just to get high and not for medicinal purposes, you’re more likely to become an addict. Finally, you’re more likely to become addicted to marijuana if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Some ways that people misuse and abuse marijuana are:

  • smoking marijuana
  • cooking marijuana into food
  • taking marijuana frequently
  • taking high doses of marijuana

Signs of marijuana addiction

Marijuana addiction involves both a psychological and physical dependence on the drug. Marijuana withdrawal can cause irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. Other signs of marijuana addiction include:

  1. Continued marijuana abuse despite negative consequences
  2. Craving marijuana and using it compulsively
  3. Seeking marijuana in order to stimulate the “reward center” of the brain

Marijuana addiction potential questions

Do you still have questions about marijuana addiction potential? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: NIDA: InfoFacts: Marijuana
National Drug Intelligence Center: Marijuana Fast Facts
Medline Plus: Marijuana
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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