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Is Marijuana Addictive?

Updated on January 14, 2015

Is marijuana addictive

It's a fair question: Is marijuana addictive? The answer is complicated, unfortunately. Yes and no. From a strictly physical standpoint, marijuana is really only addictive in extreme cases of heavy, prolonged use. Even then, the physical withdrawal symptoms are likely caused more due to psychological factors than by a real, physical withdrawal.

So for the most part, there really is no physical withdrawal; no detox symptoms for quitting marijuana. With other drugs, such as alcohol or painkillers, there are very real and sometimes even dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can occur during the detox process. But with marijuana, there really are no such problems. So this would tend to point to the idea that marijuana is not addictive.

On the other hand, we can make a strong case for the fact that marijuana is addictive, because a huge number of people are in a pattern where they use moderate to large amounts of the stuff every day. They might not be physically hooked on the drug but they are using it as a crutch, as a coping mechanism for their life. If they have a bad day, they have to smoke marijuana in order to medicate themselves. If they have a good day, they want to smoke in order to celebrate this fact. If they are sick with a cold or the flu, they need to smoke in order to feel better and be able to function.

People who are psychologically addicted to marijuana tend to let it define all of their activities. Instead of going to see a movie, they need to get high and go to the movie. Instead of going dancing at a club, they need to get high and then go dancing. And so on. Marijuana use tends to define all of their activities. The reason that marijuana is addictive is because people use it to medicate their feelings. This means that they will turn to their drug in order to avoid having to feel uncomfortable. This essentially stunts emotional growth because the person is not learning how to deal with life, deal with new situations, and learning to process their feelings in a healthy way. Instead, they simply medicate with marijuana every time they face a new issue in their life. I hope this helps to answer the big question today is marijuana addictive.

Marijuana is not an innocent substance. When taken, it instantly transforms a person's mood, in a similar way that alcohol can completely transport a person into a new dimension. In other words, you can be feeling happy, sad, discouraged, upset, angry, or any number of different emotions, but this can all be completely erased by smoking marijuana. The drug can get you so high, so quickly, that any emotional issues you might have been dealing with have been temporarily forgotten.

And so the addict learns how to medicate their feelings and finds this new way to deal with their life. They can simply get high and feel how they want to feel, when they want it. Anyone who falls into a pattern of using marijuana in this way is arguably addicted to it. Even though they could technically stop at any time, and doing so would not be physically dangerous (as it is with some other substances), they are still hooked on using marijuana as a crutch every day. They have become dependent on the drug in order to deal with their life.

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