A lot of people who use marijuana believe they have virtually no chance of getting addicted to the drug. However, current research clearly shows that, when used habitually, all forms of cannabis create the changes in your brain required to trigger serious addiction issues. The current term for this condition is cannabis use disorder. Let’s look at the some of the common signs of a drug addict with marijuana/cannabis-related problems.
Marijuana Addiction Essentials
Repeated use of marijuana will alter the normal function of your brain, especially the levels of a group of chemicals called endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Eventually, your brain will start treating the altered levels of these neurotransmitters as the status quo. When this occurs, you have something called marijuana/cannabis dependence. Dependence shades into addiction when you experience certain problems, which we will explore in just a bit. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that close to 10% of all people who regularly consume marijuana will become affected by dependence/addiction. If you start using the drug while still a teen or pre-teen, your risks for serious problems skyrocket.
The signs of a drug addict with marijuana/cannabis-related problems are the same things that doctors look for when diagnosing cannabis use disorder (which covers serious non-addicted abuse, as well as addiction). They can include:
- An inability to control how much marijuana you use, or how often you use it
- A rising tolerance to the effects of marijuana
- A strong urge to consume more of the drug between episodes of use
- Devotion of substantial amounts of your daily routine to obtaining the drug, consuming the drug and/or recuperating from use of the drug
- Consumption of marijuana that leads you to skip or miss important obligations or responsibilities
- Repeated use of marijuana in situations that could bring harm to yourself or others
- Choosing marijuana use over favored hobbies or activities
- Experiencing serious personal, social, school-related or work-related problems as a result of your marijuana use
- Continuing to use marijuana after experiencing significant harm, and
- The inability to stop using the drug or substantially lower your intake without triggering withdrawal symptoms (e.g., a depressed mental state, restlessness, headaches, abdominal pain, muscle tremors, changes in your normal sleeping pattern, and an unusually anxious or irritable mental state)
Anyone who has at least two of these symptoms within the span of a single year may qualify for an official cannabis use disorder diagnosis and should seek treatment for his or her addiction.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Is Marijuana Addictive? https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive Medscape: Cannabis-Related Disorders Clinical Presentation http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286661-clinical National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens: Marijuana Withdrawal Is Real https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/marijuana-withdrawal-real