Very few people nowadays deny the fact that heroin addiction is very real – and very dangerous. Opiate addiction has been claiming so many lives in recent years that it is essentially an inarguable fact. Those who know someone who has battled alcoholism easily conclude that alcohol is highly addictive – mental and physical dependency to the substance becomes clear as lives are continuously lost to the unrelenting disease. But weed? Weed doesn’t destroy lives – reduce once-essential members of society to pathetic, groveling street dwellers, prostituting themselves for one more joint, selling their parents’ wedding rings so they can pack just one more bowl. Marijuana doesn’t leave people emaciated and covered in sores, or so mentally deteriorated they can’t even get out of bed. Pot is cool, being a stoner is socially acceptable, and no one has ever overdosed on marijuana – ever. So there’s no danger… right?
Can You Be Addicted to Marijuana?
Actually, it has recently been scientifically proven that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. This number increases to 1 in 6 regarding those who start using marijuana at a young age (in their early teens), and between 25% and 50% of those who use on a daily basis. In 2010, 4.5 million out of the recorded 7.1 million individuals who were dependent on or abusing illicit drugs were primarily battling dependencies on marijuana. Cannabis itself is not physically addicting, though mental dependency is exceedingly prevalent, as proven by these statistics. And while true marijuana addiction is very rare, it is very real.
Withdrawing from long-term marijuana use produces symptoms similar to those caused by kicking a prolonged nicotine habit – and you have ever tried to quit smoking cigarettes you are familiar with the fact that it is no easy task. Marijuana withdrawal will likely cause irritability, intense craving, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. A week after ceasing use, aggression has been proven to increase significantly. Of course, these symptoms tend to subside on their own after a couple of weeks and pose no serious physical or psychological risk. However, for those who have been using marijuana on a daily basis for an extended period of time, symptoms may be more severe.
“Marijuana Maintenance” Is Never A Good Idea
Those individuals who are victims of what has become widely known as “inherited boredom” are far more likely to engage in daily use, develop tolerance, and thus form dependency on the drug. Adolescents who are financially well-off, who have little responsibility aside from attending school on a daily basis, tend to be the portion of the overall global population that end up eventually seeking treatment for marijuana addiction. Many addicts and alcoholics who struggle with addictions to other substances will substitute marijuana for their drug of choice, assuming that it is not addictive and thus a logical and safe alternative. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding often leads to relapse, or an eventual dependency on marijuana. When recovering from addiction, no chemical substance is safe to use. And while marijuana overdose has never lead directly to fatality, the drug can still be addictive and cause far more harm than good in the long run.