Thirty-two percent of people who try tobacco, 23 percent of those who try heroin, 17 percent who try cocaine, 15 percent who try alcohol, and 9 percent who try marijuana become dependent, The New York Times reports. There is a prevailing misconception that cannabis use is safe and nonaddictive. While it is true that smoking pot isn’t associated with serious life problems or mal-health, the same way that other substances typically are, the reality is that marijuana is not benign. Those who use the drug frequently and in substantial amounts do experience consequences, are at risk of use disorders, and often require treatment to find recovery.
The truth is that despite America’s new-found relationship with weed, there are risks tied to using cannabis. Legal is does not imply safe; alcohol has had a legal status since time immemorial (excluding the brief prohibition), and yet it is one of the leading causes of poor health and premature death. And marijuana, like alcohol, certainly carries the risk of addiction; the fact that the general public should be made aware of as more states consider legalization.
It is worth noting that just because a substance carries the potential for addiction, shouldn’t mean that it is worthy of prohibition. Most adults are aware of the severe damage that the “war on drugs” has wrought on the fabric of society, mainly affecting minorities and the impoverished. Since California legalized recreational marijuana use, efforts are underway to reverse some of the damage caused by prohibition. Still, moving forward people must have the facts so they can make informed decisions regarding their relationship with marijuana.
It seems like every time Americans go to the polls these days, one or more state lightens their stance of cannabis regulation. The trend we are witnessing is not inherently bad for America, but it is critical that individuals understand the potential effects habitual marijuana use can have on their life—especially young people for that matter. Legalization in California took effect this January; since that time some addiction medicine clinicians in Northern California began seeing a rise in the number of people seeking assistance, The Denver Post reports. Heavy and long-term users can develop physical dependence; and when such people attempt to abstain on their own, withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Loss of Appetite
“There should be no controversy about the existence of marijuana addiction,” avid Smith tells the Denver Post, he is a physician who has been treating addiction since the 1960s. “We see it every day. The controversy should be why it appears to be affecting more people.”
Smith’s theorizes that the marijuana users today are treated to a far more potent substance than in decades past, according to the article. Stronger marijuana, grown with nutrients that bolster the drugs strength and overall quality could explain increasing cannabis use disorder rates.
An estimated 2.7 million Americans are meeting the diagnostic criteria for marijuana dependence, according to the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow.
Marijuana Use Disorder Treatment
If you are struggling with marijuana use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea. We can show you what is needed for achieving lasting recovery and give you the tools for everlasting progress.