Is Marijuana Addictive?

When you think of “dependence” and “relapse” you’re probably more likely to think of heroin than marijuana But could weed be addictive? Hey everyone, Laci Green here for DNews

Nearly half the country has legalized medical marijuana, and with more people using it, there are more concerns about potential health effects Amongst those health effects isaddiction

A scary word, but a public health problem that comes with many drugs and mind-altering substances A new study released in the Journal of Addiction Medicine has found that yes, marijuana can be addicting The study included 127 adolescents who were undergoing outpatient treatment for substance abuse – and for most of them, marijuana was their drug of choice Out of those who used marijuana, 84% of them qualified as having “marijuana dependence”, which the researchers defined as increased use of marijuana, increased tolerance of marijuana, and unsuccessful attempts to stop using it 40% also experienced symptoms of withdrawal when they stopped, and were more likely to have problems at school, work, or home

Those symptoms looked much like other drugs in a state of withdrawal: anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, and depression Interestingly, this group experiencing symptoms were also more likely to have symptoms of mood disorders They evaluated all the data based on self reports right away and at 3, 6, and 12 months later It’s an interesting study, but some of the data from the report has me confused For instance, while increased usage of marijuana could mean addiction, that isn’t necessarily a defining characteristic

And if those experiencing withdrawal have symptoms of mood disorders, where does the possibility of an previously existing disorder come into play? Fortunately this isn’t the only data we have — there are other studies this is building on A 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine also found signs of marijuana dependence in about 9% of users Past studies have also demonstrated physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms in both people and animals Firing back at the new release, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has stated that while a small percentage may suffer drug dependence at some point in their lifetime, it’s the context of a person’s life that matters They also said that withdrawal from marijuana is relatively short-lived, and that it should not be regulated as a Schedule I drug on par with heroin

Health advocates at Brown University state that no one would argue that marijuana is as addictive as alcohol or cocainebut we’re finding marijuana has addictive properties for some people And the idea that marijuana can’t be addictive makes it harder for those who are affected to get help and support

Let me know what you think about the addiction debate down below and we’ll see you next time here on DNews

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