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Exploring the Addictiveness of Marijuana

A realistic concern for marijuana users is whether or not they can become addicted to the drug. An unbiased book called the Science of Marijuana, written in 2008, suggested that between 10 to 30% of regular pot users will ever develop any kind of dependency. Of that, around 9% will morph into serious marijuana addicts.

Recreational Marijuana Users

This means that the vast majority of marijuana users do it experimentally and never become addicted. One reason why, is unlike nicotine and alcohol, pot contains few ingredients that would result in a user going through withdrawal once they stop using the drug. People can usually stop smoking pot very easily. If withdrawal symptoms occur they might include, anxiety, nausea and depression.

Other Addictive Substances

When compared to other addictive substances, marijuana falls low on the scale. For example, estimates reveal that 32% of tobacco users, 23% of heroin users, 17% of cocaine users and 15% of alcohol users will become addicted. Plus, cocaine and heroin are more harmful physically and nicotine is a much more addictive drug. It is much easier to give up pot than it is to quit cigarette smoking.

Marijuana Assumptions

Marijuana gained widespread usage in the US in the 1960s. Amidst the social upheaval and war protests many of the nation’s youth tried smoking pot. And for most of those people, as they became part of mainstream society, it was relatively easy to stop doing it.

It is hard to determine if today’s pot is more potent then it was in the 60s and 70s.  One thing does appear to be certain is that despite whatever amount of THC (the active ingredient in pot) exists in the plant, smokers seem to be able to control their high and their usage.

For example, in the book mentioned above, a study on regulating THC was cited. In it, experienced smokers were given joints that contained either 1% or 4% THC. Even though the participants did not know which joint there were smoking, the smokers automatically adjusted their inhaling technique to get to about the same degree of THC absorption. In other words, they took longer and harder draws on the weaker joints and breathed more air while smoking the more potent pot.

So, based on the numbers and the relative ease of ceasing to use the drug, marijuana does not appear to be more addictive than other drugs and in fact, seems to have considerably less addictive characteristics than tobacco and alcohol.

Most users smoke pot for relaxation. When ready to stop, most people appear to be able to stop, suffering mild withdrawal symptoms, if any at all.

An addiction to any drug can be tough to recognize and even harder to deal with on your own. At Recovery First, we have the right program to help you beat the addiction to any drug, including marijuana. Call the number at the top of the screen or fill out the insurance verification form that appears to the right on every page if you need help with any drug addiction.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More