The Addiction Center defines “addiction” as the mental and physical dependence that significantly changes the way a person thinks and behaves. Being a psychoactive plant, marijuana also carries a huge risk for people who use it repeatedly and thoughtlessly. In this article, we’ll tell you about the nature of cannabis addiction, its causes and ways to deal with this malady.
Most commonly, we use the term “addiction” when talking about some psychoactive substance abuse. It goes for the recreational weed, too. According to modern medical science, there are two components of marijuana addiction:
First of all, a person connects certain events or feelings with the use of weed, developing so-called triggers. It becomes very hard to quit smoking weed when you see the same people or exist in the same circumstances associated with cannabis use all the time. Or, for example, when you cannot fall asleep and perfectly know that marijuana can help with it. At the same time, you physically feel bad without the drug, which is the withdrawal symptom.
The psychoactive effect of marijuana is provided by the active biochemical compound tetrahydrocannabinol, we’ll use THC for shortness. The before-mentioned Addiction Center claims that this ingredient is responsible for such cannabis effects as:
Although one can hardly overdose cannabis, it carries many other risks, including uncontrolled behaviour and using other illicit substances which leads to intoxication.
The mechanism of marijuana addiction is as follows:
All in all, a person cannot quit or control the desire to obtain and use the drug.
Marijuana addiction can be clinically diagnosed, and there are ways to treat it. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the latest numbers of the cannabis addiction rate in the USA are:
And the main problem with cannabis is its increasing potency. The average concentration of THC in weed now is about 15%, and 30 years ago it did not exceed 4%. Moreover, the THC level in so-called dabs can reach 40-90%.
The main symptoms of marijuana addiction are craving for cannabis and inability to quit smoking weed even when you think about it and make attempts. Another important symptom that can help a doctor diagnose the addiction is withdrawal. Other signs can help you understand it is time to raise the alarm, too:
Knowing these symptoms, you will detect the problem and have time to learn how to overcome cannabis addiction.
There are two main strategies for how to give up cannabis and combat addiction — abruptly and step-by-step. The first one only seems easier, but for both you need to know some secrets to do it successfully:
None of these methods can be a 100% guarantee from slip ups. Remember, it can happen to everyone and it is not the reason to give up.
What if you use marijuana not for recreational purposes, but as a medication for some health problems? Medical cannabis is very popular and mostly legal nowadays, and the latest research shows that we observe a 25% decrease in deaths from prescription pain-killers overdose since it has been legalized. More than 65% of patients prefer marijuana instead of licit drugs.
The benefits are numerous:
But what about the addiction? Do you have to give up medical cannabis even when you really need it?
First of all, always pay attention to how your body accepts weed and notice the bad signs of dependence and withdrawal. Use weed only when you need it and in reasonable amounts. And think about CBD-high THC-low marijuana strains that contain next to zero THC, which means they do not produce any psychoactive effects.
Lots of concerns about medicinal CBD marijuana still exist because many experts still think that THC and CBD are the same, which is not true. Cannabidiol works differently in our bodies, and does not make us high. Moreover, it seems CBD does not let THC interact with the cannabinoid receptors. The recent study of Shanna Babalonis and colleagues clearly shows that CBD causes the same addiction as the placebo.
As you see, marijuana addiction is a serious problem, but you can deal with it if you make a decision and really want to quit. Talking about medical cannabis, you have to remember that therapeutic properties of weed are contained in CBD, which has nothing to do with the “high” feeling, euphoria, and being stoned. Thus, if you switch to CBD-rich marijuana, you do not have to worry about any negative effects of weed, including the problems with cannabis dependence.
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