It’s a hot topic of debate as more and more states seek to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes: Is the drug addictive? Or is it as harmless as proponents of the substance say?
Though many feel more comfortable thinking that the drug that is one of the most commonly used and abused across the country is non-addictive and safe in any amount, the fact is that an estimated 9 percent of people who use the drug will develop a dependency. Among those who start using the drug during their teens, that number is closer to 17 percent. When the person uses marijuana daily during the teen years, it leaps to between 25 percent and 50 percent.
Though not everyone who experiments with or uses marijuana will develop a dependence, it is clear that use of the drug can lead to an addiction issue in many users. Has this always been the case? Probably not. The marijuana used in the 1960s and 1970s was far less potent than today’s marijuana plant bred for the highest levels of THC – in fact, THC levels in marijuana in the early 1990s averaged around 3.7 percent, and that number almost tripled to 9.6 percent by 2013.
Signs of Marijuana Addiction
- Using marijuana to cope with stress, anger, grief, boredom, or other difficult emotions
- Refusing to attend events or take part in activities where marijuana use would be impossible
- Developing health problems associated with marijuana use or experiencing worse symptoms of underlying medical problems due to marijuana use
- Experiencing relationship issues due to marijuana use or choices made under the influence
- Having legal issues related to marijuana use, purchase, possession, or choices made while under the influence, including driving
- Being unable to moderate use of marijuana
- Being unable to stop using marijuana despite all these issues
Legalization of Use
As more and more states consider the option of legalizing marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use, the perception of marijuana as a potentially harmful or addictive substance goes down. Especially among teens, this can be a dangerous trend as it may contribute to early drug use. Studies have shown that not only does early and frequent use of marijuana contribute to the development of marijuana dependence in adulthood but it can also mean the loss of up to 8 IQ points as well – clearly an effect that is inarguably harmful.
Treatment Can Help
Addiction is a medical disorder, no matter what the drug of choice. Patients who struggle with marijuana dependence will find that there are a number of treatment options available to help them stop using the drug safely as well as learn how to remain free of use of all substances for the long-term. Depending upon the severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced and the existence of co-occurring disorders, medical detox may not be necessary, but comprehensive therapeutic treatment will help to ensure that the patient not only learns how to stop using the drug today but also how to remain drug-free tomorrow.
You can learn more about the services that will help you or your loved one to stop falling behind due to marijuana abuse today. Contact us at the phone number listed above and connect with the right treatment program with the right services for your needs.