Is Marijuana Addictive?

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Is marijuana addictive? In a word, yes. One of the most common myths about marijuana use is that it won’t lead to addiction. Take a closer look at how it can be addictive and what you can do to recover from a marijuana addiction.

Is Marijuana Addictive? The DSM Says Yes.

guy with a blunt needs to know is marijuana addictiveThe Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, is the handbook on all types of mental health concerns. The DSM defines substance abuse and addiction as an increase in tolerance, ongoing use despite negative consequences and withdrawal when trying to quit. By these standards, marijuana is clearly addictive.

It’s common for those who use marijuana to see their tolerance for the drug increase over time. That’s because the body adjusts and requires more and more of the drug to feel the same high. For those who use marijuana to relax or unwind, this can definitely be a problem.

Many individuals use marijuana even when problems arise. Individuals who get in trouble with the law for possession often have this issue more than once. Teens may get in trouble for smoking marijuana, but that won’t necessarily stop them from lighting up again.

Marijuana Withdrawal May Not be as Physically Obvious

During a detox, withdrawal from drugs like heroin and meth are severe. The withdrawal symptoms are physical and obvious, making them impossible to ignore. Withdrawal from marijuana is a little less obvious from an outside perspective. However, the symptoms are no less real.

The lack of an obvious, visible withdrawal is one reason why people don’t always view marijuana as addictive. The symptoms, however, are just more likely to be psychological. Symptoms like paranoia, headaches, confusion and the exacerbation of mental health disorders are common. This is one reason why dual diagnosis treatment is so common among people that use marijuana.

Some Individuals are More Prone to Developing an Addiction to Marijuana

Not all people who use marijuana will necessarily develop an addiction. However, estimates say that 10% of users are at risk. Many more individuals become habitual users, which can also be tough to recover from.

So, why is is that some people develop addictions and others don’t? While there are many factors at play, one issue is a personal predisposition. Certain risk factors can increase the chance of developing an addiction. These may include personality type, mental health, and even genetics.

Treating a Marijuana Addiction

Treating an addiction to marijuana is similar to treating any other addiction. After detox, patients require addiction therapy to prevent relapse and maintain that newly developed sobriety.

Many types of treatment can be helpful. For those with co-occurring disorders, for example, dual diagnosis treatment is vital. Other therapy types might include some or all of the following:

  • Talk therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Massage therapy

Marijuana is a drug with risks, just like any other. If you’re ready to break that addiction, the programs at 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida can help. Stop asking “is marijuana addictive?”, and get the help you need. Call (866) 319-6126 to take those first steps toward your recovery from addiction today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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