Is Marijuana Addictive? - October 08, 2021

This frequently asked question represents the undying curiosity of millions of users worldwide who are consuming marijuana, as a patient or a recreational user. Where it is foolishly believed by many to be a super addictive drug, it is important to answer this question as accurately as possible so that no confusion remains.

As per official sources, marijuana is in fact not as addictive or harmful as people believe it to be. What is of utmost importance however is that the cases of addiction, if any, are nowhere close to the number of cases of alcohol or opioids addiction. There are certain marijuana use disorders, however, but they too only come about in the form of dependence where the patient gets withdrawal symptoms if they stop their regular marijuana intake. This is considered to be completely normal. It becomes harmful only in extreme cases where the person does not stop the intake even when it starts interfering with their day-to-day activities or starts adversely affecting their health and life. No record of marijuana overdosing has been officially substantiated which means that to overdose on marijuana is next to impossible.

This again raises the eyebrows of many who want to know the answer to whether it is even possible to get an addiction to marijuana. Especially in reference to the ever-growing list of medical marijuana patients, who consume marijuana regularly to treat certain health issues. Let’s look at whether there is any possibility to this claim.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Addicted to Marijuana

There is almost nothing in this world you can’t get addicted to. People get addicted to consuming sugar, exercising too much, or drinking ungodly amounts of caffeine, literally anything. Anything can lead to an insidious addiction when you reach the point of no return. As already mentioned it is indeed very difficult to get addicted to marijuana but there have been rare cases where people have gotten addicted and then had to rehabilitate themselves to get better.

To simply answer, yes it is possible to get addicted to marijuana but the possibilities can be significantly reduced if you take the dosage as per the recommendation of your doctors and as per the required amount to treat your health concerns. There are other factors as well which directly affect the dosage levels and ultimately the possibility of addiction.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Addicted?

Since the possibility of a person getting addicted to marijuana has been established, which level of user is at most risk, what is the suggested dosage level for such users and how is dosage and risk of addiction connected, let’s read further and find out.

For a Beginner

A beginner who is just starting out as a consumer of medical marijuana isn’t aware of how his/her body will react to the intake. Hence, it is highly important for them to regulate their dosing schedule and start with a very low one. It is advisable to only take 5 to 10 mg dosage at the beginning followed by proper intervals. In this manner, there will be no scope for any bad reaction.

This also eliminates the possibility of an ultimate addiction. A novice is only testing out the medical possibilities of this drug and finding out if it could possibly be used as a treatment for the concerned health issue.

For an Intermediate

A patient who is an intermediate user of medical marijuana is one who has previously consumed it but isn’t a regular consumer. This person probably needs a slightly higher dosage as per the suggestions of their concerned doctor and would go for 15 to 25 or 30 mg or sometimes even a higher level of dosage of the MMJ product. This will be purely dependent on the recommendations of their doctors which they can receive from credible and valid sources.

Here also the possibility of addiction is next to impossible. That is because for being a possible addict people need to consume very high levels of marijuana in very little time. Frequent users are not in the danger zone as they only use it for the duration of the issue they are treating in their bodies.

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For a Regular

Possibly the most prone to medical marijuana addiction could be a regular user. That is because these patients who are suffering from certain chronic pain or health problems need to use marijuana for an extended period of time. This also means that their dosage is high as compared to other users. It could start from say 80 mg and go up to 100, 150 mg, or even higher. There is in actuality no limit of consumption for such patients as this is a highly personalized decision that takes place via a trial and error method as the effectiveness levels differ from one individual to another.

As these users consume MMJ products for a long time to treat their frequent chronic joint pains or other issues they are at risk of probably getting addicted to it. However, this can be taken care of by always being in close consultation with the doctors and informing them about their health status regularly. Being in constant deliberation with their doctors is a nice way to consistently monitor their level of dosage and to observe if they’re becoming dependent on it. This nips the problem in the bud and doesn’t lead to anything serious.

Why Do People Use Medical Marijuana if It Is Addictive?

Marijuana or its usage remains a hush-hush topic despite it reaching its legalized status in most of the states of the US. The constant debate over the use of marijuana has been going on for decades now and is most likely to go on for at least a few more. This is a calculated guess made by an enthusiast who has been closely observing whatever latest changes have happened in this field. Especially with the legalization of industrial hemp in 2018, the usage of marijuana became so mainstream that a new niche for the usage of medical marijuana had to be created.

Medical marijuana is known to be highly effective in the treatment of various health disorders including pain, inflammation, anxiety, etc. Many cannabis doctors in both certified offline and online clinics are available for consultations for anyone who wants to try alternative forms of treatment instead of the traditional one. Marijuana or hemp-derived components like CBD or Cannabidiol are known to provide therapeutic and healing benefits to the user without the side effects that are sure to affect them when they go for allopathic treatment for their disorder. This is the primary reason for people to keep using marijuana even if there is any slight possibility of addiction.

How to Use Marijuana Without Getting Addicted?

Using marijuana is thus no longer an alien subject and has been more or less normalized. What however also comes with this normalization is the possibility of getting an addiction and not realizing it. To avoid such extreme cases there are a few things that MMJ users can do which will help them enjoy the medicinal effects without getting addicted. Following are a few suggestions that a user should always keep in mind.

Being in Regular Consultation With the Doctor

MMJ Doctors

This is probably the best advice to abide by when it comes to the possibility of getting addicted to any medicinal drug. A doctor is always there to help out the patient through any problem they might face. So it is best to consistently be in direct contact with them. Always keep them up to date on the situation and the current dosage levels so that they can observe whatever is happening quite closely.

Consuming MMJ as per the Recommended Dosage Only

As the user is consulting a doctor for their MMJ recommendation then they are sure to receive a suggestion for a particular amount of dosage. So they should make sure to stick to the recommended dosage to treat their particular health issue. This will help them in not creating a dependency disorder and also overall reduce their risk of possibly getting addicted to the use.

Did You Know?
Excessive marijuana use can negatively affect your motivation.

Keeping an Eye out on Possible Symptoms of Addiction

There are certain symptoms that are sure to show up either physically or internally in a person who is addicted to medical marijuana. They might feel changes in their behavior with distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking, and problem-solving with possible memory loss. As per sources, they might feel some other symptoms including:

  1. Red, blurry, bloodshot eyes
  2. Constant mucus-filled cough
  3. Rapid heartbeat
  4. Hunger
  5. Dry mouth
  6. Anxiety, Paranoia, or fear
  7. Poor memory
  8. Poor coordination
  9. Slow reaction time
  10. Loss of Control

This close observation of any possible symptoms of addiction can directly aid in recognizing the adverse effects quite early on and control them in time.

Being Aware of the Possibilities of Cannabis Addiction

The most important thing to be mentioned to any user is to be aware of the possibilities of cannabis or weed addiction. Many times people become addicted to something and don’t even realize it. So it makes sense for them to be completely aware of the very real possibilities of addiction to medical marijuana. After all, it is a drug and is sure to instigate some type of chemical reaction in their bodies. It is advisable for every consumer to then be aware and well informed about this.

How to Treat Marijuana Addiction?

Now when the possibility for marijuana addiction has been reiterated throughout, the treatment that could possibly work for the addiction also needs to be presented. In rare cases when someone gets addicted to marijuana the following steps can be followed to help the users rehabilitating their way back into their normal lives.

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Talk Therapy

Talking to the patients who have become addicted to the use of marijuana works best in understanding their thoughts and behaviors that led them to abuse it. In this way, you can create a healthy atmosphere for their well-being where they aren’t afraid to open up about what they are going through and they become open to verbal solutions from their doctors.

Motivational Incentives

This is a good plan that works well in many addiction cases. The addicts with the help of their doctors set a goal and then get the reward that has been associated with that goal. This reward system is known to motivate the patients in getting better and finally recovering from the drug-induced haze.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

MET or motivational enhancement therapy is one where a certain number of sessions with a psychologist or a mental health counselor will help the addict in recognizing their addiction issue and then committing to changing their habits. This therapy works like magic and is known to actually help the people suffering intensely to reach a good mental health state.

Medication

There isn’t any medication that can be taken to help with marijuana abuse as it in itself, an anxiety-reducing medicine. Medical marijuana has also been identified as a key treatment for addictions of both cocaine and opioids. So how can one take any medication for its addiction?

What MMJ addicts can do is completely cut out the use of MMJ products and switch to other prescribed allopathic medicines known for reducing anxiety or panic which could then gradually lead to less dependency on marijuana.

Conclusion

This has been an elaborate discussion on the issue of any possible addiction that could result from the continuous consumption of medical marijuana. All relevant aspects have been covered and all important information has been uncovered for the reader to go through and make a well-informed and correct decision.

Selena Mora

A writer at heart and a sub-editor by habit, Selena Mora churns content for various online businesses. Her unique specialty is cannabis, and she has been following the industry for the past five years. She brings her writing personality, research, facts, SEO insights, and experience to the table. Besides cannabis, she also covers niches like travel, beauty, health, law, marketing, and literature. She is currently providing content solutions to Online CBD Store and other respected companies.