Can You Become Addicted to Marijuana?

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99087427With the increasing accessibility of medical and recreational marijuana around the country, attitudes and behaviors concerning the substance may be changing.

Despite marijuana being legal in a number of states, it’s still a powerful psychoactive drug, and people should understand the relationship between marijuana and chemical dependency.

More Potent Marijuana

Marijuana has been steadily growing in potency over the past several decades, making people who frequently use marijuana more susceptible to developing a chemical dependency. Although marijuana is less addictive than tobacco and other drugs, marijuana use is far more common and widespread, which makes the chance for developing an addiction that much more likely.

Marijuana and the Brain

The human brain produces a neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, known as an endocannabinoid. These endocannabinoids regulate mood, memory, appetite and the sensation of pain. Marijuana also contains endocannabinoids, and heavy marijuana use can diminish the brain’s natural production and processing of this chemical. When regular marijuana use stops, signs of withdrawal can occur.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to developing an addiction to marijuana.

Signs of a Marijuana Chemical Dependency

How do you draw the line between marijuana use and abuse? When marijuana use interferes with a person’s normal life, it’s a good indicator that they have a problem. Adults who seek treatment for marijuana addiction often report an inability to stop using despite acknowledging that their substance use is causing financial, relationship, mood and memory problems. A person with chemical dependency on marijuana may experience the following symptoms during withdrawal:

  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Changes in mood

If you suspect you may be developing a chemical dependency on marijuana, contact us to speak to a health navigator and get a free assessment.