Is marijuana addictive?

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2013-03-14 19:28:22

"Answer:" id="Answer:">Answer:

In order to answer this question, we first need a definition of the

word, "Addicted". Not too long ago, an addictive substance was

something that, when taken long enough, produced gross

physiological changes in the way the body worked, so that normal

operation of the body was impossible without that substance being

ingested. And as the substance must, by definition, form a

tolerance, higher and higher dosages (up to a point) were needed.

This is the definition of "addictive" I'm going to use for this

explanation. Addictive is not the same as "habituating".

Habituatingsubstances, using this definition, are things you crave,

may even come to need, but do not create a gross physiological

change in the way your body works (trace neurological and

neuro-chemical changes can and do happen but, they're quite minor,

and they aren't always substance-related: stroking a pet for

instance, can cause such trace effects).

In the cases of alcohol and barbiturates, the addiction, in the

sense I describe, is very strong. Stopping these drugs suddenly for

extreme addictions usually will require hospitalization, additional

medication to treat symptoms of withdrawal and, especially, in the

case of barbiturates, may result in death. Lesser addictions like

heroin or opiates can also cause withdrawal syndromes, although not

as strongly as ethanol or barbiturates, and opiate withdrawal is

not fatal (barring the existence of other factors).

The active ingredient in Cannabis Sativa is THC

(Delta-1-Tetrahydrocannibinol). THC is active in very low dosages.

Therapeutic THC is typically delivered 5mg T.I.D. (three times a

day). As addiction in the sense I mean it is a gross process, tiny

dosages typically don't generate the large-scale physiological

changes a true addiction needs to get revved up (neurological yes;

physio no). So most people, scientists and street-users, think of

marijuana as non-addictive. A recent study at Columbia University

offers potentially contradictory evidence, but it's still only one

study and not accepted as universal fact at this time. As such, if

you say THC is not clinically addictive, most of the world will

agree with you.

Can marijuana be habituating? Absolutely -- but not universally.

Just as some people definitely use Marijuana in a manner that can

only be described as a habit, some have used marijuana for years

but not in a habitual pattern. While the same can be said for

alcohol, it seems that alcoholics really do set up a regular

pattern of extensive use that I personally don't see nearly as

frequently in marijuana users.

In cases of marijuana habituation, I think the causal factors are

obscure. With addictive drugs, we can see clear, obvious,

repeatable effects in terms of addiction. With marijuana, we see

far less predictable results. And why these results are not as

predictable is not clear.

The basic fact is that most marijuana uses (maybe all marijuana

users) do not display signs of addiction (as defined above).

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Many note anecdotal evidence gathered by their own personal use.

While this doesn't carry the weight of clinical trials, it also

cannot be discounted. Many users reporting here mention what --

based on my definitions above -- would be described as habituation,

both mild or strong. Many indicate it's a part of their daily life.

None list physiological symptoms caused by withdrawal.

Some mention that people enter rehabilitation, calming marijuana

addiction. I would counter by saying that rehabilitation is a cure

for a myriad of problems; not just pure addictions, and typically

refers to holistic lifestyle change as the solution; not simply

breaking the addiction/habituation. So entering rehab in order to

address life problems related to marijuana usage is not proof that

marijuana is addictive.

Some indicate that they feel THC is addictive when used by those

with an "addictive personality". I would counter by saying that,

without symptoms of withdrawal syndrome, genetic predisposition for

addiction (which is most often used in a context describing a

behavioral symptom set rather than a physiological one), does not

come into play. No physiological withdrawal symptoms; no


Some indicate correctly that Cannaibis does not contain nicotine

(true), which therefore means it's non-addictive. This syllogism is

untrue in that the lack of nicotine only means there's no nicotine

addiction in play. This contributor closes by saying THC is

non-addictive, which seems to be the general feeling in the

scientific community at this time.

It's not physically addicitive in the same way that nicotine is but

is psychologically addictive. Modern Marijuana - aka skunk contains

much higher levels of Tetra Hydro Cannabinol than the stuff that

was around in the 60s/70s.

Anyone smoking this stuff should be very careful.

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