13 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Marijuana Addiction tends to build up from a minor admiration for the drug. You must be questioning, “What type of Drug is Marijuana?” Well, it is a drug derived from the Cannabis plant and happens to be one of the most “psychoactive” drugs. In other words, it can affect your mind, awareness, thoughts, and behavior. Do you feel like Marijuana tends to improve your social skills, your ability to converse with people, and the flow of your interaction with them? If yes, you might be taking slight and small steps towards a possibly destructive life. Your neglect towards Marijuana Abuse might pave your way to the darkness that comes with weed addiction. 

Two hands holding marijuana.

The first query that circuits within our minds about Marijuana is, “Is it even possible to get addicted to Weed?” Like every other question, this one arises due to a reason as well. Even with everyday abuse, Weed Addiction tends to crawl its way under your skin gradually. Because it is not sudden like an addiction to Heroin, Cocaine, or Meth, it is only justified if you believe that you and Marijuana do not have a toxic relationship. 

Note: With continuous abuse over the years it is indeed possible for you to become addicted to Marijuana. 

Like Alcohol, the use of Marijuana – or Weed as you might know it – is inscribed into the very essence of the society that we live in. Whether you are driving to work, doing your laundry, getting some take-out, or making breakfast, smoking a few puffs of Marijuana is often not a big deal, is it? But, you must remember, despite all that you might have heard, Marijuana is not harmless. Cannabis Abuse is ammunition against your mental and physical health. 

Note: Marijuana is obtained from a plant that you might know as “Cannabis.” The plant contains extremely high amounts of the addictive substance called “Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)” 

Whether it is to uplift yourself before a valuable meeting with a client or to secure better grades on an oral test at high school, you might find yourself reaching for that little joint in your pocket, lighting it, and puffing up some smoke, only to feel yourself relaxing tremendously. As surprising as it may sound, Cannabis abuse has some extremely amazing effects. But yes, benefits come at a cost, do they not? You see, unlike other drugs, the effects of Marijuana abuse are rarely enhanced with increased doses. 

Note: Tolerance takes a while to build up in the case of Marijuana. However, it does build up eventually! 

Apparently, this reason, when coupled with your intense need to experience happiness and confidence, ultimately results in a Cannabis abuse and addiction. Alright, let us explore the good and the bad sides of this wall. 

Positive Effects of Marijuana Use:

  • Feeling surges of immense happiness
  • Being relaxed whilst you are smoking the drug
  • Having the feeling of levitation
  • Becoming more socially interactive as an immediate aftereffect 
  • Starting to talk more
  • Obtaining confidence in front of other people

With the presence of all these effects, it is no wonder that Marijuana abuse becomes almost a sort of “coping strategy” for drug addicts. 

Note: It takes months – at times, years – before you will develop a tolerance for Marijuana. Reaching the same “high” with equal doses is very much possible. 

To be fair, looking at the “feel good” effects of a Marijuana high, you must be pondering over the possibility of consuming it if you do not already. Unfortunately, it can never be a wise choice. Let’s explore why. 

Negative Effects of Marijuana Use:

  • Marijuana can cause mild Hallucinations.
  • Multiple doses within the span of a day can change your mood.
  • Cannabis has the ability to make you forgetful. In other words, Marijuana is your concrete pathway towards Amnesia.
  • Marijuana detaches you from your personality.
  • The drug will eventually make you delusional. Some users would say that they have false memories
  • Disorientation and Paranoia are Marijuana’s assistants.
  • Even though Marijuana use can enrage your confidence, it will fabricate and break your motivation into pieces. 

Well, let’s face it – The positive effects of Marijuana are not worth taking a risk for.

Now that you know the first stage of getting hooked to Marijuana – that is, Weed Abuse – how about you expand your knowledge to shelter the idea of Marijuana Dependence? When the subject of Marijuana Dependence comes up – all that should echo in your mind must be “Physical Dependence.” To put it differently, Marijuana Dependence is like a follow-up to Cannabis Abuse. It is when your body and brain become incredibly used to the “high” that Marijuana Abuse tends to trigger. 

Here is an example: Marijuana Abuse tends to dull down your heart rate while increasing your “happiness” levels. Well, what do you suppose will happen when the effect of the drug ceases? Your brain activity will attempt to do the opposite of what Marijuana did. Eventually, your heart rate will increase, while the levels of your “Happy hormone,” Dopamine, will be in a deficit. In other words, you will feel intense instability because of your heart racing in a marathon, while your mood goes from a 10 to a 0, shortly. Ultimately when people who have been addicted to Marijuana witness this physical dependence upon weed, their hands will automatically reach out for a joint. 

Note: In a nutshell, Marijuana Dependence is your body reacting differently in the absence of the drug. 

Signs of Marijuana Dependence:

Marijuana dependence exhibits itself in a number of ways. It is your body calling out the name of your favorite drug over and over until it gets the drug. Interestingly, the signs of Marijuana Dependence look a lot like symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal. Take a look:

  • Feeling lethargic after the effect of the drug halts
  • “Craving” the drug
  • Headaches as aftereffects Marijuana Abuse
  • Increased Heart Rate 
  • Slowed breathing
  • Body Aches
  • Altered mood

These signs are easy to confuse with Pot Addiction. But, they should not be. 

With that said, it is just as important for you to understand the slight – and often overlooked – difference that persists between Weed Addiction and Dependence. The terms are often used interchangeably. But, that is not because they mean the same. It is because, by the time you become dependent on Marijuana, addiction might just be around the block, waiting impatiently for you to open the door to your mental and physical health. 

Dependence is a “hunger” for Marijuana. Well, when it comes to addiction, there is a whole other story. Simply speaking, Cannabis Addiction is when Marijuana affects your mental health and your behavioral activities, as well as your physical health. While Marijuana dependence may change the normal functions of your body, Marijuana Addiction will engage your mind and behavioral functions along with it. 

Note: Marijuana dependence is a stage that follows Marijuana Abuse and is in turn followed by Marijuana Addiction.

Self-assessment for Weed Dependence Vs Addiction

If you are wondering how to assess yourself for Marijuana Dependence or Marijuana Addiction, here is a list of signs for you: 

  1. Mood Swings Vs. Irritability: While a physical dependence on Marijuana might cause your mood to become shallow and shadowy, Marijuana Addiction will cause you to become extremely and continuously irritable! 
  2. Marijuana “hunger” Vs. Marijuana Triggers: Dependence is your body’s way of saying that it needs more Weed. It’s like being hungry and seeking food – a mere necessity. 

But, being addicted to Marijuana will install “triggers” in your mind to use the drug. And while a trigger can be something as ordinary as walking to work, or going for a morning jog, the direct effect of the trigger is instant Marijuana Abuse. 

  1. Restlessness Vs. Anxiety: After the drug gets out of your system, you might feel restless if you suffer from Marijuana Dependence. 

However, if feelings of anxiety rush in and your body shivers out of control, while your heart races and your throat gets blocked, you should know that you are addicted to Marijuana. 

  1. Sadness Vs. Depression: As your mood will dial down a notch, you might feel sad because of physical dependence on pot. 

But, if your mind conjures up some depressive thoughts, Marijuana Addiction must be holding you in a predicament.

  1. Occasional Coughing Vs. Lung Diseases: If you have Marijuana Dependence, your lungs might give in every once in a while after smoking. Eventually, they will return to normal. 

Opposite to that, the story will be completely different if you are a Marijuana Addict. This is because you will become a target of evil lung diseases and breathing disorders. 

Alright, so now that you know why people willingly choose to use Marijuana, how about we take a peek at the reasons why Pot Addiction actually develops? Unlike abusing other drugs like Opiates, Cocaine, and Heroin, in the case of Marijuana, you might not even realize when you even stepped out of the boundary of abuse and into the lane of addiction. For some, it takes a few days. For you, it might take a few months, or years.

Sadly, there is very little surety in this case for Marijuana Addicts. 

What you can know for sure, however, is that Marijuana Addiction for you will depend on multiple causes, ranging to and from:

  1. Age
  2. The potency of the drug
  3. Genetic Composition
  4. Your Mental Health

As you would predict, Marijuana dependence, or simply, Pot Addiction is greatly impacted with age. Generally speaking, Marijuana is a destructive drug for all ages. But, sadly enough, this does not alter the fact that teenagers below the age of 14 are likely to develop an addiction later in life. In fact, did you know that over 26% of students in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades become Marijuana Addicts? 

Of course, drug addictions do not pave their way into your life solitarily. They are accompanied by all sorts of mental health disorders.

With lack of control and a severe deficiency of maturation in youngsters, ages below 18 are exposed to a major possibility of “Cannabis Use Disorder.” Here is some good news, though – for people over the age of 18, the possibility of Weed Addiction is minimal. It exists, but barely. So, to fulfill your queries, early recovery for Marijuana Addicts is indeed possible and even faster. 

Note: Observe your loved ones – especially children – for behavioral issues. Keep an eye out if you catch them stealing money. It is better to acknowledge the warning signs in time instead of being sorry later. 

Even in the “drug world,” evolution is just as much of a concept as it is in our world. Back in the day, the mere concept of Cannabis Addiction was non-existent. But, things change, do they not? Over the passage of time, the THC content – which is the addictive substance within Marijuana – increased more than you can possibly imagine. 

In other words, Marijuana aged and became more potent than it ever was. Care to venture a guess about what happened next? Marijuana with different levels of THC became available. You must be thinking, “How does that affect me?” Well, the type of Marijuana that you consume and the level of THC within it will decide the time span for which you can actively use the drug and still get away with Marijuana Addiction. 

Note: If you consume high levels of THC within short periods of time, your body and mind will betray you as they develop a high tolerance for Marijuana and become dependent simultaneously. 

Genetic Composition and Cannabis Addiction

Unlike external variable factors, it is certain that you can neither control nor change your genes. After all, they are a gift to you, are they not? In several cases – and probably yours, too – this gift can become your liability. If we try to put this differently, your genetic makeup might naturally “expose” you to Cannabis Use Disorder. If this complies with your case, there is a vast probability that you will develop Marijuana Addiction in as little as 7-9 days of incessant use.

Note: If your parents were Marijuana users or addicts, it is likely that you will naturally be predisposed to Substance Use Disorder. 

Did you know that mothers-to-be who consume Marijuana during their first or second trimester of pregnancy give birth to Marijuana Addicted Infants? In fact, these children tend to experience withdrawal symptoms immediately after birth. 

Mental Health and Pot Addiction

If we are completely familiar with something, it is the fact that our brains, psychology, and mental health make more of a difference than we can ever imagine. It is like saying that Mental Health and Drug Addictions are best of friends. Both of them strengthen each other. In fact, if you are a patient of any of the severe mental health conditions, it is probable that your Cannabis Addiction will definitely skyrocket

Types of Mental Health Disorders Connected with Weed Addiction:

  • Panic Disorder
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Social Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Eating Disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Paranoia

Whether you attempt to self-medicate yourself for your mental health issues with Marijuana for the sake of a glimpse of relaxation or as a coping-up strategy, you are opening doors for your addiction to blast its way in through. 

If you exhibit a certain set of symptoms from the list down below, understand that you have an intensive Marijuana Addiction that needs to be treated at the very first opportunity:

  • You crave for Marijuana to do simple tasks or to socialize on a daily basis.
  • Weed Abuse has become your coping mechanism.
  • You cannot refuse your cravings and end up consuming Marijuana even when it damages your relationship. 
  • You are experiencing financial difficulties because of buying the drug too often. In extreme situations, you might even resort to stealing to calm your cravings! 
    You begin to develop a tolerance for Marijuana. In other words, you fail to achieve the same effect unless you increase the doses.
    You find it challenging to go a certain amount of hours without having a smoke if you are addicted to Marijuana.
  • You use it in situations that require you to pay attention. For instance, smoking a joint while driving, cooking, etc.
    You experience ‘withdrawal’ symptoms when you fail to acquire the drug when you are addicted to Marijuana.

Note: Withdrawal symptoms of Marijuana include anxiety, loss of appetite, decreased heart rate, irritability, mood swings, and aggression. 

Severe conditions of Cannabis Use Disorder range from mental health disorders to cognitive impairment. 

If you are concerned about your loved ones, seeking treatment for Marijuana Addiction might be the right call to make because of the following derogatory effects of the drug:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Memory Loss or having false memories
  • A shorter span of attention
  • Lack of concentration towards important activities
  • Lack of emotional maturity
  • Indecisiveness
  • Decreased ability to solve simple problems in life

Note: Among the aforementioned effects, your loved ones might additionally suffer from disengagement and find dissatisfaction in their love life, career, and academics. 

Marijuana Addiction is a freeway to the destruction of your relationships, family, financial status, and mental health. You will experience the signs and symptoms of Marijuana Addiction after months or even years. In other words, the idea of Cannabis Addiction might not even cross your wildest thoughts until you immerse yourself deep within the puddle. 

Seeking treatment for yourself or your loved ones for Marijuana Addiction is only secondary to realizing the warning signs that come along with addiction. If your age is between 14-18 years, you will get addicted to Marijuana sooner than you anticipate. 

You must believe and understand that nothing good can venture out of any addiction, let alone Cannabis Use Disorder. Recognize your symptoms and stop Weed Abuse before you destroy your mental, physical and psychological health! 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all. 

FAQs