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Is Marijuana Addictive?

Today there still seems to be some debate about whether you can become addicted to cannabis or not. But, make no mistake about it; marijuana can be very addictive, especially if it has a dependency personality.

Surgeon General’s 2016 report entitled “Facing Addiction in America” describes marijuana as one of the “most addictive drugs.”

Clinical studies, diagnostic and laboratory research, and anecdotal evidence have shown that marijuana use can lead to dependence, abuse, and dependency.

Marijuana over-stimulates the endocannabinoid system in the brain, leading to both psychological and physical dependency. Nearly 10 percent of people who


It is the first evidence of dependency. When one uses it for the first time, a few puffs are enough to feel the effects. After prolonged use, it takes more breaths for you to feel the same impact. If one does not use the drug but starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, loss of appetite, and insomnia, it means dependency has set in.

Withdrawal symptoms often signify marijuana tolerance – Use crosses the line when the body or brain rewards that use. Tolerance means that the body is rewarding excessive use of the drug. Conversely, withdrawal symptoms represent a negative response that rewards the use of the drug with a lack of side effects. This lesser feeling becomes something the addict anticipates.


There is a genetic component. Users with a specific genetic profile have a much higher chance of becoming addicted to marijuana than others. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to identify the gene responsible for it before someone starts using marijuana. Thus, if you choose to start using marijuana, you are taking a significant risk. On the other hand, if you have the gene that corresponds with it, you are almost sure to become addicted, at which point you are at high risk for the significant side effects of the drug, including memory degradation.


Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome (CWS) resembles symptoms of withdrawal from other so-called “harder” drugs. Withdrawal, which starts 24 to 48 hours after abstinence, can be difficult and painful enough that many users find it difficult to quit for very long. The symptoms peak in four to six days, but withdrawal can last from one to three weeks. Marijuana withdrawal syndrome can include a variety of symptoms. Diagnostic criteria exemplifying escape of marijuana include but are not limited to these complaints:

  • Anger, Irritability, Mood Swings
  • Depression, Anxiety, Restlessness
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Drug Cravings
  • Stomach Aches
  • Sweating, Fever
  • Shakiness
  • Headaches