In 2009, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 28.5 million Americans over the age of 11 had abused marijuana at least once in the last year. Marijuana abuse is often misunderstood. There are many who think that marijuana addiction is simply impossible. While it may be incorrect to lump marijuana dependence in with the likes of cocaine and heroin, it can still have a significant addictive component. And while the physical symptoms that accompany marijuana abuse can be challenging, there are negative psychological consequences of cannabis withdrawal as well. These marijuana withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult for those with a history of marijuana abuse to quit, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here is some information on marijuana abuse to help you figure out how to kick weed addiction.
Is marijuana addictive? This is a contentious question with a surprisingly simple answer. Yes, marijuana is addictive. While more people are likely to get addicted to tobacco, alcohol, or harder drugs like cocaine and heroin, there is still a significant percentage of marijuana users who will feel the negative effects of marijuana abuse. Half of people who try to quit smoking marijuana report experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These can include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, aggression, nervousness, restlessness and a loss of concentration.
The risk of marijuana addiction increases greatly for those who start using in their adolescence. While about 9 percent of people who start using when they are adults run the risk of addiction, the number increases to every 1 in 6 for those who start in their teens. And the age at which one begins using marijuana has a significant effect on how bad the outcome can be. This is linked with low-achievement during a time when a person should be performing at their peak, leading to lower achievement in academics, job performance, and life satisfaction later on.
Marijuana abuse can lead to more than just withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. If not treated, dependence on marijuana can have many negative effects on a person’s life. For example, at least 200,000 students have been denied financial aid for college for drug convictions. Additionally, the American Journal of Psychiatry published a study that followed 1,920 people over 16 years and found that those who smoked marijuana were 4 times more likely to develop depression.
The addictiveness of marijuana cannot be questioned, and even its short-term use can have many other negative effects. The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that 6,000 Americans use marijuana for the first time, and this use can lead to poor short term memory, making it difficult to learn and retain information, especially regarding complex tasks; slowed reaction time and impaired coordination, impairing driving skills and increasing the risk of injury; and an elevated heart activity, causing heart rate to jump from 20 percent up to 100 percent, and increasing the risk of heart attack in those who are vulnerable.