This question is one of those not straightforward questions that when answering, it can’t get you a direct yes or no. Let’s crack it bit by bit, starting with the confusion of the word addiction.
What Is Addiction?
If someone was to ask you what addiction was, what would you say?
Would you say addiction is a biological dependence recognized by withdrawal symptoms that you never experienced before withdrawal? You could be saying that cannabis is non-addictive.
While some would say that addiction is a psychological thing, that marijuana can be addictive in the same way gambling, food, or sex might be considered addictive, as they all produce pleasurable responses in the brain.
Here it is – addiction is one thing when you speak to the general public and another when you talk to a scientist, psychologist or doctor. Addiction is a result of the synergy of biological and psychological factors which contribute to behavioural patterns that are difficult to resist or stop.
Some primary behavioural symptoms of addiction include:
- Inability to stop using substances
- Continuous use and abuse of substances despite arising health issues
- Consumption of excess doses
- Use leading to financial difficulties and irresponsibility.
- Lack of interest in hobbies and activities
- Damage from using a substance
- Change in appearance
It is very cogent to understand that a typical marijuana consumer does not possess the above symptoms. Although marijuana may have specific psychological effects, a dependency on it resulting in bad life-altering changes is very rare.
“Human beings have an innate need to bond and connect. When we are happy and healthy, we will bond with the people around us. But when we can’t because we’re traumatized, isolated, or beaten down by life, we will bond with something that gives us some sense of relief. The path out of unhealthy bonds is to form healthy bonds, to be connected to people you want to be present with. Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis of disconnection.”
That was Johann Hari’s statement in his book Chasing the Scream; The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. The statement emphasizes that addictions should not be questioned from the point of what the individual is attached to but what led to the attachment.
You won’t often hear people say “marijuana addiction” in scientific communities; it is “cannabis use disorder (CUD).
So What Are The Indications Of CUD?
- If cannabis is taken in larger amounts or over a more extended period than was intended
- If there is a relentless desire or unsuccessful hard work to control cannabis use
- If plenty of time is spent in activities to obtain cheap weed, use cannabis, or get over its effects
- Cravings or strong urge to use cannabis
- Repeated cannabis use resulting in a failure to rolesin other places of activity
- continuous cannabis use despite persistent social or interpersonal difficulty caused by the effects
- Important activities are given up because of cannabis use
- Constant cannabis use even in situations where it is physically unsafe
- Unusual tolerance to reach a higher level of intoxication from cannabis
The precision of these indicationsis criticalto determining the necessity of treatment. A person who meets shows as few as two of these indications could be diagnosed with suffering from minor cannabis use disorder.
While the need to acknowledge that marijuanashould be used carefully and responsiblyto enrich lives, and, of course, get healing cannot be overemphasized. The fact that we have only a minority of consumers who experience far more than two of these diagnostic indications remains. However, we still need to be careful with people with more and create standards to help others not to fall into this category.