You can become addicted to marijuana and the problem is increasing, says Pew Research

You can become addicted to marijuana and the problem is increasing, says Pew Research

Marijuana addiction isn’t a common topic of conversation among most groups, but according to a significant new study from Pew Research, the problem is only increasing.

In the public health and medical communities, says Pew, it’s a “well-defined disorder” that includes physical withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and psychological dependence, as do dependencies and addictions to other drugs such as opioids.

Health professionals say they’re seeing more of it than ever before, and the statistics are rising.

Reasons for this could include:

  • The trend to legalization across the country. Currently, eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. In Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota, medical marijuana laws have been approved or expanded.
  • Hard numbers for pot addiction are hard to find, says Pew, but at most it’s probably around nine to 10 percent of all regular users. When you consider how many people smoke marijuana, whether on a regular daily basis or even less frequently, that nine to 10 percent figure is actually an enormous number.
  • Pew declares that at the very least, the numbers of people abusing pot are “substantial.” Calling it “the second most-abused mind altering substance” after alcohol – marijuana is in the tens-of-millions category of abusers (one in eight American adults is an alcoholic, or struggling with alcohol abuse).
  • Some addiction specialists say that the number of marijuana users may not be rising significantly, but the percentage of users who use it multiple times a day is increasing. This may be contributing to higher rates of dependence and addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), daily use among young adults is the highest it’s been in more than 30 years.
  • The potency of modern genetically engineered plants can be as much as 10 times what it once commonly was. In years past, marijuana was only 2% to 4% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active ingredient). Today, those levels can reach up to 30%, and concentrates and extracts can go over 80%. Whether or not this is contributing to the rise in addiction is still under consideration by researchers.
At less than 10 percent, says Pew, marijuana’s estimated rate of addiction is lower than cocaine and alcohol (15 percent) and heroin (25 percent).

Also, marijuana dependence tends to develop much more slowly than opioids and stimulants like cocaine. Months or years can pass before symptoms of dependence begin to “negatively affect the average dependent user’s life,” which signals true addiction.

“To be sure, there are no known reports of anyone dying of a marijuana overdose or its commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms — chills, sweats, cravings, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety and irritability,” the Pew researchers said.
“Since so many Americans use marijuana recreationally — more than any other mood-altering substance other than alcohol — the number of people who develop a dependence on it is substantial,” they added.
According to Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, an estimated 2.7 million Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for marijuana dependence, second only to alcohol dependence.

If you or someone you care about appears to be dependent on marijuana or other drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to call us here at Novus Medical Detox Centers. We will help you find the best solution that fits your needs.

Start Your New Path to Sobriety Today!

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.