It’s a common misconception that marijuana doesn’t have any addictive properties. While it doesn’t affect the brain in the same way as most other illicit drugs, there is the possibility of developing dependence on the drug—particularly for those who begin using marijuana before the age of 18.
How Marijuana Affects the Brain
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in cannabis. THC is responsible for causing the feelings of euphoria or relaxation that marijuana is known for.
In the short-term, marijuana can cause several effects in both youth and adults. These effects include difficulties with:
- Thinking clearly
- Paying attention
- Perception of time
For most, these effects last for several hours but depending on the dosage and method of ingestion, that amount of time may be longer or shorter.
In those under the age of 18, as well as women who use cannabis during pregnancy, these effects have the potential to last permanently.
Signs of Cannabis Addiction
Marijuana addiction is often a complicated subject. While many are dependent on the drug psychologically or physically, that dependence is often considered less severe than with other illicit drugs.
Signs that a person is dependent on or addicted to marijuana include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased appetite
- Cravings for the drug
- Avoiding activities with loved ones
- Withdrawal symptoms when not using marijuana
Withdrawal symptoms can vary for everyone but may include:
- Moodiness, irritability or aggression
- Anxiety and depression
- Decreased weight and appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
Increasing Risks of Marijuana Use
Although most strains of marijuana aren’t severely addictive, the potency of cannabis is changing. A recent study featured by CNN indicated that in many parts of the world, cannabis products are being produced with higher levels of THC. In fact, this study found that THC concentrations in one gram of cannabis were increasing an average of 2.9 milligrams per year. In resin, levels increased an average of 5.7 milligrams every year from 1975 to 2017.
These regular increases in THC concentration are creating a higher addiction risk and leading to increased numbers of those struggling with marijuana use disorder.
Find Help for Cannabis Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction or dependence on cannabis, Baystate Recovery Center can help.
Our programs include detox, day treatment, intensive outpatient programs an inpatient programs for those facing the most severe addictions or dual diagnoses. Our team is staffed with experienced addiction professionals who are committed to providing you or your loved one with quality care throughout the recovery journey.
To get help today, contact our team of compassionate intake counselors. We’ll help you explore your options and find a program that offers the best chance of long-term recovery.
Contact us online or call (855) 88-SOBER for help.