How Does Marijuana’s Classification Affect Addiction?

How Does Marijuana’s Classification Affect Addiction?

Marijuana has been a drug under a cloud of controversy for decades. While users staunchly deny that it is addictive, many people have fallen prey to its addictive properties. In recent years, attempts to legalize marijuana nationwide have failed. In January 2013, ABC News reported that the federal government would not legalize its usage and stated that marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, which places it in the same category as other drugs that are highly addictive.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, characteristics of Schedule I drugs include the following:

  • The drug or substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.

Examples of Schedule I substances include heroin, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana and methaqualone. The U.S. Department of Justice has four other categories for drugs—Schedule II through Schedule V—and ranks drugs according to their addictive properties, their medical benefits and their acceptance within the medical community for their efficacy to treat illness.

Marijuana’s Usage Versus Its Classification

While the government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, many Americans still use the drug. An article released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that marijuana was the most commonly used illegal drug in 2008, with over 15 million users in any given month. That article also states that marijuana was used by over 75 percent of current illicit drug users and was the only drug used by over 50 percent of them. According to a 2011 article from Reuters, 17.4 million Americans said they used marijuana in 2010, up from 14.4 million in 2007. These statistics show the increase of marijuana users over time, even though the drug is still considered highly addictive. People mistakenly think that it is not as harmful as other drugs.

Because many people think of marijuana as a harmless recreational drug, they are slow to recognize or admit addiction, even when the signs of addiction are present. Common signs of marijuana addiction include the following:

  • Developed tolerance or a need for more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia or loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities other than using marijuana
  • Loss of interest in friends and loved ones
  • Lack of responsibility at work, school or home
  • Continued use of marijuana despite negative consequences
  • Theft to acquire more marijuana
  • An inability to stop using marijuana despite repeated attempts

If you notice symptoms like these in you or loved ones, get help immediately. Addiction to marijuana is dangerous.

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

The key to stopping marijuana addiction is simple but difficult; addicts should enter rehab to deal with the addiction. Rehab can either take place in an outpatient or inpatient program. During the rehab process, patients will identify and seek to break the habits that they developed as an addict. They will also identify and work through any underlying emotional or relational issues that could have triggered the addiction, as well as those that might trigger a relapse once they leave treatment.

Getting Help for Marijuana Addiction

The first step in getting help for your marijuana addiction is recognizing that you have a problem. Please call our toll-free, 24 hour number for help. One of our admissions counselors can explain your treatment options. Marijuana addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, but you can start on the road to recovery right now. Call us today.