Stigmas Related to Marijuana Addiction

Stigmas Related to Marijuana Addiction

Despite its classification under federal law as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same as heroin and LSD, many people still think of marijuana as a “soft” drug. The misconception that marijuana is not a powerful drug can contribute to stigmas about marijuana addiction. You may hear people say marijuana isn’t a real drug or that marijuana addiction isn’t a real addiction. Pot smoking may not always be accepted as a disease that requires treatment. If you are struggling with a marijuana addiction, don’t be fooled by the myths. Look at the facts.

Myth: Marijuana Is Just an Herb

Because marijuana plants grow uncultivated across the country, it is tempting to imagine that the drug is as harmless as any other weed in a backyard garden. A closer look at some of the plants of the world shows how dangerous an herb can be. Cocaine, opium and heroin are dangerous addictive drugs. They are derived from plants that grow in the wild. Familiar plants that are poisonous include deadly nightshade, rosary pea and oleander. Marijuana is just one dangerous plant out of hundreds.

Myth: Marijuana Is Not Technically Addictive

The chemical in marijuana, THC, alters mood by affecting the chemistry in the brain. The effect is pleasurable at the onset and painful as it fades. As the brain gets used to the effects of the drug, more is needed to achieve the desired effect. This pattern of increasing need is the physiological framework for addiction.

Marijuana addiction’s effects are often felt most severely when use stops. Quitting marijuana suppresses the appetite, causes restlessness and angry moods and interferes with sleep. The more the drug was used, the stronger the symptoms of withdrawal are likely to be. An abstaining user may be able to endure until the symptoms subside, but many individuals start using again, often more heavily than before, to make the withdrawal symptoms go away. Quitting is not as simple as just deciding to stop.

The easiest way to see marijuana as a truly addictive drug is to look at the impact it has on lives. When the normal pleasures and obligations of life are neglected in favor of marijuana use, addiction is at work. If someone close to you chooses to smoke marijuana instead paying bills, pursuing once-loved hobbies, or showing up for work, you have seen how real the addiction is.

Myth: Pot Smokers Are Successful

Perhaps no illegal drug enjoys as much celebrity endorsement as marijuana. Many people make the mistake of letting the examples of a few exceptional people warp their perception of marijuana. If you think a few pot smoking celebrities show that marijuana is okay, try looking deeper. For each celebrity smoker consider how many other people have risen to the same level of success while not advocating pot. This thought experiment should demonstrate what you may have already seen in your school or workplace: Marijuana does not fuel achievement.

A Real Addiction with Real Treatment

Don’t let misconceptions and stigmas keep you from addressing marijuana addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from marijuana abuse or addiction, call our 24 hour helpline for information on treating marijuana addiction.