The Progression of Marijuana Addiction

The Progression of Marijuana Addiction

It is common to hear from a marijuana advocate that the drug is not physically addictive. This may be true, but it is not the whole story. Addiction is a complicated phenomenon. Physical addiction means that your body needs a certain substance in order to feel normal. While there is some indication that long-time marijuana users do experience lethargy, anxiety or depression when they are not able to smoke weed, these symptoms may be related to a psychological addiction rather than a physical one. This does not mean that psychological addiction is any less serious than physical addiction. In fact, it is the psychological addiction that leads most addicts to relapse.

For most marijuana users, their emotional dependency on the drug is fueled by other factors as well. There is a strong social component to pot. Teens may try smoking pot as a way to be welcomed into a group. Instant camaraderie can be found among people of the marijuana “lifestyle.” This social draw can be especially powerful on individuals who have low self-esteem, dysfunctional families or who are socially uncomfortable. Once they become part of a drug-using culture, it will be very difficult to turn away. Often these groups may become sources of introduction to other substances like alcohol or harder drugs.

How Marijuana Addiction Progresses

A person is offered access to marijuana through a friend or peer. What starts as an experiment becomes a regular part of life, with deepening relationships based on the drug. For many, marijuana smoking becomes a daily part of life. It becomes increasingly difficult to relate to non-users, to handle otherwise normal pressures like school or work or to feel good without the drug. Additionally, users quickly develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring more and more to achieve the same “high.” This cycle can quickly become a life-defining and limiting experience. Marijuana will impact the user’s life and may have the following effects:

  • Difficulty focusing attention
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of motivation
  • Relationship struggles
  • Difficulty at work or school
  • Legal trouble
  • Lung disease, emphysema
  • Loss of interest in healthy activities

Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

Any use of marijuana is risky and illegal. Some symptoms of marijuana addiction include the following:

  • Continued use despite negative social, relational, financial and legal consequences
  • Obsession with having and smoking marijuana
  • Pre-occupation with experiencing the high as often as possible to the exclusion of other important aspects of life
  • Symptoms of withdrawal upon cessation of use, such as anxiety, decreased appetite, paranoia or melancholy

Worried About Marijuana Use or Addiction?

If you have concerns or questions about your use of marijuana or concerns that someone you love may be addicted, please call our toll-free number today. Our specially trained experts are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and to help you take the first steps towards freedom.