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Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is one of the most controversial substances in the United States right now.  Federal laws are conflicting with state laws on what should be allowed or prohibited.  One of the biggest arguments from marijuana advocates is that it’s not harmful because it is a natural herb which comes from a plant.  Yet, the natural characteristics of it do not mean it doesn’t have the potential for addiction.  While there are other substances which are much more dangerous and have a higher potential for addiction, researchers say approximately 30 percent of people who use marijuana are physically and mentally dependent on it to function.  

As the most widely used illegal drug, marijuana contains an extremely potent chemical called THC.  Inhalation is the most common form of using marijuana, and as it’s inhaled, the THC travels and targets specific cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain.  THC alterations to the brain can include short-term memory loss, and lack of coordination and problem solving. Those who abuse large quantities of marijuana are likely to experience withdrawals if they abruptly quit using the drug.  Symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, and overall discomfort can be present and affect a person’s ability to function.  

The addictive nature of marijuana has been a controversy for decades.  Some existing studies have difficulty determining its potential because dependence and addiction are often referred to as the same thing, even though they are different concepts.  While addiction includes being dependent on a substance, a person who is dependent isn’t necessarily addicted.  It is said you’re addicted to a substance if you cannot stop using even though it’s negatively affecting your life.  If it is causing harm to your relationships or making you miss days from work or school, you may have a problem.  

While it has not yet been determined exactly how addictive marijuana is, researchers know that smoking it, which is the most common way of using, is extremely bad for your lungs.  Smoking marijuana causes inflammation to your airways and lung hyperinflation.  The use of THC can suppress your immune system, which can cause you to develop pneumonia.  Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, and because people tend to inhale much more deeply than they do with cigarettes, four times as much tar gets accumulated in the lungs.  Marijuana is also correlated with certain psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar.  Marijuana will always be an endless dispute, with advocates on either side.  Yet, it’s important to know it can be abused and a person can become dependent on it to function, in which case they should seek help.   

If you need help for addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We offer medically assisted detox and we are equipped to treat dual diagnoses, including depression. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.