Is Marijuana Addictive?

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 9:09 PM, March 31st, 2016

Experts define addiction as the continued use of a drug, despite the physical and social harm it may cause the abuser. In addition, when the abuser stops, s/he will suffer withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana doesn’t always appear to have the same withdrawal effects even when used daily. About 10% of cannabis users find that marijuana is addictive for them.

Marijuana is Addictive

Research says that the line the public draws between physical and psychological withdrawal isn’t relevant when it comes to helping the dependent person. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says, “Psychological addiction occurs in your brain, and it’s a physical change.”

Most experts agree that about 10 percent of pot users get ‘addicted’. Marijuana’s physical withdrawal is mildly uncomfortable, and it isn’t life threatening. Therefore, most people think you can’t become addicted and that willpower is enough to kick the habit. They blame users for not stopping and consider them lazy or unmotivated (these are symptoms of dependence to marijuana).

When substance use causes a problem in someone’s life, that person needs treatment.

Mental withdrawal is a serious problem, and overcoming it takes more than willpower. Structured professional treatment and loved ones who actively support treatment are the two keys to a successful outcome in starting recovery from marijuana dependency.

Moving away from Addiction and Towards Substance Use Disorders

Today, you won’t hear experts talk as much about addiction. The language has changed to reflect what we know: when substance use causes a problem in someone’s life, that person needs treatment regardless of whether there is physiological addiction.  Our teens spend time exploring how their substance use leads to issues in their lives. Sometimes, they don’t connect their difficulties to their substance use until they have time to process in group.

Common Problems Among those with Substance Use Disorders include: drug or alcohol use, school problems, poor relationship choices, risky sexual behavior, behavior problems, traffic accidents, legal problems, etc.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms in your child, please call to schedule an assessment to see what the next best steps are for your teen and family.



ASAP is Cincinnati’s premiere outpatient treatment center for teenagers and their families struggling with substance use.


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