Understanding Marijuana Addiction & Abuse

While many people associate drug addiction with harder substances, the potential for marijuana abuse often gets overlooked. Although legal in some states, it’s important to be aware of the risks that this drug presents. Read on to learn everything you need to know about understanding marijuana addiction and abuse.

If you or your loved one need a safe space to recover from addiction, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our short- and long-term recovery programs.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

It is possible to get addicted to marijuana. Addiction is characterized by wanting to quit using a drug, but being unable to. It also goes hand in hand with dependence, which is when you show withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. However, it’s possible to be dependent on a drug, but not addicted to it. That said, it’s more common to see marijuana users dependent on the drug rather than addicted.

What Happens When You Use Marijuana?

When you use marijuana, a neurotransmitter called Anandamide activates the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The THC from the marijuana both mimics and blocks the same actions as Anandamide. So, when you use marijuana continually over time, your brain will require more of the drug to feel “normal,” because it can no longer produce the regular amount of Anandamide on its own. When this occurs, you are likely dependent on the drug, so when you stop using, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and more.

Outcomes of Marijuana Abuse

If you continually abuse marijuana, the following outcomes could occur:

  • Doing poorly in school
  • Performing poorly at work
  • Legal trouble
  • Worsened ability to remember and learn
  • Dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms

If you continue to use marijuana despite experiencing these negative outcomes, it may be a sign that you have developed an addiction to the drug.

Marijuana as a Gateway Drug

Marijuana is best known as a “gateway drug.” This is because studies have shown that experimentation with marijuana often leads to experimentation with other, harder drugs. Teens, in particular, are at a significantly higher risk of developing an addiction to marijuana or another substance later in life.

A Controversial Drug

Despite these risks, there is still much controversy over marijuana drug use as a whole. For instance, some states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, others allow recreational use, some have legalized both uses, and many still consider the drug illegal. While marijuana has proven to relieve pain, reduce stress, and increase appetite when prescribed medically, it also has hallucinatory effects when used recreationally. In any case, marijuana can still lead to dependence and/or addiction when abused over a period of time.

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

We hope you have a better understanding of marijuana addiction and abuse. If you believe you or a loved one may be addicted, don’t hesitate to reach out to Myrtle Beach Recovery. We offer short-term and long-term recovery programs, providing a safe place to work through the 12 Steps.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you on your path to sobriety.