16/01/2023

Is cannabis addictive?

Anti-drug activists would have you believe that marijuana is addictive and will ruin your life. It doesn’t. On the contrary, some stoners will convince you that there is no danger of addiction, but even that is not entirely true. Cannabis is not completely safe in this respect, but different levels of addiction need to be taken into account.

Is cannabis addictive? Today’s attitude towards cannabis is much less negative and paranoid. This can lead to over-optimism in some cases, as many people today believe that marijuana has absolutely no addictive potential. Unfortunately this is not the case, there is much more to the concept of addiction than many realise and to fully understand the addictive potential of cannabis we need to consider its different types.

Definition of dependence

To move on, we should establish a basic definition of dependence. As with other diseases, we should also consider the different stages of dependency development.

leaf head marijuana and depression

Theoretical model of dependence

Researchers Koob and Volkow define addiction using four different factors. First, it must be chronically relapsing, meaning that it can keep coming back, even when it seems to have disappeared. In addition, addiction manifests itself through constant craving and consumption of the cannabis inability to control the rate of consumption, and negative emotions when a person can’t get cannabis.

If all these behaviours occur together, the person is considered dependent on cannabis. Even after recovery, the person is still considered addicted if these behaviours have occurred for a long time.

Three degrees of dependence

Scientists describe addiction in three phases. It starts with the shock of intoxication followed by withdrawal/negative affect to preoccupation/anticipation.

Excessive intoxication is characterized by several types of behavior. The first and most prominent is excessive impulsivity when it comes to cannabis use, along with a frequent compulsion to use cannabis despite the negative consequences. The second characteristic is a large release of dopamine in certain situations – specifically, at times when the brain associates drug use. The brain does this simply to motivate you to continue using cannabis.

The withdrawal/negative affect phase, triggered by the opposing process reactions that follow a binge, has other neurological symptoms. For starters, the reward system in your brain is altered to have a higher threshold for the incentive to use drugs. This, in simple language, makes it harder to feel motivated to do things that are not drug-related. The ability to control emotions is also impaired, especially when it comes to negative feelings. The withdrawal phase in particular leads to increased anxiety, dysphoria, morbid feelings and chronic irritability.

After withdrawal, the precognitive/precognitive phase poses a risk of relapse. This risk appears in the form of three neurological changes. As before, the brain is increasingly attracted to any stimulus it associates with the drug. As the brain releases more dopamine in these situations, it also offers less dopamine when exposed to normally positive non-drug-related cues. When these are juxtaposed, the brain becomes less able to inhibit behavior that might be considered maladaptive.

Annabis use disorders

Cannabis use disorders
Cannabis disorders

People who use cannabis suffer from it, even though it damages their health and quality of life. People with this problem also fall behind in work or social responsibilities because of it and spend most of their time trying to obtain it.

If this sounds familiar, it is because these are the same characteristics that can be seen in any form of addiction. Rates of addiction among users cannabis are much lower than for harder drugs, but should not be underestimated. In rare cases, excessive use can destroy life and limb.

Cannabis addiction – physical or psychological?

Knowing what addiction looks like, we can also look at the different types of addiction. Specifically, we should distinguish between physical and psychological addiction. Physical addiction involves the brain engaging in a physical need to take the cannabis in order to continue to function and survive. Without the drug, the body begins to feel nauseous until more is obtained. However, this can only happen with drugs containing addictive substances such as heroin, meth, or nicotine.

Mental addiction is different. Instead of a physical need for the drug, the addict feels a strong mental need to use it. The body does not need it, but the brain tries to convince the individual that it does. However, this can also be experienced with other things, not just drugs. It can be eating a certain type of food, going to the gym, or even working out. If you spend all day on it, engage in it excessively, and your compulsion negatively affects your life, chances are you are psychologically addicted. It’s not as harmful as a physical addiction, but it’s an addiction nonetheless.

Marijuana, even if it doesn’t contain addictive substances, can be the basis for developing a psychological addiction. It won’t cause the same problems that addiction to alcohol, heroin or meth does, but it still risks problems. Motivation to do other things will decrease and a person’s ability to function without it will diminish. Worse, heavy users may experience physical withdrawal symptoms, such as gastrointestinal problems and decreased appetite.

How marijuana can lead to addiction

How does one become addicted to cananbis? It usually starts as a casual activity among friends, It is likely that you start using it every day, and then even several times a day.

As with other drugs, the body builds up a tolerance and the reward pathway in the brain changes. When you take more of it, you also start to need more of it to feel the same satisfaction as the first time.

Still, many people who use marijuana daily are able to lead decent lives. But those who are weaker-willed are worse off.

Weed addiction – conclusion

Weed addiction
Weed addiction

The answer to the question posed in the title is: Yes, marijuana can be addictive. Addiction to cannabis is rarer and much less severe than addiction to harder substances such as heroin and methamphetamine, or even nicotine and alcohol.

If you can manage your social and professional priorities and stay healthy, there is no reason to worry about cannabis. On the other hand, if you know you are addicted or have a weak willpower, you may want to rethink everything.

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Source : canatura

Published by Blood

16/01/2023
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