Is Weed Addictive: Understanding Cannabis Addiction

Written by Review Weed Cannabis & Health Enthusiast
Updated: 2023-09-27
Understanding marijuana addiction - can weed be addictive?

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As more and more people consume weed in Thailand, it is crucial to talk about a boring-but-important bit – cannabis addiction.

According to Rasmon Kalayasiri, director of the Center for Addiction Studies at Chulalongkorn University, 1 in 10 regular cannabis users is likely to develop health problems, including addiction.

Here’s the fact: marijuana can be addictive, and cannabis addiction is a real thing. This is why Weed Review recommends consuming weed safely and responsibly.

Marijuana addiction: What does it look like

Cannabis is an addictive substance. It may not be as addictive or damaging as other ‘hard’ drugs like cocaine, opioids, or amphetamines, but the truth remains that prolonged, consistent use of weed can be problematic.

Research suggests that roughly nine percent of cannabis users will develop cannabis use disorder. In this condition, the user cannot stop using marijuana even though it is causing problems in social and health lives. These numbers increase further among those who use weed at a young age or use it daily.

Cannabis addiction occurs when you use weed far too frequently – to the extent that your body and brain adjust themselves to its presence in the system. You can develop a physical or psychological dependence on marijuana – but the symptoms of it will vary from person to person.

In more scientific terms:

  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the chemical that causes the psychoactive high – stimulates the brain to release high dopamine levels. This surge in dopamine levels primes the brain to repeat this behaviour of using weed – thus leading to addiction.
  • This addiction pattern is fairly similar to the ones observed in other drug addictions.

When you go off the substance suddenly, you are likely to experience a bunch of physical and mental symptoms – which is your body’s way of adjusting to life without weed.

Moreover, long-term use of marijuana can lead to unwanted side effects that can impact your memory power, attention span, lung health, and mental health.

Of course, it is important to note that not all products will lead to addiction/dependence and cause the abovementioned symptoms. If you are taking medical cannabis products like CBD oil, you will not feel the psychoactive high and will continue to benefit from the wellness of marijuana.

It is the THC that causes addiction problems. CBD, by itself, is non-addictive and does not have the potential for substance use disorder – as stated by the World Health Organisation.

Signs of cannabis addiction: What to look out for

The following signs are indications of cannabis addiction. If you or someone close to you is experiencing these, do not hesitate to get help.

A list of common symptoms of cannabis use disorder.
Common signs of cannabis use disorder
  • Losing interest in activities and hobbies
  • Failing personal relationships
  • Using more cannabis than intended
  • Drop in performance at work or school due to cannabis use
  • Struggling to balance responsibilities at work or school
  • Withdrawal symptoms are noticeable when cannabis is not consumed
  • Unable to stop despite wanting to quit
  • Increased tolerance
  • Lying about weed use
  • Continuing to use weed even though it is negatively affecting the life
  • Using cannabis in high-risk situations
  • Financial problems due to spending money on weed
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene and grooming

Depending on how many of the symptoms mentioned above you show, your cannabis use disorder may fall into mild, moderate, or severe categories.

In addition, frequent use of cannabis can also lead to other symptoms like red eyes, dry mouth, increased fatigue and laziness, drowsiness, problems with learning and attention, poor memory, paranoia, mood swings, breathing or lung problems, excessive cough, and irritability. It can also impact the functioning of your brain.

Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal

Here’s the good news – while some withdrawal symptoms arise from weed addiction, the symptoms usually peak within the first week of quitting cannabis and can last up to two to four weeks.

Common symptoms of weed withdrawal are:

  • Mood swings, irritability, anger
  • Anxiety, restlessness
  • Sleep difficulties/Increased REM sleep/Vivid dreams
  • Depressed mood
  • Increased cravings for cannabis
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased sweating or chills
  • Inability to perform sexually

Seeking help for weed addiction

No one wants to admit that they are addicted to weed, but if it ever happens, do not hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your friends and family about it, and seek professional help – together, with the right guidance, it will be possible to overcome the addiction.

There are plenty of weed rehabs in Thailand that specialise in treating cannabis addiction. Therapy and medicinal use are the preferred options – but an expert must supervise them.

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Plenty of high-concentration THC products can make it easy for you to get hooked. This is because the more potent the pot, the stronger the effects; hence, your brain’s desire to keep coming for more. If you are consuming weed, be sure to do it smartly.

Weed Review advocates using cannabis to improve your life’s quality- not make it your life.