Menu Close

Is Marijuana Addictive?

woman holding marijuana and wondering is marijuana addictive

Some people may not know that marijuana is addictive, especially given its changing legal status in many states. However, just because it is legal in some places doesn’t mean it lacks addiction potential. If you are struggling to regulate your marijuana use, a marijuana rehab center in Omaha can help.

When a person begins using marijuana as a teenager, they put themselves at a higher risk of developing cannabis use disorder (CUD). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 30% of people who begin cannabis use early on in life develop CUD, and 10% of older people become addicted. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a cannabis use disorder, contact Northpoint Omaha at 888.687.8014.

Why Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana is addictive because its active ingredient, THC, provides euphoric highs while soothing anxiety. For some people, THC also makes the world seem to be more interesting. Some people use marijuana because they find that it counteracts boredom or a general loss of pleasure in life.

Some people with PTSD and nightmares find marijuana beneficial because it shuts down the brain’s ability to dream, explains the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Others use it to ease nausea and/or pain.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), THC activates the reward system in the brain and releases dopamine. Dopamine is one of the key neurotransmitters that determine motivation, reward, and self-control.

How Is Marijuana Addictive?

When some people first begin using marijuana, the substance impacts the “reward center” of the brain, according to the Betty Ford Clinic. However, as tolerance builds and people increase marijuana use to feel the same effects, something interesting happens that results in addiction for some people.

The NIH explains that eventually, marijuana that is ingested shifts the patterns of activity in the brain from the reward centers to other nearby regions. These regions are the ones that are related to forming routines and habits. Thus, a transition occurs from behavior that is done for pleasure to one that is an automatic habit.

What Are the Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction?

According to the CDC, the number of people who are addicted to marijuana is increasing, possibly because modern strains are much more potent than in centuries past. Some signs that you or someone you know may be addicted to marijuana include:

  • Reduced short-term memory
  • A general lack of motivation
  • Financial problems
  • Changes in school, work, or athletic performance
  • Breathing problems
  • Sleeping more often than usual

When people become addicted to marijuana, they actually become addicted to THC, according to research in the journal Cerebellum.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the concentration of THC in marijuana today is more potent than it used to be, making marijuana more dangerous than ever before.

Marijuana Abuse and Withdrawal

When marijuana is used enough, some people’s brains adjust to accommodate the substance. More of the substance is needed to achieve the same effect that smaller amounts used to provide.

When a person with cannabis use disorder stops using marijuana, the brain must readjust again, resulting in withdrawal symptoms.

A person is not dependent on a substance unless they experience negative repercussions from stopping use. According to research in Current Opinion in Psychiatry, withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vivid dreams
  • Chills
  • Cravings
  • Sweating and cold sweats
  • Feelings of depression
  • Headaches
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Restlessness

Symptoms of withdrawal after marijuana abuse range from mild to severe, and they vary from one person to another. While one person might experience mild instances of all of them, another person might experience just a few symptoms on a severe level.

Comprehensive Marijuana Addiction Rehab at Northpoint Omaha

Cannabis use disorder can significantly impact your life, but help is available. If you or someone you know is ready to safely recover from marijuana with an effective outpatient treatment program, call Northpoint Omaha at 888.687.8014.