Is Marijuana Addictive?
Jon’s wife, Michelle, (not their real names) was fed up. After years of pleading with him to stop smoking marijuana, he refused to quit. He told her; “Marijuana is now legalized in some states and everyone knows that smoking pot is not addictive.” Jon said that a little pot everyday helped him relax just like a glass of wine after dinner so why was Michelle so hung up on it. Her reply was that their daughter was now three and she did not want her to grow up to become a ‘pot head.’ Jon maintained that he did not have a problem and told Michelle to ‘get off his back.’
This kind of discussion is going on in homes around the country. Since marijuana has become legalized in some states, people want to know; “Is marijuana now okay?” In answering that question, here are some points to consider:
- Although previously thought to be non-addictive, marijuana is now listed as an addiction substance
- The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is 3 to 5 times more potent than it was just a few years ago because of the latest cultivation techniques
- Individuals who regularly use marijuana normally meet the criteria for substance addiction diagnosis
- Consistent marijuana smoking has adverse medical effects on the lungs in much the same way as smoking tobacco
- Research continues to show that adolescents who regularly smoke marijuana are much more likely to become addicted to illegal substances or alcohol
- Research demonstrates that children in families where one or both parents regularly use marijuana (or drink) have a significant likelihood of becoming addicted
- Research studies have also consistently shown a link between regular use of marijuana and lower levels of motivation and educational achievement for teens and young adults
- THC and other particulates in marijuana smoking (and tobacco smoking) leave residues on carpets and furniture that causes skin absorption by others, particularly children
- Marijuana is used by individuals to reduce anxiety and it is a form of self-medication which frequently masks underlying causes of trauma or chronic distress
Everyone should consider these factors in deciding if using marijuana will have an adverse impact on themselves and their families. The use of any brain-altering substance, including marijuana, carries risks and unintended consequences.
By contrast, individuals who choose not to use marijuana alleviate these hazards. They gain a number of health benefits. Generally speaking, they accomplish more, gain higher levels of educations, live more productive lives, and enjoy richer relationships. It goes without saying that there are no hazards if someone decides not to use marijuana and there are a number of advantages.
The decision is left to every adult to make informed choices. For example, Jon read an article which said that parents who used drugs strongly influence their children’s future use of drugs or alcohol. Somehow, the thought of his daughter smoking marijuana was so repulsive to him that he decided to quit. However, Jon was surprised to discover that he could not stop. Even when he substituted a glass of wine at dinner, he still craved his pot.
Seeing a mental health counselor who was skilled in addictions as well as chronic distress, Jon learned that his marijuana use which started at age 14 had been caused by earlier unresolved problems. Jon’s efforts in counseling paid off. It wasn’t long before his cravings subsided. He noticed that he performed at work and he loved his new life with his wife and daughter.