Weed can be incredibly addictive, depending on the individual. Both mentally and physically addictive, the longer a person uses weed, the greater the chances of developing an addiction. New research suggests there are some benefits to the drug but it can also have harmful side effects. Learn about the addictive properties of weed and how it works in the body.
Weed is a street name for marijuana which is formally regulated by the federal government. Some state governments made marijuana legal and weed can be prescribed by some doctors for medical conditions. Weed is used for medicinal purposes which is under the discretion of each individual and the physician. In other uses, weed is in fact considered an illicit drug. Weed is the most commonly abused drug in the US, mainly for the high it creates.
What’s in Weed
Weed is made of plant material consisting of stems, seeds, shredded leaves and flowers which all come from the marijuana plant. All or some of the parts are dried and rolled into joints or packed into bongs and pipes. Other times it may be brewed like a tea. The main ingredient in weed is called THC, an abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC in weed immediately releases into the body when smoked, creating a different kind of high.
Dependence vs. Addiction
Physical dependence on a drug can lead to addiction. When dependence develops on THC, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. Withdrawal is how the body balances itself following the presence of drugs in the system. Addiction focuses more on negative consequences associated with use of the drug for day to day functioning. Tolerance and dependence are separate conditions which are usually both present during addiction.
Signs of Addiction
It may not be as easy as some think to notice the signs of addiction to marijuana. Many people can use weed for a long time without experiencing withdrawal symptoms or developing a physical dependence on weed within the body. Possible signs of addiction include:
- Excessive time and energy spent obtaining and recovering from effects of drug
- Need to self-medicate
- Persistent desire to quit
- Rationalizing drug use
- Use of drug regardless of negative consequences
Compared with other drugs, weed takes longer to develop dependence on as well as addiction. The potency has increased over the years which increases the addictive potential of weed. Adolescents are more susceptible to weed addiction as the brain has not fully developed yet. The neural pathways in the brain may never regain normal functioning following use as an adolescent. Memory and executive functioning are also a few ways the brain is altered through repetitive use.
Marijuana can be addictive but it starts with building tolerance. If you exhibit some of the potential risk factors for addiction to marijuana, please call The Villa to find out how we can help you recover your health and life from addiction.