Pot Use Can Trigger Addictive Behaviors

Individuals who use pot (cannabis, marijuana) regularly show increased levels of impulsive behavior. This is according to a study conducted in the Netherlands, and published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.The study further states that regular pot use can be a major trigger in regards to addiction.

All individuals who use pot run a significant risk of developing a diagnosable case of pot addiction, also known as ‘Cannabis Use Disorder’. These risks rise sharply in those who partake in the drug every day or almost every day.

Pot Use and Impulsive Behaviors

The Netherlands study conducted tests where participants who regularly used pot were given the drug every day and were then asked to reflect and make judgments before acting. It was discovered that the participants were making snap decisions and also that there was an increase in error rates when performing certain actions. The second test was when the participants were asked to perform an action, and then asked to stop in the middle of performing it. The results showed that there were increased time lapses between the thought of stopping the action and the actual act of doing so.

Risk of Pot Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 9 out of 100 pot users develop an addiction. The risk of addiction varies considerably depending on the person’s characteristics. Casual use by individuals who only indulge in the drug occasionally are at the lowest risk. Teenagers, on the other hand, have almost a 100% chance of developing an addiction, even if they only consume the drug casually. When age is not a consideration, daily or near daily pot use by individuals have an addiction rate of about 1 in 4 or 1 in 2.

Individuals who are addicted to pot, like individuals who are addicted to other substances, experience long term changes in their brain function, which produces a chemically dependent state. This includes individuals who are diagnosed with Cannabis Use Disorder, as well as those individuals who remain unaffected by the drug, who develop dysfunctional patterns of behavior.

Signs of Pot Addiction

Similar to all other addictions, pot addiction is characterized by the use of the drug to exclusion of all else. The individual with an addiction experiences compulsive cravings for the drug and displays pot seeking behavior. Other signs of pot addiction are:

  • Weight loss and lack of appetite
  • Frequent chest illness
  • Frequent illness due to depressed immune system
  • Flashbacks of drug experiences during periods of abstinence
  • Inability to fulfil obligations at work and home
  • Continuing to use the drug despite negative consequences

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