The addictive potential of Marijuana is lower than that of other illicit drugs, but it is still habit forming. Of those people who use marijuana, only 9% develop dependence on it. However, so many people use marijuana, that dependence on the drug is twice as prevalent than on any other illicit substance.
Dependence vs Addiction
Because drug dependence and drug addiction are phrases which are often used interchangeably, it can cause confusion between users and professionals, and leads to misunderstanding the underlying causes of abuse. So what is the difference between dependence and abuse:
- Dependence is when an individual is dependent upon a substance for normal physiological functioning. When the individual abstains from using the drug, they develop withdrawal symptoms, which is the only evidence of a dependency.
- Addiction is actually a behavioral syndrome, where the user becomes obsessed with obtaining more Marijuana. Thoughts of getting and using the drug preoccupy the user almost to the exclusion of everything else.
Symptoms of Dependence
Generally there aren’t any physical withdrawal symptoms associated with Marijuana dependence. Common symptoms tend to involve disturbances in bodily functions, such as, headaches, malaise and sweating. More often though, Marijuana dependence leads to disturbances in psychological functioning like depression, an inability to concentrate and increased anxiety.
An individual has a physical dependence to Marijuana when their ability to function normally is impaired when the effects of the drugs have worn off. However, significant physical dependence on Marijuana has not yet been demonstrated in either human or animal studies, and there are normally no serious adverse physiological effects or withdrawal symptoms resulting from abstaining from use.
Often known as behavioral, psychic or emotional dependence, psychological dependence is difficult to define. It can be best put as an individual believing that they require Marijuana in order to feel good. This suggests that dependent users seek out Marijuana for a particular purpose. It is mainly due to psychological dependence that individuals continue to misuse or abuse drugs, as it is the emotional attachment or the perceived need to use the drug which keeps them hooked.
Marijuana withdrawal is not as difficult or unpleasant as withdrawal from Heroin, for example, it nevertheless can cause psychological disruptions. Some withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Anxiety attacks
- Excessive sweating
Withdrawal symptoms vary with the person, and can last from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on use patterns and whether the Marijuana has been mixed with any other drugs.
Do you have any questions about Marijuana dependence, addiction or treatment? Call The Villa to find out what options we can offer for your recovery.