Is Marijuana Addictive? Facts and Statistics

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Also known as weed, marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis family. The drug has about 483 known compounds, THC and CBD being the most commonly known. THC, which is tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound behind the psychoactive property of marijuana. CBD, which is cannabidiol, does not have psychoactive properties and is used for medicinal purposes. 

Marijuana farming has been legalized across many states on the discovery of its health benefits. This has led to the rise in perceptions that the drug is not addictive. Contrary to the belief, marijuana users have, over time, exhibited physiological dependence, and particularly addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Here is further evidence that marijuana is, for a fact, addictive.

1. Prevalence of addiction

For a long time, studies on drugs have been done, and a lot has been revealed regarding the use of marijuana. The studies done on marijuana use show that 9% of the people who use marijuana get addicted. The risk of addiction was also found to be higher for the users who started early, and the ones who regularly use the substance. 17% of the people who start using marijuana at the age of 15 get addicted in less than two years. Addiction kicks in when the users start looking for the substance compulsively.

2. Treatment programs

Rehabilitation centers record data of the different patients they enroll in their detox programs. (more info) The treatment programs can be broken down into alcohol users, marijuana users, among many other drugs. In America, 67% of the teenagers who are admitted into the treatment programs are marijuana users. Most of the teens are under 18 years.

Studies have shown that teens are more likely to get addicted to marijuana than adults because they get introduced to the drug at the critical stage of brain development. At this point, they do not think about the consequences of substance abuse but instead focus on pursuing pleasure. This makes it very easy for them to get addicted. 

3. Increase in the production of marijuana

The other evidence of the addictive nature of the substance is the increase in its use. Marijuana is attracting more users, and the old ones have become dependent on the substance. The US Government states that the production of cannabis has been experiencing an upward trend for the past 14 years. Production has increased since 2006, which was 22 million pounds, to 30 million pounds in 2019. The increase in production has been geared at meeting the growing demand for the product.

This also expresses the ease of access to marijuana, which shows that more people have become dependent.

The harms of using marijuana are usually centered in the brain. The effects can last day or even weeks after the use of the substance. The main areas of the brain which are affected are memory, leading to short term memory loss, IQ, motivation, decision-making, and even verbal memory. Marijuana is a safe drug, but can often lead to dependence and addiction, which can affect different areas of your life.