However, if the use is becoming a need or you’re experiencing negative consequences because of it, it may be a problem. If you or someone you love may be experiencing marijuana abuse or addiction, talk with a trusted healthcare professional. They will work with you to get properly evaluated and the appropriate treatment. Although marijuana is becoming legal in more states, there’s still the potential for abuse and addiction. Using more to get the same effect, giving up once-loved activities in order to use, and withdrawal symptoms like irritability, mood changes, and disruptions to sleep and/or appetite can all signal that someone might be experiencing marijuana abuse.

So, a drug can cause dependence but not abuse, as is the case for some people prescribed opiate pain medication. Or a drug can cause no withdrawal at all, as in the case of cocaine, but still pose a high likelihood that a person will develop an addiction when using it. Addiction is a recurring cycle that worsens over time and involves neuroplastic changes in the brain reward, stress, and executive function systems (Koob and Volkow 2016). Previous neuroimaging studies reveal the long-term effects of chronic cannabis use on several different brain systems including the reward, endocannabinoid, and stress systems as well as brain areas involved in emotion processing and decision making. Addiction happens when a person uses a substance such as alcohol, marijuana, or another drug in excess.

Know the Risks of Marijuana

Schizophrenia also affects the way you understand what’s real, but it includes other symptoms like trouble with speech and not being able to focus and show emotions. “Marijuana-addicted people rarely present for treatment,” said Stalcup. “So, a lot of the people we see have gotten caught up in the legal system.

Imaging tests with some – but not all – adolescents found that marijuana may physically change their brains. Specifically, they had fewer connections in parts of the brain linked to alertness, learning, and memory, and tests show lower IQ scores in some people. Studies note that early marijuana use can interrupt normal development of gray matter, a type of brain tissue that helps control mental functions, increasing schizophrenia risks.

Addiction (Marijuana or Cannabis Use Disorder)

The graduation was from the single best program I know of to fight substance use. It’s called Women in Recovery, and it’s a diversion program for women in the greater Tulsa area who otherwise face prison for drug-related offenses. “You hear that all the time. This is the soup kids are swimming in,” she said. “Parents are one of the very few potential places for counterbalance.” Marijuana has been a Schedule I drug since the statute took effect in 1971, “with very little medical or scientific evidence to demonstrate why it had to be Schedule I,” Shachar said. All authors have completed and submitted the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors form for disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

marijuana addiction

Other mental health considerations have been noted in people with cannabis dependence as well. Cannabis use disorder involves continued use of the substance even though the person experiences negative health or life effects from it. An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. There are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone.

$9 million donation earmarked for cannabis research

For many, it’s difficult to imagine a life in which using drugs is more important than spending time with friends or doing favorite hobbies. It’s certainly difficult to imagine using drugs despite major consequences, such as a suspended driver’s license or prison time. When given a chemical, methylphenidate, that caused dopamine levels to rise in the brain, the marijuana users didn’t respond as strongly or feel as high as nonusers. The brain may become resistant to the effects of the drug in an effort to protect itself, so that next time the person uses the drug, it doesn’t have as strong an effect.

marijuana addiction

More research is needed to know if secondhand marijuana smoke has similar health risks as secondhand tobacco smoke. A recent study on rats suggests that secondhand marijuana smoke can do as much damage to the heart and blood vessels as secondhand tobacco smoke.20But researchers haven’t fully explored the effect of secondhand marijuana smoke on humans. What they do know is that the toxins and tar found in marijuana smoke could affect vulnerable people, such as children or people with asthma. Today, marijuana is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I substance, which means the drug presents a high risk for abuse and is deemed to have no medicinal uses. However, several states have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, and 23 states as well as the District of Columbia allow use of medical marijuana to treat certain medical conditions.

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