You May Be Addicted To Weed And Not Know It
If you are addicted to weed, (or anything else) you may may think your use is perfectly normal and have no idea it might be harmful. I am addicted to coffee, for example. I get a headache without it. Others in our group are addicted to sugar and exercise. What are their withdrawal symptoms.
What’s your addiction, and how does it affect you? You may not think about it. Weed, is marijuana, cannabis, and maybe CBD. For those who have lived under a rock these last decades, nicknames for marijuana and cannabis include: pot, ganja, bud, weed, and Mary Jane. Marijuana can be smoked, eaten, vaporized, dabbed or applied to the skin.
CBD May Be The New Cannabis Addiction
I saw a TV commercial in prime time last night promoting a CBD product that a bunch of nice looking people claimed would solve all their problems, including parenting difficulties, problems at work, problems with focus and even with romantic partners. A cure all was also how heroin was promoted a hundred years ago. Last night, these CBD users said they took the touted product every day and actually needed it to be healthy. Does that raise red flags to you.
The NYtIMES weighed in the on subject with the following. “Despite the common misconception, people can become addicted to cannabis just as they can with other drugs, like alcohol or cocaine. As more states either decriminalize or legalize cannabis, more people are using it than ever before. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2021, approximately 19 percent of Americans 12 and older used cannabis, and nearly 6 percent of teens and adults qualified as having cannabis use disorder — the clinical name for addiction. (For comparison, close to 11 percent of Americans over the age of 11 have alcohol use disorder.)
The potential consequences of cannabis use disorder are not as severe as with other drugs like opiates, where overdose deaths are a dire concern. But cannabis addiction can cause “a dramatic decrease in quality of life,” said Dr. Christina Brezing, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. Here’s what to know.
What Are The Signs Of Being Addicted To Weed
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines cannabis use disorder using 11 criteria that loosely fall into four symptom buckets (the same diagnostic criteria apply for all substance use disorders). If you meet at least two of the below criteria, you qualify as having a use disorder:
Loss of control
- Taking more of the drug or using it more frequently than you intend to
- Spending a great deal of time obtaining or using cannabis
- Having an uncontrollable urge, or craving, to use it
- Trying to stop or cut back and not being able to
- Foregoing other social or recreational activities in order to use cannabis
- Experiencing interpersonal conflicts as a result of your cannabis use
- Failing to fulfill obligations at work or at home as a result of use
- Putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations as a result of obtaining or using cannabis
- Continued use despite negative physical and psychological effects
- Developing tolerance — having to use more of the drug to achieve the same effect
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using cannabis, such as insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depressed mood and decreased appetite
Risk Factors Of Becoming Addicted To Weed
There are a few risk factors that can increase someone’s likelihood of developing cannabis use disorder. One is starting to use the drug as a teen.
“Cannabis use disorder occurs in all age groups, but it’s primarily a disease of young adults,” said Dr. David Gorelick, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “And there is evidence that the younger the age at which you start cannabis use, the faster you’ll develop cannabis use disorder and the more severe the disorder will be.”
Having another psychiatric diagnosis, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is also associated with an increased risk. One possible reason for the overlap is that some people self-medicate with cannabis, and the heavier a person’s use, the more likely they are to develop physical dependence.
“I would say if you’re smoking daily and in larger amounts, it’s going to be hard not to develop tolerance and withdrawal,” Dr. Brezing said. “But it’s possible not to have a cannabis use disorder and to use daily.”
Treatment Options For Marijuana Addiction
There are no medications approved to treat cannabis use disorder, but addiction psychiatrists will sometimes prescribe medications that can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, including a lack of appetite and insomnia.
Most interventions for cannabis use disorder involve different types of therapy, such as motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. These are aimed at helping people develop coping strategies to deal with cravings or a desire to use.
“You try and deal with triggers,” Dr. Jordan said. “You try to really figure out what is the motivation for you to stop using altogether and really strengthen those motivations.”
Therapy can also be helpful for people dealing with underlying psychiatric issues that might be prompting their use.
That was the case for Julian. After realizing he had a problem, he started seeing a therapist, who diagnosed him with anxiety and helped him manage his feelings in healthier ways.
Julian now smokes weed very rarely — only once every few months if an old friend is around. He doesn’t miss it, he said. “The clarity that I have now makes me realize that I wasn’t really paying attention to life around me before.”
Dana G. Smith is a reporter for the Well section, where she has written about everything from psychedelic therapy to exercise trends to Covid-19.