With recreational marijuana legalized in 18 states and Washington D.C., and medical marijuana legal in another 37, millions of Americans are picking up the pipe daily. For most people, pot isn’t a problem, and they can use it and not develop a dependency. That’s not the case for everyone. Contrary to popular opinion, marijuana is an addictive substance. If you’ve been smoking a lot more than you used to, you might be wondering: am I addicted to weed if I smoke every day?
Is Marijuana Addictive?
The perceived low rate of addiction leads some marijuana advocates to assert the false claim that the drug is not addictive. Any mood-altering chemical carries a risk of addiction, and weed has no exemption.
According to a national survey conducted by the University of Michigan, 1 in 17 high school seniors reported smoking pot daily in 2018. The survey tracked trends from 1975 to 2018, and the survey also found the perceived risk of using marijuana fell significantly since the mid-2000s.
Because pot has become legalized in states that cover more than half the U.S. population, use is high. With the ease of access, the potential of addiction is also great. But like with alcohol, a majority of people who use marijuana do not become addicted.
For some people, dope, ganja, or whatever you call it, carries a significant risk of addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 30% of people who use marijuana may have marijuana use disorder. Studies published on their website also estimate that 40 million people in the U.S. meet the diagnostic criteria for marijuana use disorder. In 2015, 138,000 sought voluntary treatment for use.
Am I addicted to Weed?
An easy way to tell if you’ve developed a dependence is to ask yourself how you feel when you go without pot. Regular users report that people who use marijuana frequently report irritability, trouble sleeping, cravings, restlessness, and various other forms of physical discomfort. Marijuana dependence happens when the brain becomes used to large amounts of THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or the psychoactive chemical responsible for the “high”) by decreasing the production of and sensitivity to its endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
A general definition of addiction describes a person who can’t stop using a substance despite negative consequences or interference in one’s life. Marijuana use disorder becomes an addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of their life. Current estimates of the number of people considered addicted to marijuana provoke controversy since substance abuse studies often use dependence and addiction interchangeably. Often, they don’t account for the possibility that someone may be dependent on Weed but not addicted. However, studies suggest that about 9% of people using pot will eventually be addicted, and that number rises to 17% for people who began using in their teens.
Signs of Marijuana Addiction
It’s often said that the first step is admitting you have a problem. You’re already asking the question: am I addicted to weed if I smoke every day? But it can be hard to recognize and accept that you may be addicted to cannabis. Below are nine signs that you’ve been smoking too much chronic.
- Marijuana tolerance: you need to smoke more or consume more edibles to get the same high
- Marijuana withdrawal: you feel irritable, can’t sleep or increased anxiety
- Unable to cut down or stop using marijuana: you find yourself powerless to stop using when you’re want to quit
- Using to escape: you smoke more when you feel guilty or anxious about family or relationship problems, stress at school or work
- Smoking more than you intended: if you intended only to smoke half a joint but ended up smoking the entire thing
- Spending a lot of time getting high: if you spend a lot of time getting high, looking for bud, or wanting to do a dab
- Choosing friends and activities based on the ability to get high: you choose friends and locations to hang out because you know you’ll be able to smoke
- Getting high in spite of consequences: your significant other, a parent, school or work has told you that your marijuana consumption is affecting performance or relationships
- Thinking you need marijuana to relax or have fun: you need to get high before activities or consistently use pot to relax
To answer the question, “am I addicted to weed if I smoke every day?” the answer is probably, or you’re soon to be. It may seem harmless, but there are consequences of chronic marijuana consumption. As you’ve read above, it can cost someone a job or even a marriage. Despite Weed being legal in 18 states, you can still lose all federal government funding for college if you receive a citation for possession or consuming marijuana. If you’re a college student under the age of 21, and even if you live in Colorado, the U.S. Department of Education can and will revoke Pell grants and your ability to receive government-backed student loans. You’ll also be ineligible for work-study programs.
The good news is that marijuana addiction can be treated. At AspenRidge Recovery, we offer several levels of care to help you kick the habit. Our customized outpatient programs will fit your situation and provide the flexibility needed to keep work or attend school. Call us now at 855-281-5588 to talk to an admission specialist for a free quick, and easy assessment.