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Marijuana Abuse — Is It Addictive?

woman smoking marijuana

Marijuana is a drug that is made up of a mixture of the dried plant matter (stems, flowers, seeds) of the cannabis plant. There are a variety of ways a person can use marijuana including: smoking via water pipes (bongs), hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), blunts (marijuana rolled in a partially or fully emptied out cigar case), vaped (through a vaporizer), brewed into tea, and/ or baked into food (edibles). The chemical that is responsible for the intoxicating, psychoactive effects of marijuana is known as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). There are a variety of effects that can occur from marijuana abuse, depending on the person, strain of marijuana, as well as the method of ingestion. Some examples of commonly reported effects, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that occur from marijuana abuse include any combination of the following:

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Dry mouth
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Relaxation
  • Increased appetite
  • Heightened body sensations
  • Stimulation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Distorted perception
  • Increased heart rate
  • Impaired memory
  • Foggy thinking
  • Decreased problem solving abilities

The frequency of use, whether or not an individual is abusing other substances simultaneously, as well as the individual’s personal health history can also contribute to the far-ranging effects of marijuana abuse. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, marijuana has been shown to impair one’s driving performance for up to three hours.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

An addiction occurs when a person’s body becomes more used to functioning with the presence of the foreign substance in its system than without. Many people view marijuana as a safe drug due to the fact that it is comprised solely of organic matter that has not been chemically tampered with. As such, there is significant controversy surrounding whether or not marijuana is addictive, especially as it becomes legalized in certain states across the country. However, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified marijuana as a Schedule I Substance, which are defined as “drugs, substances, or chemicals…with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” 

It is important to note, that even though marijuana may not hold significant intrinsic addictive characteristics, habitual abuse of the substance can lead to marijuana use disorder. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes marijuana use disorder as taking the form of addiction in severe cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in ten marijuana users over the age of eighteen will become addicted, and affects younger people even more, as one in six marijuana users under the age of eighteen will become addicted. 

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous, and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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