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Is Marijuana Addictive?

is marijuana addictive?

If any substance is mind or mood altering, it has the potential to be addictive. While marijuana is not as addictive as say, heroin, which releases specific endorphins that alter responses in the brain, it is a mind or mood altering substance.

Marijuana is a mixture of the dried flowers of cannabis sativa. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana responsible for most of the intoxicating effects that people seek, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many people experience a pleasant euphoria and sense of relaxation. Some also experience heightened sensory perception, laughter, altered perception of time, and increased appetite.

Think Marijuana Isn’t Addictive Or Isn’t A Big Deal?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that contains close to 500 chemicals, including THC, a mind-altering compound that causes harmful health effects. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Research shows that: 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted, and 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted.”

The common perception of marijuana is that it’s no big deal because it’s a let-down drug, you can’t overdose, and there is nothing bad that can happen. But the truth is, marijuana is a gateway drug. Someone might not go from marijuana one day, to cocaine the next day, but people who use marijuana will be around other social circles that have access to other substances. So while the next thing might not be cocaine, maybe it’s mushrooms or acid or hallucinogens.

Marijuana vs Alcohol

While being intoxicated with marijuana feels different than being intoxicated with alcohol, the two have a similar effect on your cognitive abilities, reflexes, and judgment.

Alcohol - unlike marijuana - can leave you feeling a bit worse for wear the next day, making marijuana the preferred choice for some. But while it feels like the marijuana is gone the next day and your substance use the day prior is no biggie and in the past - detectable amounts of THC may remain in the body for days or even weeks after use. This is why you can get up the next day and not feel awful, whereas alcohol leaves your body at a quicker pace, leaving you feeling a bit worse for wear.

Does that mean the tapered, slower release of marijuana is better because you don’t feel the effect the next day? That depends. If you take a drug test the following day, marijuana will be present but alcohol will not.

Marijuana Treatment

Wondering if your marijuana use has become an addiction? You will start seeing symptoms like:

  • Increased tolerance - need more and more marijuana to get the desired effect

  • Fixation - wanting marijuana so badly you can’t concentrate on anything else

  • Spending a great deal of time or energy using, or obtaining

  • Interpersonal problems - when our substance use is starting arguments or is a source of contention from parent/spouse/friend

If you have any of these symptoms, your marijuana use may already be a cause for concern. Schedule a screening assessment with one of the knowledgeable and compassionate counselors at Care Addiction Center.

Care Addiction Center can help treat marijuana addiction with a wide array of modalities to help change your habits, behaviors and bring about the change in your life that eliminates the addiction.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - exploring the relationship between one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors to modify the addictive behaviors.

  • Solution Focused Counseling - to assist with reducing cravings & urges

  • Accountability / THC Level Monitoring

These modalities will help you change:

  • Lifestyle Patterns - eliminating or changing past patterns

  • Creating Healthy Relationships - bringing in support systems to lean on and use in a healthy way, instead of pushing them away

Getting Help For Addiction

If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drugs, or is suffering from addiction, professional help may be the best option for recovery.

At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 

To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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