There is a question that has stirred many fires throughout the history of addiction; a question that has been raised by lobbyists, people in recovery, and the government, as well as countless others. Can marijuana – a drug that is often regarded as nothing more than a medicinal herb, or even excluded from the category of drugs altogether – be addictive?
There are many millions of people who use marijuana to differing levels, and some of those people who generally be classified as addicts. Many who use it say that they do so specifically for its medicinal properties, but let’s not fool ourselves. Marijuana is a drug. It changes the way a user feels by activating pleasure centers in the brain which cause euphoria, as well as a myriad of other effects. As with cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, activating these pleasure centers in the brain can have the effect of creating new neural pathways that spell out, quite simply, that marijuana brings happiness and contentment. The survival, or lizard brain created an association between using marijuana and feeling at peace, which can be very dangerous for someone who is prone to addictive behaviors. In short, marijuana does not differ from any other substance that activates the pleasure centers in this way, and does have the potential to be addictive.
People rely on outlets such as media to influence the way that they look at using drugs, such as marijuana. They see people using it with what seems to be impunity, but are blinded to the ugly truth that lay there. In truth everyone is different, with different brain chemistry, but there is another truth that comes with that knowledge. Some people are more susceptible than others to become addicted to marijuana. It may be a matter of genetic predisposition, or it could be a roll of the proverbial dice, but it is clear, particularly in light of the millions of testimonies that would support it, that marijuana, like any drug that activates the pleasure centers, can be addictive.
For a hard user, as opposed to an addict, marijuana is not necessarily addictive. It’s merely a question of whether the user is an addict or not. If they are an addict, and are prone to addictive behaviors such a video games, food, other drugs, sex or alcohol, marijuana can certainly be addictive. It’s a matter of consequences. If someone who uses marijuana and faces consequences can put it down as a result of those consequences, then they may not be an addict, and marijuana may not be an addiction for them, but if someone who uses marijuana and faces consequences continues to use regardless of those consequences, they may be suffering from the disease of addiction, and may need further help.
The answer to the question depends on the person using the drug. People can become addicted to marijuana if they are prone to addictive behaviors, and even though marijuana does not have the characteristics of a drug that makes the user physically dependent on it, it does have the characteristic of making certain people psychologically dependent on it. It really just depends on whether you are an addict or not.