In recent years, the debate surrounding cannabis addiction has become more prominent. With the continuing legalization of marijuana in several states and countries, concerns about its potentially addictive properties have increased. But as headline articles skyrocket, many in the scientific community and cannabis industry wonder if the growing concern is driven by fear and propaganda rather than scientific facts.
Last week, the New York Times published an article on weed addiction, which sparked further discussion on the topic both within and outside the cannabis industry. While it is true that some individuals can develop a dependency on cannabis, the article’s focus on weed addiction fails to recognize the broader picture of cannabis use and the potential benefits that it can provide.
While cannabis addiction does exist, many argue it is not as serious as alcohol abuse in young people and adults. And let’s not forget about the rising opioid and fentanyl epidemic that takes more than 100 innocent lives per day. With hundreds of people dying every day from fentanyl, should cannabis addiction truly be our focus as a nation?
We are not trying to minimize the severity for those who experience cannabis addiction, but we do believe it is important to look at the plant from a wide-lens perspective to avoid demonizing those who use cannabis or work in the industry and do not suffer from cannabis dependence. In fact, many of those who advocate for cannabis legalization do not consume marijuana at all.
In this article, we will examine the issue of cannabis addiction more broadly and provide a non-judgemental perspective on the matter. We’ll discuss signs of cannabis addiction, explore strategies that can be used to quit using cannabis naturally and explain the potential benefits of cannabis.
What are the signs of weed addiction?
Cannabis addiction, also known as marijuana use disorder, can be difficult to identify. Typically, marijuana addiction is characterized by the inability to stop using cannabis despite negative consequences.
Some common signs of cannabis addiction may include:
- Increased tolerance to the effects of cannabis
- Withdrawal symptoms when cannabis use is stopped
- Difficulty controlling cannabis use
- Neglecting responsibilities in order to use cannabis
- Continued use of cannabis despite negative consequences
- Loss of interest in day-to-day activities outside of cannabis use
If you or someone you know is showing marijuana addiction symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist to determine the best course of action for recovery.
How serious is weed addiction?
While it is true that some individuals can develop an addiction to cannabis, it is important to recognize that cannabis addiction is relatively rare among consumers.
According to a report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only about 9% of adult cannabis users and 17% of those who began using as teens will develop an addiction to the substance. However, a more recent meta-analysis estimates cannabis use disorder to be closer to 13% after factoring in the rise in high-potency products and legalization.
In comparison, alcohol abuse is a much more widespread concern among young people and adults. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 14.5 million adults over 18 years old had alcohol use disorder in 2019.
Is Weed Addiction Really a Growing Concern?
The reality is this: we just don’t know enough yet. There is far more research on substances such as alcohol and nicotine than there is on cannabis. And to make matters more difficult, there are a ton of factors that need to be controlled for in order to accurately research cannabis addiction. For example, socioeconomic status, comorbid use of additional substances, the extent of use, mental health disorders, education, sex, race and other factors all play into how an individual experiences cannabis.
As Harvard professor and addiction specialist Kevin Hill stated in 2020, “We know a lot more about both the benefits and risks of cannabis use, although I would say that the rate and scale of research have not kept pace with the interest.”
While we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the potential harms of cannabis, we should be doing our due diligence to ensure we are looking into the research that is being published. Some things to consider when doing your own digging about cannabis abuse include funding, politics and research-specific validity and paradigms.
How to Stop Smoking Weed Naturally
If you’re looking to stop smoking weed naturally, several strategies may be helpful. One approach is to vary your routine and avoid triggering the desire to use cannabis at certain times of the day.
Another approach is to set a deadline for quitting and figure out how much you’ll need to cut back in order to meet that goal, perhaps using a tapering strategy such as reducing the amount you smoke each day or switching to a lower-potency cannabis product.
If you have tried to quit smoking weed on your own and found it difficult, you may want to consider reaching out to a healthcare professional or addiction specialist for additional support.
What are the Benefits of Cannabis?
While it is important to acknowledge the potential risks associated with cannabis use, it is equally important to recognize the potential benefits it can provide. Cannabis has been shown to have medicinal properties, and it can also be used for relaxation, endurance and as an aid for mental health disorders.
For those who do not abuse the plant or use it in excessively high doses, cannabis can provide relief for many aspects of people’s lives. For instance, cannabis has been found to have therapeutic effects on chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety and sleep disorders.
Additionally, cannabis has been shown to have the potential to treat epilepsy and other neurological conditions. Overall, while the use of cannabis is a complex issue, its medicinal properties have shown great potential and could be used to improve many people’s lives.
Taking an Unbiased Approach
When talking about cannabis addiction, it is crucial not to pack every cannabis user into the same category because in reality, the harmful effects that have been reported are likely not applicable to most cannabis users, especially those who consume cannabis in small medicinal and recreational doses.
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