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    Is Marijuana Addictive?

    The short answer is “Yes”. Some people will develop Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), which is the clinical name for marijuana addiction. The use of marijuana before the age of 18 is especially worrisome as teens are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop CUD than adults. It’s the primary reason young people enter substance use treatment. Additionally, research indicates that almost 30% of people who use marijuana may have a mild, moderate or severe form of CUD.

    What are the signs of Cannabis Use Disorder?

    There are 11 symptoms that healthcare professionals assess to determine if someone has a significant marijuana problem or addiction. Listed below are the symptoms followed by an example:

    1. Using more marijuana over longer periods of time than intended:
    Foster decides his “limit” is to smoke one joint on weekend nights, but over time he finds he is consuming more marijuana than his “limit” and/or on more evenings during the week.

    2. Unsuccessful efforts to cut back or quit:
    Jade wants to quit to pass a urine screen to get a job (or be on a sports team), but can’t.

    3. Spending a lot of time using marijuana:
    Alicia spends a great deal of time thinking about where to get marijuana and how to pay for it as well as when to use it and recover from its effects.

    4. Intense urges or cravings:
    Juan has very strong urges to use marijuana – often at bedtime or knowing that he is going to hang out with certain friends who smoke with him.

    5. Not fulfilling major responsibilities:
    Novak is letting school work slide, not completing chores at home and failing to do well at his part-time job because of his marijuana use.

    6. Using marijuana even though it causes relationship problems:
    Sage’s family members, friends, and coworkers are concerned about their marijuana use and want them to cut back or stop altogether.

    7. Giving up or cutting back on activities, hobbies and interests:
    Lachelle prefers using marijuana over attending family dinners, celebrations, or playing any of the sports she used to enjoy.

    8. Using marijuana in physically dangerous situations:
    Yasmin often uses marijuana before driving to work even though she knows she struggles to drive safely.

    9. Continuing to use marijuana despite physical or mental health problems:
    Carlos uses marijuana even though it is contributing to his depression and adding to his problems with blood pressure.

    10. Consuming larger amounts to get the same effect:
    Aiyanna has to use more and more marijuana to get the same feeling she once achieved with a much smaller amount.

    11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using marijuana:
    Jack feels very irritable and can’t sleep when he runs out of marijuana and can’t get more right away.

    Experiencing 2 or 3 symptoms within 12 months of using marijuana that results in impairment or distress is diagnosed as mild Cannabis Use Disorder.  Having 4 or 5 symptoms is diagnosed as moderate CUD while 6 or more is diagnosed as severe CUD. Healthcare professionals will recommend the kind of care that is needed depending on the severity of the disorder.

    What are marijuana withdrawal symptoms?

    People who have stopped using marijuana have reported several withdrawal symptoms including:

    • Sweating

    • Nervousness or anxiety

    • Depressed mood

    • Irritability or anger

    • Loss of appetite, stomach pain or nausea

    • Restlessness

    • Problems sleeping including vivid or strange dreams

    • Headaches

    Each person’s experience with these symptoms and how long they last depend on several factors. The amount of marijuana used and its frequency play a major role. Additionally, mental health or physical problems may result in more severe withdrawal symptoms. Research indicates that females seeking treatment may have more difficulties with withdrawal than males. Typically, the symptoms resolve within 2 to 4 weeks.

    Learn more about treatment options and ways to reduce the risks of marijuana to help loved ones.