Causes & Effects of Marijuana Addiction

Understanding Marijuana Addiction

Learn About Marijuana Addiction & Abuse

Also known as pot, weed, and cannabis, marijuana can lead to countless negative repercussions in an individual’s life. Contrary to popular belief, by abusing this substance, individuals are placing themselves at risk for social hindrances, occupational and academic problems, and relationship detriments. Furthermore, those who abuse marijuana are also susceptible to experiencing adverse health complications. Despite these negative consequences, many individuals fall into a pattern of continually using pot due to the desirable effects that it elicits. Contentment, relaxation, and a sense of being detached from one’s surroundings are known to result from the use of marijuana, and these effects can be enough to keep individuals continuing to use this substance, even when negative outcomes arise as a result.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), when an individual abuses marijuana to the extent that it begins to hinder his or her ability to function appropriately, resulting in clinically significant impairment or distress, he or she may be suffering from cannabis use disorder. While an addiction to marijunana can be difficult to overcome, with the implementation of appropriate, professional intervention, the compulsion to continue using marijuana can be successfully defeated.


Marijuana Abuse Statistics

According to the APA, cannabinoids, specifically marijuana, are the most prominently used of all psychoactive substances. The 12-month prevalence of cannabis use disorder among adults in the United States is cited as being approximately 1.5%. The rate of marijuana addiction is higher among males (2.2%)than among females (0.8%).

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Marijuana Abuse

The following are among the causes and risk factors that have been known to increase an individual’s susceptibility to suffering from cannabis use disorder:

Genetic: Individuals who have a family history of substance abuse, including marijuana abuse, are at a higher risk for struggling with the same type of substance abuse than are individuals who do not have the same type of family history.

Environmental: Certain environmental factors can impact a person’s vulnerability to abusing marijuana and subsequently suffering from the onset of cannabis use disorder. For example, the APA states that having a low socioeconomic status, living in an unstable family environment, suffering from abuse or neglect, smoking tobacco, or having a history of academic failure can all increase an individual’s likelihood for beginning to abuse marijuana. Furthermore, when people are surrounded by other individuals who abuse substances, whether it is marijuana or another type of drug, they are more likely to participate in the same type of behavior.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Suffering from antisocial personality disorder
  • Suffering from conduct disorder during childhood or adolescence
  • Being the victim of abuse and/or neglect
  • Lacking inhibition
  • Having easy access to marijuana

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Abuse

The signs and symptoms that can be indicative that someone is suffering from cannabis use disorder will inevitably vary from person to person. Examples of such signs and symptoms may include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Being in possession of drug paraphernalia
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Unexplained absences from work or school
  • Decline in performance at work or school
  • Engaging in behaviors that could be deemed risky or reckless
  • Withdrawing from friends and family members

Physical symptoms:

  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Dry mouth
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Increased appetite

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Perceptual disturbances
  • Impaired judgment
  • Experiencing the sensation of time slowing down

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Declined interest in things that one once found pleasurable

Lasting Effects

Effects of Marijuana Abuse

As was previously mentioned, the abuse of marijuana can result in a number of detriments arising in an individual’s life. Not only can cognitive and psychosocial functioning be negatively impacted, but one’s overall physical health can be comprised as well. Examples of effects that can arise as a result of chronic marijuana use can include the following:

  • Disturbances in one’s ability to perform occupationally, potentially leading to job loss or demotion
  • Disturbances in one’s ability to perform academically, potentially leading to academic failure, suspension, or expulsion
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Interaction with law enforcement
  • Disturbed social relationships
  • Familial strife, including divorce or loss of child custody
  • Suffering from an acute episode of psychosis
  • Onset of new, or worsening of preexisting, symptoms of mental health disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

Marijuana Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Cannabis use disorder can occur alongside other mental health disorders. Examples of some such disorders may include the following:

  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Bipolar I disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depressive disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Marijuana Withdrawal & Overdose

The APA states that when individuals abruptly stop using marijuana after having done so daily or near-daily for an extended period of time, they are at risk for suffering from symptoms associated with cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawing from marijuana is typically not as dangerous as going through withdrawal from other substances, like alcohol or opioids, but it can still cause an individual to suffer from an immense amount of distress. Examples of possible symptoms that can develop during the period of withdrawal from marijuana may include the following:

  • Sudden and unwarranted anger or aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Shakiness / tremors
  • Chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Depressed mood
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My son began smoking dope with his friends. His grades in college kept falling. My wife and I decided the best option for him would be to get treatment and refocus on what he wants to achieve with himself. Serenity Knolls helped him not only quit his habit but also take control of his life.

– John. F