Marijuana Addiction Is Real And Rising, According To Health Officials

An estimated 9 percent of marijuana users are addicted to it.

Group of teenagers smoking marijuana
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An estimated 9 percent of marijuana users are addicted to it.

The town of San Francisco is credited as the starting line for the normalization of the marijuana culture. According to the Washington Post, so many of the residents of this California city have consumed marijuana for so long, the practice becoming legal at the beginning of this year didn’t really change much.

For the teenagers of California, smoking marijuana was almost a rite of passage.

While some medical experts argue marijuana addiction has always been a thing, they also believe it is something the public doesn’t know exists. In some cases, some people even argue it doesn’t exist. The Washington Post notes marijuana addiction is a “well-defined disorder” that, like any other addiction, includes cravings, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms.

Today, medical experts believe marijuana addiction is on the rise. They also believe it is likely a combination of the increased potency of THC in genetically engineered marijuana plants and the fact that a lot of people consume marijuana several times a day. The slow and steady legalization of recreational marijuana is also believed to be adding fuel to the fire.

David Smith, a physician who has spent a large portion of his career treating all forms of addiction since he opened a free clinic in San Francisco, believes whether marijuana addiction exists should not be a controversial topic of discuss, as he sees it every single day in his clinic.

“We see it every day. The controversy should be why it appears to be affecting more people,” he explained.

While there really isn’t an accurate number of marijuana users in the United States – and the estimates obtained by various organizations tend to vary – most agree the total number remains consistent. If anything, there has been a slight increase over the last year with cannabis becoming commercially available in a few different states. The biggest reason why the numbers tend to vary is because a lot of people have a difference in opinion regarding what qualifies a person as a marijuana user. Namely, how many times does a person have to consume marijuana to be considered a user?

Statistically, about 9 percent of marijuana users develop an addiction to it and 17 percent of individuals with the addiction have been smoking (or consuming) it since they were a teenager. So, it isn’t too surprising for the number of individuals addicted to be particularly high in the state of California given the fact that most teenagers feel as though consuming marijuana is a rite of passage.

While marijuana addiction does exist, it doesn’t work as quickly as other drugs, nor is the rate of addiction as high as other drugs. It can take months or even years for a person to become dependent on marijuana.

Hand holding marijuana
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To date, there has never been a case or report of someone overdosing on marijuana and dying. There has also never been report of someone experiencing marijuana withdrawal symptoms such as sweats, chills, cravings, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability, and anxiety.

Despite the statistics and despite having multiple medical experts confirm marijuana addiction is legitimate, they are still having trouble convincing a large portion of the public it exists