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Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

A young man works on his computer with a smile on his face.
Smoking pot is unlikely to kill you, but a marijuana addiction can make you less productive, less healthy and less successful.


It’s now legal to use marijuana recreationally in nine states. Marijuana doesn’t even come close to drugs like heroin or meth in terms of the damage it can inflict. And it can even be medically useful at times, as we have all come to learn.

But it’s also true that marijuana can be addictive.

In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that 30 percent of people who use it may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. That disorder is classified as addiction when the person using marijuana cannot stop, even though it’s affecting their life negatively. Studies suggest that about 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it.

And what does that mean? It means that when you try to stop using, it can be difficult due to withdrawal symptoms. One 2008 study that followed nearly 500 heavy users found that about a third of study participants started using again because of withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and irritability.

To be sure, marijuana is way easier to stop using than cocaine or even alcohol. But there are people who become addicted to marijuana and can’t stop using it, even though it negatively impacts their life.

Which brings us to our next question …

Can You Be Addicted to Marijuana and Be Healthy and Happy?

You may be asking what the harm is. If you can’t overdose on marijuana and it’s legal (at least in some states), what’s the big deal if you can’t stop using it?

There’s a reason the slang “pothead” came about. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time.” Some studies show an actual drop in intelligence for people who begin using it in adolescence. Other studies have also linked heavy marijuana use to lower income, greater welfare dependence, unemployment, criminal behavior and lower life satisfaction.

Marijuana use can also have a negative impact on lung health, resulting in a heavy cough and chronic bronchitis.

The bottom line? If you’re a marijuana user and can’t stop, you may need help facing your addiction.

Drug Rehab Programs in Denver

At The Raleigh House, we have a team of doctors, therapists, nurses and even a nutritionist who work together to help you learn to live a healthy and happy life—without marijuana or any other addictive substance. When you walk through our doors, our first goal is to make you feel safe and comfortable. You’re then assigned your own master’s level therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan for rehab—and to rebuild your life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the drug addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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