As with other types of illicit drugs, marijuana abuse can lead to addiction. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about one in every 11 marijuana users will become addicted.
The difference between abuse and addiction is defined less by how often a person engages in an activity and more by how difficult it is for a person to cope without the activity or stop it for any length of time.
It is difficult to say how much marijuana use causes dependence. It likely varies among individuals. It’s also possible for you to become dependent on marijuana without becoming addicted. Dependence and addiction occur in two different areas of the brain. However, it’s common for dependence and addiction to develop together.
Marijuana potency has increased in the past 20 years. A stronger THC level increases the chances of addiction. According to the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, addiction is likely both physical and psychological. When physically addicted, your body craves the drug. When psychologically addicted, you consciously desire the drug’s effects.
Symptoms of marijuana addiction are similar to symptoms of addiction to other drugs.
Common symptoms are:
- increased tolerance
- continued use, even if it interferes with other areas of life
- disengagement from friends and family
- withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms generally start about three weeks after the last use. Marijuana addiction withdrawal symptoms may include:
- weight loss