Marijuana addiction is B. S. !!

Marijuana “addiction is bull sh*t , and here is why.

“The U.S. government believes that America is going to pot — literally.

Earlier this month, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse announced plans to spend $4 million to establish the nation’s first-ever “Center on Cannabis Addiction,” which will be based in La Jolla, Calif. The goal of the center, according to NIDA’s press release, is to “develop novel approaches to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of marijuana addiction.”

Not familiar with the notion of “marijuana addiction”? You’re not alone. In fact, aside from the handful of researchers who have discovered that there are gobs of federal grant money to be had hunting for the government’s latest pot boogeyman, there’s little consensus that such a syndrome is clinically relevant — if it even exists at all.

But don’t try telling that to the mainstream press — which recently published headlines worldwide alleging, “Marijuana withdrawal rivals that of nicotine.” The alleged “study” behind the headlines involved all of 12 participants, each of whom were longtime users of pot and tobacco, and assessed the self-reported moods of folks after they were randomly chosen to abstain from both substances. Big surprise: they weren’t happy.

And don’t try telling Big Pharma — which hopes to cash in on the much-hyped “pot and addiction” craze by touting psychoactive prescription drugs like Lithium to help hardcore smokers kick the marijuana habit.

And certainly don’t try telling the drug “treatment” industry, whose spokespeople are quick to warn that marijuana “treatment” admissions have risen dramatically in recent years, but neglect to explain that this increase is due entirely to the advent of drug courts sentencing minor pot offenders to rehab in lieu of jail. According to state and national statistics, up to 70 percent of all individuals in drug treatment for marijuana are placed there by the criminal justice system. Of those in treatment, some 36 percent had not even used marijuana in the 30 days prior to their admission. These are the “addicts”?

Indeed, the concept of pot addiction is big business — even if the evidence in support of the pseudosyndrome is flimsy at best.

And what does the science say? Well, according to the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine — which published a multiyear, million-dollar federal study assessing marijuana and health in 1999 — “millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but most are not regular users [and] few marijuana users become dependent on it.” The investigator added, “[A]though [some] marijuana users develop dependence, they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.”

Just how less likely? According to the Institute of Medicine’s 267-page report, fewer than 10 percent of those who try cannabis ever meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of “drug dependence” (based on DSM-III-R criteria). By contrast, the IOM reported that 32 percent of tobacco users, 23 percent of heroin users, 17 percent of cocaine users and 15 percent of alcohol users meet the criteria for “drug dependence.”

In short, it’s the legal drugs that have Americans hooked — not pot.

But what about the claims that ceasing marijuana smoking can trigger withdrawal symptoms similar to those associated with quitting tobacco? Once again, it’s a matter of degree. According to the Institute of Medicine, pot’s withdrawal symptoms, when identified, are “mild and subtle” compared with the profound physical syndromes associated with ceasing chronic alcohol use — which can be fatal — or those abstinence symptoms associated with daily tobacco use, which are typically severe enough to persuade individuals to reinitiate their drug-taking behavior.

The IOM report further explained, “[U]nder normal cannabis use, the long half-life and slow elimination from the body of THC prevent[s] substantial abstinence symptoms” from occurring. As a result, cannabis’ withdrawal symptoms are typically limited to feelings of mild anxiety, irritability, agitation and insomnia.

Most importantly, unlike the withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of most other intoxicants, pot’s mild after-effects do not appear to be either severe or long-lasting enough to perpetuate marijuana use in individuals who have decided to quit. This is why most marijuana smokers report voluntarily ceasing their cannabis use by age 30 with little physical or psychological difficulty. By comparison, many cigarette smokers who pick up the habit early in life continue to smoke for the rest of their lives, despite making numerous efforts to quit.

So let’s review.

Marijuana is widely accepted by the National Academy of Sciences, the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and others to lack the severe physical and psychological dependence liability associated with most other intoxicants, including alcohol and tobacco. Further, pot lacks the profound abstinence symptoms associated with most legal intoxicants, including caffeine.

That’s not to say that some marijuana smokers don’t find quitting difficult. Naturally, a handful of folks do, though this subpopulation is hardly large enough to warrant pot’s legal classification (along with heroin) as an illicit substance with a “high potential for abuse.” Nor does this fact justify the continued arrest of more than 800,000 Americans annually for pot violations any more than such concerns would warrant the criminalization of booze or nicotine.”

Thanks to Paul Armentano, AlterNet for a great article!

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14 Comments

  1. ozymandiaz said,

    March 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Hell yea baby! I have smoke marijuana every day for twenty years and I’m not addicted!
    Just kidding
    I didn’t smoke any yesterday.

  2. cardona507 said,

    March 26, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Neither did I, I promise….

  3. March 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    I think everyones situation is different. I do believe that smoking Pot CAN lead to worse and more addictive drugs. Some people are addicted and need addiction help.

  4. cardona507 said,

    March 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I agree that all situations are different and addicted people need help not prison. But Marijuana DOES NOT lead to worse and more addictive drugs. Marijuana prohibition leads to worse drugs. By lumping marijuana with harder drugs, people are forced to buy it on the street, thus exposing them to worse and more addictive drugs. ITS A VICIOUS CYCLE

  5. pete said,

    March 27, 2008 at 10:18 am

    I’ve smoked pot off and on for FORTY years and I go weeks and months without even thinking about it. I’ve never known anyone who felt they HAD to smoke pot…but plenty who PREFER to do so (and why not…it’s fun). I’ve never heard of anyone who truly wanted to quit but was not able to do so. I can definately not say the same for alcohol or cigarettes.

  6. Liber Augest said,

    April 3, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Nice info.Added to favourites.

  7. Boudreux Kennetrik said,

    April 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    My ex sits and smokes 3 or 4 times a day, and packs a bong 3 or 4 times each time. He used to get right out of bed and start the day with a big bowl. If that is not addictive behavior, then what is it? He has also had a persistent, phlegmy cough for the past 8+ years. He claimed, “I can stop any time I want, I just don’t want to.” Sure! Don’t get me wrong, I am all for casual use, and definitely am an advocate for medical marijuana. I dunno, to me it is a little sad that one chooses to be high for the majority of the day. To me, that just doesn’t seem healthy.

  8. cardona507 said,

    April 14, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    The Second Oracle at Delphi-
    Nothing In excess

  9. May 23, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    The statistical “truth”: Marijuana has the third highest rate of dependence in the US (after heroin and crack). We recently wrote on this issue at Brain Blogger. I would like to hear your comments on our article. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Shaheen

  10. cardona507 said,

    May 26, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Your statistics are off Shaheen. Nicotine in Tobacco has a higher rate of dependence than heroin, crack, or marijuana….

  11. Susan said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I must agree that the “prohibition” of marijuana does lead to potentially getting involved in harder drugs. My reason being I have worked many ERs across our great nation to include HI. I have found a number of cases where an individual went to the streets to purchase marijuana and it was unfortunately laced with various hard drugs that the individual was not aware of and had sometimes nearly fatal responses. In other cases the individual was turned on to something they were not bargaining for……just think of the alcohol situation during prohibition!!!

  12. cardona507 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Susie Q, baby I love you…. Susie Q….

  13. January 3, 2009 at 2:35 am

    addiction itself is b.s., self control is what people have issues with.

  14. captnskydvier said,

    January 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve been smoking weed for more than four years almost day in – day out. Started with it more than 8 years ago. Also been smoking cigarettes for almost 10 years.
    Addictions can be divided one way in two major groups: physical and psychological. Heroin get’s you physically. Alcohol too. Heroin way more easily than alcohol.
    Marijuana? It is more psychological addiction than physical I think. I can go without it for a week with no problems. But when I try to stop smoking cigarettes I have problems within an hour or two. I finally managed to stop using nicotine some six months ago. It was hell, but I made it.
    I still use marijuana but not on daily basis as I did until 6 or 7 months ago, it’s more like every 3-4 days, one or two blunts and it’s always late PM. And what makes me smoke it still is just the idea of getting relaxed.
    Bad side is I get very lazy to get up in the morning to go to work. But I manage it every time and never had complaints about my work performance. Actually, the only problem with me is that I get very lazy, in body and mind, if I smoke a lot of weed (why, oh why? :o))
    So, marijuana alone is more of a psychological addiction problem, by my opinion, than anything else. It mostly depends on one’s psychological profile what is it going to be.
    Weed is my only bad deed. Cigarettes are legal, so I guess they don’t count ;o). I really don’t feel like I need some other “heavier stuff”. I like to be in control of my body and mind and marijuana makes me loose it in just the perfect amount.
    Actually I would like to live my life until it’s time to die of an old age, not overdose.


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