Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Marijuana facts
- What is marijuana, and how is it abused?
- What is medical marijuana? How is medical marijuana prescribed?
- What are other names for marijuana?
- What is the history and different types of marijuana?
- Is marijuana addictive?
- What are the psychological and social effects of abusing marijuana?
- What are the physical effects of abusing marijuana?
- What are the treatments for marijuana abuse and addiction?
- Can marijuana abuse and addiction be prevented?
- What is the prognosis of marijuana abuse and addiction?
- Where can people find more information about marijuana abuse and addiction?
Is marijuana addictive?
Numerous research studies show that marijuana is indeed an addictive substance. The rate of addiction to marijuana has increased for all age groups. Teens are using the drug at younger ages. About one out of every six adolescents who use marijuana develop addiction to it, and half the people who receive treatment for marijuana use are under the age of 25. While the frequency of use seems to have remained the same over the past several years, adults are becoming dependent on marijuana more often. Theories about potential reasons for that increase include increased access to marijuana that is of higher potency, as well as a lower age at which many individuals first use this drug.
The symptoms of addiction to marijuana are similar to those of any other addictive substance. As with any other drug, in order to qualify for the diagnosis of marijuana addiction, the individual must suffer from a negative pattern of use of this drug, which results in significant problems or suffering, with at least three of the following symptoms occurring at the same time in the same one year period:
- Tolerance (decreased effects of marijuana over time or needing to increase the amount used to achieve the desired effect)
- Withdrawal (characteristic symptoms that occur when the individual abstains from using marijuana for some days)
- Often taking marijuana in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than planned
- Persistent desire to use marijuana or trouble decreasing or controlling its use
- Spending significant time either obtaining marijuana (for example, buying, growing), using it, or recovering from its effects
- Significant social, educational, occupational, or leisure activities are either abandoned or significantly decreased as a result of marijuana's use
- Marijuana use continues despite being aware of or experiencing persistent or repeated physical or psychological problems as a result of its use
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are similar to those of other drugs, especially tobacco. Those symptoms usually start one to two days after last using marijuana and include irritability, anger, depression, insomnia, drug craving, and decreased appetite. These symptoms tend to interfere with the individual's attempts to stop using marijuana and can motivate the use of both marijuana and other drugs for relief. The symptoms of withdrawal tend to peak within four to six days and last from one to three weeks.
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