What Is Pot Addiction?

Pot addiction is no different from other types of addiction. Research indicates that up to 25 percent of regular, long-term users of marijuana may be vulnerable to developing dependency, and 10 percent are subject to developing full-blown addiction.

Chronic abuse of pot can have a number of damaging health consequences. Some significant effects of regular use include impaired concentration, memory lapses, lack of ability to concentrate and impaired ability to learn new tasks. In chronic users, some of these effects can be long-term, although cognitive function can improve.

One study indicated that heavy marijuana users experienced impairments in several important areas, including physical and mental health, thinking and learning abilities, and social and family relationships. This impairment was also extended to the user’s capacity to function in their careers. Research also associates marijuana abuse with increased work absences, tardiness, accidents, and job loss.

What Is Pot Addiction?

In terms of its physical effects, pot addiction increases the risk of certain cancers. Marijuana smoke contains a high concentration of carcinogens, and the habit of inhaling deeply and holding the smoke in their lungs means that those abusing pot are exposing lung tissues to high levels of these carcinogenic chemicals. Not surprisingly, chronic pot abusers suffer a number of respiratory complications. One study of 450 frequent pot abusers found that they had a higher number of absences from work due, in particular, to lung infections and respiratory illnesses.

In terms of psychological effects, pot addiction has been linked with increased risk of certain mental disorders, including heightened anxiety, panic disorder and depression. High intake of marijuana has been known to provoke psychotic reactions in vulnerable individuals, and is a significant risk for those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Pot abuse is also generally linked to poor concentration, memory lapses and impaired cognitive ability.

Long-term and chronic pot abusers have reported experiencing significant pot addiction withdrawal symptoms upon trying to stop use of the substance. These symptoms range from increased irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, nausea and insomnia to intense cravings for the substance. Heavy marijuana users who try to quit abruptly may find themselves smoking again to reduce withdrawal symptoms, according to researchers. Nearly one-third of those in a study of 500 chronic pot abusers who were trying to overcome addiction resumed smoking in an effort to decrease symptoms of irritability and anxiety.

There are various ways in which an abuser can ultimately overcome the problem of pot addiction, but one of the most popular means by which this can be done is through registering for rehabilitation programs. Here, users are counseled and taught various ways to cope with the consequences of addiction, as well as provided with skills that help them to deal with stressors in a healthier way.