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Are You a Cannabis Addict?

Are you a cannabis addict? It's not always easy to tell, but it deserves a closer examination.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 11 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 got high smoking weed in 2015. During the years since then, not only has marijuana become legal in more areas, but the usage of the herb is also more widely accepted. Of all the “illegal” drugs—because it is still illegal in many states, even medicinally—it is used the most often. This is a no judgment zone on that account, as there are both pros and cons of marijuana legalization. However, the mistake is in believing that because it's a recreational drug and addiction rates are incredibly low, it cannot be addictive at all. While addiction to marijuana is rare, the truth is simple: If you've ever stopped to ask yourself, “Self, are you a cannabis addict?” The chances that you have a problem (and you, yourself, probably) are high.

Is it even possible?

You can smoke marijuana without becoming an addict. Marijuana addiction isn't the same as an addiction to a harder narcotic, such as opioids. More than anything, withdrawal is the bigger problem, as it comes with a variety of symptoms that make life miserable.

One issue is that marijuana use can result in a substance abuse disorder called marijuana use disorder, meaning that you rely on the drug so much that it affects all aspects of your life. In people who are predisposed to addiction, reliance on weed is, many times, more likely to develop. That's one of the reason why critics call marijuana a “gateway drug,” along with alcohol and tobacco. You won't automatically want to try stronger substances just because you smoke pot, but if you have a family history of addiction or substance abuse, then you need to be aware of the effects of getting high in any regard.

You build up a tolerance.

In answering the question, “Are you a cannabis addict?” you need to go a step further and think about how much you smoke. Do it too much, and you build up a tolerance that makes it difficult to stop using the drug. This is a common problem among long term users. Even trying to cut down your usage can lead to withdrawal symptoms. One reason for this is an increase in THC levels. In the United States, the average THC levels in marijuana used to hover around 10-14 percent, depending on where it grew. These days, approximately 18 percent is the average in most areas, but it's not uncommon to find flowers with levels higher than 20 percent.

It's not impossible to smoke stronger weed than you mean to unless you pay attention to the THC in each strain you try. Regardless, the more you smoke, the less you feel the effects. After that, events unfold rather naturally.

You smoke too much.

Specifically, people combat their tolerance by smoking more. That isn't helped by rising THC levels, either. If you find that you can't get through the day without smoking more and more weed just to get by and feel okay, then it may behoove you to ask yourself if marijuana addiction is a possibility.

You maintain an inability to decrease usage.

You have a problem when you can't comfortably ease off your daily minimum,  or how much weed it takes for you to make it through the day without feeling bad. Some people can stop smoking without an issue. An inability to cut back without experiencing withdrawal may point to addiction, or at least an unhealthy reliance.

Cannabis occupies too much of your time.

Do you have a weed addiction? Answer this: Do you devote all or most of your time to smoking, or thinking about getting high? Addicted users find ways to smoke wherever they are, including at work or school. They smoke in cars, parking lots, and out-of-the-way nooks, finding any reasons to get high, no matter what they're supposed to be doing. They just need that push to get them from one activity to the next.

You show disinterest in other activities.

Many of the signs and symptoms of marijuana dependence seep in over time. The change is gradual until you step back and look at the bigger picture. Losing interest in the activities you once loved is one such sign. If it doesn't involve weed, it doesn't capture your attention. That's also a symptom of poor mental health. It's commonly seen in people with depression.

You base your decisions around getting high.

Smokers who develop a dependence on weed don't want to do things that don't involve getting high. They won't go to certain places where they can't smoke, have an edible, or use a vape. They rarely hang out with others who aren't okay with their habit. That can lead to isolation from friends and family members just because they don't use marijuana.

You use marijuana in spite of everything.

Ask the question: Are you a cannabis addict? Do you continue using it in spite of the isolation, the broken relationships, and the limitations on your social life? Continuing to get high to the detriment of so many positive aspects of your life is a sign of dependence, if not outright addiction. As with all things, however, admitting that you have a problem is the first step.

You get high as an escape.

Getting high provides a pleasant sensation to most people. Using it to escape your reality takes it a step too far. At that point, it becomes a mental health problem that could lead you down a dangerous road. If you recognize smoking weed as essential to get through your day, it's a good time to go further and look into treatment options. There is no reason to rely on the drug to take you away from your real life.

You self-medicate.

Similarly, self-medicating with marijuana can, in certain instances, point to substance abuse. Before asking, “Are you a cannabis addict?” you need to consider why you may be medicating yourself. There's no doubt that marijuana use has health benefits, and it is said you can use cannabis to reduce opioid dependence. In fact, some users find that smoking weed helps with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and a variety of other issues. The difference, though, is that they don't over-medicate; they use the drug for their problems, not just to be high. You're not genuinely self-medicating if you're high all the time and can't function without it.

You feel feelings of depression or fatigue even after you've smoked.

On the opposite end of things, marijuana may make you feel more depressed and fatigued. That could be because you use it too much, or it might occur anytime you try to stop smoking. Drug and alcohol dependency make you feel worse, never better. At that stage, addiction treatment may be the healthiest course of action.

Are you a cannabis addict? Be proactive. Get in touch with some treatment centers in your area and talk about your options. You don't have to live a life where you're unhappy, uninterested in life, and tethered to a drug that no longer makes you feel good.

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