Marijuana is not commonly considered to be an addictive substance. In fact, many people would laugh if they heard the term “marijuana addiction”. Despite the public opinion, marijuana has very addictive qualities.
Because of its social acceptability, marijuana is very difficult to quit. Similar to alcohol addictions, people find themselves trapped in regular usage unaware that their behavior has become problematic. Even once an unhealthy pattern has been identified, it is still difficult to stop the addiction because it is easily rationalized as harmless and non-addictive. Although it is true that marijuana is less physically addicting than other drugs, the psychological addiction can be powerful.
Even the stigma that marijuana is harmless is false. Those caught in the daily pattern of marijuana use show all of the traditional symptoms of an addict. Although less severe than other drugs, the discontinued use of marijuana will cause traditional withdrawal symptoms as well. In 2012, over 950,000 people received some form of treatment for marijuana use. There are even Marijuana Anonymous groups organized which perform similar functions as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Marijuana use will undoubtedly increase as legalization efforts have increasingly more success. With this increase there is a greater need for marijuana addiction awareness, and treatment centers need to prepare to be able to treat more patients for such addictions.