Cannabis addiction is a subject that warrants revisiting from time to time. To pretend that some people do not develop harmful cannabis dependencies would be irresponsible and ignorant. The chances of developing a cannabis addiction may be slim to say the least, but it is a possibility nonetheless.
Particularly in an era where growing and consuming cannabis is more popular than ever before, it’s important to view the subject of addiction openly and objectively.
How Many People Are Affected by Cannabis Addiction?
Exact numbers are difficult to come by, given the sensitivity of the subject. Not only this, but there is still no concrete definition as to what cannabis addiction is. Signs and symptoms vary significantly from one person to the next, so hard data is still relatively thin on the ground.
Nevertheless, a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States suggests that approximately 9% of those who consider themselves regular cannabis users will develop dependencies. Not necessarily addictions by definition, but dependencies on cannabis nonetheless.
The study also found that there are certain factors that can strongly influence the likelihood of an individual developing a cannabis dependency. Examples of which include their age, predispositions to addictive behaviour, existing health issues (psychological or physical) and so on.
Criteria for Cannabis Addiction
This is where things get tricky, as what some consider to be normal and controlled cannabis use, others would call indications of a severe issue. This makes it difficult to define formal criteria for cannabis addiction, though experts advise being on the lookout for the following warning signs:
- Consuming cannabis out of necessity rather than pleasure
- Needing more cannabis all the time to feel the same effect
- Anxiety at the thought of going without cannabis for hours or days
- The inability to get through a day without cannabis
- Using other people’s money to fund a cannabis habit
- Spending money on cannabis you simply cannot afford
- Cannabis habits impacting your responsibilities and commitments
- Issues with friends, family or work because of cannabis use
- Attempts to reduce or quit cannabis use that have failed
- Wanting to quit or cut down but being unable to do so
- Regularly consuming far more cannabis than you intended to
These are just a few of the most common warning signs of a potential cannabis problem. All of which should be acknowledged and addressed at the earliest possible stage - perhaps with expert intervention if required.
A Cause for Concern?
While it is technically true to say that cannabis can be addictive, it isn’t quite the same as with other controlled substances. Examples of which include alcohol, tobacco, heroin and other recreational drugs - all of which are considered dangerously addictive on an entirely different level.
Cannabis addiction falls into a somewhat different category of dependency - one that can apply to a much broader range of things. From a scientific perspective, it is perfectly possible to develop a dependency on or an addiction to anything. Gambling, shopping, food, sex, pornography - all of which can have a devastating affect on the lives of those concerned.
As for whether cannabis addiction represents a cause for concern, the short answer is yes. But at the same time, only to the same extent as dozens of other types of addictions and dependencies people can develop at any time of life.
For most, the key to preventing the development of unhealthy cannabis habits lies in making sensible and proactive lifestyle choices. Not to mention, ensuring that any possible signs and symptoms of addiction are identified and addressed at the earliest possible stage.
Unfortunately, there will always be those who are far more susceptible to issues with addiction than others. Hence, anyone with a history of addiction is typically advised to avoid cannabis entirely. The same also applying to those with a history of certain psychological health issues, which can likewise increase the likelihood of developing a dependency.