Addiction to Marijuana on the Rise


Addiction to marijuana is expected to rise substantially as states loosen medical marijuana laws and allow recreational marijuana use. Currently, two states allow marijuana use as a recreational drug, Colorado and Washington State, and 22 states allow marijuana for medical purposes. On May 30, the Republican controlled House voted 219-189 to stop the Justice Department from prosecuting the use of medical marijuana in states whose legislatures have approved the drug for medical purposes. The vote signals a significant relaxation of drug control policies begun under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. Advocates of addiction relief are not pleased with the vote.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), using marijuana for an extended period of time can lead to addiction. It is estimated that 9 percent of marijuana users will become addicted to the drug. This percentage increases to almost 17 percent if the user started to smoke marijuana in their early teens. If the person uses marijuana daily, the rate of addiction is 25 to 30 percent. The NIH measures addiction by its withdrawal symptoms. Addicted marijuana users trying to quit will feel symptoms similar to nicotine withdrawal. They will report being irritable, have difficulty sleeping, experience anxiety, and feel a craving to use the drug again. Addicted marijuana users trying to quit will also show increased aggression after they used the drug last.

A report last year by Colorado State University estimated that over 665,000 Coloradans will use recreational marijuana in 2014. A similar report by the RAND corporation estimated Washington State marijuana users numbered around 610,000 in 2012. These numbers are expected to rise as marijuana use is introduced to a larger percentage of the population. By NIH estimates, the number of marijuana addicts in these states is expected to be over 114, 000 persons, a number that will increase depending on the amount of daily use, and how soon users were introduced to the drug.

Marijuana and heroin use are on the rise in the United States overall. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 7.3 percent of Americans over 12 years of age self-reported the use of marijuana in 2012, an increase from previous years. In addition, 50,000 more heroin users self-reported in 2012 than in 2011. The number of non-medical new-users of marijuana also saw an increase to 2.4 million people. Other drugs that saw increases in non-medical first-time users were painkillers, tranquilizers, Ecstasy, and cocaine.

The significant increase in marijuana addiction in the United States has put pressure on health organizations to study the drug more closely in order to understand long-term effects. According to Federal law, however, the only agency that can grow marijuana for clinical purposes is the National Institute for Drug Abuse which maintains a farm in Mississippi. Organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C. are lobbying the Federal Government to approve more licenses for clinical tests.

With marijuana addiction on the rise and the Federal Government stepping down efforts to regulate the drug, State and Federal health policy makers and addiction relief advocates will be scrambling to find policy solutions to treat a new wave of marijuana addicts who want to kick the habit.

By Steve Killings

See also Marijuana: Smoking Style Tied to Addiction Risk

CBS News
Bloomberg Business Week
Washington Post
National Institutes of Health
Colorado State University
RAND Corporation

13 Responses to "Addiction to Marijuana on the Rise"

  1. jared   June 22, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    This information is false. Still trying the same excuses that already have beeen proven false. You can for sure tell hat they are against it because of there one sided stories. Where are the stories on howmany lives have improved beecause of it. Very disapointed in this source. Please politly f*** off!

  2. Hugh Stoner   June 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Too bad my posts don’t show up. I’ll just state that you cannot become addicted to pot. It’s not possible. Steve Killings is just trying to justify his pathetic life of taking money from people given a Hobson’s choice of jail or rehab. You are a pariah on society.

  3. Kurt   June 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Where is your credibility? Headline “Addiction to Marijuana On the Rise” and First Line “Addiction to marijuana is expected to rise” come on, really?

  4. Kevin Hunt   June 22, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Steve Killings is an idiot. Marijuana is not physically addictive; and his attempt to equate marijuana to heroin is a joke.

    Jack Henningfield Ph.D. in psychopharmacology and formerly of the institute of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal Benowitz MD of the University of San Fransisco ranked 6 common substances in 5 problem areas. They compared heroin, alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, marijuana, and caffeine, in the areas of withdrawal, reinforcement, tolerance, dependence, and intoxication.

    Marijuana was found to be the best drug out of the 6 as far as those symptoms go. It even ranked better than caffeine in terms of all the factors except for intoxication. Caffeine, they found, actually has worse withdrawal, reinforcement, and tolerance effects than marijuana.

    Not only did these health officials rank marijuana as the least addictive drug, they ranked it as 3 times less addictive than every other drug compared.

  5. Kelley Davis   June 22, 2014 at 8:50 am

    OK guys your not going to be able to lie your way back to prohibition. Just face it man.

  6. Jim Heffner   June 22, 2014 at 3:02 am

    About the same level of creditability as Richard Nixon, William Randolph Hearst and FOX ‘News'(sic) rolled up in a ball of whale dreck. This pub needs to add the hash-tag ‘propaganda’ to this piece of drivel.

  7. Elminster   June 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    ‘advise ON use and addiction'< sorry no edit

  8. Elminster   June 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Seems to me- the public gets most advise use and addiction on marijuana from those, whose political stance is anti-pot, prohibition or simply believe that you can become physically dependent on marijuana. However- 99% of this crowd has never tried it for themselves.

    Statistics like these cited in this article comes straight from court-ordered substance abuse programs. Programs where the enrollee gets a reduced sentence if they agree they are an addict and participate in this judicial abuse of probationary sentencing.

    62% of U.S. Adults have tried, have used or actively use marijuana- and found it to be the least addictive substance of all recreation drugs and legal pharmaceuticals, alike. These are the real statistics.

    9% of the 62% above claim physical dependence to marijuana. About 8.5% of this 9%would claim dependence to yard clippings, if they thought it would gain them attention.

    The truth- marijuana is less addictive than chocolate doughnuts….whether you choose to believe it or not, its true.

    For those that need more truth— Wikipedia states its less addictive than caffeine………

    The greatest plant in the universe cannot escape the greatest propaganda created oppression- ever to exist.

  9. madmatt6773   June 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    The prohibitionists have cried wolf for so long now that nobody believes a single word from their lying lips.

  10. Bob Lange   June 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    There is no such thing as cannabis addiction. It is a sham promulgated by professionals whose careers are propped up by court-mandated “counseling” and the plethora of lies they perpetuate to substantiate their ruse. Simply go to the NIDA web site where they readily admit that coffee is twice as addictive as cannabis. The only addiction patients are victims who have been forced to submit to a corrupt system: much like “gay correction” counseling, trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

  11. Dennis Pielack   June 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    This article is anti-marijuana propaganda by confirmed prohibitionists that need to make others believe marijuana is addictive as described in order to keep a job created out of an erroneous law set in action by prejudiced and immoral politicians to force citizens to forfeit the health benefits GOD, Almighty, created into the cannabis plant, in their effort to diminish freedom of religion and worship, free speech, free press, equal rights and justice for all citizens choosing an affordable natural herb in preference to a man made pharmaceutical. Here is the real enemy of State: a government organization that exists for its own interests not the citizens’. NIDA is such an enemy.

  12. I Love CBD oil   June 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    What a crock! Addiction? That is more like a habit! It matters not what a person decides to consume, if that person decides to consume based in fear or any other unhealthy mind state, issues will certainly arise. It’s not the tool that is broken…it’s usually the user who is already broken, and is not receiving what he/she needs from humanity. Even cocaine and heroin have their benefits if used properly.

  13. caliboss   June 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    addiction is the biggest lie on earth…been around the game in Norcal still have yet to meet a marijuana addict…know 1 million smokers, still haven’t met an addict…

    been addicted to cocaine and meth…beat them with marijuana..only been smoking that for ten years now…and balling


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