Study Says Weed is as Addictive as Heroin
“If cannabis is not addictive then neither is heroin or alcohol,” uttered Professor Wayne Hall recently. Hall, a senior drug adviser to the World Health Organization, has set out to answer, once and for all, the question of “is weed addictive?”
Professor Hall published a paper earlier this month, in the journal Addiction, which distills over twenty years of marijuana research into a few key points.
Is weed addictive? It absolutely is, especially for someone suffering from the diseases of addiction and alcoholism. Is pot addicting to the average smoker, though? Let’s find out.
Find a detailed breakdown of Professor Hall’s findings below.
Is Weed Addictive? The New Facts
- One in six, or 16%, of adolescents who smoke weed end up addicted to it
- One in ten, or 10%, of adults who engage in marijuana abuse become addicted. Also, those who smoke weed heavily are much more likely to use hard drugs (defined as heroin, meth, etc.)
- Smoking pot can double the risk of developing serious psychotic disorders
- Heavy weed addiction is thought to impair adolescent brain development
- Driving while under the influence of marijuana doubles the likelihood of an accident
- In the U.K., it’s thought that as many adolescents smoke weed as smoke cigarettes
Is weed addictive? It certainly appears so.
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The Hidden Consequences of Marijuana Addiction
If pot is this addictive then what are the consequences of sustained use? Well, some are outlined above, like the link between major psychotic disorders and heavy marijuana use. Other effects, though, are subtler.
Consider those seeking substance abuse treatment. According to new numbers, 17% of those seeking treatment in the U.S. list marijuana as their drug of choice.
According to Lissi Seneway, an addiction professional, marijuana addiction is quite real. “It’s amazing the number of patients I’ve encountered who are addicted to marijuana,” Seneway said. “They come into treatment and are made fun of by other patients. What those other patients don’t get is that marijuana dependence is serious.”
Wayne Hall also believes the recent trend of U.S. marijuana legalization hasn’t affected the rise of pot addiction. He’s quoted as saying,
“The number of cannabis users seeking help to quit or control their cannabis use has increased during the past two decades in the United States, Europe and Australia. The same increase has occurred in the Netherlands, where cannabis use was decriminalised [sic] more than 40 years ago” (The Daily Mail).
The Final Verdict: Is Weed as Addictive as Heroin?
So, is weed addictive? Is it as dangerous as heroin?
Well, yes and no. Weed is absolutely addicting, but it’s not as dangerous as heroin. Now, while pot happens to be a bit safer than shooting heroin, it’s still a good idea to abstain from smoking it.
Lissi Seneway had the following to say about whether pot is addicting,
“More people need to realize the dangers of marijuana abuse and addiction. Just because a drug is thought to be harmless, doesn’t mean it is. For people who are addicted to marijuana, it’s a very real danger. They smoke all day. They’re addicted.”
It looks like the attitude that weed’s harmless, that it’s safer than other drugs, has actually contributed to its danger. If everyone has a relaxed attitude about marijuana, they’re more likely to ignore potentially dangerous effects – like its link to mental illness.
Let’s stop bickering about whether weed is addictive. Let’s stop downplaying weed addiction. Let’s open our eyes and face the truth. Marijuana is a drug and drugs are addictive. End of story.