As marijuana use rises, more people are seeking treatment for addiction

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by senior_ganj, May 9, 2006.

  1. As Marijuana Use Rises,
    More People Are Seeking
    Treatment for Addiction
    May 2, 2006; Page D1

    People are aware of the addictive potential of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, even gambling. But the perception persists that marijuana isn't addictive.
    The doggedness of this myth may be attributable to the campaign to legalize the drug, as well as the comparatively subtle costs of marijuana addiction. But there is virtually no debate among American researchers, who have been documenting and studying marijuana addiction for more than two decades. Now, Cambridge University Press has combined the results of their federally funded studies -- most already published in peer-reviewed journals -- in a new book called "Cannabis Dependence."

    [​IMG] Email<sup>1</sup>, and read Tara Parker-Pope's responses in Health Mailbox<sup>2</sup>.

    The book offers substantial scientific evidence of what Marijuana Anonymous members know firsthand -- that the euphoria induced by THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can be addictive. Studies show that between 2% and 3% of U.S. marijuana users become addicted within two years of first trying the drug, which is scientifically known as cannabis. About 10% of those who try it become addicted at some point.
    Now, addiction-treatment statistics are showing dramatic growth in marijuana-related problems. A study issued last month by the University of Maryland's Center for Substance Abuse Research examined the drug of choice for Americans seeking treatment for addiction during the decade that ended in 2003. It found that the percentage of addicts who cited marijuana as their primary problem more than doubled to 16% from 7%, while alcohol fell to 41% from 57%. Among illegal drugs, only opiates ranked higher than marijuana as a problem for treatment seekers.
    <reprintsdisclaimer></reprintsdisclaimer>Marijuana's rise in the ranks of problem drugs may reflect a big spike in usage. The number of Americans age 12 and older using marijuana at least once a month jumped to 14.6 million in 2004 from 10.1 million in 1996, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which adds that some of that jump may be attributable to a change in surveying methods.
    To study marijuana addiction, the contributors to "Cannabis Dependence" -- a group of researchers at universities across the U.S. -- published newspaper advertisements offering treatment to people unable to quit using the drug. Invariably, hundreds stepped forward. The typical volunteer was a white-collar man in his thirties who smoked marijuana daily and didn't much abuse alcohol or other drugs. "Their substance of choice is marijuana," says Roger A. Roffman, an editor of "Cannabis Dependence" and a University of Washington professor of social work.
    [​IMG] The researchers found that the overall rate of addiction among marijuana users is slightly lower than for imbibers of alcohol. But among people who use marijuana daily, the rate of addiction is significantly higher than among daily drinkers. Addiction is diagnosed when a person experiences at least three of seven indicators, such as failure to control usage, preoccupation with the drug and withdrawal symptoms.
    The addictiveness of marijuana is underappreciated in part because legalization advocates tend to play down the problem. But a bigger factor may be that marijuana addiction typically doesn't kill, wreck careers, ruin health or otherwise wreak the sort of tragedies that make headlines. Although studies suggest that marijuana can cause neurological and cardiovascular damage, that evidence remains inconclusive and largely connected to smoking the drug, which isn't necessary. Marijuana-enriched olive oil can deliver a powerful high.
    Yet if marijuana addiction were benign, thousands of Americans wouldn't be seeking to kick the habit each year. In treatment, many express a sense of being unable to move forward in their personal and professional lives while in a constant state of marijuana intoxication. Often, marijuana addiction damages relationships. Its illegality can get a user arrested.
    Then there are the symptoms of withdrawal: "irritability, anger, nervousness, sleep difficulty, change in appetite, physical discomfort," says Alan J. Budney, a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences addiction specialist.
    The typical absence of dramatic consequences can make marijuana addiction difficult to break. The memory of brushes with death, jail and destitution can help keep a heroin user or alcoholic from relapsing. But the more-subtle costs of marijuana addiction are easier to forget. Research shows that staying clean is just as hard for marijuana addicts as for heroin addicts, says Robert S. Stephens, chairman of psychology at Virginia Tech University and "Cannabis Dependence" editor.
    Initially, meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provided little help to a Chicago marijuana addict named Bob, who asked that his last name not be used for this article. "I would hear people talk about liver damage, job losses, broken marriages -- stuff that had never happened to me," says Bob, a white-collar worker in his late 20s at that time.
    On the surface, his life appeared to be well-managed. He was pursuing a college degree at night and competing in triathlons on weekends. But his sense of accomplishment was utterly undermined by his incessant need to sneak off and smoke joints. He even bought a car expressly for the purpose of having a private place to get high on his lunch hour in downtown Chicago. For an entire decade, he got high about four times a day.
    Ultimately, he came to realize he was no less an addict than is the alcoholic or the heroin user. His last toke came in November of 1998. Soon afterward he started a Chicago meeting of Marijuana Anonymous.
    After seven clean years, he says, he still has cravings: "I'll catch a whiff of pot on the street, and my mouth starts watering."

    Now time for a rant...

    Such bs. This is why legilization is lagging. People become psychlogically addicted to pot and check themselves into a rehab clinic. If you become addicted, its not because pot made you addicted, it's because you are looking for some type of dependency because of something in your life. You don't see rehab clinics taking people addicted to coffee, but I'm damn sure they experience at least 3 of the 7 'withdrawl' symptoms.

    Until people realize that this dependency is all in their heads will legalization get underway. Not to mention, they article doesn't talk about how many of the people that are addicted were forced to go there because of some deal they got with the courts after getting arrested. I can imagine a majority of the people there were forced to go there by parents, courts, and whatnot.

    To me at least, it seems a lot of their stats were formatted to fit the article. Knowing the naive nature of the public, they will read this and without a doubt, there will be some slow in the process of decrimilization. Pot is addictive, there fore it must remain illegal! Such BS.

    Wait, i just reread this and couldnt help but laugh my ass off when I read this quote. If you don't read the article, at least read this.

    "On the surface, his life appeared to be well-managed. He was pursuing a college degree at night and competing in triathlons on weekends. But his sense of accomplishment was utterly undermined by his incessant need to sneak off and smoke joints. He even bought a car expressly for the purpose of having a private place to get high on his lunch hour in downtown Chicago."

    Sounds like a damn good life to me.
  2. I am sorry, but i admitted MYSELF into a rehab clinic based solely on marijuana abuse, but it HAD to be done, i can control it haha ican go weeks without it without any problem lol. BUT the reason i did it was because of the fucking government in the first place, it was my last resort over going to prison OVER FUCKING MARIJUANA PARAPHERNALIA charges. I had to do it to stay outta prison, along with alot of other people.

    SO sorry
  3. I skipped some of the article, but here's my take:

    Marijuana Anonymous, if anything like AA, is bullshit. It's nothing more than indoctrination using massive peer pressure. You're conditioned to buy everything they say, and it's BS.

    Second, it's not uncommon for a drug offender to be given the choice between jailtime and rehab. Guess what they choose? So of course numbers go up.

    Also that pie chart doesn't help much. It may just indicate that alcohol abuses has gone down, which changes the percentage of the others. Or marijuana has increased slightly, with others going down. I want hard numbers. I skim-read it and didn't see any, maybe I missed it. You know how they say "Statistics can be used to prove anything?" Thats how they do it. For all we know, the only change could have been fewer alcohol abusers.


    "Marijuana's rise in the ranks of problem drugs may reflect a big spike in usage... 14.6 million in 2004 from 10.1 million in 1996"

    US population 1996: 265M -> 3.8% usage rate
    US population 2004: 293M -> 4.9% usage rate

    A measly increase of only 1.1%!


    [Note: Although only an additional 1.1% of the population is supposedly using marijuana, it's easy to spin it to say that there's been a 25% or so increase in marijuana usage, because there's roughly 1.25 times *the percentage* as many weed smokers as before... it's all in how you present your data, which is why you should be skeptical of even the most seemingly un-biased sources]
  4. haha funny. even the pie chart shows its probably close to the smallest amount. alcohol is shown as way worse. my take on marijuana is that its like food, or cigarettes, you become dependent on it if you are the type of person to do that. also, loyalty and devotion makes it appear to be addictive, but in reality, its so mellow that its not really even seen as a problem. it causes nothing wrong with you, u always enjoy the day and everything more and feel healther. i never have had a problem with weed and control and im usually stoned all the time. its just basic BS, those who have control can easily control this.
  5. That's one main point the article left out. It doesnt say how many, out of their given precentages were forced to check into rehab. I can imagine nearly everyone there for pot is there because its getting them time off, or probation instead of jailtime.
  6. Its a mental addiction... If the government wants to protect us against mental addictions, they might as well control every aspect of everythign in our lives.

    You can become addicted to coffee... And guess what- Millions of people ARE addicted to coffee. But you dont see the DEA going after them!

    So what if it IS addicting. I'm addicted to paintballing. I'm addicted to porn. I'm addicted to using computers. I'm addicted to having fun, and weed is fun.

    So fucking what. I'm not hurting anyone, I'm not killing anyone, I dont crash through your windows at three AM in the morning practicing the very right our forefathers died to give us.

    DEA, US Government, all you haters- Fuck you.:smoking:

    EDIT: And another thing, "cravings" ... What the fuck. Nice wordplay sketchy anal rententive scientists. I have a craving for some pizza right now. Am I a fuckign crook?
  7. I'm tired of this shit. I wish I had money. That way I can actually be of some use for our cause.
  8. i'd like to hear about the other 4 symptoms of addiction. I think that if that IS the standard for addiction then people should be getting checked in for cigarette addiction. Only two drugs have been engineered for repeat use Cigarrettes and Crack. Addictive properties arent the goal of cocaine and heroine but it happens. Cigarettes and Crack are meant to be addictive.
    Nicotine is harder to quit then heroine or cocaine. The urges are much stronger but the withdrawal symptoms are more subtle. Addiction is a disease, you are born with it. It starts in the brain, if someone isn't addicted to alcohol then they might be addicted to cigarettes. Sadly what most people start on is Marijuana and cigarettes they are physicall addicted to cigarettes and psychologically addicted to Marijuana, we are mislead to believe that people who smoke cigarettes get cravings but its addiction and i've seen people shake from a cigarette "Craving", some people crave Marijuana but they aren't phsyically addicted, their addiction they were born with leads them believe they are truly addicted to Marijuana. The truth is people who aren't born with addiction who also happen to smoke Marijuana will smoke a joint after work or at a party or with friends and when they wish to stop they take a tolerance break, they do, and then start back up. People who enjoy Cannabis do this so they can enjoy it again similar to when their tolerance was lower. Heroin users will use fentanyl laced heroin to enjoy it like they did the first time instead of merely taking a tolerance break. Most marijuana smokers will just take a tolerance break instead of lacing their weed. So who is addicted?

    Sorry if this was hard to read its kinda late and im tired.
  9. i'd say most people are "addicted" to FOOD IF those are the symptoms. like 30% in the US are obese? nice. i think we need some government regulation on food too (/sarcasm)
  10. i'd say marijuana is addictive, how can people say it's not, sooooo many people smoke it, and constantly smoke it, and keep smoking it their entire lives, it's deffinetly addictive.

    it doesn't have any purposley chemical induced addictions in it like nicotine in cigarrettes, it's more of a natural "i wanna get high" in your mind addiction. theres no muscle contractions in your body that if you never got a hit of weed you'd die, it's completely safe and controllable. sure it's addicting, and thats why so many people smoke it, but it's not addicting to the point that you rely on it for your life, you can easily step out for months on end without even a craving or that natural addictive "i wanna get high" in your mind addiction.
  11. there is no argument, there hasn't been for a long time: marijuana is psychologically addictive.

    My question to most people is so the fuck what? People seem to have this constant ideological belief that chemically induced states of mind are somehow "less real" "less important" etc. than sober states of mind. They believe that being reclusive is a sign of social unleathiness and so forth. But it's that person's right to choose and here's the big possible realization most people miss out on: "Maybe societal progress doesn't require cold sober attitudes" I mean, just look where alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking white-collar Americans have gotten us: into the shitter. Those attitudes are so negative, there is no way that man can progress much further without some positive attitudes that are based on non-violent, non-progessionist beliefs.

    In Harper Lee's, "To Kill a Mockingbird", the character of an old spinster who has been an addict to opium her entire life finally breaks the addiction and dies without any euphoria. This is a powerful message that tends to lean against addiction as being something that enslaves you, but this, again, is propaganda.

    No one on Earth truly knows whether or not man was MEANT to be in any state of mind all the time. Even if one were to say, God, Nature, or whatever force in the universe designed man in such a way so as to not be "high" all the time, this DOESN'T mean that being constantly high is a bad choice.

    Again, I must refer you all to Alan Moore, comic book writer. Famous fucking pothead, lives off in the middle of the forests of Great Britain, smoking British dank all fucking day long writing perhaps some of the BEST and most insightful humanitarian work of this century. While I agree with the belief that no one who doesn't want to do pot should ever be forced to, I have to say that I adamantly believe it has the potential to solve alot of sociological problems that exist within enclosed social circles.

    EDIT: These people who go to those Marijuana Anonymous Shit that truly BELIEVE that they need help probably do for other reasons that are reflected by their marijuana use. But this doesn't mean that people who smoke pot daily ALL have some sort of problem, it's more along the lines that some people can't handle to delve that deep into themselves and fucking DEAL with it. DEAL with the fact that you're high, you CAN still function, and if you can' t, then lay off so you can get shit done. If you don't have this sense of decency towards yourself, then you are just like those alcoholics and opium addicts, and this has to STOP. You stand and represent a part of the marijuana community and therefore you must represent stoners ACCORDINGLY so that marijuana can be further and better represented as a benign and hopefully, one day, a beneficial part of societal progression. This means being able to function high and knowing when to not smoke too much.
  12. having an addiction isn't the bad part, it's when people want to get off the addiction, that is whats bad, when u say it's their choice and theirs no way anyones meant to live a certain way, thats not the problem, the problem is getting off the drug, it's alot harder to get off with a chemically induced drug, where your cravings go through the roof, then a psychological addiction.
  13. to put things into perspective, there is also a video game detox clnic in the netherlands:

    Video Game Detox Clinic

    you can make up your own mind. . .what next, detox for being addicted to sleeping
  14. This is just spin and I hate it. What is mental addiction? There is no such thing. Either you are an addict or not by definition of the word addiction. I have a friend who has a phd in Biology and we were talking about coke and she said there is no such thing as a coke addict as it is impossible to physically be addicted to anything that raises your metabolism. She said suppose you have a wino and a crack whore in a jail cell. Every morning a guard will bring a glass of wine to the wino. The crack whore can scream and roll around on the floor but won't get shit cause jails know what addiction is. I don't know where I am going with this but if it is impossible to be addicted to coke, by definition of the word, I don't how anyone can justify pot as addictive. I smoke every day, sometimes when I run out..I have to wait a month or 6 weeks till next harvest and although it is a bummer, I have no problem with it. I think when people have a weak will over pot, sex, coke or even video games because they are too spoiled to control themselves, they use the word addict as a crutch so they can justify their behavior by saying "I have no control over it/my life". Bullshit, pure and simple. They are just victims of themselves if that makes sense.:cool:
  15. The article is misleading because of people like Nush. People who get busted a lot find themselves choosing between prison-time and rehab. Which would you pick?

  16. she was addicted to morphine man
  17. I was addicted to reading bullshit, until I said ''NO'' my cravings were cured for good.

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