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Is marijuana addictive?

Both dependent and non-dependent cannabis users had exaggerated responses in a brain region that processes reward -- the ventral striatum -- compared with people who didn't use cannabis. Interestingly, the dependent users also had larger responses in a brain region that forms habits -- the dorsal striatum.

Gene Increases Risk for Pot Addiction

Addictive use may rather be driven by changes in brain systems that promote habitual -- automatic -- use, which also may explain the fact that addicts continue use despite a lack of experiencing rewarding effects of the drug. As such, their behavior has become under the control of the drug cues, rather than the actual reward expectation," said lead author Benjamin Becker, PhD.

Dependent users also had increased responses in other regions throughout the brain, including regions that attribute importance to things, for example, drug cues. This suggests that the development of cannabis addiction incorporates additional brain regions that may strengthen a person's desire to seek the drug. Differentiating the unique brain circuits behind dependent cannabis use could also be useful for understanding how to combat the problem of cannabis addiction.

10 Signs of Marijuana Addiction

Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers , which is headquartered in Tennessee. This term is used for someone who might not fit the criteria for having a full-blown addiction , but is dependent enough that when he or she puts down the pipe or foregoes vaping for longer than usual, withdrawal symptoms like headaches, restlessness, change in mood, sleep and appetite are experienced.

CPHA notes that a cannabis addiction differs from the disorder in that the individual is unable to quit using the substance, even though it is negatively impacting her or his life. In its report, Is cannabis addictive?

Cannabis Update for Patients with Schizophrenia

Because of greatly increased potency, mental distress, panic attacks, and other problems have also increased. In , there were nearly half a million visits to ERs related to problems with marijuana use.


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Common symptoms were severe nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia. Some people argue that because marijuana does not have dramatic withdrawal symptoms like alcohol or heroin, it is not addictive. But there are two errors in this thinking.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

One is that the marijuana of today is more than two times stronger than it was twenty years ago some say much stronger than that , and withdrawing from that is quite a different matter. The other is that it is simply not true: There ARE withdrawal symptoms when a chronic user stops using cannabis. Remember that the above symptoms can be stronger or weaker for the person withdrawing, depending on how much dope he was smoking, over how long, and his own unique physical and mental constitution.