What is a Marijuana Addiction?

Marijuana is the part of a cannabis plant that contains substantial amounts of THC. It can be ingested in several ways. The most common way is smoking, but it can also be baked, cooked, or brewed to be edible (brownies, gummies, tea, etc.), vaped, or dabbed (where only THC-rich resins are smoked).  

As you’ve likely heard at some point along the way, marijuana can be a gateway drug to other substances. The experience of using marijuana with no serious drawbacks gives users a false confidence and a bigger appetite for trying new, more intoxicating drugs.


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Rolled up Marijuana Joints lying near marijuana buds

Using marijuana is socially and legally acceptable in many states these days, particularly when prescribed by a doctor for medical issues and pain. It can be confusing to think of it as an abusable substance, but it is similarly addictive to many other drugs. 

Close up of man with beard and mustache smoking marijuana joint

Here are some signs you might be struggling with marijuana abuse:  

  • Using it habitually, as opposed to occasionally or recreationally 
  • Using it first thing in the morning (“waking and baking”)
  • Relying on it to help you achieve something (a mood, a goal, making it through the day) 
  • Irritability  
  • Low energy 
  • Avoiding friends or family 
  • Spending money you can’t afford (or don’t have) to buy more 
  • Getting it from a non-medical source (friend, relative, drug dealer, online)  
  • Feeling uncomfortable when not high 
  • Chronic cough  

Behavioral Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana is a mood-altering agent and has the ability to make users feel happy, content, easily amused, and highly tuned in to sensory experiences. However, it can also make users feel paranoid, confused, unbalanced and apathetic. Forgetfulness, distractibility, and difficulty concentrating are common.

Marijuana has been shown to negatively affect brain development long-term, impacting everything from IQ to emotional intelligence.  

Digital profile of marijuana leaves in the shape of person's head with machine toy turn knob at the back

Physical Effects of Marijuana Use

Angry older man staring directly, same man shakey, out of focus in background

Marijuana abuse causes many different things to happen in the body. When abused, marijuana can give you a chronic cough, bloodshot eyes, heart arrhythmias or palpitations, feelings of panic, paranoia, and even hallucinations. 

When smoked, it moves quickly from your lungs to your blood, increasing your heart rate quickly by an average of 20 to 50 beats per minute. Your heart rate can remain elevated for up to 3 hours after smoking. If you have pre-existing heart disease, it raises your risk of heart attack.  

Daily marijuana use can also be a factor in sexual dysfunction and may contain carcinogens.  

Patio chairs on a balcony at a marijuana addiction treatment center

We at HCBTS are available 24/7 to take your call and are committed to helping you get the help you need when you need it.

Read more about the levels of care we offer on our substance abuse treatment page.

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