Posted April 5, 2013 by evergreen-culture in Marijuana Myths

Myth: Marijuana Is Addictive



his is a very common, and oft leaned on, myth that is used to keep people in fear in order to control them at the voting booths. The facts regarding cannabis “addiction” have been known for decades – suppressed in some cases, simply gone unnoticed by the public in favor of the more accessible propaganda in others. Much of the “proof” presented comes from drug addiction rehabilitation statistics. They will claim that the vast majority of people checking into drug treatment facilities state that marijuana is their current “addiction”, making cannabis the most addicted to substance in America.

The problem is, the vast majority of these check-ins are also involuntary patients. And how do they get there? They are sent by some form of authority – either a parent who found weed in their room (teenagers), or a judge who gave them a choice of jail/juvenile-detention or rehab (What would you choose?) In other words, these statistics are in no way scientific or able to paint an accurate picture. They are used to skew opinion. Consider this statement that actually came out of the US Department of Health and Human Services:

“Nearly four in ten individuals admitted to substance abuse treatment programs for cannabis have not used the drug in the month prior to their admission… 65% of individuals enrolled in substance abuse treatment for cannabis are referred there by the criminal justice system… fewer than 15 percent of marijuana treatment admissions are voluntary” – US Department of Health and Human Services Data, 2009
A clearer picture of the marijuana "addiction problem".

A clearer picture of the marijuana “addiction problem”.

Now, are we saying that marijuana is harmless or something that doesn’t need to be approached with responsibility? Absolutely not! We could make that same case for the everyday items in your grocery store that the FDA says are “safe” – read the labels and tell us what those chemicals do to you. You have no clue do you? Us either. The issue is vocabulary in this case. Addiction is simply the wrong word.

Are there addictive substances? Of course. You know those cigarettes that are available at every checkout stand, gas station and mini-mart? They are rife with the single most addictive substance known on earth – nicotine. It has an addiction rate of 98% (notice the green bar in the graph below. That means out of 100 people who try smoking cigarettes, 98 of them will form an addiction. Not a habit. A physiological addiction where the smokers body actually adapts and alters to need the substance. The award for the most addicted-to psychoactive product on earth in fact goes to coffee, not the “evil menace marijuana”.

how does cannabis compare

Cannabis is more akin to caffeine than substances such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine or heroine. Notice that caffeine even has a higher potential for dependence/addiction. A very different set of facts than we typically hear from the government’s drug war propaganda.

The actual reality, however, is that marijuana does not belong in this class of substances at all. It does not form addiction in the true sense of the word. Have you ever seen someone try to quite smoking cigarettes or stop drinking coffee? It is rough. Maybe you have tried yourself and found that without coffee you are a racked with headaches, fatigue, nausea, and you act like a total dick to everybody. Tools and methods to help break nicotine addictions are a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide – especially in the United States and Canada. Your body literally screams for the nicotine and most people fail to quit several times due to the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms – most never successfully kicking the substance altogether. Contrast that with cannabis. Even long-term daily smokers can stop altogether without any kind of physical withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. Any kind of reaction they do experience is due to what is actually termed “dependence”. Much different from addiction. For instance, millions of people have a dependence on Facebook or shopping on Amazon. We use the word addiction improperly in these cases. There is no physical-need formed (as is the case with heroine, opium, meth, alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, caffeine, and the like), but rather an emotional or psychological dependence. We call people “shopaholics” and laugh – that is dependence, not addiction. You can stop shopping. You might be sad, broke, and really, really want to go shopping, but you aren’t addicted to jack. Hell, we even call people “workaholics”. Again, no one is addicted to working, they are dependent on it for different reasons that give them some kind of emotional or psychological fulfillment – at least in their eyes. They could be suddenly fired and find themselves without work, but they won’t end up sweating in the corner of some sleazy hotel room as the lack of work literally causes their body to shut down physiologically, possibly even killing them. Marijuana belongs in the column with online gamblers and Facebook junkies. Most who consume cannabis, even daily for long periods of time, do not even form this level of dependence since these are rooted in psychological and emotional issues that could be tied to any kind of activity, hobby or drive, and are not necessarily present in everybody. In other words, just because you consume cannabis, doesn’t mean you will form a dependence on it – most don’t.

So, as for the myth that “marijuana is the most addicting and addicted-to substance in America”. It’s total bullshit. There is no other way to say it. Educate yourself and free your mind.

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