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  • When you think ofdependenceandrelapseyoure probably more likely to think of

  • heroin than marijuana. But could weed be addictive?

  • Hey everyone, Laci Green here for DNews. Nearly half the country has legalized medical marijuana,

  • and with more people using it, there are more concerns about potential health effects. Amongst

  • those health effects is...addiction. A scary word, but a public health problem that comes

  • with many drugs and mind-altering substances. A new study released in the Journal of Addiction

  • Medicine has found that yes, marijuana can be addicting. The study included 127 adolescents

  • who were undergoing outpatient treatment for substance abuse - and for most of them, marijuana

  • was their drug of choice.

  • Out of those who used marijuana, 84% of them qualified as havingmarijuana dependence”,

  • which the researchers defined as increased use of marijuana, increased tolerance of marijuana,

  • and unsuccessful attempts to stop using it. 40% also experienced symptoms of withdrawal

  • when they stopped, and were more likely to have problems at school, work, or home. Those

  • symptoms looked much like other drugs in a state of withdrawal: anxiety, irritability,

  • trouble sleeping, and depression. Interestingly, this group experiencing symptoms were also

  • more likely to have symptoms of mood disorders. They evaluated all the data based on self

  • reports right away and at 3, 6, and 12 months later.

  • It’s an interesting study, but some of the data from the report has me confused. For

  • instance, while increased usage of marijuana could mean addiction, that isn’t necessarily

  • a defining characteristic. And if those experiencing withdrawal have symptoms of mood disorders,

  • where does the possibility of an previously existing disorder come into play? Fortunately

  • this isn’t the only data we have -- there are other studies this is building on. A 1999

  • report from the Institute of Medicine also found signs of marijuana dependence in about

  • 9% of users. Past studies have also demonstrated physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms

  • in both people and animals.

  • Firing back at the new release, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

  • has stated that while a small percentage may suffer drug dependence at some point in their

  • lifetime, it’s the context of a person’s life that matters. They also said that withdrawal

  • from marijuana is relatively short-lived, and that it should not be regulated as a Schedule

  • I drug on par with heroin.

  • Health advocates at Brown University state that no one would argue that marijuana is

  • as addictive as alcohol or cocaine...but were finding marijuana has addictive properties

  • for some people. And the idea that marijuana can’t be addictive makes it harder for those

  • who are affected to get help and support.

  • Let me know what you think about the addiction debate down below and well see you next

  • time here on DNews.

When you think ofdependenceandrelapseyoure probably more likely to think of

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