The truth about Cannabis Addiction

Published Aug 24, 2019 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Deagreez

Now that cannabis is legal in Canada, it is time to address some of the most urgent concerns that so many Canadians have surrounding consumption. Though human beings have enjoyed marijuana plant products for hundreds of years, there is still a great deal of controversy over its use, benefits and perhaps most importantly, the potential adverse impacts that cannabis could have on those who choose to consume it.

It only makes sense to question what you don’t understand, but there is plenty of stereotype driven information spreading that is harmful to the movement of legalization right across the globe. One of the most primary concerns that many Canadians are facing is that the introduction of legal pot might lead to an increase in marijuana addiction. Since the country is currently facing an opioid pandemic of epic proportions, the fear is that federal marijuana legalization could potentially make the issue worse.

The trouble is, opioids and marijuana are two elements which are nowhere near comparable on any scale. They are two entirely different products that each contain a unique chemical profile, and each one comes paired with its own possible effects including both positive and negative outcomes. The pharmaceutical industry may have its hands in both categories, but it is essential to understand the difference between marijuana addiction and a reliance on other drugs used for either medical or recreational purposes.

Is it possible to become addicted to cannabis products?

Yes, it is possible that a regular consumer could become addicted to marijuana plant products. However, the effects felt from addiction, probably aren’t quite what you might think. If as a consumer, you’re just concerned with being addicted, there are plenty of ‘pot’ products to choose from that aren’t addictive.

What is marijuana addiction?

Often, when we think of addiction, one of the first things that come to mind are alcoholics, and other street drug users, who can often become severely ill and even die from a sudden onset of withdrawal symptoms. However, marijuana addiction isn’t quite the same and is nowhere near anything that could be deadly on a biological level.

Becoming addicted to cannabis is more akin to coffee drinkers that can’t get going without their morning cup of caffeine. If they don’t get that caffeine, then they might not feel all pumped up and energized. But going without it for a bit won’t kill you, and just like coffee, drinking the occasional cup now and again isn’t going to put you at risk for becoming addicted.

Withdrawal symptoms

Marijuana addiction can lead to a host of uncomfortable symptoms when the element THC is not consumed, but for the most part, they will subside within a few days at most. Below, you will find a complete list of adverse side effects that can be caused by quitting cannabis.

·         Headaches

·         Migraines

·         Nausea

·         Upset stomach

·         Insomnia

·         Lack of appetite

·         Agitation

·         Decrease in mood

·         Return of pain

THC vs CBD and addiction

You may have noticed, that the only element mentioned under the withdrawal symptoms section is THC, and that is because it is the only one that is addictive. It’s counterpart CBD plays a part in stopping human addiction in a way that we still don’t quite fully understand. Though more research is needed to know for certain its effectiveness, CBD has shown promising results in clinical studies on both humans and rats as it appears to decrease many sensations that are associated to addiction, making it easier to quit. Those results weren’t limited to any one product and included both alcohol and opiates.

Other marijuana plant products that are not addictive

Though you now know that not all cannabis goods are addictive, it is time to learn about some of the other methods that are used to enjoy only the most natural benefits of the marijuana plant.

1. CBD products

Though CBD oils and other goods are often sold and made using marijuana plant products, the majority of regulated sources use hemp instead, as most cannabis strains include a high quantity of THC and little to no CBD. Using hemp instead makes it so that there is less than 0.3% THC in the products, which can help you to avoid the adverse effects that can be caused by THC, including addiction.

2. Marijuana plant juice

One of the hottest trends of 2019 has been cannabis juice, which contains freshly squeezed marijuana plant alongside other healthy and delicious fruit or nut additions. Since THC and CBD are activated through heat, and this is a cold processing method, you will instead receive a healthy dose of THCA, CBDA, omega fatty acids, and all the other health-boosting elements that are naturally occurring in cannabis plants.

3. All other inactive cannabis products

As mentioned above, all inactive marijuana plants options are safe to use without fear of addiction. Some enjoy freshly ground cannabis as a garnish for potatoes, salad or as an addition to gravy or soup. It can be used whichever way, as long as the buds are not decarboxylated, you will obtain the natural benefits without any of the adverse impacts, including marijuana addiction.

In conclusion

Marijuana addiction is a very real and undeniable concern for many people, and it is important to know all the risks before starting to take any new element. However, most of the adverse impacts from consuming cannabis products are caused by heavy consumption. It is entirely possible to enjoy activated marijuana plant compounds on occasion, without building any type of dependence or risking addiction. Just like with any enjoyable activity, moderation and responsible consumption is key to having a healthy relationship with cannabis use.

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