Since quitting and deciding to help others to do the same I am frequently asked the hotly contested ‘Is cannabis addictive?’ question. It is a subject that fiercely divides most ‘experts’ and even those who spend their entire adult lives inhaling it. So let’s attempt to establish whether or not cannabis is addictive.
Starting with a ‘hard’ drug just to make addiction easier to identify, read the following passage and decide for yourself if you think the person is or isn’t addicted to heroin:
“When I can’t get hold of heroin or if I know that I will be unable to have any for that night, I immediately turn into a different person. I am angry and emotional and I feel so depressed that I wont get that sense of relaxation and calmness from the heroin. I really hate feeling like I need it to make myself feel better.”
In your opinion, is it reasonable to assume the person is hooked on heroin?
In my view there is no doubt whatsoever. I’d stake my mortgage and life on it!
Okay, re-read that same statement but this time the drug has now changed to cannabis.
“When I can’t get hold of cannabis or if I know that I will be unable to have any for that night, I immediately turn into a different person. I am angry and emotional and I feel so depressed that I wont get that sense of relaxation and calmness from the cannabis. I really hate feeling like I need it to make myself feel better.”
With only the name of the drug altered is it reasonable to assume that person is hooked on cannabis?
Remember only the name of the drug has changed!
I am not implying Cannabis packaging is comparable to heroin addiction (of course not!) or even that there are physical withdrawal symptoms when we attempt to quit, but there is still that sense of desperation and need for cannabis when circumstances force us to go without it for longer than we’d like. Like when your dealer is nowhere to be found and you can’t relax or find enjoyment in anything you do. That sense of missing/needing cannabis is clearly a symptom of psychological addiction.
Imagine heroin or cocaine as a maximum-security jail and cannabis a low-security open prison. Regardless of the regime and conditions found inside the prison, the bottom line is; in spite of how thin and flimsy the walls are or how weak the security at the main gate is, the function of a prison is to restrict freedom. In this case, your happiness and enjoyment of life. Don’t worry! Once you accept cannabis is addictive it becomes even easier, not more difficult to quit!