I don't smoke weed, but I do smoke cigarettes. I know that
quitting cigarettes is not fun, but this article seems to
show that quitting pot might not be so hard:
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Can recreational pot smokers become addicted?
Posted Dec 05, 2010
A realistic concern for recreational users of marijuana is
whether or not they will become addicted. There are no easy
answers to this question. In my opinion, the most unbiased
book on this and other related topics is The Science of
Marijuana (2008). The Science of Marijuana is written by
Leslie L. Iverson, a professor of pharmacology at the
University of Cambridge in England. In the book, he reviews
decades of international research on marijuana, both
laboratory research and survey research. Based on his review
of the scientific literature, between 10 to 30% of regular
users will develop dependency. Only about 9% will have a
serious addiction. For an excellent post on the biology of
marijuana addiction see
The large majority of people who try marijuana do it
experimentally and never become addicted. Unlike other
substances, pot has very few severe withdrawal symptoms and
most people can quit rather easily. When present, withdrawal
symptoms might include: anxiety, depression, nausea, sleep
disturbances and GI problems.
Compared to other substances, marijuana is not very
addicting. It is estimated that 32% of tobacco users will
become addicted, 23% of heroin users, 17% of cocaine users,
and 15% of alcohol users. Cocaine and heroin are more
physically harmful and nicotine is much more addictive. It
is much harder to quit smoking cigarettes than it is to quit
Recreational users of the past are often compared to todays
smokers. The smokers, the times and the pot are all
different. According to Iversen, marijuana became widely
used in the US during the 1960s by Vietnam vets. This was a
time of social upheaval and strong anti-war sentiment. Youth
were rebellious and experimental pot smokers. Today's youth
are different. They are mainstream. Interestingly, many of
today's young smokers are children of the previous
generation of smokers. And, my generation of marijuana
smokers quit relatively easily when they became parents and
It is often said that today's pot is stronger. I am not sure
how anybody could know this. Readers, if you know please
tell me. Are there studies comparing THC content of 1970 pot
with 2010 pot? How could this even be possible on a large
scale? Does somebody still have some 1970 pot sitting around
or are we relying on old memories? The only thing that I can
surmise is that the marijuana that is carefully cultivated
indoors these days is more potent than previous strains. In
fact, this brings to mind one of my greatest frustrations.
In California, small amounts of marijuana are legal for
people with 215 cards but it is not regulated. So, how does
anybody know how much THC they are smoking? Do they even
know where it was grown and how much pesticide it contains?
For example, when I buy Advil in the supermarket, I know
that I am getting 200 mg capsules.
In spite of different strains of marijuana containing
different amounts of THC, experienced smokers are able to
control their high. An interesting study reported in
Iversen's book claims that regular users know how to inhale
in a way that regulates THC content. A study was conducted
where experienced smokers were given joints with either 1%
or 4% levels of THC. The subjects were blind to experimental
conditions so they didn't know the THC content of the joint.
Without knowing which joint they were smoking, the smokers
automatically adjusted their inhaling to reach about the
same degree of high and THC absorption. They did this by
taking longer and harder draws on the weaker joint and
breathing in more air with the more potent joint.
So, to wrap up, is marijuana addictive? For most people, no.
About 10% of recreational users will develop problems serve
enough to impair their work and relationships. Many more
will come to depend on pot for relaxation and social
purposes. This will be problematic if they don't learn more
effective coping mechanisms and come to rely on marijuana
instead of solving their problems. When ready, most people
will be able to quit with only mild withdrawal symptoms.
And, compared to other recreational drugs, marijuana is
relatively harmless. But, it is not completely harmless.
And...what is more serious than its addictive consequences
are the legal ones. This relatively harmless herbal plant is
unregulated and illegal in the U.S.
Posted on RetroBBS II
Thanks for your answer, I will check out the links. Being on
day three without, I guess I am not one of the people
getting addicted (at least I have none of the symptoms
described below). But oh yeah, I do miss it...I stopped
smoking tobacco at the same time, but I miss the cigarettes
much less than the weed...
I can shed a light on this point:
It is often said that today's pot is stronger. I am not
sure how anybody could know this. Readers, if you know
please tell me. Are there
studies comparing THC content of 1970 pot with 2010 pot?
How could this even be possible on a large scale? Does
somebody still have some 1970
pot sitting around or are we relying on old memories? The
only thing that I can surmise is that the marijuana that is
indoors these days is more potent than previous strains
First of all, there are in fact strains today which are much
more potent due to gene manipulation which only became
available some twenty years ago or so (vs normal breeding,
which has been done all the time).
But also, I read that much of the assumed scientific data on
the subject coming from that time (70s and before), is in
fact not reliable. For this particular subject, it seems
like the analysis has been done on stuff that has been
sitting on the shelf for several years.
I never understood why it should be a bad thing anyway:
after all, stronger weed means I have to smoke less to get
the same high. So for my health it is much better to smoke a
tiny portion of lets say hashoil, than to smoke a whole
brick of dirtweed.
Posted on RetroBBS II
the link is interesting, the article as well as the
discussion after. i quote here what i believe is a major
I would like to point out a false belief that I hear often
in response to some posts. It is wrong to say that
everything and anything can be
addictive. We have no reason to suspect that and I think
what you meant was that anything humans find enjoyable can
be addictive. There's a
big difference between those two statements. Also while I
would agree that all things enjoyable do seem to be able to
produce addiction, drug
or alcohol addiction is different in at least one very
important way - those drugs CHANGE the way our normal
neurological function happens.
Sex, gambling, and other addictive disorders use normal
functioning mechanisms, they don't change dopamine,
serotonin, opiate, or any other
chemical or physical function in the brain. What they do
happens because they're enjoyable, not because of
alterations to basic processes.
That is a HUGE difference.
Posted on RetroBBS II