November 15, 2021
Am I Addicted to Weed? – Have I Developed Dependency to it?
What is Weed?
Weed is the street name for Marijuana. Also referred to as ‘Pot’, being the most common street name. Aside from these three, there are multiple slang terms such as ‘Mary Jane’, ‘bud’, ‘ganga’, ‘herb’, ‘chronic’, ‘grass’, ‘dope’, ‘hash’, ‘trees’, and lastly, ‘hemp’.
What is Weed Made of?
Weed or Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis or Cannabis indica plant. The more potent form of this drug with high potency is sinsemilla (sin-seh-me-yah), hashish (hash for short), and extracts. It contains more than 500 chemicals in Marijuana. The THC is responsible for the psychotropic reaction in the brain, creating a mind-altering experience (a).
Am I addicted to weed? Why am I experiencing weird symptoms recently?
Maybe you are trying to cut down on your weed use, but it feels like a difficult task now. You may be surprised to notice moderate to severe dependency on it. When you go without it for a few days, you notice feeling edgy and easily irritated by the things around you. You may also experience feeling less motivated and experience low energy throughout the day. You might be wondering if you’re experiencing an addiction to weed.
An easy way to determine if you’re becoming dependent on cannabis use is to answer the following questions based on the DSM-5 (Diagnosis & Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorder) used to assess for cannabis use disorder.
Criteria and Symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder
Use of cannabis for at least a one-year period, with the presence of at least two of the following symptoms, accompanied by significant impairment of functioning and distress:
- Difficulty containing use of cannabis- the drug is used in larger amounts and over a longer period than intended.
- Repeated failed efforts to discontinue or reduce the amount of cannabis that is used
- An inordinate amount of time is occupied acquiring, using, or recovering from the effects of cannabis.
- Cravings or desires to use cannabis. This can include intrusive thoughts and images, and dreams about cannabis, or olfactory perceptions of the smell of cannabis, due to preoccupation with cannabis.
- Continued use of cannabis despite adverse consequences from its use, such as criminal charges, ultimatums of abandonment from spouse/partner/friends, and poor productivity.
- Other important activities in life, such as work, school, hygiene, and responsibility to family and friends are superseded by the desire to use cannabis.
- Cannabis is used in contexts that are potentially dangerous, such as operating a motor vehicle.
- Use of cannabis continues despite awareness of physical or psychological problems attributed to use- e.g., energy, motivation, chronic cough.
- Tolerance to Cannabis, as defined by progressively larger amounts of cannabis are needed to obtain the psychoactive effect experienced when use first commenced, or, noticeably reduced effect of use of the same amount of cannabis
- Withdrawal, defined as the typical withdrawal syndrome associate with cannabis, or cannabis or a similar substance is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
So, how did you do? If you happen to resonate with two or more of the above criteria, I highly encourage you to consider seeking help. Cannabis is established to be addictive for some people and its impact has been downplayed significantly in the media. While it is legalized in many states in the US, its risks and benefits are highly controversial at the moment. Consider reading How to Quit Weed Safely if you’re considering cutting back or stopping.
How To Quit Weed Safely
Quitting weed is a serious commitment requiring a clear strategy and reason for giving up. Lack of clarity and commitment can lead to relapse and further discouragement. You must identify why you wish to quit weed. An activity I usually recommend to my clients is to write down all the consequences of smoking in the form of a letter. I ask them to keep that letter safe as a form of reminder when they experience triggers or cravings of using weed. If you wish to begin the process of cutting down weed, you might want to read my article on the step-by-step process of How to Quit Weed Safely.
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