Since the worldwide stage performer and singer Lady Gaga came out about her “pot addiction” there have been a slew of articles as to whether or not pot is actually addictive. And while whether or not it is is still up for debate amongst personal opinions, the science, and definition of addiction back Miss Gaga up.
Many people dismiss the idea of pot being addictive. But it is more than possible. Pot addiction and pot abuse is included in the “psychiatry bible” otherwise known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). And pot addiction has long been seen as a mental health problem. But is it really? Well, lets take a look:
The key characteristics of an addiction include first off, the inability to stop using the substance. Secondly, it includes behavioral impairment, thirdly it includes cravings and a diminished recognition of increasing problems (denial). Not only does a pot addiction fit all three of these things it also in serious cases can destroy families and social relationships, it can cause serious financial trouble and also physical impairments such as memory impairment and emotional issues due to pot abuse. All of these things are things that you would see in someone who is abusing heroin. And no one questions whether or not a heroin addiction is a real addiction. Heroin addiction actually is the exact opposite to where it can be taken lightly whereas pot is taken too lightly sometimes.
So what of this existence of pot addiction being a real addiction. Well the dependence many people could find themselves with could affect a lot of Americans. How? Well, marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the country. Around 17.4 million Americans admitted to using pot the month before being surveyed. The survey determined that out of 70,000 Americans over the age of 12, nearly 10% reported using pot.
The usual arguments against pot’s addictive properties are usually focused on the idea of whether or not it is physically addictive like heroin (which we mentioned above). Heroin causes a tolerance and withdrawal effects when users try to stop. Pot doesn’t necessarily have these two things but it is becoming more common for psychiatrists to no longer make a distinction between biological and psychological addiction because both can have equally negative effects.