Is Cannabis addictive?

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Cannabis, if you’re not careful, can lead to problem use. This is known as a marijuana use disorder, which takes the form of addiction in severe cases.

Marijuana use disorders are often associated with dependence where a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not taking it.

People who use cannabis can frequently report mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, irritability, restlessness, craving and various forms of physical discomfort.

The dependence on marijuana occurs when constant ingestion makes the brain adapt and reduce the production of its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.

Marijuana use disorder turns into addiction when the person cannot stop using it, even if it starts to interfere with other aspects of everyday life.

Studies vary with some suggesting that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. This figure might rise to 17% if they start regularly using it in their teens.

Marijuana potency has steadily increased over the past few decades.

In the early 1990s in the USA, the average THC content in confiscated marijuana samples was roughly 3.8 percent. In 2014, it was 12.2 percent.

A study published recently in the journal called Addiction conducted by researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London, finds that cannabis resin and herbal cannabis have increased in strength and price with potentially harmful consequences for users. In herbal cannabis, concentrations of THC increased from 5% in 2006 to 10% in 2016. For cannabis resins, THC concentrations remained relatively stable between 2006 and 2011 before increasingly rapidly from 10% to 17% between 2011 and 2016.

The average marijuana extract contains more than 50 percent THC, with some samples exceeding 80 percent.

Researchers do not yet know the full extent of the consequences when the body and brain (especially the developing brain) are exposed to high concentrations of THC.

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