How Addictive Is Marijuana, Really?

3 min read

Let’s unpack today’s question: How addictive is marijuana, really?

“You can’t really get addicted to marijuana.”

This is what your friends and coworkers might tell you. This is what you might say to yourself as you’re taking yet another pull of the vape.

And it’s wrong.

People make the claim that marijuana isn’t addictive because in comparison to other more harmful compounds, it isn’t as addictive.

But do not be fooled: the science says that it still creates psychological dependency issues for many people.

An article in The Lancet compared the harm and dependence liability of twenty drugs, using a scale from zero to three for physical dependence, psychological dependence, and pleasure to create a mean score for dependence.

Selected results can be seen in the chart below:

See where cannabis ranks for psychological dependence?

As you can see from the table, cannabis doesn’t hold a candle to drugs like cocaine or heroin when it comes to physical dependence — meaning that most long-time cannabis users aren’t going to get physically ill if they stop using cold turkey. Quitting heroin cold turkey can actually be dangerous because your body begins to shut down.

However, when it comes to psychological dependence — meaning the intensity of mental cravings you experience for the substance — marijuana has a similar ranking as amphetamines, benzos and alcohol.

That’s not nothing.

Outside of the lab, the best evidence for whether or not marijuana is addictive is your personal experience.

The fact that you’re reading this post right now is proof that some part of you feels like weed has a grip on you which you’d like to remove, but can’t shake.

Do you find yourself experiencing any of the following on a regular basis?:

  • Lighting up first thing in the morning before you can concentrate or get anything done
  • Looking forward to sparking up every day at home on the way from work
  • Having trouble enjoying yourself during everyday activities without being high
  • Eating a substantial amount of food without being high
  • Feeling anxious when you know there’s no more weed in the house
  • Spending a lot more money than you’d like on marijuana every month

If so, I have news for you: you probably have a dependency on marijuana.

And I’m certainly not judging you. I know all this stuff from personal experience. Regardless of what popular culture says, if you have trouble operating in a normal capacity without an external substance, that indicates you are dependent on that substance.

All of us form dependencies in life, so it’s our responsibility to determine whether or not those dependencies are giving more than they are taking. In my case, I felt that after a while, marijuana began to take more than it was giving.

I didn’t like the feeling of “needing” marijuana to relax.

I didn’t appreciate the amount of money I was spending on it as a monthly line item in my budget.

I was slower to recall words, my focus was not as sharp and my thoughts were more likely to wander.

I didn’t like the stupid little mistakes I’d make when I was high, like losing my keys or walking into a room and forgetting why I wanted to go there in the first place.

(Don’t pretend like this one doesn’t happen to you!)

I really disliked the mental criticism I was starting to rain on myself every time I’d spark up another joint.

More than anything, that was the deal breaker.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s doing something that makes me think less of myself.

I didn’t feel good about my usage anymore, but I also felt like I needed it. It’s a hard place to be in. I knew serious changes were in order, but I was stuck.

I knew that my relationship with weed was completely out of whack and it took me about 5 years to figure out how to bring it back into balance.

If you’re interested to unpack everything I learned, I’m putting together a free presentation next week to help you break the addictive marijuana loop and come back to center. It called:

Heal Your Relationship With Marijuana: How to Break The Chronic Addiction Cycle and Get Your Life Back — Without Quitting Forever (Unless You Want To)​

Click to learn more

Here’s what we’ll be covering at the webinar:

  • How to know whether now is the right time for you to take a break from weed
  • How to navigate the 3 phases of healing your relationship with marijuana
  • How to take a break from weed and be able to continue using later it without getting trapped in the addiction cycle again
  • Probably a lot more

If quitting or reducing your MJ usage is something that’s been on your mind for a long time, but you’ve been having trouble doing it alone — this presentation will give you some solid strategies to get you started.

Reserve your seat

BTW — I am PRO CANNABIS. I still use it, but I’ve changed my relationship to it completely over the last year after struggling for a long time.

I’m not advocating you quit forever unless YOU want to. I’m going to be sharing strategies that have allowed me to take long breaks without cravings, end the addictive loop and use marijuana as a healthy supplement, not a crutch.

If that’s interesting to you, ​I highly recommend you sign up.​

ALSO — if you cannot make it at 5pm PST / 8pm EST on Weds, July 5th, that’s fine. ​Add your name anyway​. I’ll send you the recording on a private YouTube link.


Daniel “Mr. Not So Chronic” DiPiazza