Dear Need for Weed,
I’m so glad you asked this question, as it’s something I’ve been seeing discussed (and weaponized) a lot lately in the mainstream media. I’m not going to link to it and further drive their web traffic, but there was a particularly dangerous op-ed in a certain financial publication recently linking the increase in mass shootings (using the grieving families of the Robb Elementary shooting as a timely news peg for clicks) to “teen marijuana addiction.” This is, unequivocally, Reefer Madness-era bullshit. Actually, it’s pretty much a direct rip-off of the plot of Reefer Madness.
But, let’s actually answer your question. Since we know that the idea that increased cannabis legalization is responsible for violent crimes instead of nonsensical gun laws is as ridiculous as it sounds, does that mean you can’t be “addicted” to pot at all?
Of course, you can technically be “addicted” to anything – chalk, SweeTARTS ropes (I’m raising my hand here), the Kim Kardashian iPhone game. So yes, you can become dependent on weed. But, is it the same as being addicted to alcohol and other drugs?
According to Pew Research, marijuana’s estimated rate of addiction is lower than other substances like alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. Also unlike opioids and stimulants, marijuana dependence tends to develop much more slowly. Clearly, there are no known reports of anyone dying of a marijuana overdose or its withdrawal symptoms, which are obviously much milder than with more damaging substances.
In the fight for legalization, people often try to undermine the innumerable health, social, and economic benefits of cannabis by pointing out those consuming it in an irresponsible way. I once had to get an IV from puking up too much Saké, should it be illegal just because I couldn’t handle myself? Should we ban Windex because you can’t spray it into your mouth? Anti-legalization advocates also tend to point to the higher-than-ever percentages of THC in products, especially excited by the high concentration of dabs. I don’t know about y’all, but when I use a product that’s higher in THC, I simply…use less of it.
At the end of the day, only you know if how you use cannabis is working for you. If you feel depressed about the way you’re using weed and don’t think it’s benefiting you, reach out to your support system about re-evaluating your relationship with the plant. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun and feel good!
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