Medical Cannabis: Is It Addictive?
Like all medicinal therapies, the use of marijuana (cannabis) has some potential drawbacks. However, unlike other narcotics with which it is commonly associated such as cocaine and heroin, marijuana is not regarded as particularly addictive. Even compared with substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or prescription painkillers, marijuana is less likely to lead to dependency among its users.
A Low Incidence of Marijuana Dependency
According to The Science of Marijuana by Cambridge University pharmacology professor Dr. Leslie Iverson, somewhere between 10 and 30% of regular users of marijuana will develop some degree of dependency on the drug. Approximately 9% will experience a serious addiction. Compared to tobacco (32%), heroin (23%), cocaine (17%), and alcohol (15%), it is clear that the risk of serious addiction is much lower with marijuana.
Even in rare cases of serious addiction, the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting marijuana are generally quite mild, especially compared to tobacco, opiates, and alcohol. The most common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:
- Sleep disruption
- GI upset
The lack of strong withdrawal symptoms is probably due to the fact that even when dependency does occur, there is not a physical addiction associated with marijuana. Cannabis addiction, rather, seems to be a purely psychological issue.
Medical Cannabis can be a Safe, Effective Therapy for Qualified Patients
As with any medication, there are potential side effects to medical cannabis. But for certain conditions, medical cannabis is more effective, works more quickly, and has fewer and less severe side effects than many conventional treatments.
If you suffer from a qualifying condition in New Mexico and have not experienced effective relief from conventional medicine, please call Albuquerque Integrative Medicine today at 505-570-5447. See if medical cannabis is the right treatment for you.