I actually have a funny one: There was finally a "government-approved" research study done as to the addictiveness of pot. The headline, of course, read "MARIJUANA PROVED ADDICTIVE"; thankfully, I read more than headlines.

The research involved three groups of people: Group A, who'd never smoked pot; Group B, the occassional users; and Group C, the raving junkies. All three groups were given a doobie a day for a month, then cut off cold turkey and asked to record their symptoms, if any, of withdrawal.

In order to see the humor here you have understand that Jerry Garcia himself might not have qualified for Group C. I don't know where they got these guys, but each of them had to have smoked pot A) an unbroken average of once a day for the last five years, and B) a total of more than 5,000 times--that's one a day for THIRTEEN YEARS. So these guys were mad potheads.

Group C, who'd probably only volunteered to get some free ganja, were the only ones who experienced any withdrawal symptoms at all--and those were "mild to moderate" and completely gone before the 28 days of the experiment were up.

So yeah, "MARIJUANA WAS PROVED ADDICTIVE", just less so than coffee, chocolate, or sex. And as far as that "keep it on the schedule one list" crap goes, you show me an "occassional" coke user who can do it once a day for a month and then have NO withdrawal symptoms at all. Like I said, you couldn't do that with coffee--you'd be twitchin' like mad.

Oh, and in my personal opinion, no, it's not physically addictive. I've done it for long periods of time and dropped it for long periods of time, and the biggest symptom I ever had was thinking, "Man, I'd rather be stoned." So psychologically, yeah, everything is addictive, especially if it's fun. But as to the quote-unquote-scientists who let Uncle Sam purchase that headline...I feel your pain, and I know that if you'd produced a study proving marijuana to be at the very most minimally physically addictive, your work would have just been thrown out. But please quit selling out. You guys are making it very hard to spread any Truth around here.
OK shoot me down if I'm talking bullshit here but here goes:

The answer to this depends on what you're definition of addiction is.

ASFAIK something is defined as physically addictive if you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. By this criteria pot isn't addictive.

There is also the category of psychologically addictive which covers gambling and other more controversial (in diagnostic terms) things such as shopping. As I understand it defining this is a lot more difficult not to mention controversial.

The question then remains is pot psychologically addictive? and how do we measure this. The first question is much debated (as is the later) - The answer to the second would (and is AFAIK) presumably be similar to the criteria of the first - can people stop without adverse (psychological) side effects. In my experience (and what I know (second hand) of the evidence) the answer is yes people can stop it and therefore no it is not psychologically adictive.

It can certainly be habit-forming but just because someone doesn't stop it doesn't mean they can't and habituation is not adiction . Others would disagree, though they tend to be morally opposed to drugs. To declare an interest here - yes I have and still do smoke pot. - Though I now do so only occasionally because i didn't like the habits I had built up around it and making that change was as easy as making that decision. Though if you wanted to play Devil's Advocate it could be argued the fact that I don't turn it down when its around evidence that Really I can't give it up and are therefore addicted.

My purely anecdotal $0.04 (wtih inflation...)

I used to smoke pot, sometimes infrequently (5-10 times/year) and sometimes a lot (10 times/month). My use would vary in a fashion that was fairly well correlated with how bored I was.

A few years ago, I needed to get a security clearance for a job. I applied for the clearance, honestly answered all the questions they posed about my drug use, and signed the form under where it told me that I was agreeing not to break the law - i.e. not to smoke anymore. I got the clearance.

Since that day, I haven't. It's been some years now. I never had any physical symptoms. I do often suddenly stop what I'm doing, usually if I'm bored or doing something psychedelic already, like watching Yellow Submarine, and say to myself, "Damn, I wish i was high." However, I don't do it. I have sat through friends getting stoned in the same room numerous times, and had no trouble not partaking, or even leaving the room if the smoke got really thick.

What does this prove? Nothing. It's just a data point. Take it as you will. I agree that pot is not addictive but is habit-forming...but that the severity of those habits are a matter of individual personality, willpower and situation.

Damn, I wish I was high.

One of the fundamental questions, that has already been raised here, is what do we consider addictive? Answers obviously vary, and one source one could turn to is the DSM, published by the APA. I shan’t bore you with the details of their description, but much of it is extremely functional, i.e., considers topics like social and other prices paid for the habit, inability to quit, etc.

A more physiological definition would relate to direct excitement of behavior reinforcing mechanisms. “Ah?”, you might ask. Well…
When we act in ways that have been hard-wired or soft-wired to be good for us, such as feeding and mating, we get specific responses in the brain that appear to be related to reinforcing the behavior that led to the good / pleasurable outcome. This is often, yet not always, equivalent to pleasure on a mental level. One of the major areas involved in this process is the nucleus accumbens, an area in the brain that seems to try and make sure we repeat behavior that occurred just before the secretion of a neurotransmitter named dopamine in it.

Most of the drugs we use bind to one site or more in the brain, directly or indirectly causing the secretion of said dopamine. As far as THC (the active ingredient in pot) goes, it binds both to sites in the nucleus accumbens itself, and to sites in the VTA (ventral tegemental area), indirectly causing dopamine release in the critical spot. So, if we take a physically based criteria, it seems to be addictive. Non-the-less, coffee has similar effects, and does not attract as much negative publicity.

Behavioral research hasn’t really shown any really bad effects of THC as far as I know, and only marginal health effects, so pot is probably addictive and not really healthy, but so are alcohol and nicotine and caffeine. From the four of these, marijuana probably causes more damage than coffee, and less damage than booze and cigarettes. As far as I’m concerned, people should be free to choose their own poison, as long as they don’t force it on others.

When we think of addicts, we usually think of a strung out junky prostitute, or a wild-eyed coke-tooting pretty-boy Hollywood actor, or even just the old drunk that lives upstairs. In fact, addiction medicine specialists often define addiction as the inability to change behaviour in the face of undesirable consequences. The thing is though, for every Whitney Houston, there are probably 10 drug users who keep it together enough that no one ever need know of their dirty habit.

Everyone knows that certain substances have a far greater capacity to addict a person than others. On the same token, each individual has a threshold for addiction which is what allows us to enjoy things without becoming dependent. A great many people have tried booze, weed, LSD, coke, and all the other commonly available brain candies and enjoyed them without the troubling compulsion to ceaselessly pursue a chemical euphoria. Everyone has a rock bottom. Some will die before hitting it, some will get help, and some will see it coming and steer well clear.

Those of us who have goals and aspirations of life have an easier time of making good decisions. In my later teenage years and early twenties I would often roam about in a drug-induced stupour. I tried lots of drugs, and enjoyed them thoroughly, but when I started to see the effects I had to pull back and re-evaluate my lifestyle. Fortunately I was not prone to addiction (not a gamble worth taking), so it was not difficult to stop the drinking and drugs, but there was one drug that wasn't so easy to stop.

Smoking pot just doesn't do enough damage to encourage giving it up. Sure, we've all seen the hard-core heads who are so zooted all the time you wonder how they could ever hold down a job before you remember they don't. Looking at a life like that is enough to make any straight and narrow kid stay that way. But those guys are sitting around all day puffing herb and doing nothing else. Don't get me wrong; Pot makes you stupid, pollutes your lungs, and dehabilitates your body, but someone who smokes a couple hits of danks every night after coming home from work is not going to have an obvious problem.

That's the real danger of marijuana for the non-addict type. You can go on for years smoking the stuff, feeling the negative effects, knowing it's not good for you, but never having a solid enough reason to quit. The fact that marijuana is not physically addictive only makes it harder to quit. George Carlin is one of the few old guys to admit he smokes, but it's all part of the routine. Who knows what prominent baby boomers are out there secretly toking behind closed doors?

In my experience, marijuana, while not physically addictive, is incredibly socially addictive.

I was addicted to pot for about a year. Like telbij mentions above, there just wasn't a good enough reason to quit, especially for me, it being my senior year of high school and everything that entails. It has been interesting since then watching what happens to my friends-turned-potheads-turned friends. Most still smoke, but not like we did. Everyone scattered from our border town, and found that the green is much more expensive everywhere else in the nation, especially when vague concepts like room and board suddenly become rockhard rent and groceries.

Biskit still smokes a lot. We're roommates now, and he's found rent is a beast without a job. But why trade your hours for dimes when you can just worry about making the money by the first, right?

Danny D stayed behind. Just about the time we graduated there was an influx of "The White," Cocaine into our adolescence. Without warning we couldn't find pot anywhere, and the dealer kids were practically rolling in the snow. I moved away soon after, I still worry about Danny.

Richdawg became a Christian in Tucson. I've tried to stay neutral on this one, but I noticed one thing. He stopped smoking, and this is big. Big like broke-the-$200-Roor-in-half big. Rich was a real head, we are close friends, and this is how I noticed addiction.

After being "zooted" all the time lost its charm and just made me sleepy all the time, I quit smoking. I suppose being busted for a pinch of pot and spending the night in jail for it had a little influence too. (gotta love conservative Arizona). These days I toke on occasion. Seeing Richdawg was always an occasion. We'd sit together, get stoned, and well, just talk. Pot slows one's proverbial roll. I miss that.

Marijuana is socially addictive. I don't miss the THC, I miss the ritual. My freshman year of college, walking to The Spot with friends, loading "Smokin' Joe" with water and snow, cleaning, laughing. I miss my friends having the excuse of "we were so stoned" so they can just be themselves and have some fun. When I smoke these days, the idea is sweeter than the high.

If pot isn't addictive like I always testified, why was it so hard to stop?

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