Unlike other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, marijuana abuse takes a long time to turn into addiction. However, there are symptoms that will tell you if your use of the drug has become compulsive. The symptoms of marijuana addiction are often those only the user is able to see and feel, but if you recognize these effects from your drug abuse, you should consider seeking treatment right away.
1. According to the NLM, addiction “is more likely to happen if [someone] uses marijuana every day.” As a result, you should consider the amount you smoke and whether or not you have been doing so every day for a long time. Those who smoke regularly are also more likely to become addicted if they have been doing so for a long time (often since they were teenagers).
2. If you experience cravings for the drug and notice these to become extremely intense when you are unable to smoke, it is likely you are already addicted. Cravings are one of the stronger signs of compulsive drug abuse, and they can be very difficult to fight during rehab and recovery.
3. “Anxiety and paranoia” are common symptoms of short-term marijuana abuse, according to CESAR. However, those who are addicted to the drug may encounter these feelings constantly and even be less adept at dealing with stressful situations as a result of their drug abuse.
4. The need to smoke can often make it hard to go out and engage in activities that used to be fun or important to you. If you notice that all you want to do is stay in and smoke rather than participate in other activities which used to matter to you, this is another strong symptom of addiction.
5. Marijuana, especially when abused over time, has the effect of “limiting the brain’s capacity to store and retrieve information.” If you notice that your memory is starting to slip or that you have trouble learning new things (especially in school), you may very well be addicted to the drug and in need of professional treatment.
6. Having constant fights with more than one person in your life about your excessive marijuana use is another symptom of addiction. Consider the effect the drug has had on your relationships and whether you have refused to cut back, even when your loved ones have asked.
7. Tolerance can occur with long-time marijuana use. Addicts “might need to smoke more and more of it to get the same high,” according to the NIH.
8. Many addicts attempt to cut back at one point or another and fail to do so. If you have experience with several failed attempts at quitting or reducing your marijuana use, you should consider professional treatment.
9. Consistent marijuana smokers often experience breathing problems such as “daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections” (NIDA).
10. Withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana dependence include irritability, insomnia, decrease in appetite, anxiety, and headaches. Many individuals will relapse back to the drug because these symptoms can be so intense.