Marijuana has been used as a means for achieving euphoria since ancient times. It was first written about as such in a Chinese medical compendium dating from the year 2737. It was also used as a medicinal herb.
Marijuana was a major crop in North America for hemp, used in making rope and fabrics, especially during World War II when Asian hemp became unavailable. Marijuana was also used for medicinal purposes in the United States from the 1850s to the 1930s, particularly for labor pains, nausea and rheumatism. During that period it was also used as an intoxicant, until the Federal Bureau of Narcotics portrayed marijuana as a powerfully addictive drug. It was then, and still is, considered a “gateway” drug that opens the doorway to use of harder narcotics and drugs.
In the 1950s is was used extensively by the Beat Generation, as it was again in the 1960s by the so called hippies, although use became commonplace at that time. Today, after decades of heightened vigilance against growers and importers and stuff prison terms for possession and use, marijuana is again a medical herb and is legal in several states with growing popularity.
Signs of Marijuana Addiction
Because of its history people are often confused about whether or not marijuana addiction is a real condition. The answer is, yes, it can be addictive.
If used long enough, over-stimulation of the endocannabinoid system by marijuana cause changes in the brain that lead to addiction. The addict has cannot stop using the drug and craves it, even though it interferes with relationships, school or a job, and the addict conducts his or her life. They have difficulty going someplace where they know they will not have access to marijuana for any length of time.
It is estimated that nine percent of the people who use marijuana will become addicted to it. That number climbs to 17 percent in those who start using marijuana in their teens. It goes up from 25 percent to 50 percent among daily users. According to some studies, marijuana accounts for 4.2 million of the 6.9 million Americans dependent on an illicit drug.
Potency Increases Risk for Addiction to Marijuana
One of the factors accounting for the increasing number of people with an addiction to marijuana is the increasing potency of the plant.
In the 90s marijuana had roughly a 3.7 percent THC concentration, while today the THC concentration is closer to 10 percent. There are also new ways of further concentrating the THC levels to be even higher, especially by smoking or eating marijuana extract. The average marijuana extract is over 50 percent THC rich with some samples exceeding 80 percent.
With these new levels of THC concentration the consequences and effects of marijuana use could be far worse than anything known in the past, particularly among young people whose brains are still developing.
In lower THC levels, with regular use, marijuana addiction can cause mild withdrawal symptoms, irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness and other forms of physical discomfort last up to two weeks.