THE CONTINUUM OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE
The Continuum of Drug and Alcohol Use shows that people who use marijuana may be at different points on a continuum of risk. Some teens may start to use it regularly and develop a dependency. The risks associated with marijuana use, including the risk for physical and psychological dependence, increase with more regular use
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Many people incorrectly believe that marijuana use is easy to control, because it doesn’t have the addictive properties of tobacco or other highly addictive substances. However, this does not mean that you should not be concerned by marijuana use. As noted by both Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Health Canada, there is evidence that marijuana can create physical and/or psychological dependence. The risk of developing dependence is highest among those who are heavy users.
Regular, long term users have been shown to experience withdrawal effects when they suddenly stop using. These include increased anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, sweating and loss of appetite. These effects can be short term, however sleep problems can continue longer.
People with psychological dependence crave being high. They might feel like they need the drug, and feel anxious if they can’t have it. Some people may even rely on being high to perform daily living and social activities.
We know that marijuana can lead to physical dependency. Can it also lead to use of other harder drugs?
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), while research has shown that heavy marijuana use is linked with an increased chance of using other illegal drugs, marijuana use does not cause the use of the other drugs. Heavy marijuana use can expose the user to a drug-using subculture, which can provide access to other illegal substances. However, most people use marijuana on an occasional or experimental basis and do not start using other illegal substances.
Marijuana is the number one drug for which youth seek treatment in Halton.
If you become aware of your child’s marijuana use, it is important to get information early on to avoid larger dependency problems in the future. Marijuana use assessment, treatment and counseling services are available in Halton.