Is Marijuana Addictive? Can You Develop a Weed Addiction?

Is marijuana addicting? It is clear that weed is addictive and pot addiction can be dangerous. Learn more about weed addiction, marijuana addiction.

It was once thought marijuana addiction, also known as weed addiction and pot addiction, wasn't possible because pot was not thought to cause withdrawal symptoms. It is now known marijuana is addictive to some people, particularly chronic and severe users.

There is less potential for weed addiction than for tobacco, alcohol, heroin and cocaine but marijuana is more addicting than psychedelic drugs like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Is Marijuana Addictive? - Weed Addiction vs. Dependence

Marijuana dependence, defined in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM IV) of mental illness, is part of weed addiction. Nearly 7% - 10% of regular marijuana users go on to become dependent on it (read: marijuana use statistics). Marijuana's addicting nature is often seen once these signs of pot dependence appear:1

  • Tolerance - either an increasing dose of weed to achieve the same effect or a diminished effect with the same dose of weed
  • Withdrawal - either presence of marijuana withdrawal symptoms or the taking of more pot to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • More marijuana is used, or is used longer, than intended
  • There is a strong desire to cut down on drug use (may include failed attempts)
  • Significant time is spent on marijuana-related activities
  • Other aspects of life are neglected in favor of pot use
  • Marijuana use continues in spite of recurrent negative consequences

Weed dependence doesn't always lead to weed addiction (marijuana addiction).

Is Marijuana Addictive? - What is a Weed Addiction?

Cannabis abuse, which includes marijuana addiction, is a recognized disorder in the DSM-IV. While weed addiction is often not diagnosed by medical personnel, it is a major concern for many of the people who access drug addiction services. In the United States, 100,000 people are treated yearly for marijuana addiction (read: marijuana addiction treatment).2 It is estimated that up to 50% of daily marijuana users develop a weed addiction.3

Characteristics of weed addiction include:

  • Compulsive marijuana-seeking behavior
  • A pattern of self-destructive behavior due to weed use
  • Failure to fulfill major life obligations at work, home or school because of pot use
  • Marijuana use continues in spite of recurring negative consequences, including legal consequences
  • Weed use continues in spite of recurring social or interpersonal problems caused by or made worse by drug use
  • Marijuana is used in dangerous situations

Is Marijuana Addictive? - Marijuana Addicting Dangers

Because weed addiction can cause serious legal, social, family, work, school and interpersonal problems, pot addiction should be taken seriously. Marijuana users have decreased mental abilities, memory problems, more chest and lung infections and an increased chance of cancer, among other things. Marijuana addiction also increases the likelihood of the user engaging in behaviors like driving while intoxicated which can be dangerous.

article references

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, December 16). Is Marijuana Addictive? Can You Develop a Weed Addiction?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: December 30, 2021

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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