The term ‘gateway’ drug is one that is thrown around a lot when it comes to cannabis. Apparently, this plant is going to lead you to a life of addiction because you will start using heavier drugs. However, people generally agree that cannabis itself isn’t addictive. But is that entirely true? It’s time to clear up the misconceptions about cannabis addiction and realize that you can be addicted to weed, just it might not be the way you thought.
Drug addiction is the dependence of a certain substance, but there is another side to the term ‘drug addiction’ that most people consider go hand-in-hand – physical withdrawal symptoms. “ButI can stop at any time, there is nothing to it” is often what a long-time stoner will tell you if you ask them why they don’t stop. This ties into the misconception that drug addiction is linked to physical withdrawal symptoms and physically not being able to stop; like what you see with drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth. Just because you ‘can’ stop at any time, doesn’t mean you are going to.
So, if there aren’t any physical withdrawal symptoms and I can stop at any time, does that mean I am not addicted to cannabis? Umm, no, because drug addiction actually has very little to do with the physical side effects and more to do with your constant use of a substance. If you are using cannabis every day, you could be addicted. Don’t worry though, being ‘addicted to cannabis’ might not be as bad or as permanent as it seems, as long as you are aware of it and are willing to make some changes.
Let’s first take a look at how often you smoke. Smoking every day is the first sign of addiction. Smoking cannabis is an amazing experience for many people, so wanting to do it every day doesn’t seem like a bad thing. After all, there are many things that we consume on a daily basis, does that mean we are addicted to a lot of things? Well, that’s the point of this article…most of us actually are addicted to many things.
Think about something you consume every day, whether it’s alcohol, soft drinks, coffee, fast foods, bread, sweets, you name it. If you consume it regularly and it makes you feel good, you could be addicted to it. Before modern science told us about all the different chemicals in our brains it was difficult to define addiction. Nowadays, we can see that each time we do something we like, chemicals are released in our brain that make us feel good. These chemicals are the key to understanding addiction.
Every time you smoke weed, it feels good, and you get a rush of dopamine in your brain. This makes you want to do it again until you are caught chasing dopamine highs rather than THC highs. Anytime you feel a bit down, your mind immediately wonders to weed as that instant pick-me-up. You smoke it and everything feels good again, for the moment, and then it wears off and it all starts again. This is the vicious cycle of drug addiction and it can be related to any substance that you consume on a regular basis.
Sugar addiction is very similar to cannabis addiction. Many of us consume sugar daily. Maybe you started eating sugar because it tastes nice, but after years it becomes more about that pick-me-up, even if it’s a subconscious decision. So yes, Cannabis addiction is real, but we can be addicted to anything that makes us feel good. It doesn’t even have to be something you consume. You can be addicted to watching TV and some studies suggest that porn is as addictive as cocaine, so don’t blame it on this amazing plant, blame it on our addictive personalities.
How to Break an Addiction
The first step to breaking an addiction is acknowledging it. If you can’t say ‘I am addicted to Cannabis’ you will never be able to break that addiction. It is the same for anything you are addicted to, by acknowledging it you are taking away its hidden powers.
Now that you know you are addicted, it is quite easy to break it, but it just takes willpower. You have to make a subconscious experience a conscious one. Next time you get that urge to smoke a bong, think about where it’s coming from and then allow it to pass. Those first few times are the hardest, but also the most rewarding. You will be surprised at how quickly it takes to break an addiction and also how quickly it takes to reform one.
It’s also a nice idea to take a break every now and then. I have been smoking weed for 8 years, and I only started taking occasional breaks 3 years ago. These breaks are very important because they show me I am always in control. Even if it’s just for a week, show yourself that you can do it. Not only will you enjoy your high a lot more after your break, but you will also be a stronger person for doing it. Take note of all your addictions, not only to cannabis, because before you know it you will be chasing those dopamine highs all the time. It doesn’t mean you have to stop smoking completely, but if you think your cannabis addiction is taking over your life, and then it may be time to give ol’ Mary Jane a break.