We hear a variation of this question a lot. “Am I an addict if I smoke marijuana every day?” As with most questions, answers will be all over the place. But the most important answer is how you answer it yourself.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive research that you can point to for the complete answer. Someone who has been waking and baking for years is totally different than a cancer patient medicating with cannabis to relieve pain or nausea. So you really need to ask yourself the question and be honest with yourself. And, if possible, have the conversation with your general practitioner or a trusted doctor.
Check out the questions below and use them as a springboard to learning. Once again, everybody reacts to marijuana in different ways. The key is to accurately self-analyze your consumption. And if you think you may have a problem, chances are you might be correct.
How Addictive Is Marijuana?
According to one government-supported study, nearly 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become abusers. But let’s take a slightly deeper look at the answer.
About 15 percent of people who consume alcohol will become addicted. For cocaine, 17 percent; for heroin, 23 percent; and for nicotine, 32 percent.
It is possible that you are among the 9 percent who struggle with addiction. It is more possible that you are among the 91 percent that will not get hooked on weed. Cannabis is less addictive than neatly every legal or illegal drug.
Research has demonstrated that daily marijuana use can lead to increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop.
Related Story: How To Lower Your Tolerance To Marijuana In One Easy Step
So be honest with yourself. If you have the slightest concern that you have developed a physical or mental dependence on marijuana, be proactive. Ween yourself off daily use. Take a tolerance break and recalibrate your system. If this becomes too difficult, it is possible you are among the 9 percent.
Does Daily Use Cause Physical Changes To The Brain?
Research is mixed on this question. However, the latest study in 2015, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found “daily marijuana use is not associated with brain morphometric measures in adolescents or adults.”
According to this study, earlier research did not control for alcohol use. When that variable was included, the study suggests “it is possible that alcohol use, or other factors, may explain some of the contradictory findings to date.”
The study concluded that “while the literature clearly supports a deleterious short-term effect of marijuana on learning and memory, it seems unlikely that marijuana use has the same level of long-term deleterious effects on brain morphology as other drugs like alcohol.”
Related Story: Study: Marijuana May Treat Aggressive Brain Cancer
Does this mean daily consumption of cannabis is OK? No. The research does not say that. The data is not definitive on what longtime daily use does to cognitive development.
Dr. Stuart Gitlow, a professor at the University of Florida, is an addiction specialist and an ardent opponent of the medical use of marijuana, promotes a loss of attention, focus and concentration.
While the medical community continues to study the issue, one thing is clear: Young, developing minds should refrain from cannabis use. And daily consumption for an adolescent or teen is not advised.
Should I Steer Clear Of Waking And Baking?
Similar to morning use of alcohol among alcohol-dependent individuals, morning use of marijuana may indicate dependence and increased cannabis-related impairment, according to a 2016 study in the journal Addiction and Research Theory.
The report, co-authored by cannabis researcher Mitch Earleywine, suggests that “morning users reported significantly more problems than non-morning users, and morning use accounted for significant unique variance in problems.”
Related Story: Does Marijuana Make You Stupid? Here’s What Experts Say
The positive news, according to the study, shows that “morning use also has the potential to lend itself to straightforward intervention. … Exploratory mediational analyses did not support the idea that morning use led to problems via withdrawal.”
So if this is one of your habits, now may be the time to wean yourself fr0m it. There are potential negative outcomes, but not in everybody.
Does My Bad Cough Mean I Am Getting Lung Cancer?
While it is true that daily consumption will irritate your lungs and give some users a chronic hacking cough, research shows that smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer.
“Although cannabis does increase symptoms of bronchitis like coughing and wheezing, it does not appear to elevate risk for lung cancer,” according to Professor Mitch Earleywine, a cannabis researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Albany, NY.
The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted the largest and longest study ever to consider the issue in 2012. According to Dr. Mark Pletcher, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco and the lead author of the study, marijuana use did not harm lung capacity. In fact, the study suggests some test subjects experienced improved lung capacity.
“There are clearly adverse effects from tobacco use and marijuana smoke has a lot of the same constituents as tobacco smoke does so we thought it might have some of the same harmful effects. It’s a weird effect to see and we couldn’t make it go away,” Pletcher said.
If you want to minimize your coughing jags, cutting back on cannabis will most likely help. The coughing is a clear sign of an agitated lung, but it is not cancerous.
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