Welcome to Slyng's rendition of Mythbusters! Every week, we'll do an article that goes in-depth about a common question regarding marijuana. This week, we'll be exploring whether or not marijuana is highly addictive.
In order to debunk this claim, we need to understand how a drug can be labeled highly addictive. To look at the source, we need to understand how Psychiatrists' label substances as "addictive". Psychiatrists' use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR), a psychiatry handbook of all mental conditions. This book defines addiction as "the compulsive use of a substance despite ongoing negative consequences, which may lead to tolerance or withdrawal systems when the substance is stopped." According to a study by the LA Times, marijuana is only addictive to 9% of adults by this definition, whereas cocaine and heroin would cause addiction in 15% of adult users.
Marijuana users in withdrawal tend to "have mood effects, irritability, food intake decreases, and sleep disruptions. It is very similar to nicotine withdrawal," and marijuana "withdrawal is annoying, but it isn't life threatening" said Carl Hart, a professor of clinical neuroscience at Columbia University. Whereas, in alcohol withdrawal "you can actually die from it." said Hart.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders told CNN in 2010 that she supports legalizing marijuana because "marijuana is nontoxic. You can fatally overdose on alcohol, heroin or cocaine, but the only way a dose of marijuana will kill you is if someone crushes you under a bale of it."
With such overwhelming support from various studies, and highly acclaimed doctors. We can safely say that marijuana is not a highly addictive drug. Although, it is possible to become addicted to it. It would never be in the same scope as hard drugs such as heroin and meth.