Cannabis Use Disorder: Is There Really Such A Thing?

First Posted: Jan 07, 2017 03:30 AM EST

Until now, the reality of cannabis dependency has not yet been taken seriously. While some people argue that marijuana is not addictive, participants at Marijuana Anonymous (MA) have spent many years struggling and are trying to quit.

LA Weekly reported that the cannabis version of Alcohol Anonymous has been helping people struggling to quit smoking weed since 1989. Among their attendees is 51-year-old Marcy E who started using cannabis when she was 12. She sought help from MA four years ago and has been attending meetings twice a week, talking to "someone who tells the exact story."

"This is a gripping addiction for people, and people don't even think it's real," Marcy said, adding she spent 30 years trying to stop cannabis use. She started smoking weed to manage emotional pain but she said it has prevented her from building stable relationships. Marcy recalls herself as being too complacent and not having romantic relationships left her childless.

Marcy is among the many stoners suffering from cannabis dependency also known as "cannabis use disorder." According to a 2010 survey, there is a 9 percent transition rate from regular cannabis use to being dependent. Moreover, a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors shows that one in six people who started smoking weed as teens has eventually become dependent.

According to American Psychiatric Association, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders measures cannabis use disorder by the frequency of pot use, cravings and the number of failed attempts to stop the use.

Jim Anthony, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University, identified psychological withdrawal symptoms as depression and anxiety, and physiological withdrawal symptoms as insomnia and disturbed appetite.

While MA has been helping struggling "marijuana addicts" quit, MentalHealth.Com says there is no treatment for cannabis use disorder proven to be 100 percent effective yet.

"Even with treatment, fewer than 20% achieve long-term abstinence," the website stated. "Some argue that cannabis should be decriminalized, and that cannabis addiction should be treated 'like any other medical disorder.' They forget that there is no treatment for cannabis addiction that has been proven effective."

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