Cannabis: addictive or not?


Can we talk about a cannabis addiction? Researchers have seriously addressed the issue of addiction

WHO (World Health Organization) recently confirmed that the CBD molecule, is not addictive. However, there is still a debate about the addictive capacity of THC, the most important molecule in cannabis.

The debate around cannabis addiction is particularly controversial. If opinions are often exacerbated, science has done a lot of research on the subject, and the answers are much more subtle than a simple yes or no. Many factors come into play, showing that THC alone is not critical. Small point on the results.

Cannabis, no physiological addiction

There is no addictive properties in cannabis that can trigger an addiction. So, physically your body will not be pushed to take more cannabis.

Unlike most drugs, such as heroin, but also psychotropic drugs, such as ritalin, adderall and the majority of prescription drugs, cannabis is not addictive. this type.

What this means is that in the context of a physiological dependence, the body needs the addictive substance in order to function "normally". Without the presence in the body of the drug, he begins to show signs of trouble, regardless of the psychic condition of the person. His troubles are particularly severe, and can lead to death.

Cannabis does not have a chemical component inducing a physical dependence, the THC not allowing to lead to such physiological reactions.

A psychological dependence

If a substance may not be physically addictive, it may be quite different about psychological dependence. It is common to give cannabis this specific type of addiction. What is it really? The reality is much more complex and not specifically related to cannabis.

Cannabis is no more addictive in reality than any product that allows the brain to secrete dopamine... and almost anything that gives pleasure allows him to secrete it. This is a known system of reward related to the mechanism of the brain.

The latter brings a feeling ranging from simple relaxation to a deep comfort, through well-being. This type of relief allows many people a better ability to tolerate everyday problems.

Thus, the more important the problems, the more the search for a way to face them is felt.

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Cannabis & your metabolism

Symptoms of "Cannabis Use Disorder" (CUD)

There is however a phenomenon called "cannabis use disorder" or CUD not to be totally neglected. CUD is a psychological disorder related to misuse of cannabis.

In the case of the CUDIndices may indicate that there is a form of dependence that may be related to certain factors. The ease with which one can get cannabis, the pressure of the group, low self-esteem, or even other factors such as the death of a parent being young or the socio-economic setting.

So many elements that are not directly related to the chemistry of the molecule and its interaction with the sensors in the body.

Thus, unlike drugs such as alcohol, cocaine or heroin, the CUD originates mainly in psychological factors.

In the case of a physical dependence, the body imperatively needs the substance in order to function. Without this, it suffers a lack effect, as found in the case of alcohol. These signs of addiction are so severe that they may require hospitalization and even death. None of this appears in the CUD.

Signs to watch for

However here are some symptoms appearing in the case of the CUD to be taken into account:

  • An increase in consumption,
  • The difficulty in reducing consumption
  • The time spent on it
  • A strong desire for cannabis
  • Difficulties in fulfilling personal or professional obligations
  • Relationships with others affected
  • The development of a tolerance threshold requiring an increase in doses, and
  • Some signs of lack.

How many people are affected?

Of the total number of cannabis users, the percentage does not exceed 10% in the US, which is relatively low for such a deluded substance. In France, even INSERM, in a document the risk of cannabis is obliged to admit that the "risk of dependence is quite low" and when quoted by sites opposed to cannabis, there are only estimates ranging from 5 to 10% of consumers.

Can we call it addiction?

An interesting phenomenon: when we remove the source of the problem causing the use of cannabis, what we call "dependence" automatically stops.

The cannabis then becomes something that the individual will use or not, totally freely, without pressures of the subconscious or the body.

This process of loss of dependence does not exist in the case of drugs that cause physical dependence.

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Cannabis, a weaning aid

Contrary to what one might believe, cannabis is not a gateway to other drugs.

It would be rather the opposite
Cannabis is increasingly used as "Exit Grass" to help addicts to stop taking drug.


Psychological problems are easier to manage and understand when good cannabis is used.

Cannabis significantly helps to alleviate a variety of complications from drug-related withdrawal such as heroin. Suppression of nausea, comfort, mild euphoria (with adapted strains), pain control and much more.

A non-addictive pain reliever

Continuing in this direction, and becoming aware of the potential of cannabis, doctors have based on the property of the plant to develop new painkillers.

Their particularities being to have no addictive effects.

and a recent study led by Oregon Health & Science University indicates new method of treating chronic pain. And of course the solution is in cannabis.

Indeed, one of the major risks that accompany the treatment of this type of pain is drug dependence.

The research focused on CB1 and CB2 receptors, in cases of inflammatory pain. This type of pain increases the activity of CB2, and reduces that of CB1.

What is important? Because the CB2 helps reduce pain, and the CB1 is related to addiction. In this situation, by intelligently activating the CB2 sensors, while minimizing the CB1, you can have an anti-pain avoiding the lack effect.

the CB1 acts on the addiction, the CB2 acts on the pain

Some cannibinoids found in cannabis are more likely to affect CB2.

Thus drugs focusing on the endocannabinoid system induce analgesic production with fewer side effects than opioid-based treatments.

So, addictive or not?

The answer is therefore both simple and complex.

Clearly, cannabis does not create physical addiction, like alcohol or heroin, or even some painkillers.

However, there may be a different, more psychological, dependence, whose external factors will impact consumption: age of the first joint, rate of consumption, general psychological state. If this dependence is in no way comparable to others, and has never concluded at the slightest death, it must nevertheless remain vigilant. As in all things, moderation must be the norm.

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