Is marijuana addictive?
That has been the 64 thousand dollar question! And, the answer to that question seems to ride solely on the chemical co-dependence theory. From time to time, I’m sure you’ve heard someone ask; is this substance addictive or that substance addictive, right! The list could go on and on couldn’t it? Well, to answer that question, nothing is addictive but any substance or activity can be used as an addiction! In other words, people choose addictive behavior, and there is a primary reason why they do. Have you ever wondered why some people can smoke pot, use a drug, or drink alcohol and walk away from it yet others can not? If these substances were in fact chemically addictive or caused a chemical co-dependence by attacking key receptors in the brain, wouldn’t everyone who tried the substance once become addicted to it? The answer is yes! But, that doesn’t happen -EVER! However, the chemical co-dependence model has become a common methodology, which has been perpetuated by our own government agency the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA.) If you visit the (NIDA) website you will find countless CT scans displaying the chemical effects of psychoactive substances on the human brain. Now, I am not disputing the fact that marijuana, drugs, alcohol, nicotine and other substances do chemically alter the brain, however, so do other innocuous substances such as sugar and salt. And furthermore, that chemical alteration is not the root cause of the addiction and nor does it prevent addiction recovery.
The Root cause of Marijuana Addiction
I believe there is a common denominator or root cause of every addiction. So, whether you’re addicted to marijuana, drugs, alcohol, sex, food, or gambling, they all have a common thread. Plain and simple, the root cause of addiction is the emotional scars caused by family dysfunction. Patterns of verbal, sexual, and physical abuse, along with absentee parenting and substance abuse cause emotional trauma. This emotional trauma results in low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. As an addiction recovery coach, I have never experienced a single case of addiction that wasn’t rooted in family dysfunction – not one!
The Effects of Marijuana
There has been a great deal of controversy concerning the classification of marijuana as a drug. Is it a stimulant, a depressant, or a hallucinogen? Unlike most other substances such as cocaine, opiates, and alcohol, which are classified as either stimulants or depressants, marijuana seems to be quite unique since it exhibits the effects of all three classifications. The major psychoactive chemical in marijuana is called delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, as the level of (THC) rises, so does the strength and potency of the pot. Even though marijuana seems to induce mostly hallucinogenic effects, it also causes stimulation and depression. The effects of marijuana can vary from one individual to the next, but if you’ve been smoking pot, I’m quite sure you understand the changing dynamics of the experience. Initially, there is a stimulating and euphoric effect that elevates heart rate and blood pressure. This stage is frequently followed by a hallucinogenic phase where some may experience impaired vision, delusions, and even paranoia. And the final phase usually results in a mellowed or somewhat depressed state, which often exacerbates anxiety and depression. This may seem to be counterproductive since most individuals using marijuana habitually are doing so to cope with anxiety and depression. However, for some the former euphoric and hallucinogenic benefits seem to out way the later depressive phase.
How to Quit
OK! I’m not going to mince words here. Will power has nothing to do with quitting. Absolutely, unequivocally nothing at all! If you really want to quit smoking pot you’re going to have to face the issues that are causing your anxiety, depression, and emotional distress. Fix the root of the problem and smoking pot will become repulsive to you. Start by examining your history. What types of dysfunctional patterns have contributed to your emotional pain? Were you verbally, physically, or sexually abused as a child? Were you forced to parent your siblings or worse one of your parents as a child? Or, did one or both of your parent’s abuse alcohol and drugs? How have these patterns caused your anxiety, depression, and/or low self-esteem? Once you uncover these negative patterns, you must take the action necessary to liberate your self from them. This is the foundation required for empowering yourself and restoring your self-esteem, which is a vital component to addiction recovery. Let’s face it! If you really felt a strong sense of self-worth would you be engaging in self-destructive behavior?
The Addiction Freedom Coach