Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, with more than 52 million people in the United States reporting they used the drug in 2021. While marijuana is widely viewed as a socially acceptable drug, using marijuana can result in serious short- and long-term health effects, including marijuana addiction.

Marijuana can produce strong feelings of pleasure and euphoria, making it hard for users who have become addicted to the drug to quit using it.

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What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is the term used to describe the dried parts of the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana is best known for its psychoactive properties, which are produced by a compound found in the leaves and bud of the cannabis plant, known as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).

Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the United States, used by 18.7% of people over age 12 in 2021. There are many street names for marijuana, including weed, herb, pot, grass, Mary Jane, ganja, and bud.

Most people who use marijuana choose to use the drug because they like the effects of marijuana. Common marijuana effects include feelings of euphoria and relaxation, although some people also experience effects such as heightened sensory perception, a spike in appetite, and an altered perception of time.

While most marijuana effects are considered to be pleasant, some people who use marijuana experience negative feelings like anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic and effects like hallucination, delusion, or psychosis.

Common Effects of Marijuana

marijuana gives euphoric feeling when taken


marijuana can help with relaxation


heightened senses is experienced in marijuana

Heightened Senses

increased in appetite are effects of marijuana

Increased Appetite

addiction can cause unpleasant thoughts or feelings of anxiety


taking marijuana can trigger panic attack


marijuana can cause symptoms of hallucinations


taking large doses of marijuana may experience delusions


How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?

Answering the question, “how long does weed stay in your system” depends on how often you use it, your metabolism, and the type of test. Typically it is detectable for as few as 72 hours and up to a few months.

How Does Weed Work?

Marijuana works by binding to receptors in the brain that influence functions like pleasure, concentration, memory, movement, and sensory perception.

Marijuana contains THC, a compound that is similar in structure to a neurotransmitter found in the brain called anandamide. Because of this similarity, the body recognizes THC from marijuana and allows it to attach to receptors in the brain and disrupt various physical and mental processes to produce the effects of marijuana. Prolonged exposure to THC from marijuana can cause the body to produce less anandamide, leading users to become more dependent on the drug.

Marijuana is a popular drug that’s been used for recreation in the United States for decades. Growing support for marijuana’s use as a medicinal drug and, per some state’s regulations, a legal substance for recreational use, has led to an increase in the forms of marijuana that are available to users.

How is weed used? Here are some common ways marijuana is used today:

cigarette like form used in smoking weed

Smoking weed is the process of inhaling the dried parts of the cannabis plant to get a high. Weed is commonly smoked in joints (a small, cigarette-like format), blunts (a larger and more intense cigar-like format), or bongs (pipes designed for marijuana use). Smoking weed is the most common method of using marijuana, with about 90% of marijuana users saying they opt for this method.

a vape pen used for smoking marijuana

Vaping is a newer method of using marijuana that involves a vape pen, an electronic device that vaporizes marijuana so that it can be inhaled through the mouth. Some vape pens are designed to use the dried parts of the cannabis plant, which are ground to a fine powder before being added to the vape pen, while other vape pens use cannabis oil. Both forms are heated by the electronic pen to create the vapor.

weed brownies made using infused marijuana

Marijuana edibles are traditional food products that contain marijuana. In some cases, the dried parts of the cannabis plant are added to foods to induce a high when those foods are eaten. However, it’s increasingly common for users to purchase packaged food products that contain specific amounts of the active compounds found in cannabis, including THC, in order to get products that are more or less potent. Common edibles include brownies, cookies, cakes, and candy, and beverages like tea or soft drinks.

glass jar with thc oil used for dabbing

Dabbing describes the action of inhaling oil concentrates or other extracts of the marijuana plant. THC oils and concentrates used for dabbing and vaping are often highly concentrated, which produces a more intense psychological effect that can increase the likelihood of developing marijuana addiction. It’s also common for THC oils and concentrates to be contaminated with other substances like pesticides or solvents, which may be harmful.

What Does Weed Look Like?

The cannabis plant is a green, flowering plant with long almond-shaped leaves that cluster to create a fan-like structure at the ends of the plant’s stems. Cannabis buds are the flowering part of the plant. Cannabis buds are dense, nugget-shaped flowers that are covered in hair-like growths called “trichomes.”

Marijuana is the dried parts of the cannabis plant, including its leaves, stems, and buds.

Is Weed Legal?

While cannabis use is prohibited under federal law, a handful of states have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, and more than half have legalized the substance for medical use.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs, which include LSD and ecstasy, have a high potential for abuse. At the federal level, Schedule I drugs like marijuana are not legal.

However, some states have made laws that allow adults to use marijuana for recreation. The majority of states have made laws that permit use of marijuana for medical reasons.

This patchwork of conflicting federal and state laws can have serious implications for users and producers of marijuana. For example, transporting marijuana from one state to another, even if marijuana use is legal according to the states where marijuana is transported, is illegal at the federal level and warrants penalty.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is used to help patients manage symptoms caused by certain medical conditions. Similar to marijuana for recreational use, medical marijuana isn’t legal at the federal level. However, some states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.

States that allow for medical marijuana create their own rules about who can access the drug and, in many cases, have requirements that may include having a qualifying medical condition. Examples of qualifying medical conditions include chronic pain, epilepsy, and AIDS/HIV, among others.

Marijuana Addiction and Abuse

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Yes, marijuana can be addictive. While not all marijuana users develop marijuana addiction, research shows 3 in 10 marijuana users have marijuana use disorder.

Marijuana use disorder is characterized by the inability to quit using marijuana and the increased habit of giving up important life events, like social engagements with friends and family, in order to use marijuana.

Similar to other addictive drugs, THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, increases the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure and reward system. When dopamine is produced at levels beyond those that occur when a person is naturally stimulated, intense feelings of pleasure and euphoria can occur. The brain will seek to repeat the behavior that created the surge in dopamine, which can lead to marijuana addiction.

You can overcome marijuana addiction.

Dangers of Marijuana

Is Marijuana Dangerous?

Yes, marijuana can be dangerous. While marijuana is widely accepted as safe, side-effects of weed can be serious and include issues such as marijuana addiction, temporary psychosis, and impaired driving.

There are also long-term effects of marijuana, such as impaired brain development, increased risk of heart disease, and damage to the lungs and blood vessels.

What Are the Long and Short-term Effects of Marijuana?

While many people consider marijuana to be safe, there are many dangers of marijuana use. Here are some side-effects of weed to consider.

Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana activates the brain’s reward system, causing intense feelings of pleasure. These euphoric feelings can cause the user to seek more of the drug, leading to marijuana addiction.

Poor Mental Health

People who use marijuana may experience short-term mental health effects like anxiety and paranoia. Marijuana can also cause more serious mental health effects, like temporary psychosis or schizophrenia.

Impaired Brain Development

Research shows marijuana can thwart brain development, especially in babies, children, and young adults.

Abuse of Other Drugs

Marijuana has long been known as a “gateway drug,” meaning it can lead its users to try other harmful drugs. Research, although limited, supports that marijuana may have a gateway effect.

Heart Disease

Marijuana use is linked to increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and other vascular diseases. It can also increase blood pressure and heart rate immediately after use.

Damaged Lungs

Smoking weed is the most common way to use marijuana. Any method of smoking weed can harm lung tissue and increase risk of bronchitis, cough, and mucus production.

Are you struggling with marijuana addiction?


What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis plant. While some research shows CBD may support health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and addiction, regulators warn that the research supporting these benefits is limited.

Both THC and CBD derive from the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, which means it does not produce mind-altering effects. In 2018, FDA approved CBD for use in a pharmaceutical drug called Epidiolex to treat certain childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).

Beyond these benefits, regulators contend information about the safety and health benefits of CBD is limited. Yet, its popularity as an ingredient in foods, supplements, and cosmetics has skyrocketed in recent years.

Unlike THC, CBD derived from the hemp plant is legal under federal law as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.

If you struggle with marijuana addiction, you may have asked the question: Can you go to rehab for weed? Marijuana addiction can have serious implications for your health and well-being—and, ultimately, your life. There are recovery options available to you.

At The Hope House, you or your loved one will have access to effective treatment options and therapies for marijuana addiction and withdrawal symptoms, along with comprehensive support and resources that will help you be successful in recovery.

The Hope House’s two luxury rehabs are located in the desert mountains of north Scottsdale. During your stay you will receive the highest quality of care as our masters-level clinicians work to treat your addiction.

  • Almost half of Americans (45%) have tried marijuana at least once.
  • More than half of Americans (56%) said they think using marijuana is “socially acceptable.”
  • More than a third of high school students (nearly 40%) said they’ve tried marijuana.