Yes, marijuana is addictive. A user may feel the urge to smoke marijuana again and again to re-create the “high.” Repeated use could lead to addiction—which means the person has trouble controlling their drug use and often cannot stop even though they want to.
An estimated nine percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent1,2; people who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are 4-7 times more likely to become addicted than adults.3
It is estimated that about 1 in 6 people who start using as a teen, and 25% to 50% percent of those who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana. What causes one person to become addicted to marijuana and another not to depends on many factors—including their family history (genetics), the age they start using, whether they also use other drugs, their family and friend relationships, and whether they take part in positive activities like school or sports (environment).
People who use marijuana may also feel withdrawal when they stop using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Lack of appetite, which can lead to weight loss
- Drug cravings
These effects can last for several days to a few weeks after drug use is stopped. Relapse (returning to the drug after you’ve quit) is common during this period because people also crave the drug to relieve these symptoms.
1Anthony, J., Warner, L.A., Kessler, R.C. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experiments in Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1994; 2:244-268.
2Lopez-Quintero, C., Perez de los Cobox, J., Hasin, D.S., et al. Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the Natioanl Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2011; 115(1-2): 120-130.
3Winters, K. C. & Lee, C.Y. S. Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: Association with recent use and age. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2008; 92, 239–247.