The legalization of recreational marijuana in Minnesota and many other states has led some to conclude that the use of cannabis is always safe. And some have even (falsely) claimed that marijuana is not addictive. It is true that most people that use marijuana from time to time can do so safely and without significant physical or mental health complications. However, it has been estimated that as many as 30% of the people that use marijuana exhibit symptoms of cannabis use disorder.
What does cannabis use disorder look like? The CDC has promulgated the following list of signs of cannabis use disorder (which align with the symptoms of substance use disorder generally):
- Using more marijuana than intended.
- Trying but failing to quit using marijuana.
- Spending a lot of time using marijuana.
- Craving marijuana.
- Using marijuana even though it causes problems at home, school or work,
- Continuing to use marijuana despite social or relationship problems.
- Giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using marijuana.
- Using marijuana in high-risk situations (e.g., while driving a car).
- Continuing to use marijuana despite physical or psychological problems.
- Needing to use more marijuana to get the same high.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping marijuana use.
Over time, regular users of marijuana, like users of other substances, will find that they need to use more or higher concentrations of marijuana (or both) to achieve the “high” that they seek. THC concentrations in marijuana products have increased significantly over the years, increasing the risk of addiction and other negative health effects. The effects of regular and heavy marijuana use are not well understood as the status of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act has made research difficult. More research into the effects of marijuana on mental and physical health, both positive and negative, is needed in order to draw any substantive conclusions. However, any misuse of a substance can have significant and negative consequences on the user’s social, family, and work life.
Lawyers are often reluctant to ask for help. LCL’s services are always free and confidential. If you or someone you know is struggling with their use of marijuana or other substances, LCL can help.