High Potency Marijuana: Is It More Addictive?

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Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is generally not believed to be highly addictive. However, research shows high potency cannabis products may be more addictive, and could increase the risk of developing mental health problems and cannabis use disorder (CUD).

Is High Potency Marijuana More Addictive?

Marijuana (cannabis) is one of the most widely used substances in the United States, alongside alcohol and nicotine.

Marijuana, a psychoactive substance with mixed legal status in the U.S., is generally believed to be less addictive than other common drugs of abuse, like heroin and prescription opioids.

However, a new study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, shows that the case may be different with high-potency marijuana — that is, marijuana with above-average strength.

What Is High Potency Marijuana?

High potency marijuana is marijuana that contains a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). According to researchers, cannabis potency has increased internationally in recent years.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabinoid. It is the active ingredient in marijuana.

According to researchers, marijuana growers have developed strains of the natural drug that contain higher THC concentrations.

What Are The Risks Of High Potency Marijuana?

According to authors of the Lancet Psychiatry study, the use of high-potency cannabis products is associated with an increased risk of cannabis addiction and psychosis.

Marijuana And Psychosis

Psychosis, commonly associated with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, is broadly defined as losing touch with reality. Symptoms might include hallucinations and delusions.

Previous research has established that marijuana use can increase the risk of experiencing psychosis in those who are already genetically predisposed to develop schizophrenia.

Marijuana that contains higher THC concentrations may increase this mental health risk.

Risk Of Marijuana Addiction

The risk of addiction to marijuana, also known as cannabis use disorder (CUD), may be even greater from regularly using marijuana with high levels of THC, researchers say.

Addiction is a chronic disease that can sometimes require medical treatment, such as medical detox, and behavioral health treatments, like behavioral therapy, to successfully overcome.

What Can Be Done To Reduce Health Risks Of High Potency Marijuana?

Researchers say, if marijuana is to be used, it’s recommended that you actively seek low-potency types of cannabis, to reduce potential harms associated with higher-potency cannabis.

Public health guidelines and regulations that limit the legal concentration of THC in cannabis products, experts say, could help prevent or reduce potential health risks of high THC weed.

Experts write that this consideration of THC content in marijuana may be especially important as the movement for marijuana legalization in the U.S. grows.

How Common Is Marijuana Addiction?

An estimated three in 10 people in the U.S. who use marijuana have cannabis use disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Risk factors for cannabis dependence and addiction include:

  • frequent marijuana drug use
  • beginning marijuana use in youth or adolescence
  • having major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • parental history of substance use disorder
  • childhood trauma
  • peer drug use among young people

What Are Signs Of Marijuana Addiction?

Marijuana can become addictive in some people. If you or someone you know uses marijuana very frequently, it may be helpful to be able to spot signs of an addiction.

Signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction can include:

  • using marijuana more often
  • experiencing marijuana cravings
  • feeling psychologically reliant on marijuana
  • high tolerance for marijuana
  • unsuccessful attempts to quit or reduce use of marijuana
  • continuing to use marijuana despite negative consequences (e.g. strained relationships, worsened academic/work
  • performance, health problems)
  • feeling physically or emotionally unwell if you go too long without marijuana

Treatment For Marijuana Addiction

If someone you know is addicted to marijuana, treatment options are available. Marijuana addiction can be successfully treated with medical and behavioral healthcare treatments.

Age-appropriate treatment for young adults and adolescents is also available through certain detox and rehab centers that treat substance abuse in the U.S.

For more information about drug abuse treatment options, or to find a detox center that offers marijuana detox near you, call our helpline to speak with a specialist today.


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