Marijuana Dependence: Signs & Symptoms

Marijuana Dependence: Signs & Symptoms
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  • 0:01 Marijuana Dependence
  • 0:41 Physical Signs & Symptoms
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Williams

Jennifer has taught various courses in U.S. Government, Criminal Law, Business, Public Administration and Ethics and has an MPA and a JD.

In this lesson, we will learn about some warning signs of marijuana dependence. We'll also go over the symptoms and indicators that someone may be at risk for marijuana dependence.

Marijuana Dependence

Marijuana is known to have qualities that can lead to dependence, which is a physical reaction to the drug that results in the body adapting to the drug and a person suffering physical effects if the drug is not taken. Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of dependence can be recognized before they become a greater problem.

Let's look at some of the most common signs and symptoms of dependence. We will use the example of an individual named Susan. Susan has started smoking marijuana on a daily basis and has begun to develop a dependence to the drug.

Physical Signs & Symptoms

One physical symptom of marijuana dependence is tolerance. Similar to use of prescription medications, continued use of marijuana will lead to the development of a tolerance, where the desired effects of the drug are reduced over time. Therefore, an individual must use more marijuana in order to achieve the desired effect.

Let's turn to our example of Susan, who has been smoking marijuana for quite some time. She will begin to notice that she doesn't quite reach the desired physical effect from the drug that she used to. Therefore, she will have to start smoking more of it in order to reach that same 'high' that she used to get because her body has begun adapting to the old amount. In particular, marijuana users who are dependent will often smoke much more marijuana than they used to due to the tolerance that has been built up to the drug.

Similarly, withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing use are a physical symptom of dependence. Withdrawal symptoms are the psychological and physical symptoms caused by someone ending habitual use of a drug. Withdrawal symptoms of someone who is marijuana dependent include inability to sleep, anxiousness, loss of appetite, and mood swings. Dependent marijuana users will exhibit irritability and aggression - particularly when craving the drug.

Using our example, Susan has been using marijuana on a daily basis for an extended period of time. This means that her body has likely built up a tolerance to the drug. Therefore, when she tries to quit using, her body will react because it has become dependent on the drug. When she quits, she will suffer physical effects, such as anxiety and the inability to sleep or relax.

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