As strange as it may seem, marijuana still has a semi bad reputation for being an addictive substance throughout the mental health community. The shrinks’ bible, commonly referred to as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), has a special section within its psychological ramblings dedicated to “Cannabis Dependence,” which as far as we can tell, could use a few adjustments.
Here are four common myths about the dreaded marijuana junkie that may need to be amended:
Myth #1 – Marijuana is Not Addictive: While the clutches of a potential marijuana habit will not have you turning tricks in alleys and truck stop parking lots for your next hit, current medical guidelines suggest that various behaviors brought on because of marijuana can be classified as addiction.
According to verbiage written in the DSM-IV, marijuana addiction has been lumped into the same basic criteria as all other drug habits, including heroin addiction. Of course, the definition of cannabis addiction as stated in the manual comes with a relatively skewed translation.
“Tolerance to the effects of cannabis… spend significant time acquiring and using the substance,” as stated in the DSM-IV, 303.30 cannabis dependence are signs a person may have the old junkie monkey swinging from their back.
Myth #2 – Marijuana is Highly Addictive: A recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that this plague of marijuana addiction only affects roughly 9% of those who try the drug. That’s not many, folks.
In fact, marijuana has the lowest rate of addiction when compared to alcohol (15%), cocaine (17%), heroin (23%) and tobacco (32%).
Myth #3 – Teen Addiction is on the Rise: Even though fear of the marijuana addicted American teenager is often one of the key arguments for maintaining pot prohibition, the reality is this theoretical reefer madness comes with some reasonable doubt.
The majority of the allegations surrounding marijuana and the destruction of our nation’s youth are supported by scientifically debatable statistics, including “1 in 6 minors who try marijuana become addicted and 60% of teenagers in rehab are marijuana addicts,” according to Leaf Science.
In addition, marijuana legalization efforts are aimed at keeping weed out of the hands of children, unlike the current illegal model, which creates an environment where high school kids have easier access to marijuana, while tax paying adults continue to jump through hoops.
Myth #4 – Addiction is Bad. Period: Regular marijuana use has proven to be an exceptional way of treating a variety of conditions like ADHD and depression, and regular use, which is often misconstrued as an addiction, can mean a significant difference in a person’s quality of life.
However, because marijuana is still illegal throughout most of the United States, a stigma still exists that creates a common belief that self-medicating with weed is more depraved than using prescription pills.
Recent statistics show that addiction to prescription drugs is responsible for killing over 100,000 people each year. Even considering some of the high potency strains we tried last week in Amsterdam, marijuana continues to be nonlethal.
All statistics contained in this article come from a report published in Leaf Science.
Mike Adams writes for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, BroBible and Hustler Magazine. Follow him: @adamssoup; facebook.com/mikeadams73.