The Cannabis Addiction Test – video version

Are you at risk of marijuana addiction?

The Cannabis Addiction Test – written version

To take the test, answer the following questions, based on the cannabis abuse screening test.  For each question, give yourself a score from 0 to 4, where:

  • 0 = never
  • 1 = rarely
  • 2 = occasionally
  • 3 = often
  • 4 = very often

The Questions

Answer each question based on your behaviors over the last year 12 months.

  • Have you ever smoked marijuana before noon?
  • Have you ever had memory problems when smoking marijuana?
  • Have you ever smoked by yourself?
  • Have you had any friends or family members express concern about your marijuana use or ask you to cut-down or stop?
  • Have you tried to stop using or cut-down without success?
  • Have you experienced life-problems related to your marijuana use, such as problems at school or work, problems at home or with important relationships, money problems, legal problems and others?

Scoring

If you score:

  • 0 to 2 = You have no addiction risk.
  • 3 to 7 = You have some addiction risk.
  • 7 or higher = You have a high addiction risk.

What Is Weed Addiction?

Addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.

So when we discuss the evidence for marijuana addiction, what are we talking about exactly – what is addiction?

Well, according to the American Academy of Addiction Medicine

  • Addiction is a brain disease that affects your reward, motivation and memory circuits.
  • Dysfunction in these circuits leads to an unhealthy or pathological drive for reward (such as by getting high).
  • Characteristics of addiction include cravings, an inability to consistently abstain or control your use-related behaviors (assuming you want to), a decreased ability to recognize how your use causes life or relationship problems and dysfunctional emotional responses.

Evidence to Support Marijuana Addiction

  1. Scientists can see that marijuana stimulates the brain’s reward centers in ways that closely mimic other addictive drugs (through dopamine release in the limbic pathway).
  2. Animal studies show that animals display withdrawal-pattern behaviors upon sudden abstinence after chronic THC administration
  3. Heavy users will develop a tolerance and require greater amounts to get high. This is similar to what is seen with other addictive drugs.
  4. There is research and clinical evidence showing that some heavy users will experience a recognizable set of withdrawal symptoms along a predictable timeline after cessation of use. Some researchers have compared the severity of marijuana withdrawal symptoms to those of nicotine withdrawal from quitting cigarettes.
  5. Scientists have observed that approximately 1 in 10 (9%) of marijuana smokers will become addicted at some point in life. For those who smoke regularly before the age of 18, that number doubles, with 18% meeting the criteria for dependence at some point in the lifespan. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 2019
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Addiction (Marijuana or Cannabis Use Disorder)

Some people who use marijuana will develop marijuana use disorder, meaning that they are unable to stop using marijuana even though it’s causing health and social problems in their lives.

  • One study estimated that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder.
  • Another study estimated that people who use cannabis have about a 10% likelihood of becoming addicted.
  • The risk of developing marijuana use disorder is greater in people who start using marijuana during youth or adolescence and who use marijuana more frequently.

The following are signs of marijuana use disorder:

  • 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, such as 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.

People who have marijuana use disorder may also be at a higher risk of other negative consequences, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning.

Some people who have marijuana use disorder may need to use more and more marijuana or greater concentrations of marijuana over time to experience a “high.” The greater the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana (in other words, the concentration or strength), the stronger the effects the marijuana may have on the brain. The amount of THC in marijuana has increased over the past few decades.

In a study of cannabis research samples over time, the average delta-9 THC (the main form of THC in the cannabis plant) concentration almost doubled, from 9% in 2008 to 17% in 2017. Products from dispensaries often offer much higher concentrations than seen in this study. In a study of products available in online dispensaries in 3 states with legal non-medical adult marijuana use, the average THC concentration was 22%, with a range of 0% to 45%. In addition, some methods of using marijuana (for example, dabbing and vaping concentrates) may deliver very high levels of THC to the user.

Researchers do not yet know the full extent of the consequences when the body and brain are exposed to high concentrations of THC or how recent increases in concentrations affect the risk of someone developing marijuana use disorder.

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