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Calling B.S. on the Idea of 'Marijuana Addiction'

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
It's laughable that the Feds are pushing the concept of pot addiction when science shows that withdrawal symptoms from caffeine are far worse.

The U.S. government believes that America is going to pot -- literally.

Earlier this month, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse announced plans to spend $4 million to establish the nation's first-ever "Center on Cannabis Addiction," which will be based in La Jolla, Calif. The goal of the center, according to NIDA's press release, is to "develop novel approaches to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of marijuana addiction."

Not familiar with the notion of "marijuana addiction"? You're not alone. In fact, aside from the handful of researchers who have discovered that there are gobs of federal grant money to be had hunting for the government's latest pot boogeyman, there's little consensus that such a syndrome is clinically relevant -- if it even exists at all.

But don't try telling that to the mainstream press -- which recently published headlines worldwide alleging, "Marijuana withdrawal rivals that of nicotine." The alleged "study" behind the headlines involved all of 12 participants, each of whom were longtime users of pot and tobacco, and assessed the self-reported moods of folks after they were randomly chosen to abstain from both substances. Big surprise: they weren't happy.

And don't try telling Big Pharma -- which hopes to cash in on the much-hyped "pot and addiction" craze by touting psychoactive prescription drugs like Lithium to help hardcore smokers kick the marijuana habit.

And certainly don't try telling the drug "treatment" industry, whose spokespeople are quick to warn that marijuana "treatment" admissions have risen dramatically in recent years, but neglect to explain that this increase is due entirely to the advent of drug courts sentencing minor pot offenders to rehab in lieu of jail. According to state and national statistics, up to 70 percent of all individuals in drug treatment for marijuana are placed there by the criminal justice system. Of those in treatment, some 36 percent had not even used marijuana in the 30 days prior to their admission. These are the "addicts"?

Indeed, the concept of pot addiction is big business -- even if the evidence in support of the pseudosyndrome is flimsy at best.

And what does the science say? Well, according to the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine -- which published a multiyear, million-dollar federal study assessing marijuana and health in 1999 -- "millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but most are not regular users [and] few marijuana users become dependent on it." The investigator added, "[A]though [some] marijuana users develop dependence, they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs."

Just how less likely? According to the Institute of Medicine's 267-page report, fewer than 10 percent of those who try cannabis ever meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of "drug dependence" (based on DSM-III-R criteria). By contrast, the IOM reported that 32 percent of tobacco users, 23 percent of heroin users, 17 percent of cocaine users and 15 percent of alcohol users meet the criteria for "drug dependence."

In short, it's the legal drugs that have Americans hooked -- not pot.

But what about the claims that ceasing marijuana smoking can trigger withdrawal symptoms similar to those associated with quitting tobacco? Once again, it's a matter of degree. According to the Institute of Medicine, pot's withdrawal symptoms, when identified, are "mild and subtle" compared with the profound physical syndromes associated with ceasing chronic alcohol use -- which can be fatal -- or those abstinence symptoms associated with daily tobacco use, which are typically severe enough to persuade individuals to reinitiate their drug-taking behavior.

The IOM report further explained, "nder normal cannabis use, the long half-life and slow elimination from the body of THC prevent substantial abstinence symptoms" from occurring. As a result, cannabis' withdrawal symptoms are typically limited to feelings of mild anxiety, irritability, agitation and insomnia.

Most importantly, unlike the withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of most other intoxicants, pot's mild after-effects do not appear to be either severe or long-lasting enough to perpetuate marijuana use in individuals who have decided to quit. This is why most marijuana smokers report voluntarily ceasing their cannabis use by age 30 with little physical or psychological difficulty. By comparison, many cigarette smokers who pick up the habit early in life continue to smoke for the rest of their lives, despite making numerous efforts to quit.

So let's review.

Marijuana is widely accepted by the National Academy of Sciences, the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and others to lack the severe physical and psychological dependence liability associated with most other intoxicants, including alcohol and tobacco. Further, pot lacks the profound abstinence symptoms associated with most legal intoxicants, including caffeine.

That's not to say that some marijuana smokers don't find quitting difficult. Naturally, a handful of folks do, though this subpopulation is hardly large enough to warrant pot's legal classification (along with heroin) as an illicit substance with a "high potential for abuse." Nor does this fact justify the continued arrest of more than 800,000 Americans annually for pot violations any more than such concerns would warrant the criminalization of booze or nicotine.

Now if I can only get NIDA to fork me over that $4 million check.



Active Member
I printed out this page 25 times. I then folded all 25 of them length-wise and stuck them to 25 bus stops in downtown Vancouver, WA. I hope people found them and as Ellen would put it, it would "freak-their-freak!" hopefully. I felt compelled to let my community and fellow stoners to know about this, ya know? Was that a real stoner thing to do? HAHA!

Feel good, User, for creating a mini 'newsletters' of sort around my city!

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
thats great. its good to know the word is getting out. today the bus stops, tommorrow taxi's.


Active Member
haha! my little guerrilla newsletter operation pleased some of you, I see. HAHA. We have so many stoners downtown that Im sure they appreciated it.


New Member
What's most ironic is that drugs like Rimnobant, a cannabinoid, would be used to treat this "addiction". Yeah. You take Rimnobant and it fills your cannabinoid receptors and blocks psychoactive cannabinoids from entering. You couldn't get high if you tried.

As with anything that can give pleasure, there are a small number of people for any given substance that will abuse it, and they will have some issue as a result. Be it sugar, caffeine, adrenaline, masturbating, McDonald's or cannabis, statistically there will be few folks that can't handle all the pleasure-seeking. Ever been to the south after visiting the not-south? With respect, you'll see the result of a lot of pleasure-seeking and folks not being able to deal with it properly...in the form of an obesity epidemic. Other familiar forms are caffeine-rage/habitual asshole office behavior, guilt, depression, habitual thrill-seeking that leads to regular injury, etc. There are 12-Step programs for all of these people. It's human behavior - some of us will need help and the substance/activity is secondary, there are underlying issues. Point is, there are a handful of people out there that have a problem with pot and it escapes them. That's really unfortunate.

It's great to have treatment available to anyone that needs it for whatever reason. One problem is that this statistical handful of people end up being interpreted by mass majority folks that don't understand statistics or basic math. They read 68 people needed treatment for cannabis-coping issues last year and suddenly the voting consensus and public opinion is that cannabis will lead everyone down a dark road of addiction. The same folks never consider the reality of facts like, how many people choke on a glass of water and die, fatalities each year from taking aspirin, or licking a moldy sponge in the sink.


New Member
thanks for the inspiration couver :D

hate to not be original, but i know people will read ANYTHING if they are bored and on a bus. time to visit the greyhound station too perhaps?

how about the vcu medical transit bus? nothing but med students :) educate the youth, because the youth are our tomorrow :D haha im the youth too, and i can attest personally to feeling enlightened by allt he information on this wonderful site.

overgrow the government, and write your congressmen. potlegalization 101.


New Member
first bowl wasn't packed satisfactory-like. still high as balls cuz i havn't had headies in a loooooong time. but, nevertheless, a good packed bowl is the best goodnight.


New Member
Now to be completely rational about this topic you need to understand the meanings of words like in law.

So take the word Addiction derives from Addict

ad·dict Audio Help /n. ˈædɪkt; v. əˈdɪkt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[n. ad-ikt; v. uh-dikt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
—noun 1. a person who is addicted to an activity, habit, or substance: a drug addict.
—verb (used with object) 2. to cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on an addictive substance, as alcohol or a narcotic.
3. to habituate or abandon (oneself) to something compulsively or obsessively: a writer addicted to the use of high-flown language; children addicted to video games.

Origin: 1520—30; < L addictus assigned, surrendered (ptp. of addīcere, equiv. to ad- ad- + dic- (var. s. of dīcere to fix, determine) + -tus ptp. suffix)]

As you can see by reading the definition you can be addicted, or have an addiction to almost anything.

Like for instance if you like Hockey you can be addicted to it, do they have treatment for that? no of course not because they make money from it and entertainment distracts you from what is really going on in the world. They choose there words carefully as to make it that vague, but yet have used the media to make most people think the word addict means drug user when it clearly doesn't.

I agree totally its all propaganda and a way for the goveronment and medical facilities to exact more dollars out of the Human beings living in there country.

Peace Dano


New Member
just had my spring break and smoked/ate bud all day every single day with some old buds haha. spring break has now been over for about two weeks now and i havent smoked/ate since and feel perfectly fine. addiction my ass lol


New Member
There is a small section of the population that will get addicted to it the same way an over eater gets addicted to food. There is nothing in the food that sets up this behaviour, it is the personality behind the user that gets hooked. There is nothing physically addicting in the plant. That said, that is no reason to ban it's use amongst informed adults.


New Member
thanks for posting this info! i feel way more inclined to drink coffee on days when i'm tired, than smoke weed on days when i dont have any for weeks.


I smoked a good deal back in college, in the late 1970s, and I've recently begun smoking again, just a little. Not using when it would have been inappropriate to do so was never a problem for me, nor was stopping completely. Of course, it is usually a very pleasant thing to do, and any pleasant activity, done frequently, may well lead to further frequent use! Could we say it gets to be a habit? Maybe. But it's certainly not addictive. I've witnessed first hand people going the ordeal of opiate withdrawal, and the addictive and toxic nature of alcohol is well known. To call MJ addictive in the same way just doesn't add up.


New Member
I can't believe they waste that kind of money on a victim-less, harmless crime that most people do at least once in there lifetime.
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