Is pot really addictive?

MICHAEL T. BERCHEM

It’s Friday night, you’re
off from work and hanging
out with your buddies. One
of them brings out a joint
and wants to know if you
want to smoke it. Now is
the time to decide what to
do. Do you give in and
smoke the weed, or not?
Chances are you will
smoke that joint.
According to the Office of
National Drug Control
Policy’s website, 46.8 percent
of college students
have used marijuana over
their lifetime.
A non-scientific random
survey was conducted at
Bucks. Fifty students were
chosen at random to answer
several questions. Out of
those 50 students, 46 reported
that they smoke or have
smoked weed. Then they
were asked how much they
smoke. The average number
of times marijuana was
smoked in a month was a
staggering 41 times.
Walter, 20, a former student
at Bucks, openly
admits he smokes weed.
Asked whether he thinks
marijuana is addictive,
Walter had an interesting
response.
“I believe weed is whatever
the smoker makes it out
to be. Personally I am not
addicted.”
Some people are not as
lucky as Walter is; some
must go to rehab for their
abuse of marijuana.
According to
Psychcentral.com’s facts
about marijuana, in 1994
more than 137,564 people
went to rehab for their
dependence of weed.
A recent Time magazine
article reported that about
10 percent of people who
smoke marijuana can be
considered addicted,
according to the definition
laid out in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, psychiatry’s
handbook of all mental
conditions. By the book,
addiction is the compulsive
use of a substance despite
ongoing negative consequences,
which may lead to
tolerance or withdrawal
symptoms when the substance
is stopped.
Amanda, 20, a Bucks student,
knows about this first
hand. She says, “Addiction
is when, even though you
know there are negative
consequences, you still do
the drug, and from personal
experience I knew someone
who put smoking weed
before everything.”
The survey at Bucks
found that out of the 50 people
questioned, exactly half
thought marijuana was
addictive, while the other
half said there is nothing
addictive about weed.
Students at Bucks all had
different responses as to
why they smoke.
Brian, 20, a liberal arts
major at Bucks, said, “No,
weed is not addictive at all.
I have stopped smoking
before and have never gone
through withdrawal of any
kind.”
Zack is a student at Bucks
who has had some problems
with drugs in the past,
and is now clean. He is on
the fence as to whether marijuana
is addictive.
“I didn’t think it was
addictive because it was just
weed, you know what I
mean? But that was when I
was doing other stuff too,
you know?”
Another student at Bucks
who did not want to be
named, but goes by the
name “Tye-Dye,” says, “I
don’t believe that it is physically
addictive. I do believe
that people can develop a
dependence on it. You
always hear about a psychological
dependence, I guess
it called. It’s not the kind of
drug where if you stopped
smoking it you would go
through withdrawal. It’s
more like if you run out
then you’re bummed you
don’t have anymore.”
But that question can wait
until later. There are various
reasons people start smoking,
and why they continue
to do it. Everyone interviewed
for this article
explained why they smoke
and they all gave different
reasons, but they all had
one thing in common: They
said marijuana relaxes
them.
Let’s start with Brian.
Brian says, “I smoke
because it’s fun and helps
me relax. Like all the friends
I have made just because of
a simple plant.”
Walter says he smokes for
a different reason. He says,
“I smoke weed to relax, for
my anxiety. I also smoke
because I enjoy tasting different
strains.”
Zack said, “Honest
answer, I started smoking
because of boredom.
Boredom and because it
kept me sane.”
All three of these guys all
smoke because it relaxes
them, but they also have
their own unique reasons
for smoking.
Nick goes into a bit more
detail for his reason for
smoking. He says, “I smoke
weed because it helps relax
me. It helps de-stress me, it
helps me eat and it helps me
sleep. When I don’t smoke I
have problems eating and
have weight issues.”
“I have sleeping issues, so
when I smoke it helps me
fall asleep at night. It helps
with anxiety problems, and
I generally find it to be more
enjoyable then relaxing
with a drink. I enjoy smoking
a bowl alot more than I
enjoy drinking.”
As to the question of
whether or not weed is an
addictive drug or not,
Amanda sums it up the
best: “It’s mentally addictive,”
she said.