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But how much is too much? For this, you must know: Is marijuana less addictive than alcohol, the drug you plan to swap it for? Or will you end up like that guy in college who wore a Bob Marley beanie and whose desk was littered with “idea napkins”?
The answer to this and other questions surrounding the safety of marijuana is “we don’t know yet.” Pot has been illegal for decades, we have very little research on it, and the self-reported data of heavy smokers can be, shall we say, unreliable.
Despite the US government’s nearly century-long prohibition of the plant, cannabis is nonetheless one of the most investigated therapeutically active substances in history. To date, there are over 20,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, nearly half of which were published within the last five years according to a keyword search on PubMed Central, the US government repository for peer-reviewed scientific research. Over 1,450 peer-reviewed papers were published in 2013 alone. (By contrast, a keyword search of “hydrocodone,” a commonly prescribed painkiller, yields just over 600 total references in the entire body of available scientific literature.)
What information do these thousands of studies about cannabis provide us? For starters, they reveal that marijuana and its active constituents, known as cannabinoids, are relatively safe and effective therapeutic and/or recreational compounds. Unlike alcohol and most prescription or over-the-counter medications, cannabinoids are virtually nontoxic to health cells or organs, and they are incapable of causing the user to experience a fatal overdose. Unlike opiates or ethanol, cannabinoids are not classified as central nervous depressants and cannot cause respiratory failure. In fact, a 2008 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association reported that cannabis-based drugs were associated with virtually no elevated incidences of serious adverse side-effects in over 30 years of investigative use.
Here’s what we do know: According to many studies, the lifetime risk of dependence—defined as a desire to use increasing amounts of a substance and suffering withdrawal symptoms if you don’t—is lower for marijuana than it is for most other drugs, including alcohol. Here's one data series that several prominent researchers point to:
Of all the people who smoke pot, in other words, about 9 percent will become dependent. But of all the people who drink, about 16 percent will become alcoholics.
But this is all based on the studies that were conducted during the age of prohibition. Historically, people haven’t been able to get marijuana easily, which skews the addiction statistics.
originally posted by: rickymouse
Pot dampens your initiative to get ahead most times. . you don't want much more than a good stereo and a few practical things. I do know some people that it makes very mean.
originally posted by: rickymouse
I would vote that it does have addictive properties for some people. Some people can get addicted to alcohol also, but most get addicted to the way of life that alcohol steers you to. That isn't really a true addiction though, you get used to going to bars and talking to people who are more sociable when they drink. It is a social adjuvant.