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Updated: May 4, 2021

Marijuana is Addictive: Don’t Be Fooled About “California Sober”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, with all of your devices turned off, you probably heard about singer Demi Lovato’s claim that she is “California sober.” In her depiction of this new term, she can use alcohol and drugs “socially” without falling into her former addiction to opioids or other drugs. (Deconstructing her life and her belief in this lifestyle can be a whole other article.)

One belief Lovato seems to have is the idea that marijuana (and alcohol) are just fine to use recreationally and no danger to sobriety. It’s simply not true; both alcohol and marijuana are addictive on their own, even if they never lead the user to opioids or “harder” drugs.

Weed’s Reputation Muddied Truths

Marijuana has always had a lot of stigma attached to it, which has helped muddy the water when truth and fiction about this popular drug. The “drug wars” of the past 30 years often treated marijuana possession harshly. Many police crackdowns on marijuana dealing and use heavily targeted Black Americans, leading to mass incarceration and further societal problems.

Meanwhile, nobody stopped using marijuana, and it eventually was decriminalized and legalized for recreational use, at least in many states like California.

Propaganda often gets in the way of prevention and education when it comes to drug use. Myths and misconceptions about the nature of marijuana use also have helped hide any truths about its harm. For example, for many people, marijuana is a “gateway drug” – often the first drug they try before moving onto their drug of choice. However, it’s not addictive in the same intensity as heroin or cocaine. Yet, it still can take a tremendous toll on your quality of life.

 

Now vs. Then: Marijuana Potency

Marijuana addiction is common, but there haven’t been a lot of studies on it. The active component of marijuana that gets people high, THC, has increased exponentially since the 1960s. In the ’60s and 70’s THC levels in weed were typically under 10%. Today, some marijuana products at dispensaries boast up to 70% THC levels.

No one quite knows the long-term effects of using such potent weed. However, anecdotally, many chronic marijuana users who try to quit have documented headaches, nausea, and cravings sometimes for weeks after they quit using. Many chronic marijuana users have trouble stopping despite the negative consequences of continued use.

Marijuana Addiction

A person who uses marijuana is not automatically addicted to it. Indeed, its draw is primarily psychological instead of physical addiction. Many people try marijuana and use it casually, walking away from it quickly after a phase in life. Some people move on to “harder drugs,” but they are not the majority.

Being addicted to marijuana on its own is possible. Some people who use marijuana lose interest in almost everything except getting high. Like other addicted people, they may suffer job loss, financial woes, relationship problems, and trouble with the law. And, when addicted, they may need help to quit.

And yes, a person who uses other drugs is much more likely to relapse onto their drug of choice.  Marijuana, after all, is a drug.

If you choose to use it, you will probably find it is more trouble than it is worth; there are better choices for you when you stay sober.

Consider Sober Living

Sober living is an excellent way for a person to continue their recovery journey in a safe home-away-from-home. You’ll make friends and grow in your recovery along the way. Do you want to learn more about your choices? Get in touch at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.


If you or a loved one is looking for a safe and sober home in North County San Diego, call 760-216-2077. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.

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    My brother, we’ll call him James to protect his anonymity, came here after attending their detox and inpatient program. He’s had tremendous success and currently has over six months of sobriety!

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