Dear Rosey: Am I addicted to marijuana?
Dear High Roller,
Although there is widespread debate regarding whether or not someone can become addicted to marijuana, there is research evidence that suggests that for many, marijuana can become addictive. In 2011, roughly 4.2 million Americans met the diagnostic criteria for dependence or abuse of marijuana. While dependence is the actual physical reliance that develops with regular use, addiction, on the other hand, is a chronic disease which affects the brain in the areas of reward, motivation, memory, and related brain circuitry. Addiction is characterized by intense and uncontrollable cravings and compulsive use of the drug despite any negative impact on the person’s life. Without treatment or engaging in activities of recovery, addiction tends to be progressive and can result in physical or mental disability or premature death. Certainly, a person can be dependent without exhibiting the full behavioral patterns associated with addiction. However, the real question for you is whether or not your marijuana use is problematic? Is your use negatively impacting your physical or emotional health, relationships, employment, finances, spirituality, legal situation, etc.? From what you write, it sounds as though it is at least impacting your immediate relationship with your sister and potentially your living situation. One suggestion would be for you to let down your defenses and simply ask your sister why she believes that you are addicted. Honest feedback is actually one of the greatest gifts of all and you may walk away with more insight than you had previously. If in your case, you find you are merely dealing with a difference in values, you may choose to live separately from your sister, so that your lifestyle does not interfere with hers or ultimately damage your relationship. Sincerely, Rosey