Is Marijuana Addictive?

Cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. In the United States, 49% of people have used cannabis. Although physical addiction has not been proven, an estimated 9% of those who use cannabis develop dependence. This page provides data related to the issue of marijuana dependence/addiction.


Lifetime risk of dependence/addiction among users of various drugs:

  • Nicotine - 32%
  • Heroin - 23%
  • Cocaine - 17%
  • Alcohol - 5%
  • Stimulants - 11%
  • Cannabis - 9%, BUT...
    • 17% for those who initiate in adolescence
    • More frequent cannabis use results in greater risk of dependence
      • 20-30% among those who have used at least 5 times
      • 25-50% among those who report near daily or daily use

Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome

  • Common Symptoms
    • Anxiety/nervousness and restlessness
    • Irritability, anger, aggression
    • Decreased appetite and weight loss
    • Sleep difficulties including strange dreams
    • Cannabis craving
  • Less Common Symptoms
    • Chills or sweating
    • Shakiness
    • Stomach pain/physical discomfort
    • Depressed mood
  • The severity of cannabis withdrawal symptoms are comparable to those of tobacco withdrawal
    • Primarily emotional and behavioral rather than physical

So, How Dangerous Is Marijuana?

  • Use in early adolescence may pose significant health risks
  • Daily or near daily use is risky
  • Use of high THC potency marijuana is risky
  • Risky to use if psychotic vulnerability exists

Counseling & Psychological Services can provide an in-person confidential assessment with a counselor to discuss marijuana use.

All information was obtained through research compiled in the 2017 report published by the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine titled The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations.