In terms of whether marijuana is a psychological addiction or a physical one is an interesting issue, the term psychological addiction gets used a lot, but I am not entirely sure that it is necessarily the right term for what some people experience, something like compulsive spending or shopping addiction as most of us would call it is a psychological addiction, something like an addiction to alcohol is a physical one, so are people who are addicted to marijuana experiencing a psychological one like shopping or a physical one like alcohol, well the material you read on that will vary usually depending on where you are reading it, much of the stuff you read on the internet is indeed extremely pro marijuana, certainly many of the forums relating to it are, almost to the extent of claiming it has no negative side effects or addictive potential what so ever, this is a perspective that many people prefer to believe, it is only people who have another kind of experience that may be forced to think otherwise, we are a forum for people who do find quitting a problem so it is indeed somewhere like here that you are likely the read the accounts of people who have found quitting more of a problem than others, stating the obviously really but something that is important to remember, a bit like AA been full of people who are addicted to alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole picture of everybody who drinks alcohol, but if you read a lot of the experiences people here have had I think it’s fair to say that a good deal many people here have found it much more addictive and experienced much more of a withdrawal than you would with a psychological addiction like shopping, the kind of symptoms many people here have reported include things like:
Sickness and upset stomach
Loss of appetitive
Headaches and various other aches and pains
Anhedonia (loss of pleasure)
Etc, etc, the list goes on and on, now what you have to ask yourself is are these the kind of symptoms that someone is likely to experience when they quit a psychological addiction like shopping or gambling, or are they the kind of symptoms similar to the ones someone experiences when they quit a physical addiction like alcohol, even if it is too much lesser an extent, obviously I am not saying that the severity of the symptoms are as extreme as with a drug like alcohol or heroin or something similar, very few drugs are, obviously the scale of the symptoms can vary in severity from drug to drug, the withdrawal symptoms from a drug like marijuana may well be mild in comparison to alcohol and other harder drugs, but the symptoms I have read that some people experience are a lot more like what you would experience when you quit a drug like alcohol or any other drug that is considered to be physically addictive, than a person with a shopping addiction would experience when they don’t go to the shops for a couple of weeks. And even some of the symptoms which some people may dismiss as mental or psychological like the anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, depression, anhedonia, etc, from what I have read even these have a physiological cause, they are the result of what’s physically happening within the neurology of the brain, although symptoms of mental distress which like any mental problem can either have a environmental or physiological cause i.e. bereavement compared to bipolar, ones environmental the others a physical problem within the body more specifically the brain, but I think it’s fairly obvious that even these are a result of what’s physically happening with the body again more specifically the brain than the upset and fear of been sober for a few days, been sober for a few days isn’t in its self that stressful a situation to warrant this response on its own, you probably didn’t feel this way from the trauma of been sober before you started using the drug, people who aren’t addicted don’t naturally go around experiencing these things just from been sober, even if they do have a liking for been high, I will always have a very strong liking for been high that will probably never go away, but I don’t feel now like I did when I first quit it, it’s the withdrawal of the drug that’s creating the chemistry of these emotions.
So all of these symptoms are a result of what’s physically happening in your brain with its receptors, neurons, synapses, etc which creates the chemistry that creates the withdrawal, it’s something that has a physiological biological cause, it’s a neurological problem or disorder, it’s not something that is a result of something that happened to you as a kid or some kind of mental scarring, or just having a liking for that type of behaviour, I think to use the term psychological for this kind of experience isn’t the best description for what’s actually going on at all, to me it seems far more like the kind of addiction people experience when they get addicted to any other drug all be it to a much lesser extent in comparison to some drugs, but it’s much more like any other sort of physical drug addiction than that of been addicted to something like shopping, gambling or any other non drug habit. People with psychological addictions like shopping don’t experience these kind of physical symptoms when they don’t do it, it doesn’t have that kind of physical affect on their bodies, they don’t wake up ringing with sweat or find it stops them from eating or makes them feel sick, they don’t get headaches or fatigue, this is all physical stuff that has a physical cause, when you read the symptoms some people are experiencing on this site alone to say that this is all just in people’s heads and that it has no potential for physical addiction what so ever is actually pretty ridiculous, no it may not be the most physically addictive drug in the world but comparing it to a psychological addiction like shopping for those that have experienced what some of us have is just absurd. Contrary to what many like to believe it’s still actually a drug, you still have a drug addiction, yes there may be a psychological element of addiction to it as well, there is with all types of drug addiction, but if your experiencing the kind of withdrawal symptoms that some people do it seems very likely that you have more than just a psychological addiction.
Now just like with alcohol not everybody who uses marijuana is going become an addict, many people who use it can stop without experiencing hardly any of these sort of symptoms but that’s because they probably haven’t developed the neurological condition of addiction from using the drug, one susceptibility for developing this condition from many types of drug use can vary significantly from person to person and according to recent research is most probably to a certain extent hereditary and even when this neurological condition does occur it may be experienced to differing degrees depending on the individual. So as I always say not everyone is going to experience these kind of symptoms from quitting marijuana which often lulls people who think in black and white that just because it doesn’t happen to everybody it can’t happen to anybody, but this is simply not the case with lots of thing in life, like I say look at alcohol just because everybody who uses that doesn’t get addicted doesn’t mean that no one can. My apologies for constantly referring to alcohol as a comparison, like I say it is a much more physically addictive drug one of the most addictive of all, but you only have to read some of the stories here to see what some people are experiencing from quitting marijuana is far more like what people experience from quitting alcohol or many other drugs addictions than a non drug or psychological addiction like shopping or gambling, personally I am not so sure that the term psychological addiction is entirely accurate for what some people experience, obviously if the neurological condition of addiction hasn’t occurred in the individual concerned, perhaps they are just not as genetically vulnerable in that way, then obviously for these people it may just be more of a psychological addiction, when it comes to drug use the addiction can be either physical, psychological or both, but for people who are experiencing the kind of symptoms I have just listed is psychological really the right term for the kind of addiction they are experiencing? As you can probably tell I am not entirely convinced that there is nothing physical going on, many of the symptoms I have read about from real users experiences seem pretty psychical indeed, but read through some of the post here by real users who are struggling to quit and see what you think. Why not let the real experiences of real users who are reporting finding quitting to be a problem help you decide?
Take care everybody and all the best