The article “How Is Addiction Defined?” explains that the medical community defines addiction differently than it did before. As of May 2013, addiction is defined by the DSM-V (the book doctors and mental health professionals use to determine diagnoses) in such a way that drug abusers are now in the addict category. (They used to be two separate categories.) Now the DSM-V may incorrectly label some people as addicts. Add that to the way society calls everything and addiction, and you can understand why being called a weed addict doesn’t have much of an effect on you.
The Addict Identity
Professionals working day in and day out in the field of addiction were alarmed that the new definition of addiction would include drug users who weren’t actually addicts. Maia Szalavitz is one of these people. She is a neuroscience journalist who is, according to her bio on Time, “obsessed with addiction.” Her article “DSM-5 Could Categorize 40% of College Students as Alcoholics,” makes the complaint that the people who have mild problems with substance abuse, especially adolescents and young adults, will be “pushed to adopt an addict identity and to see themselves as having no way to control their drinking or drug use.” According to Szalavitz, this disempowers those who have control over their drug use and sends the message that “if they ever have just one drink or puff on a joint, they’re lost.” Szalavitz says that research shows that labeling someone an addict will intensify relapses if they occur, rather than prevent them. She also notes that lifelong abstinence is an unrealistic ideal for most teens who have been labeled as addicts. How do you feel about being called a marijuana addict? So the medical community may be going overboard on labeling people addicts, but denying that it can be pretty hard for someone to quit using weed isn’t right either. People can struggle mightily to quit weed. I know I did. It’s a struggle that needs to be acknowledged, not dismissed. This site was created to acknowledge that struggle and help you get through it. That being said, marijuana is the least addictive drug out there. Here’s a statistic from Clean: “Whereas more than 40% of those who smoke pot go on to abuse the drug, only about 5% become addicted to it.” (This statistic uses the old definition of addiction.) Compare that 5% to the percentages of people who, according to Clean, become addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. Those rates are 15%, 15%, and 30% respectively. So, someone is three times as likely to become addicted to alcohol as he or she is to marijuana, but it’s not all that relevant to your wanting to quit weed. You don’t have to fret over labeling yourself as addict, user, or abuser. The only thing that you need to know is that you want to cut down or quit using weed. That’s enough.The “weed is impossible to get addicted to” line of defense can be confusing, whether that’s its intention or not, for those who want to cut down or quit using weed.
Feeling Ashamed of Becoming Addicted to Weed, a “Non-Addictive” Drug
I felt like a big-time loser for becoming addicted that everyone else seemed to be able to use casually, but I eventually got to a point where I could admit to myself that I was being drug under by weed. Now, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing that admission with others for a long time. I thought that they would think if I could get addicted to something as harmless as weed that I must have some serious addiction issues. I don’t actually know if they were thinking that, but it is true that I’ve struggled with issues of addiction other than weed. (Weed was my main drug of choice, though.) Seems like there are two common ways weed addicts are perceived: First, that they don’t exist because weed isn’t addictive, or that anyone who can become addicted to harmless weed must have some hardcore addiction issues. I think both perceptions are wrong.