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Psychologist Looks For Ways To End Marijuana Addiction

Audio

Aired 11/24/09

The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego is studying ways to help people end their addiction to marijuana. There are three efforts underway to qualify ballot measures, for the 2010 election, that would legalize marijuana use in California.

— The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego is studying ways to help people end their addiction to marijuana.

There are three efforts underway to qualify ballot measures for the 2010 election that would legalize marijuana use in California, but psychologist Barbara Mason at Scripps says voters should remember that marijuana is an addictive drug. Mason is involved in a study that is testing treatments, including use of the drug Gabapentin, that may lessen withdrawal symptoms that addicts experience when they stop using pot. Mason says her lab placed ads in the San Diego Reader to recruit addicts for their study.

"We got 735 phone calls from folks in San Diego, responding to the ad you saw, wanting help to quit smoking marijuana," she says.

Mason adds that about 11 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on the drug. A similar percentage of people who use alcohol become alcoholics.

Comments

Avatar for user 'ConservativeForChange'

ConservativeForChange | November 25, 2009 at 8:06 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

"Addiction" to marijuana? That's laughable. People are more "addicted" to cheeseburgers and soda pop than pot, I'd wager. Both of which are worse for a person's health than cannabis ever could be.

Kudos to those who want to help others improve their lives, and if they think that stopping their cannabis use is part of that regimen, more power to them. This article is a bit misleading though, since cannabis is not physically addictive, unlike alcohol, which the article attempts to associate marijuana use with.

The main point I'd like to make is this: if only 11% of the people using cannabis become "dependent" on it, that's a small percentage of the overall population. But how can one be "dependent" on pot? Cannabis is not much different than watching a movie. Are people not "dependent" on movies, too? I know many people, myself included, who need a movie fix at least once every day or two.

What gets me is the way people take on the topic of "dependence" and "addiction" and if it's at all related to drug use then it's a bad thing, no matter what, just because it's drugs. What I would like to know is why no one is talking about how to use the mild mood-altering drugs like alcohol and cannabis in responsible ways. For example, we already know that drinking a glass of wine or having a beer after work once in a while is alright, as long as a person only has one, maybe two drinks. Do it to relax, take the edge off, etc. We can do that with cannabis, too, in fact it's easier because there's no addiction to cannabis - no withdrawals. Sure, we love weed because it's excellent at what it does and is non-addictive and doesn't cause health issues, but for those of us who are able to use it sensibly and responsibly, there's no such thing as dependence or addiction.

Why are we not teaching each other how to responsibly manage use of recreational drugs, instead of labeling all users as abusers or addicts? It's like lumping everyone who eats a cheeseburger as having eating disorders.

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Avatar for user 'TheKindGardenersCollective'

TheKindGardenersCollective | November 25, 2009 at 9:43 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how many of those 735 calls were from smokers, and how many from parents of smokers.

As a parent, I empathize with other parents who do their best, and despite that, see their kids get on a bad path, lose themselves to bad habits, give up on school, mix with criminals, eventually becoming criminals & losers.

Fortunately, my ex & I did our best, and our daughter has turned out pretty great, (phew!), and has avoided drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

CFC (previous poster) nailed it. Marijuana is FAR less harmful, less dangerous than either alcohol or tobacco. Do I want to see kids smoking it? NO!!!

The single greatest danger surrounding marijuana is the the utter destruction of one's life when law enforcement lowers the hammer. Yes, Marijuana is a drug, and when used by responsible adults, it is NOT a problem. Fact: most adults in 'treatment' for marijuana use are forced to be there by the Courts, NOT because they need 'treatment'.

If this plant Cannabis sativa, was discovered this year in the Amazon RainForest, there would be a Nobel Prize for medecine awarded, it has THAT much promise!
It' is TIME to look back at the 80-year history of hysteria surrounding marijuana, and take a sober look at the millions of lives ruined by... the 'Drug War', not marijuana.

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