Withdrawal: Yes You’re Addicted, and You’re Being a Dick

We’ve run from this for a long time, but the truth is, you can get addicted to pot.

Now I know I’m going against pretty much the entire industry’s narrative with this one, but I’ve got something to say, and it starts with dropping the act that cannabis is not addictive. We’ve all heard it forever, and while I appreciate this angle was designed to show that cannabis is less harmful and habit-forming than other substances, the idea that it’s magically non-addictive chemically is a farce. If no one else wants to be ‘that guy’, I’ll go ahead and say it myself: I am fully addicted to weed in all its various forms, but most importantly, I’m addicted to smoking it.

Immediately as I say that I hear Bob Saget in my head asking if I’ve ever sucked dick for it. No Bob, but you’re already missing the point I’m looking to make in favor of claiming some *other* substance is *more* addictive – which, no argument there. I also think it’s important to recognize up front that this is not *the worst* addiction you could possibly have, but it’s an addiction nonetheless, and it’s time we talked about it. Not because I want to advertise this fact, but because understanding addiction, and withdrawal, is the key to a happier existence for users of all types.

You already know this, but people get addicted to coffee, chocolate, running, sex – even social media. They develop dependencies on caffeine, sugar, Dopamine, and a plethora of other stuff. You can get addicted to things that are good for you, like working out, just like you can on things that are bad for you, like cigarettes or heroin. Weed is not on either of those poles, but the function is largely the same no matter the substance or action – you become fixated with the way said thing makes you feel, and you seek to recreate that feeling. You’ve heard of chasing the dragon I’m sure. These cravings aren’t necessarily cognizant – your addiction is running in the background, but they start to dictate your actions nonetheless, especially as you become further enthralled with whatever reaction you’re getting.

Let’s first start by defining addiction. According to the dictionary addiction is simply ‘the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity’, which frankly isn’t very helpful. If you dig in, addicted is defined as ‘physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.’ Before we go any further, honestly ask yourself, if you had to stop smoking or consuming tomorrow, would you see any adverse effects? I know I would, I can’t eat without this shit, but even if you’d get slightly grumpier from having to rawdog existence without your favorite fix, that’s an adverse effect. I know pleeeenty of y’all who feel those same symptoms, even if you’re not ready or willing to admit that publicly.

Here’s a soft example that may seem overly simplistic, but bear with me. Have you ever stopped to think while going about your day ‘do I have time to grab a coffee?’, and then upon realizing the answer is no, you go get the coffee anyway? That’s an addiction controlling your habits, albeit in a relatively harmless way (unless that thing you had to do was super important). Now, how many times have you done something like that to get high? Before work, or an important meeting? You knew what the right thing to do was, but your desire to get that feeling redirected you. Don’t feel bad, it happens to the best of us every single day. I will say again, it’s important to recognize that something can be good for you, and addictive, too! In fact, with good addictions this next point is actually an advantage, and that’s withdrawal.


For another small example, let’s take social media. Has it been too long since you got any engagement? Starting to feel like a nobody? Better throw another post up quick so your friends will flood your brain with dopamine and make you feel good about yourself again. You might think of it differently, but you’re mitigating the withdrawal – you’re feeding your addiction to dopamine. How about those of us that are addicted to exercising? You ever notice how if you don’t work out all of a sudden you start feeling bad about yourself? Whether it be the way you look, or just how unproductive you’re being. I know I start feeling like a piece of shit whale if I haven’t got a couple thousand steps under my belt by noon. Guess where that comes from? You’re not getting enough of that reward juice you’re *used to*!

Now, withdrawal is defined as the unpleasant physical reaction that accompanies the process of ceasing an addiction. It’s one of those adverse effects I just mentioned. In other words, if it’s been too long since your last good feeling, your body starts freaking out. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, sweating and even depression. I want to be clear when I say that these symptoms get exponentially worse as the severity of the addiction increases, and while I AM explaining that I believe addiction is much further reaching than what DARE warns us about, they are certainly not all created equally. For example, with addictions to chems like Benzos, the withdrawals can actually be fatal, so mitigating these symptoms, and tapering off whatever substance you may be addicted to, is paramount to successfully ceasing an addiction. Quitting cold turkey is not always an option, so the idea that people should just ‘not do it’ is often not only far more impossible than it sounds, but it can actually seriously hurt or kill you.


But they’re not all THAT bad, and some cessation will just cause you to be grumpy, or make things like sleeping more difficult. While it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all thing, it’s important to note that these are still tell-tale signs of addiction, even if it’s not the most severe one. Many people consider ‘routines’ to be separate from addictions, which isn’t fundamentally untrue, but many are not appropriately recognizing these ‘routines’ for what they are. 

If your ‘routine’ has a whole set of rituals, it may be a bit more than just a thing you like to do sometimes – and that’s okay. Not all addictions require rehab, and they’re not all going to fuck your life up. I know plenty of people I consider addicts even if they themselves don’t, who are doing exceedingly well for themselves. Most of them have figured out the appropriate techniques for managing their developed needs.

To the point of managing our addictions, I think many in the industry would benefit simply from *smoking more*, especially when they feel overly stressed. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen people get into tiffs at events that were entirely caused by someone’s overt grumpiness due to their high levels of sobriety. Perhaps the bad day you’re having is caused by your avoidance of that thing you really love, and do all the time when you’re not as busy. I’m not saying you necessarily need it to survive, but the rest of us might like being around you a bit more if you’re managing your attitude. Next time you catch yourself bitching, go grab a hit instead. Usually fixes the small stuff. What’s that old Snickers ad? You’re not you when you’re fiending? I’m not mad at your addiction, but your inability to manage it. After all, the enemy of my friend is my enemy too, and sometimes your enemy is not being stoned, so, you know, smoke some damn weed before you talk to me.


That last part was obviously a joke – I say all this not because I want to demonize smoking weed or make it seem like an uncontrollable beast. Far from it – in fact, we all have an Endocannabinoid System, and I believe that properly feeding it is essential to living a full and happy life. I look at it like my need for food and water – while we don’t call them this, the adverse effects for not eating and drinking is dying, so they technically fit as addictions – those are pretty bad repercussions. 

But the truth is, cannabis keeps me grounded. And it has made so many things so much better for me, too. It’s made me try and do things I otherwise wouldn’t have (not because they were bad but because I was stubborn) and it honestly makes me feel better whenever I feel any type of sick. It’s a warm glove. Has it made me do some dumb shit? Sure, but I believe the scales are still weighing in my favor. Maybe that’s just me. But my reason for going on this rant actually has less to do with anything weed related, and more to do with the idea of addiction, and the almost demonization that rides in tow. We’ve created a stigma on the word to classify ‘others’ and that’s bullshit.

You see, not all addictions are as manageable as cannabis, and while I truly believe that I’m okay, I don’t need help, and I don’t need to quit, there are an immeasurable number of people addicted to other substances that do, and aren’t. My purpose here today is not to get you to think negatively about the way you consume, but to humanize those that we’ve somehow started deeming less than because of their (not always) chosen devices. As situations like homelessness increase we hear people brush off those suffering as ‘addicts’, and people who can’t help themselves. But the truth is, we’re all addicts, to varying degrees and of different things, but the idea that we are somehow not each trapped by something ourselves and that those ‘others’ are ‘less than’ is to me the same thing as pretending one race is any superior to another. 

I believe that people make mistakes, and some of those mistakes are harder to take back than others. For many, a decision they made to try something when they were young may have created lifelong issues. I was very lucky to see first hand at a young age the damage some of these more serious drugs could cause and managed to avoid them myself, but countless people I love and respected were not as fortunate, and fell into what many of us pretend are easy to avoid traps. Depending on where you come from, it’s not always so easy. Those people deserved more grace than even I afforded them, and many are no longer with us as a result of society choosing to look the other way in their time of need. I will live with that regret, but something needs to be done to stop perpetuating the cycle. 

Perhaps understanding, and identifying with, those we feel ‘better’ than, is a good place to start. 

I understand the desire to want to feel better than something, or to feel like you’ve solved a problem others haven’t been able to, but the truth is for most of us everything is relative, even if we choose to look the other way. You can’t run from reality, despite the creative language you may rebrand it with. I mean, I haven’t even mentioned our phones yet — do you really believe you have a healthy relationship with that thing? It’s incredibly helpful, but many of us are also hopelessly stuck to it – it has not only changed the way we interact with each other, but the world around us – is that really that much better than the chemical fixes others are after? I don’t think so, and if there’s anything you take from reading this hopefully it’s that you’re an addict too, probably of many things, whether you’re ready to admit it or not, and that that’s okay. It’s something we should empathize with, not ostracize.

  1. About 8% of the population are prone to pot addiction, especially those with chronic anxiety/panic disorders. Others who should avoid it are people with bi-polar disease and those who suffer from delirium due to brain damage.
    For most of us, it is not addicting, though like social media or sex, obsession can be an issue — though without physical withdrawal. For myself and many others, it is a blessed medine and a delight.

    1. It’s higher than 8%. A 2020 meta-analysis of Netherlands, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, and the US found 22% of cannabis users would develop a cannabis disorder during their lifetime. The risk rose to 33% for younger people who engaged in weekly or daily use of weed.

      1. I disagree but ultimately, so what? Does in interfere with your life or your abilities? I suffer from chronic inflammation due to mast cell activation. inflammation is deadly, cannabis, among other things keeps it in check. Prior to 2020, I rarely got high before 4p.m. Since then, I micro-dose sativa strain in the day and do more in the evening. i am a full-time caregiver to a deteriorating spouse. Daily cannabis is a blessed relief from the terrible emotional pain of that. Meanwhile, I continue to I multi-task, managing affairs, writing and publishing and remaining quite productive even at 68 years of age. Maintaining a steady buzz has not impaired me. If anything I am enhanced. Still, I am not addicted and can do without weed some days but I would not have survived this long without it. I find cannabis to be a panacea and a wise plant ally.

    2. I totally agree except for one thing. My ex wife is bi-polar as they come. When she was having a manic episode, just a puff or two of cannabis would level her right out. Unfortunately, she was addicted to the mania and would usually refuse to smoke even if she was flipping out, destroying things in our home, or physically attacking me or others. I don’t know about others but with her, cannabis was the only medication that made her a nice, fun and normal person. I even told her doctors that she should be required to smoke cannabis every day.

      1. Interesting. I have seen that for many, a toke can initiate mania — though a little mania can be a good thing. We are all to some extent different. I’m glad it helps her. Cannabis is certainly safer than most of the medicines psychiatrists and doctors prescribe.

    1. This negates everything i have heard since the 1970’s. Although i dont smoke, i have known people who have smoked since the 1980’s and science said it wasnt addicted.

    Jaded Prole is on the ball too.
    Funny how ~80% of the population is PHYSICALLY addicted to caffeine, whose withdrawal symptoms are remarkably similar to THC’s i.e. non-lethal and very bearable unless your can’t hack a bit of anxiety & intense dreams.
    Also funny how the ant-cannabis ‘camp’ was literally only able to ‘prove’ that THC was physically addictive in lab rats in the 1990s after the cannabinoid receptors were discovered and THC antagonist drugs were able to be created, then fed to those rats!
    So many people are ‘Living in Africa’ i.e. de-nial LOL
    Why is addiction a bad word, when so many people are ‘functional’ addicts i.e. their addiction hasn’t f*cked up their life?

  3. Withdrawal was bad for me. 25 years of consumption. Post-legalization saw me consuming several times a day. Was at three to four 10mg gummies a day. Found out I had a genetic liver condition, and a study showed that people with this condition may break down THC more slowly. That might explain occasional psychosis I experienced when over consuming.

    Decided to quit. It was a rough six weeks with severe anxiety. I had been medicating PTSD/anxiety, so it returned even worse than I remembered it.

    Anecdotal, but I’m proof that you can become dependent on cannabis.

    There’s also empirical evidence. An article titled “Cannabis use disorder is common in one state where marijuana is legal” shows:

    “The new study’s result mirror findings from other countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and France. A 2020 meta-analysis of those countries and the US found 22% of cannabis users would develop a cannabis disorder during their lifetime — the risk rose to 33% for younger people who engaged in weekly or daily use of weed. A 2021 study found cannabis use disorder rose from 17.7% before marijuana was legalized in Canada to 24.3% after legalization.”

    So, yeah, potentially addictive. You can tell yourself otherwise, but the only person your kidding is yourself.

  4. Wow. I’ve only been saying this for years. Along with the fact that it can kill you when used with some medical conditions. Vehemently denying it has only served to slow the legalization over the years.

    Does marijuana have medicinal purposes? Yes. Are there potential negative side-effects? Yes. It’s only taken 30+ years of ppl going “Weed is 100% good with no negative side effects!!” to get to this point. I think constant denying of any negative side effects has really slowed research and the legalization process.

  5. Unbelievable that high times would publish this. They have been trying for some time to redefine addiction. As someone else said “Bullshit”. Pot is not physically addictive. And the “physically” is key there. This is the second time in a month high times published an anti-pot post. Maybe the editors should do a check for something foul.

    1. 😂😂😂 just because somethings labeled addictive doesn’t mean it’s bad – as stated with the 6 other examples included in the piece. your stigma around the word ‘addict’ is exactly why this was written 🙂

  6. My mom used to say, All things in moderation, but ALL THINGS. I was a pot user in the 70s, mostly I cooked it in butter. Best omelets ever, with a nice herby flavor. Now Delta 9 is great, but small amounts of THC help my anxiety.

    My mom was also addicted to alcohol, finally t sober at the end of her life, but she was unable to quit cigarettes. Her lifelong struggle was harrowing. I believe that cannabis, used sparingly, is great. Just don’t hop on Willie’s bus, folks!

  7. Very high end journalism here. I clicked on the few links on the article expecting perhaps it’ll link to research supporting this “writers” stance but no it went to a google translation of the word itself. I mean you can’t make this stuff up it’s so lazy and on brand it’s beyond irony.

    1. hahahaha i really thought that google thing was a nice nod to the fact that this is easily verifiable info, you’re just choosing not to look bc it’s easier for your world view to believe you’re NOT hooked 🙂

  8. Uh oh, looks like Jon Cappetta sucked some d1#k for weed. Addiction is a state enterprise. If you really wantt to know the truth sugar is the 1st thing we are “addicted” to. They don’t want to hear that bc healthcare is pure enterprise as well. Gotta love capitalism.

  9. “I’m addicted to smoking it” Then you have a bad habit of smoking things out of boredom you idiot. People who have no issues quitting nicotine still struggle to put a cig down because they formed a HABIT not because they have addiction to a chemical. Learn to differentiate between habit and addiction number one. And number two you better have actual scientific evidence to support your wild claim of it being somehow chemically addictive which it has been proven to not be.

    This site has become a fucking joke amongst old heads in the 35-45 age group. You literally peddle bullshit to the last people on the planet that want to read it LOL.

    1. if you google ‘is cannabis addictive?’ is there one modern study that says it isn’t? using ‘science’ from the 70’s that’s been debunked dozens of times is a you problem.

  10. Jon, that was an excellent article. Every now and then you pull one out and show you are a very insightful journalist/writer. I myself have been smoking since I was 14. I am now 60. I went to college, had a great career, etc.. I have smoked heavily at times and gone a year or two at a time not smoking at all. I would not recommend that. I have never had a single problem caused by cannabis and therefore believed for a long time that cannabis is not addictive. In my mid 20’s I started doing a lot of coke and guess what? I became hopelessly addicted. Lost my wife and kid (thankfully I got a great relationship with my daughter back), my career, my home, everything I owned and ended up in prison for 14 months. When I went to treatment, they diagnosed me as cocaine dependent and alcohol and cannabis abusive. I have friends from high school who smoke all day every day and have for over 40 years. They still have great lives, good jobs, etc… Are they cannabis addicts? Damn skippy. But, like you said it is a way better addiction than a lot of other crap. I have over 20 friends and family members who are dead from opiates and several who killed themselves with alcohol but I have never heard of anyone who completely ruined or lost their lives from cannabis. I believe that “Addiction Management” should be a high school and college course. We are all addicted to something and looking down on others because their addiction is worse than ours is not helping Humanity.

  11. To make my earlier comment clear about how modern science has demonstrated that THC (cannabis) is physically addictive:
    Physically addictive drugs by definition produce physical withdrawal symptoms (aka withdrawal syndrome) in humans and other animals.
    In lab animals (used for their very similar metabolism to humans), specifically rodents, it was shown many decades ago that physically addictive drugs produce an easily observable stereotyped behavioural pattern; so much so that it was ‘developed’ as a standard way to test if a drug is physically addictive. Interestingly only CNS depressant drugs such as Alcohol (ethanol), Opiates, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, GHB etc. are easily shown to produce these symptoms and NOT dopamine stimulants such as Cocaine and Methamphetamine (Yes they’re very psychologically addictive, but DO NOT produce any ‘classical’ physical withdrawal syndrome). THC stands out here because sure enough in the 1970s and 80s researchers continuously failed to show the standard withdrawal effects in rodents, but it was in the 1990s that finally powerful CB1 receptor antagonists were able to be created and ‘hey-presto’ rats chronically fed THC (to create addiction/tolerance), then fed a CB1 antagonist showed a ‘classic’ physical withdrawal syndrome most closely resembling that of the opiates. Is this relevant to human THC users? Yes and No. It seems probable that the fat solubility of THC and its slow re-release into the system probably prevents intense withdrawal developing, but also inducing a withdrawal syndrome by administering and antagonist doesn’t really represent ‘real life’, since such a scenario can produce withdrawal symptom far more intense than would otherwise occur in that person – this is easily seen when someone only mildly physically addicted to opiates are administered a large dose of an opiate antagonist (eg Nalorphine) and they experience very intense withdrawal symptoms.

  12. First issue is with certain terms and definitions. There is a distinct difference between physical dependence which is associated with negative physical effects from reduction or cessation. Then you have addiction which is a psychological affection. Now addiction and dependency are linked as higher level of withdrawal symptoms due to dependency increases the addiction affect. We are hard wired mentally to gravitate toward pleasure and repelled by negative or painful effects. It reinforces that mental component. The brain pathways are actually remodeled. Everyone has varying thresholds to all of these compounds.

    Also it’s utter bs that because we have a system named a endocannabinoid system that it indicates the need or use of cannabis. That like saying because we have opioid receptors so its not only ok to take opiods but actually healthy. Yeh right. Sorry the justifications that float around cannabis use have gone from scientific such for real medical treatments to the delusional, acting as if it’s some sort of panacea of all things wonderful i.e. the miracle plant.

    If cannabis did not have both physical dependency and addiction effects we would not see the huge numbers of people getting high on lunch break, in bathrooms during work or basically ensuring its in their system at all times. Even people that for very good reasons should not be high and they know it such as machinery operators , train operators, LE, mil in combat operations, basically every dangerous jobs. Yet you see report after report of school bus drivers train operators pilots you name it not only testing positive but actually caught high or taking cannabis during duty. You do not do that if you are not at least physically dependent and most likely addicted. That studiy used to apply a 5 % addiction rate was epidemiological survey and another short term low dose test study. The amounts of thc consumed today are in another universe to what was studied as was the use schedule. When you look at the total daily dosing of heavy dappers it would not be possible to reach those smoking flower even if you chained smoked from wake to sleep. Unlike other drugs cannabis has had great marketers. They have ensured to have its own terminology to ensure itsterms are not those used by the likes sof opiods. No no when someone’s hooked on pot we are not going to use the term addict or even addiction no no we are going to create this nice sounding melon term Cannabis use disorder like it’s OCD or somewhere non-abuse of drug action. In otherwords it’s done to ensure people see it as a medical condition that was not overtly created by tge person. But if it’s meth =tweaker nerion= addict inhalants huffers etc. But doing so much pot you become physical dependent and addicted no no it’s not your fault your not an addict no no you just have A disorder even with a nice acronym CUD. I guess the heroin is HUD and meth is MUD. Oxy is what CUD as well for codone. It’s practically taboo to even mention a single systemic negative affect of cannabis.

    Look I am a believer in true freedom our country was founded on. I have very likely partaken in far more and certainly more hard core drugs than 99% reading this so I am not coming from a bleach white perspective. I am just extremely lucky I have an extremely high threshold for resistance to addictive behavior. Other than getting thru the physical dependencies I can stop just about any behavior or substance without much of a thought. I believe people (adults) should be free to put anything in their bodies they choose but at the same time they should be 100% responsible for any of their actions or repercusion for those actions. When you get yourself all screwed up it should not be tax money in any way that funds your issues then. I do not ask others to bail me out of my mistakes. I man up and take responsibility knuckle down and work my way out of it. Instead we have become a society of victims with a total lack of any personal responsibility. We have entire generations that think they should be served in everydway just because they exist and actually believe its their right.

    It’s a very good thing that cannabis (thc) is likely the safest of all the various rec drugs for lack of a better term. But just as with anything that requires personal discipline and responsibility cannabis use has turned the corner to ever increasing abuse. This happens in every modern society yet does not seem to happen with as many indigenous living traditional life styles. Likely the reason is in those societies they work for sustenance and would starve if they allowed to succumb to abuse. It would be interesting to see how many people that claim they can not find work would be working if they did not eat just for a few days. Bet the numbers of those not employeed would be cut by75% quickly. But I degrees. Off my soap box.

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