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The Weed Files


THC and addiction

Weed may be physically addictive.

The smoking of hashish and/or marijuana can be an addictive behavior — nobody doubts that. Quitting may be difficult for the chronic afficionado.

Common wisdom, however, seems to be that cannabis is not physically addictive.

This may be a misconception, based upon the slow rate of THC metabolization — and supported as an idea by the relative harmlessness of the good smoke.

Every drug (or even experience) has the power to addict some people. Real addiction is not even exclusively linked with physical ingestion.

Still, physical drug dependence — the body's developed requirement of a substance — is an important biological reality. There are people who need their drug, with dire bodily effects as consequence of its lack.

Marijuana does not stand high on anybody's list of the most-addictive drugs. Many will say that it's not addictive at all (and some will argue that it is not even a drug — a spurious argument.)

But, anyhow, there's a trick with marijuana....

Most smokers know of THC. It's a molecule, the drug itself within weed and hashish. More accurately, it's the "main active ingredient." This molecule, Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is fat-soluble.

All other major mind-altering drugs are water-soluble. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Water-soluble drugs are quickly metabolized and gone. By the time you pee a bit, the drug is out of your body. This is good for you if you need to pass a urine test, but your body may feel that something is missing. The effects of withdrawal from the so-called "addictive drugs" can be demonstrated. You can put them on a chart. When the drug goes away, the body responds, and so does the person — by just feeling sick, or by screaming and hallucinating.

THC, dissolved in fat, has a long half-life. It stays in the body for a long time. For this reason, any physical response to its departure will occur in a distended timeframe. The slow exit of THC from the body may be deceptive. The experience of withdrawal is expanded along a greater timescale.

Nobody sees you wriggling jumping and kicking strapped into bed shaking out of control, strung out, jonesing for a puff.

No — the withdrawal happens slowly. You get irritated....