Szalavitz on marijuana addiction

October 15, 2014

If I’m going to bash a journalist when she writes something horrible about drug abuse, I must take pains to congratulate her when she writes something pretty good.

Maia Szalavitz’ latest “Of course Marijuana addiction exists and it’s (almost) all in your head” is actually not bad.

So long as you ignore the more excessive bits, you find:

-the assertion that marijuana addiction exists
-a review of why a belief that “addiction” is only truly diagnosed via visible somatic reactions (as with alcohol and heroin withdrawal) is dated and wrong
-the observation that if addiction could be cured simply by detoxing (getting past the acute withdrawal phase) we’d have solved addiction long ago
-that “mere” psychological addiction (i.e. craving) is the real issue here
-that chronic low level “mild” addiction might actually have more detrimental cumulative impact on person and society
-pretending pot can’t possibly addict anyone is a suboptimal way to go

I am laughing, of course, because each and every one of these topics has been addressed in my blogging over the years. Often via contentious argument with people who lean a little more toward Maia’s general stance than toward mine.

Anyway, great article Maia.

4 Responses to “Szalavitz on marijuana addiction”

  1. Just cause a few week-willed motherfuckers can’t handle their weed is no reason for anti-weed hysteria.


  2. Dave Says:

    So it’s psychologically addictive, in the same way that exercise and watching Bravo is? Big deal. Next.


  3. Grumble Says:

    I particularly like this statement:

    “Even more than other addictions, marijuana addiction seems to be driven by self-medication of mental health problems—90% of people with marijuana addiction also have another addiction or mental illness, typically alcoholism or antisocial personality disorder.”

    So, let’s see. As a society, we have a great deal of trouble caring for people with mental illness. So some fraction of those people turn to marijuana to self-medicate because it’s widely available and inexpensive compared to seeing a doctor when you don’t have health insurance. Or maybe all those legal pills pushed by big pharma and the psychiatrists whose egos (and pocketbooks) they massage don’t actually work (they most certainly don’t work all the time). At any rate, some large fraction of these people become addicted to marijuana and probably other drugs.

    Then, shocked – SHOCKED – at their drug use, we lock up these mentally ill marijuana addicts in overcrowded prisons (more and more, run by private for-profit corporations), where they learn to become real criminals.


  4. @Grumble I disagree, it’s not that everybody will become addicted if a person has a mental illness, there’s isn’t a 100% possibility for that individual to become an addict. And not everyone who turns out to be a substance dependent doesn’t necessarily mean that they suffer from a mental disorder which I think is inappropriate in a way that everyone can become dependent with substance while several people knows how to handle or hide it from the outside world. Let’s say you’re a male and loved collecting Barbie dolls would you tell your girlfriend or close friend about it? You can’t right and everyone has that one deep secret we can’t let anyone knew about. And for drug addicts it’s being addicted to substance Addiction rehab Minnesota is one of the few places that wants to help addicts in their addiction problem.


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