Marijuana is habit forming even though the addictive potential is lower and THC produces physical dependence less than other drugs. Many people use marijuana on a recreational basis or medicinally without dependence starting but it can happen before a person realizes it occurred. Learn about the signs of dependence on marijuana and how to combat them.

Dependence Versus Addiction

There is a distinction between marijuana dependence versus addiction. Not every person who becomes dependent on marijuana or develops tolerance will become addicted. Addiction may be present without dependence and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is really how motivated the person is which can make a big difference. Dependence refers to a state of being whereby the person is dependent on a drug to function normally in a physiological sense. Abstinence from the drug at this point can cause withdrawal reactions that range in severity depending on the person’s circumstances. An individual may become obsessed with obtaining more marijuana just to be free of the withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of Dependence

Dependence on marijuana is typically not associated with physical withdrawal. Some symptoms can involve disturbances within the body physically including:

  • Headaches
  • Malaise
  • Sweating

Physical dependence is due to the effects of marijuana on the body by sending signals to the brain which impairs the ability to function normally without marijuana in the system. The majority of people who use marijuana take breaks in use and do not use continually for long periods of time. Withdrawal symptoms for these individuals is typically low to non-existent.

Psychologically, a person can experience the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Increased anxiety

Psychological dependence, often called behavioral dependence, is caused by psychic or emotional dependence which is difficult to define. Psychic dependence can be defined as a person who believes the individual may require marijuana to feel good or be free of pain. This forms emotional attachment to the drug and the perceived need to use the drug entices people to continue using inappropriately. Anxiety, restlessness, or irritability may occur as a result of psychological dependence. Cravings or compulsions to use may also kick in.

Getting past dependence on marijuana is possible with the help and support of friends, loved ones, and counselors who understand addiction and behavior. Consulting with them can often help kick a habit to marijuana when it starts causing negative consequences.


Cypress Lakes provides a safe space to explore the intersection of health and recovery. Our mind, body, and spirit focus will help you find the right path for your individual recovery. Let us help guide you on the journey: 866-217-2636