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C3 Podcast No. 44: Is Cannabis Addictive?

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

This episode is brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Core Cannabis course. Learn the 25 most important cannabinoids and eight most common terpenes for an affordable enrollment fee of only $240.


Is cannabis addictive? In No. 44 of the Cannabis Commerce + Chemistry Podcast, host Curt Robbins from Higher Learning LV and co-hosts Dena Putnam from Leafwize Naturals and John Bailey from the Mindset Genesis discuss the controversial topic of cannabis addiction. The group tackles the thorny topic of addiction overall and carefully unpacks the topic of potential marijuana addiction or dependence.

A man exhales smoke from a cannabis joint
Is cannabis consumption addictive?

Is Cannabis Addictive?

Dena Putnam discusses how intent and consumption volume matter, while John Bailey discusses some of the latest statistics revealed by peer-reviewed research studies, including the nine percent of users, on average, who consume cannabis. This is roughly equal to the addiction rate for caffeine, a common drug found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and many other commercial beverages.

"Dena Putnam discusses how intent and consumption volume matter, while John Bailey shared with listeners the fact that nine percent of cannabis users will exhibit addictive behavior."

Bailey described how some research has revealed that some subgroups of cannabis consumers are more at risk for addiction, including those who began consumption as teens and those who consume daily.

Marijuana Addiction & Reefer Madness

Dena Putnam worries that some consumers in newly legal states may fear use of cannabis because of potential addictive qualities. "Let's start with the scary sounding idea of 'marijuana addiction.' Which instantly brings to mind the Reefer Madness posters that were trying to convince you that a single puff might plunge you into the depths of insanity, where you'll forever walk like a zombie wanting to kill for your next fix. So we know this is ridiculous, right? To the uninitiated, it might potentially scare someone away from a legitimate source of medicine or pain relief," said Putnam.

A 1930s Reefer Madness era poster depicting a man inserting a needle into a woman's arm on a stylized background that reads: Marihuana, Weed with roots in hell. Not recommended for children. Drawings of marijuana joints read "lust," "crime," "sorrow," "hate," "shame," and "despair."
An actual 1930s Reefer Madness era poster

John Bailey compares cannabis, considered not a drug (it's an herb) and to be a soft drug, to hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine. He compares physical and psychological dependence and stresses that the legality of a substance does not indicate its safety profile or efficacy. He talks about comfort zones and risks that vary greatly by individual and pattern of use. He recommends approaching one's use of cannabis with caution and informed decision making. "Listen to what we say about it and make your own good decisions," said Bailey.

John Bailey compares cannabis, considered not a drug (it's an herb) and to be a soft drug, to hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

Is Cannabis Addictive? Sometimes....

Robbins stressed that cannabis addiction is real, but that the vast majority of cannabis consumers—including those who consume daily—are not addicted. To illustrate this belief, he cited the several times that he has had to cease consumption of marijuana due to a drug test for a job or health care. He also mentioned that many of his colleagues and friends have also had to cease cannabis consumption at many times during their adult lives for similar reasons and that none had experienced overtly negative or severe withdrawal side effects.

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The C3 Podcast: All business. No small talk.

🎧 Listen to C3 Podcast No. 44 >> Is Cannabis Addictive?

This weekly podcast is targeted at cannabis and hemp industry professionals and is strategically free of profanity and crude dialog. This audio session was edited for length and clarity.

To better understand our favorite cannabis research, listen now at Higher Learning LV, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and most other major podcasting platforms (including Amazon Music, Anchor, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Pandora, and Stitcher).

Link to C3 Podcast No. 44 episode on Spotify

Link to C3 Podcast No. 44 episode on Apple Podcasts

C3 Podcast No. 44 Show Notes

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