Stories of Marijuana Addiction – The Progress of A “Harmless” Habit

Last Updated: July 6, 2021

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Some claim weed is not addictive because ‘it doesn’t cause death by overdose’ and ‘people don’t go through withdrawals when they stop using weed.’ These people are misguided. Here’s why:
Addiction is not simply defined as having a physical dependence (what causes a person to experience withdrawals) on something; addiction is a mental illness. A substance can be psychologically addictive without causing physical dependence. In each of these marijuana stories, the person using has developed a psychological dependence on weed, causing his or her quality of life to suffer to some degree or another.

‘Ryan’ thought there was no way he could have a weed problem

“How could I be an addict? My life is great. I live in a very good area of Los Angeles, drive a nice sports car, have a good job, pay all my bills, and have a wonderful family. This is not the kind of person I grew up believing an addict was. So I smoke pot every day. I still take care of business when it needs to be done. I just use marijuana to relax when I get home from work. I never smoke before or during my job. So I smoke from 4 p.m. ‘til midnight every night and do nothing but watch television. It’s not a problem; I have nothing else to do anyway.”

Struggles with addiction can yield different consequences for everyone. That being said, one thing that is always seen in weed addiction stories is a loss of potential in the person who is using. Developing a mental dependence on a substance can result in a lack of motivation to do things that don’t include the substance. For example:
After a while, ‘Ryan’ didn’t see a reason to leave his house anymore
“Oh, I had lots of friends. One reason might have been that I always had a bag of pot on the coffee table with papers and a pipe ready to go. If you came in just help yourself. That way I didn’t have to go out and I still had the illusion of having a lot of good friends. I would go to parties occasionally, but only if I knew most of the people that were going to be there. I didn’t like being stoned in front of people I didn’t know in case I made a fool of myself. I very rarely took vacations since most of my money was going into pot. My life was boring. If it weren’t for people coming over to my house, I probably would have never seen anyone.”
As with any addiction, once the brain makes the drug a priority, the user starts to let other priorities fall to the wayside.

‘Kevin’ didn’t care that he was failing in school

“My parents knew what was up. My 1.6 grade point average was a big clue that I had something more important to do than homework. When I got caught dealing, my parents decided to raid my room. They found everything but the pot I had on me. I didn’t care. I smoked out the day after I got caught. So, I was busted. Big deal. I promised to go to MA, but I really didn’t intend to stay sober. I didn’t want to be in a room full of addicts because I thought I could stop anytime I wanted to. I just didn’t want to.

Marijuana was more important to ‘Darren’ than having a home

Darren had his first cigarette at age 11 and his first taste of alcohol when he was 12. Darren says around that time, he started to hang out with people from around the neighborhood he knew were members of gangs. At age 13, Darren started smoking marijuana, and by the year after that Darren says he was doing ‘hard drugs.’
During this time period, Darren was running into problems at home because his parents didn’t approve of his drug use. One fight with his dad got so intense that Darren actually swung a knife at him. Today, Darren is thankful he missed. But the fight got so bad, that eventually, the cops were called. Darren tried to escape jumping over the fence in his backyard, but the cops grabbed ahold of him and put him in handcuffs.
Even after Darren had come at him with a knife, Darren’s father did not want to see his son go off to spend time at a juvenile detention facility. Darren’s mother felt differently.
Darren went, but after he was released, when he was in seventh grade, Darren was arrested for possession of marijuana. First, he got kicked out of school. Then, his parents kicked him out of the house. Darren was getting drunk and smoking weed with his friends on a daily basis.
Darren spent four years living on the streets.
Now, Darren says he has been clean for almost a year. He decided to return to school and is doing well. He says he is happy because now that he’s succeeding in school, he feels as if he is succeeding in life. Darren doesn’t think smoking weed is ‘cool’ anymore. He plans to finish high school and wants to attend college.

Weed Addiction Stories: Before and After

‘Ryan’ didn’t think he had a problem until…

“Then, one of those nights hit when I ran out of pot. I was climbing the walls. I went crazy. I called everyone I knew to score even a roach. I remember one night driving 39 miles in a bad storm to get a half a joint from a complete stranger just to get through the night. I remember calling my dealer every hour on the hour to see if it had come in yet. I bought pot from people I normally wouldn’t have even talked to, much less done business with. What had happened to me? I thought I was using because I wanted to. Now I found that I was using because I had to. I had become an addict!”

Ryan began to see the monotony of his everyday life: “Get up, go to work, come home and spend the rest of the evening stoned in front of the TV with a soda in one hand, a bag of chips in the other and the bong loaded and ready to go! This was the extent of my life, day in and day out for 13 years.”

Ryan has been attending Marijuana Anonymous meetings for the past five years. He says the internal change he has experienced is indescribable. When he started being honest with himself about his use is when everything started to come together for him. He listened to his sponsor, attending meetings, followed the 12 steps, and even found comfort in a higher power to help him with his struggles.

“I have now been a part of Marijuana Anonymous for over 5 years as I am writing this. I can’t begin to describe all the changes that have happened to me because of this program. By being honest with myself and realizing I had a problem I was able to start on the road to recovery. I swallowed hard and reached out for help. I listened to the people who had walked this path of recovery ahead of me and followed their suggestions. I found a sponsor within a couple of months so I would have a person that could guide me through the Twelve Steps, as he understood them. I began my Steps and rediscovered my belief in a Higher Power. Over the years practicing the Twelve Steps, to the best of my ability, I have started to receive the greatest gift of all, a belief in myself!

“I can honestly say today that I have a good life. Each day will always have its ups and downs and that I have no control over, but it is my attitude towards these times that will determine how I feel about life. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I find that most problems don’t get to me half as much as they used to. I now know that if I use or get angry that the problem will still be there. The only way to get through the problem is to deal with it, not avoid it!

“These [attitude changes] didn’t happen overnight, and I know that I have a long way to go. I now know that because of the Twelve Steps I have a chance to reach the goals I had always just dreamed of.”

Treatment didn’t work for ‘Kevin’ the first time around

“Soon after [my parents found all the weed I was hiding in my room], I was caught shoplifting. My mom and dad came and picked me up. Another slap on the wrist. I stopped getting high for about two months, but when I started again, it was like I never stopped.

“My home life was awful. I was in a constant battle with my parents and my little brother was being hurt as a result of my selfishness. I thought I was the only person in the whole world.

Street prices of weed are affordable, so I was using every day when everything finally hit the fan. My dad broke my guitars, so I ran away. I was caught one week later in Santa Barbara. I vowed never to use again. I told my parents that I had a problem, and I needed help. I came into MA (Marijuana Anonymous) a week later.

“Since then, I haven’t smoked pot once. I have noticed a vast improvement in my life, and it can only get better. So, if you are new, the best advice I can give you is read the literature, get a sponsor, and take a commitment. But more importantly, KEEP COMING BACK, because your life is still worth living.”

‘Mikey’ escaped a jail sentence by entering into treatment

“I’m pretty sure the first time I smoked weed I was 11. A close family member used to do heroin and crack, so I saw that as a kid, and I always thought, ‘My drug use isn’t serious, I’m only smoking weed.’ But while I was doing that I got involved with the wrong crowd, and everybody smoked weed, and it started taking me away from the important things in life. I started stealing stuff and selling drugs on the streets. I actually got jumped a lot of times; people tried to rob me for the drugs I had. They were people I used to know as friends, but the drugs had turned them around. With all of that going on, it wasn’t long before I was facing gun charges and jail.”

Luckily, the judge let Mikey enter into a treatment facility. He spent nine months there. During the treatment process, Mikey developed a strong support network. “We connect on Facebook, send each other messages, check in and see how each other are doing.”

“When I completed treatment and came home, all the things they taught me at [the treatment facility I attended] made me realize that the way I was living life before was stupid. I mean, I could have been doing so many productive things instead of sitting around, waiting for somebody to call so we could smoke a blunt! So I finally had a chance to be productive.

Mikey is now about to start college. He’s going to be studying radiology.

“I’ll be honest, some of my friends still smoke, but they’re cool with my recovery. Some of my other friends from before are nothing but trouble, and I don’t hang out with them anymore. Now I spend most of my time in class, working, or at home helping my family. I was working for a delivery company but now I’m focusing on school, taking college prep classes so that when I start school in January I’m not rusty. I actually like school now!

“I live with my mother, my stepfather, my little brother, and my little sister. My older sister comes to visit sometimes with her baby. I don’t know exactly what they all think about what I’ve been through, but I can tell my mom is more calm now. She knows she doesn’t have to worry—that if she gives me money for food I won’t spend it on weed. There’s more trust and a huge sense of relief. I know I did the right thing in going to treatment, and that everything is working out for the best. Now I’m doing better than most of the people who used to look down on me.

“So many people think marijuana can’t be an addiction, but it can. Because when you smoke weed like I did, and you feel like you can’t have fun without smoking, that’s you depending on weed to have fun. And dependence on a drug, that’s addiction. My advice to other kids in treatment is: stick to it, you can do it! It’s not easy because when you’re in a residential program you have to be away from the people you love. But treatment helps you realize how important those people are, and it brings you closer to them in the long run—and that’s what matters at the end of the day. I mean, yeah, you should definitely get clean for yourself. But if that’s not enough of a motivator, get clean for those who love you.”

Jake was always playing catch-up due to his weed addiction

Jake had never really experimented with drugs until his junior year when a good portion of his classmates began smoking weed. He got curious about it, so he did some internet research on marijuana. Everything he found online and everything his friends told him about weed made it seem like it wasn’t all that dangerous. So he tried it.

“It was intense…I knew I had found the best toy I had ever had in my life. It beat cake, sex, tv, video games, etc. etc. etc.”

“By mid-summer, I was dumping out trash cans with ashes at the bottom so I could pick through and make a pile of charred green that I could smoke. For the next two years, my life fluctuated between weeks of being high and weeks of being clean, trying to make up for late homework and ignored relationships.”

As time went on, more of Jake’s time was spent high than not. There were times when he became severely depressed when he was smoking, to the point of suicidal ideation; he had multiple plans to kill himself, but always ended up getting high again before he could actually go through with it.

Jake started stealing money from whoever he could—his mom, his girlfriend—just to fund his marijuana addiction. Eventually, Jake’s mom caught on and she gave him an ultimatum: treatment or police involvement.

“Anyway, in the last three months of my use, I had been stealing whatever amount of money I thought I could get away with to buy my weed. Eventually, my mom caught onto the fact that I was not only stealing from my family but my girlfriend too (I stole from whoever gave me the opportunity). Fearing for my legal status she gave me an ultimatum, treatment or cops. I chose treatment and have been clean since (with the help of AA).

“Had I known of the devastating effects weed would have on me I would have never taken that first hit. I had no idea of the destructive potential of weed. I don’t know what effect just one site with legitimate information on marijuana would have but it might start to change the perception that marijuana is not really addictive.

“Throughout my experience, I had doubts as to whether or not I was addicted. The more valid information out there, the better an individual’s chances are of coming to an understanding that they need help. An addict who stops using saves themselves and everyone around them pain. The lack of info about the addictive potential of marijuana only feeds the vacuum of ignorance that sucks people deeper and deeper into addiction.”

Page Sources

  1. Rooke S. E., Norberg M. M., Copeland J. Successful and unsuccessful cannabis quitters: comparing group characteristics and quitting strategies. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2011; 6:30. doi:10.1186/1747-597X-6-30.
  2. national Institute on Drug Abuse. Quitting marijuana: "I need different people around me."

Published on: December 23rd, 2016

Updated on: July 6th, 2021


Leave a comment

  • None of your business
    Can you not make up these stories about marijuana?
    • Martha Carey Lee
      You are the one without the facts. Those of us who know addicts of all sorts as friends, family and our medical and psych patients have the facts. THC is incredibly addictive to the brain chemicals and changes it’s pathways. Check out Institute for Brain Potential’s information in Light s Gatos California, for one source.
    • Steve
      Ignorance…..I’ve been an addict on weed for 20 years. Wrecked many aspects of my life . When you smoking 12 to15 joints a day and can’t stop…what would you call that……it’s a huge problem that people think this drug is a miracle healer…wolf is sheep’s clothes my friend’s. …be aware. thc is not your friend. Aviod!!!!
      • Intrigued
        i am very intrigued on your story. Can you explain more in detail? I’m doing a project on it and hope to find a few stories. I think a story from a person I have actually contacted would be great. If you are uncomfortable making it public, you can send it to me by email at daotherpizzademigod on G mail. Thanks!
        • Kelly
          I would love to tell you my story. I’m 57 years old, and I’ve smoked weed, with increased frequency and quantities every year for 40 years almost exactly. I loved getting high for soooooo many years. It’s interesting, at least in my case, how social it was. In fact for a lot of years it was ONLY. How crazy is that coming from at least the most self induced isolated person I know of at least and my marijuana use and subsequent self imposed privacy needs were the ONLY cause for the ever increasing amount of time alone that has became my life. The reason I want to share my story is because I had something really bad happen to me as a result of my marijuana use. I have learned that my illness isn’t common and it just happens to old stoners like me who really smoke a lot. I have Cannabinoid Hyperemesis. Syndrome. CHS. I could have easily died. It might be rare but it’s real and people need to know about it, that’s for damn sure! I’m just now starting to learn about it and in the early stages of dealing with the diagnosis. It’s been less than a week since I got out of the ER again. Now three of the five emergency doctors that have me in 9 months in either an emergency room have diagnosed CHS. It’s real and you can die. People have. Educate yourself people. I still believe that for most people occasionally using marijuana for recreation is cool and fun and shouldn’t be illegal anywhere…etc. I would love to be like most people in that way.but I’m not. By definition people can be addicted to pretty much anything so why would otherwise intelligent people allow themselves to believe that some substance that alters our brain chemistry could ever be harmless? Wake up everyone born in the 1960’s…….some of us have been smoking a ton of weed for a long damn time now and it absolutely fucking is or can become ADDICTIVE by all definitions and it is or can be harmful. I AM RESEARCH for someone surely. To me right now, the saddest part is that until I was forced to stop smoking weed to get well, well apparently until then, and again that was just last week but apparently I was Williams no to continue existing in the basement of my rock bottom and smoke pot pretty much the entire time I’m awake every single day all alone in my apartment. I was trying to frame up some kind of decent attitude and way to deal with my preferred diagnosis of this awful awful Cyclical Vomiting I believed to be my correct diagnosis. This was going to be very challenging without any heath insurance which I lost after I quit my job several months ago. I quit my job bc I stayed up and got high all night and I was supposed to meet with my employer to discuss my returning to work. My story is unusual but it is real and doctors are treating people just like me with the same diagnosis everywhere because we all turn up in emergency rooms. My PCP never drug tested me! Please believe me and trust me because people don’t lie about stuff like this. I just want people to be educated that’s all. Educate yourself.
    • Heartbroken
      My husband smokes weed daily and he is most definitely addicted to weed. He is a functional smoker, like the man in the first story; he has a job, and seems normal until you really get to know him. However, when he runs out of weed he gets very angry and physically violent. For the most part when he has his drug he is kind and easy-going. but his lack of motivation borders on ridiculous. As a girl growing up my father never taught me anything about household repairs or repairing cars, but I’ve had to teach myself those skills over time because my husband hardly ever gets off his butt to fix things around the house. I have to mow the lawn myself or it never gets done, I have had to do the car repairs, I’m the one who has to fix things around the house (for the most part). All he ever wants to do when he is not at work is sit and watch tv or play video games. I used to smoke weed daily too, so I know how it is. I use to feel like absolute crap when I ran out, and I would honestly spend money on weed before food if it came down to it. I also suffered from a similar lack of motivation. But since I’ve quit it s**ks to still have to live with his addiction. Especially because he still denies that he has an addiction and isn’t planning on quitting any time soon.
    • Kelly
      Why would you think anyone would make that kind of story up about weed? For what conceivable gain? I’m almost fascinatingly curious why you would post something so ridiculous? Come on man…..respect people more.
  • don gaudreau
    To the person above who thinks the stories were made up, hey say it is you who are spreading false hoods. You may or may not have a problem with weed but I can tell you without a doubt that the stories are not exaggerated . One of my sons smokes it continuously, has lost jobs because of it, and has nothing to show for his life because it is all consuming to him and he doesn’t think he needs to stop. He is 28 now and has missed a huge part of his life because he’d rather get high then do anything else. His social life is based on people with the same dependency and he’ll do anything to get weed when he runs out including stealing from us or his brothers. So please don’t talk about someone not getting their facts straight.
  • don gaudreau
    You need to get your facts straight. Weed ican be extremely psychologically addictive and ruins lives. Either you are in denial about it or don’t have a problem with weed. That doesn’t mean no one else does.
  • James
    I can relate to a lot of points above , maybe I was addicted to the nicotine added to every joint as we do here in uk , maybe it was the weed, maybe both , but it was more than just routine and quitting effected me physically and emotionally, weaker minded people would have relapse before making it through the quitting cycle as witnessed through many of my friends who have failed, they will convince themselves lie to themselves as witnessed by myself, it was a 12 month battle to quit, every time I quit another side of my brain found a loop hole back in, I would throw excess weed in the bin , only to come home to turn the bin inside out to find it, I would dump my weed in a glass of water before work to ensure I did not smoke that night only to come home to dry it out with a hair dryer, I would delete my dealers number only to ring my service provider to request a printout if my recent calls
  • Lina
    I have been living with a weed addict for 7 years. For a long time I couldn’t believe that weed was this addictive. His entire life got consumed by it. He would do anything to smoke. He was a professional boxer and his career was distoyed. After that he would do nothing all day, but smoke late into the night. He would sleep until 2-3 pm, no motivation to do anything. Lack of money caused him to steal at every opportunity, his children would be up in the morning and I would take care of everyone for 8 hours before he rolled out of bed agitated. I would have to go to sleep with my purse or hide my wallet. He would be unberable when he didnt smoke, he would punch doors and walls and we cobstantly fought. It ended with cops coming to remove him from the house, he refused to leave and I couldnt live like that anymore. He is still addicted to weed, living in his mom’s basement.
  • Marc
    I’ve been smoking marijuana for the most part of my life. And since the last 6 years, every time I score weed, I’m convinced that it’s the last time I’ll buy. I hate doing it, it plays a lot with my ambition and I feel like I’m going nowhere in my life. I’ve tried lots of ways to stop by myself, but I now think that seeking help is my only solution. This is more than a cry for help than a comment, if you have anything useful, articles, websites, doctors, groups….anything at all, please share.
  • John
    Pot was not a gateway drug for me–for me, it was the opposite. For years, I had developed a pretty nasty addiction to MUCH harder drugs that all started with a friend giving me a pill at a party (think MDMA, cocaine, Gammahydroxybutyrate…). Ended up in the ER twice from OD, finances/career were wrecked…so was in a really bad spot when I finally decided to come clean. If you are sober and later develop an addiction to something, my guess is your friends and family will have an issue with that. The opposite is also true (based on my experience)–if you have an addiction, the moment you decide to go clean, you will find that 90-95% of the ppl who you believed were your friends when you were doing xyz drug will no longer want to associate with you (sad but true). So in addition to all of the other problems, someone deciding to become clean will find that that is going to be a pretty lonely journey (at least at first), emotionally-speaking. One of my few friends who did decide to stick around once I made the decision to go sober introduced me to pot. As a bridge back to sobriety, pot was critically important to me. So I began to rebuild my life–financially, emotionally, socially, spiritually, mentally–with 420 as my crutch. Pot helped me to sleep when I was jumping out of my skin, pot provided me with laughs when there was absolutely nothing funny going on in my life, pot helped me to relax when the world seemed pretty hostile. But here’s the thing–the friend who introduced to me to pot…while he really, legitimately wanted to help (and he did), as I continued my journey of sobriety I realized that I didn’t want my life to become anything like his. He’s a nice guy, for sure…but he avoids exercise like it’s some kind of physical torture (I love to workout), he largely isolates when it comes to social stuff, his idea of trying new things is to buy a different flavor of mustard at the grocery store, and he is (basically) financially independent so a career isn’t something he needs to worry about at all (I def need to work, financially and mentally). So now I’m going to try life sans marijuana. I’ve already thrown everything out. My first day on that journey begins today….so your input/stories/encouragement are very much appreciated. I know the next 2 weeks will be full of insomnia and anxiety–luckily I have Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ (and red wine!) ready-set-go 🙂