Boosted by the legalization push, studying the effects of marijuana use appears to be a trend of its own. So much so that there seems to be a new report coming out every day. I can’t say that I read them all, but I came across one today that provides what is quite frankly the most shocking revelation that I have seen in recent times. I hope you’re sitting down for this one. Here is comes … Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine have determined that using marijuana can be … wait for it … addictive.

    I know, shocking isn’t it.

    It found that 40 percent of those in an outpatient treatment program for pot use exhibited withdrawal symptoms — a hallmark of drug dependence.

    “There’s a lot of misperception out there that marijuana is not addictive,” lead researcher John Kelly, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine, told Yahoo Health. “But it produces both a physical and psychological dependence in a similar way to that of other drugs, along with its own characteristic withdrawal symptoms.” The most general hint of addiction tends to be the psychological craving for more, he said, caused by the physical, neurobiological change in the brain as it becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug.

    “I think it is relevant,” Kelly said. “What we know with alcohol and tobacco will be true with any drug: Make it cheaper and more accessible and consumption goes up. Do we want to introduce another drug with potentially negative social and health effects? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? The debate needs to be fully informed, and we need the clinical side saying, ‘This is not a benign substance. It’s not cornflakes.’ The neurocognitive impacts, especially with teens, have been shown to have lifelong implications.” Legalization of marijuana, he noted, is sure to bring millions of new cases of addiction. “The rates of addiction and harm will go up, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “People need to be prepared for that.”

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