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Is Marijuana Addictive?Just look in the dictionary!
In other words, your body can get so used to having an addictive substance in your system that not having it in your system causes varying degrees of physical discomfort, nausea, sickness and pain. Since sudden discontinued use by heavy and/or chronic marijuana users causes no such reaction, quite simply and indisputably, marijuana is not a "habit-forming" substance. Marijuana is not addictive.
Further, since as defined, an addiction is reliant upon the use of a habit-forming substance, issues like out of control gambling or compulsive sexual activity - disorders that we routinely call gambling addiction and sex addiction - are not really addictions at all.
Addiction is a word that people toss about carelessly and/or deceptively these days. Medical doctors, psychologists, politicians and cops, each with their own agenda, and each with their own tilt based on their professions, all see and characterize both addiction and addict differently. However, the definition is clear and concise, and was taken for granted as the only definition throughout all but the very tail of the twentieth century – it is and has been what we call conventional wisdom: Addiction is a physiological issue, caused by, reliant upon, and non-existent without habit-forming substance use and/or abuse. The list of commonly used habit-forming or addictive substances are more or less limited to heroin, other opiates, cocaine, pharmaceuticals, nicotine and alcohol. Notably and correctly absent from that list, is marijuana.
As the twentieth century wore on, people's suffering due to other sorts of compulsive and/or destructive behavioral issues, such as those whose lives were ruined due to gambling, or who couldn’t get out of bed - either due to over-eating or an insatiable sexual appetite - began to be acknowledged publicly. People in the medical and psychological industries quickly realized that although some of the compulsive behaviors looked like addictions, they did not fit within the accepted definition because there is no accompanying physiological stimulus. What do we call these issues that stem from the mind and not the body? And how can we tidy this up so we don't have mind-addictions and body-addictions? The answer from the medical and psychological industries has been a misinformation campaign around one word unparalleled in human history.
There had to have been some sort of cosmic moment of truth; a tipping point from which there could be no return once enough momentum had been gained, when the possibly unspoken, yet collectively agreed upon conclusion was reached.
They could have easily come up with a new word for compulsive behaviors like gambling, that are not physiological dependencies based on a habit-forming substance; perhaps mentition, from Latin roughly meaning a condition or state of the mind. Its definition would have been something like:
They could have made things very easy and very clear by abandoning addiction and using physiological dependence, psychological dependence and interwoven dependence.
Instead, they chose to appropriate the word addiction and bastardize, convolute and invert its meaning.
By Any Other Name
The American Society of Addiction Medicine's definition:
The first paragraph of Psychology Today's (349 word!) definition:
The National Institution of Drug Abuse's definition:
There are hundreds of similar attempts at covertly redefining addiction put forth by other medical, physiological, religious and political organizations available for perusal on the web - the three sited here are meant to be representative of the general timbre of the efforts.
The first noticeable oddity about these definitions is how atypical of definitions they are! They are incredibly long and rambling, often contradictory within themselves, clearly written by a person or (worse) group of people that has never written a definition before, or even recently looked through the dictionary to remind themselves of how definitions work. Good definitions are succinct, using as few words as needed to properly convey the meaning of the term being defined. The Miriam-Webster definition gives us more information in 38 words than we could ever glean from the 349 word Psychology Today definition, which must be the result of a committee.
The next thing you notice is that they are all very grim - basically defining addiction as an incurable mental disorder, or even "incurable mental disease". Unlike the word dependence, which rather sounds like something that can be overcome, or at least solidly controlled, addiction has somewhat of a doomsday connotation - a notion that is being encouraged by the medical and psychological industries - that when being applied to you, can cause fear, uncertainty, and a quick google search for rehab centers in your area. This is the desired effect.
The third thing you will surely notice about these definitions is that they all contradict the dictionary definition. The general slant is that they want addiction to be in your head and not in your body - this is crucial for them! $$
Had a word like mentition come into general use, things would have been clear. You would have heroin addiction and gambling mentition; alcohol addiction and sex mentition; the difference between a physiological dependence and a psychological dependence clearly identified. Instead, as we know, medicos are pressing addiction to become a catch-all term for any compulsive behavior, and over time the truthful notion that addictions to substances like alcohol and heroin have to do with the body - per the definition - is being systematically distorted to the misinformation that even addiction to highly addictive substances have only to do with the mind, and not the body.
By choosing to appropriate addiction instead of a less insidious approach to labeling compulsive behaviors that do not fit the accepted dictionary definition of addiction, the medical and psychological industries have side-stepped the issues that can arise when trying to introduce a new term into the lexicon. Appropriating addiction also subtly transfers the image of, and consequences for, a junkie lying dead in an alley with a needle sticking out of his arm to all dependencies and all dependent people. That leads to what these industries want the new conventional wisdom to be: All addictions are bad, and all addicts need help.
It is possible that the most significant upshot from the linguistic commandeering of addiction is how it has made identifying dependence issues tidy, with catch phrases like sex addiction and gambling addiction et al, that are a great marketing aide. If addiction is a "chronic, relapsing brain disease", and anything from eating too many Cheetos to shooting heroin constitutes an addiction, then not only are we all customers, but we are all customers for life!
Although a word's use may reside primarily in the vocabulary of a specific profession or trade, to abduct that word and misuse it, proselytize its misuse, and unilaterally (as a single slice of the pie of all professions) endeavor to twist its meaning to meet political or professional needs is reprehensible - Who died and made you guys Word Queen?
We are talking about intelligent, educated people - very capable of coining new terms, writing succinct definitions and being truthful! In 2018, no one really knows what the word addiction means, as it is most certainly a word in transition. You might say that at this point it doesn't mean anything - which works out great for the medical and psychological industries, because they can and do use it to mean whatever they want it to mean at any given moment.
The topper; the little plastic doc & shrink couple crowning the cake, is that they are not doing a very good job of it.
My Goodness! If you want to change the definition of a word, why not do it aboveboard! Maybe instead of these industries posting hundreds of half-baked definitions on hundreds of websites (it is probably more like thousands), all different, many gibberish, too many changing almost daily, they could join forces and post one that makes sense. They could submit it to Miriam-Webster and ask that it be included as the third definition, marked used in medical and mental health fields. It seems that the definition so many of these medical and psychological groups are groping for is along these lines:
Hopefully that would help deter its abuse, while noting that it is not the original or true meaning of the word, and that those industries have altered it for their own use/misuse, convenience and financial gain.
The meanings of words certainly do change over time, and this happens in many naturally occurring means. What is being done to addiction does not fit into any of those categories. More on word development.
Bless Their Hearts
There are, of course, thousands and thousands of caring, well-meaning medical and psychological professionals in the United States that selflessly give of themselves so that others can live and prosper. Everyone's life has in one way or another been enriched by the fine work these dedicated people do. Too often, as with our soldiers, they are taken for granted as we forget to express our appreciation in the course of a busy day. They just keep on truckin'.
Sometimes, in the course of doing their demanding jobs, these highly trained professionals can forget that we are individuals, treating symptoms not people, and quoting the black & whites of current best practices - prescribing drugs - instead of exploring options. Certain things can become firmly set in their minds, not open to discussion. They know - we don't. They went to med school - we didn't. They have a Ph.D. in psychology - we don't. They talk - we listen. An addiction is what they say it is, and no matter how nebulous the definition, one message is constant: all addictions are bad, and all addicts need help. Well, no number of degrees or experience makes anyone right every time, justifies closing one's mind, or excuses imposing one's morals, values or expectations on another.
An actual addiction to a physiologically habit-forming substance such as heroin could hardly be called good. Even if we go along with what the medical and psychological industries want to use for the definition of addiction just for one sentence, and allow the psychological dependence that sometimes develops from regular marijuana use to be classified as such, it would still be difficult to justify saying that an addiction is a good thing. But is every single one bad? What about your neighbor's Grandma with her life-worn sore back and hips, taking a few tokes to help her fall asleep? According to the medicos, she's addicted. No one is saying that her so-called addiction is necessarily good, but is it necessarily bad? Why can't it just be what it is? Sometime a banana is just a banana, and not something that needs fixing.
And by the way, how is taking a couple bong hits not infinitely better than downing pharmaceuticals every night? Now that's an addiction. The hypocrisy can be blinding.
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