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As Californians Seek Treatment For Pot Problems In Record Numbers, We Gotta Ask: Is Marijuana Really Addictive?

As dispensaries in Los Angeles have numbered near 550 at their peak and California has became the stoner state that led all others (15 of them now) toward medical legalization, we noted Monday that there has also been a huge rise in those seeking treatment for pot addiction in the Golden State.

That number more than doubled from 1998 to 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report (PDF).

But are we jumping to conclusions here? Is pot even addictive?

Some commenters challenged the assumption that there's any link between the vast availability of cannabis and California's more than 100 percent increase in those seeking treatment for their weed habit here.

Chuckus Ruckus notes that "... most marijuana offenders are forced to go into treatment as part of their sentencing, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

It's an interesting point, but California has essentially decriminalized weed for medical users. However, our sister blog, Toke of the Town, reports that pot arrests remained near, er, record highs in 2008 and 2009. So yeah, that could explain some of those requests for treatment.

But is weed even addictive?

Don't even ask Dr. Drew Pinsky. He'll tell you faster than you can drain the bowl that yeah, pot'll get you hooked.

Here's what he said several years back:

The syndrome of marijuana addiction is always the same: A profound euphoria is experienced, usually after the second or third exposure to it, and from that moment on the addict pursues, preoccupies, or uses that drug every day. Somewhere down the line, exactly what you are experiencing develops; the addict gets depressed, has trouble sleeping and being motivated. Of course, the addict's response is to smoke more or better pot to deal with "the stress," which only accelerates the decline into depression.

Our commenter of the day, dannyboy33, agrees:

I have so many friends who swear up and down they are not addicted. Yet they are. They plan their lives around it. I personally don't care, just wish they would 'fess up to the fact that weed can be and often is addictive for some.

So uh, what do you have going on today?

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