Psychology of Addiction

By Bailey Lively


Names for Marijuana (Cannabis)

The street names include but are not limited to dope, ganja, grass, mary jane, pot, reefer, and weed

Legal and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

Medical use of cannabis can be traced back to 2737 B.C. Medical use started in China and eventually spread to India, Europe, and America. Medical use was rather popular, but in the 1800's the attitude towards drugs was rather negative due to the prevalency of morphine addiction. When the FDA created guidelines on drugs, marijuana wasn't specifically mentioned.

Fast forward 100 years and marijuana is legal either recreationally, medicinally, or both in 23 states. Here are some reasons some states have chosen to at least legalise weed medically....

  • Cannabis contains 60 active ingredients known as cannabinoids (your body makes its own form of cannabinoids to modulate pain)
  • THC targets the CB1 receptor found primarily in the brain, nervous system, liver, kidney, and lungs, quieting the response to pain or noxious chemicals.
  • Studies have found that marijuana is effective at reducing neuropathic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves)
  • Marijuana is frequently used to treat nausea induced by chemotherapy

Illegal Uses of Cannabis


Cannabis contains over 400 chemicals, and only 61 of which are unique to the cannabis plant (these are the cannabinoids).

What Causes Addiction

When high on marijuana, one's endocannabinoid is being stimulated. Overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system causes addiction. The pathways in your brain are being altered, meaning you are practically rewiring your brain. Also, if your family has a history of addiction, then you are predisposed to addiction yourself. As you continue to get high from the THC, it soon loses its potency and more is required in order to obtain the same level of a high. 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent upon marijuana, and with this dependency comes unhappiness, and possible crime risk.

Estimated Costs Associated With Marijuana Addiction

The average heavy marijuana smoker/marijuana addict will spend roughly $1,000 a year. This can vary depending on how much they spend on paraphernalia to smoke out of (blunts, joints, and glass pieces), how much they pay for the drug, and how much they need to smoke.

Extreme Sports

What are extreme sports?

Extreme sports are activities involving a high level of danger. They involve speed, height, high level of exertion, and/or highly specialised gear. For example; bungee jumping, BASE jumping, skydiving, hang gliding, skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, big wave surfing, scuba diving, rock climbing, and skateboarding.

Sensation Seeking

People who partake in extreme sports are called "sensation seekers". "Sensation seeking" is considered the pursuit of novel and intense experiences without regard for physical, social, legal, or financial risk. Partaking in sensation seeking can result in benefits such as increased courage, humility, and calmness.

What causes addiction to extreme sports?

Immediately following an extreme experience, dopamine is released in the brain. The release of this hormone makes a person feel optimistic and happy. Dopamine is the most important chemical involved in drug experiences and becomes addictive. Similar to drug addicts, extreme sports addicts have an inability to experience pleasure from everyday activities such as eating because their brains are used to being stimulated by the "natural high" of their extreme sport. It is theorised also that some people could be more prone to becoming addicted to extreme sports than others. High sensation seekers may be hyper-stimulated by novel experiences because their brains release more dopamine during these events than those of low sensation seekers.