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Marijuana Addiction Survey Seeks Difficult Answers


Marijuana addiction is one of the most hotly debated topics in the battle for cannabis reform.  With special interest groups muddying the issue on all sides, one organization has set out to gather definitive answers to questions about marijuana dependence.
With the official launch of its 2013 Marijuana Addiction Survey this month, hopes to elicit critical data from a large section of current and former marijuana users and report its findings to government and healthcare authorities such as the DEA, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the American Medical Association. 
The 40-question confidential survey was designed by writer and marijuana activist Russ Hudson, who said in a recent interview that early results of the survey were not what most people would expect; although he declined to elaborate, citing the integrity of the published results of the survey. 
“We’re looking at this data on a daily basis and on occasion we’ve been baffled.  There are some startling answers [to the survey questions] trending that even I didn’t expect, and we anticipate that these trends will continue as the number and subsections of respondents and their answers grow.”
The 2013 Marijuana Addiction Survey asks respondents questions like:

  • *Do you ever get too high to function & have to change your plans?
  • *Have you ever been in trouble with authorities because of marijuana?
  • *How do you feel when you run out of marijuana?
  • *Do you use marijuana to treat a psychological condition?

There are also a series of questions titled “Marijuana Bargaining,” which ask respondents if they would give up using marijuana for increasingly larger sums of money. 
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 9% of marijuana users will become dependent, including 25% - 50% of daily users.  But while many people dispute these findings (also based on a survey), Hudson says he’s more “Agnostic” in this regard;
“I think marijuana affects everyone differently, so I’m not certain this question can ever be answered definitively enough to satisfy everyone.  We don’t have enough credible data to quote reliable statistics at this point.  Until current laws are relaxed, conclusive studies will be difficult and there’s still a large body of people who don’t believe that principles of substance addiction apply to marijuana.  In the end this argument will inevitably circle back around to debates on addiction theory.  We can head off that argument by getting the answer straight from the horse’s mouth - with proper controls in place of course.”    
Hudson refers to what he says are comprehensive controls to ensure consistency and honesty in survey respondents.  Both a professional writer and web developer, Hudson says that questions have been crafted and organized to ensure honesty and catch discrepancies, while logs, IP and cookie blocking/logging and other security and analytics features will maintain the integrity of the data. 
Currently living in Barcelona, Spain while covering the private cannabis club industry there, Hudson worked for several years in the drug addiction treatment industry.   He claims that even among staff at rehab centers, marijuana addiction isn’t taken seriously.
“It appears that most treatment admissions for marijuana are coerced in some way, so there’s a real sense that both patients and treatment professionals are not taking marijuana addiction seriously.  One thing our survey already shows is that of the people who do admit to current marijuana dependence, 0% intend to seek out any type of treatment.”
If accurate, this means that - at the very least - treatment admissions for marijuana addiction may be a waste of money.  Hudson says that marijuana addiction patients go through the motions to satisfy the demands of whatever authority put them in rehab, while the rehab center goes through the motions because it means more coin in their coffers. 
In the meantime, the debate about marijuana addiction rages on in the streets, in our lawmaking bodies, and online.  Hudson hopes to push this debate to a conclusion by polling at least 5,000 marijuana users and publishing the subsequent results in early 2014.
Current and former marijuana users can participate in the 2013 Marijuana Addiction Survey by using the following link:


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