Drug War Myth #726,002: Marijuana Is More Addictive Than Caffeine

Posted: September 21st, 2009 | Filed under: drugs, marijuana, media bias | 6 Comments »

Marijuana Is Not More Addictive Than Caffeine

In covering the marijuana legalization debate the mainstream media is prone to comparing marijuana addictiveness to alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. A much more appropriate comparison would be to caffeine. This would provide a better perspective to the media’s dramatic portrayals of marijuana “addicts.” (See New York Times portrayal of “Joyce” here.)

The health professional survey mentioned above that ranked the inherent addictive potential of numerous drugs on a 100-point scale (nicotine 99, alcohol 81, caffeine 70, and marijuana 22) was taken from Perrine. (p. 7)

The statement that marijuana withdrawal symptoms are as mild as caffeine’s and their occurrence is rarer is taken from Gahlinger. (pp. 180, 333)

Most marijuana users – even those with long-term, heavy use – experience no withdrawal when they stop. Some people have reported generally mild symptoms …. (Gahlinger, p. 333)

Thanks to Pete Guither at Drug WarRant for the following posts which alerted me to this issue: “Times Article Buys into Marijuana Addiction Based on Anecdotal Evidence from Idiots” and “ABC News Goes Reefer Madness.”


1. Paul Gahlinger, Illegal Drugs (2001).
2. Daniel Perrine, Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs (1996).

6 Comments on “Drug War Myth #726,002: Marijuana Is More Addictive Than Caffeine”

  1. 1 Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms said at 11:54 am on January 28th, 2010:

    Marijuana is mild and has the withdrawal symptom compared as caffeine. So there is legalization debate. But the marijuana might make us take the higher level of drug. So it is dangerous to legalize it to let them consume more.

  2. 2 Blunt Trauma said at 4:45 pm on May 14th, 2010:

    This is one of the more persistent myths. A real world example of what happens when marijuana is readily available can be found in Holland. The Dutch partially legalized marijuana in the 1970s. Since then, hard drug use-heroin and cocaine-have DECLINED substantially.This apparent “negative gateway” effect has also been observed in the United States. Studies done in the early 1970s showed a negative correlation between use of marijuana and use of alcohol. A 1993 Rand Corporation study that compared drug use in states that had decriminalized marijuana versus those that had not, found that where marijuana was more available-the states that had decriminalized-hard drug abuse as measured by emergency room episodes decreased. In short, what science and actual experience tell us is that marijuana tends to substitute for the much more dangerous hard drugs like alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.

  3. 3 smokeweedallday said at 3:12 pm on December 7th, 2011:

    weed is the shit!!!!!!!!

  4. 4 marijuana withdrawal said at 1:26 am on December 10th, 2011:

    The use of marijuana should not be legalize, but it can be used as a medicine to help medical conditions, to help people to take the pain of their health conditions.

  5. 5 Besides it being illegal... - Page 6 - Christian Forums said at 9:35 am on February 17th, 2012:

    […] go around to every Christian at church and judge them because they cant go a day without coffee? Drug War Myth #726,002: Marijuana Is More Addictive Than Caffeine And for the record many medical studies have shown caffeine to be more addictive than marijuana, […]

  6. 6 Rob said at 1:56 pm on June 5th, 2015:

    Marijuana is known as a “gateway drug” only because when cannabis was illegal across the nation, the only way you could get it was from a street dealer. This was the first drug most people would try and then the dealer would offer stronger drugs, hence making cannabis a “gateway”. In legal dispensaries, there is only one type of drug and it would be very difficult for the average person to find the harder drugs. Not impossible, but you have to know the right people. It’s time that we all realize that Alcohol is the destruction of a nation and it is legal. Cannabis is the healing of a nation and it is still demonized because basically people tend towards contempt prior to investigation.