For those of you not aware, the medical profession’s version of an ambulance-chasing lawyer – Dr. Drew Pinsky – has a new show on HLN. The clip below is from one of the episodes, where Dr. Drew is speaking with another counselor from his VH1 show Celebrity Rehab.

They banter back and forth about how dangerous and addictive marijuana is, and Dr. Drew claims that marijuana “has a rather sever withdrawal syndrome.” We’d like to hear from our readers. Is there any truth in what Dr. Drew says, based on your experience? Leave a comment below.

Joe Klare

About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

39 Responses

  1. BubbleMaster

    dumbass! dr. drew is spreading lies that idiots buy. the problem is he has a big viewership and people support his show. boycott. obviously stoners probably aren’t watching it.

  2. mike graham

    clueless, don’t you think they have addictive personalities to begin with???
    how would you rate the medical use of cannabis to a patient with degenerative disc disease prescribed over 350 mg of oxycontin a day. one has resulted in thousands of deaths, the other has NEVER had an overdose in 5000 years, i’d love to chat.

    mike graham
    manteno, il

  3. Wes MacMillan

    Only withdrawal syndrome would be from fear of ignorant Goverment and brain washed citizens allowing criminal punishment for victimless crimes such as cannabis!!! A.K.A Marijuana.

  4. Dude

    well, i will say that he is not completely incorrect. from my own experience, cannabis does have some amount of “withdrawal symptoms”, but so does just about anything if you use it regularly. in my case the “withdrawal from cannabis” was less severe than that of caffeine. quitting an everyday coffee habit took me several weeks of trying, with many relapses, headaches, mood swings, etc. quitting a daily cannabis habit took me a few days of reducing use. i just felt a little bored and less happy for a couple days afterward (but less so than when quitting coffee), then i felt pretty much normal again. i didn’t feel like “i need my fix!”, it was more like “man, it sure was fun to get high, oh, well.” and the type of “addiction” from cannabis is more about the habit formed when using and less about a physical response to an absence of the drug. when i had my wisdom teeth out, i was given vicodin. when i stopped taking them i felt the “physical absence” in my system and my body’s craving for it. when i quit cannabis, it was more like my ‘mind’ missed the happiness and was bored, rather than feeling that physical “hook”. and the mental bored-ness is easier to fix than a physical craving, i just kept myself busy and i forgot about. and i’m only speaking of my own experience here, but i have never had much difficulty stopping cannabis use, but i did have way more difficulty stopping tobacco, with noticable cravings and withdrawal, headaches, mood swings, etc… i had a roommate once who became addicted to alcohol, if he didn’t drink he got the shakes and his addiction was accompanied by severe personality changes and a decreasing quality of health. many prescription drugs can be addictive and they advise you not to stop taking them without consulting your doctor, and you have to step down your dose properly to avoid serious side-effects and/or bodily/mental harm. i have never heard of anyone saying this about cannabis. another friend of mine smoked cannabis everyday for about 5 years. then he had a child and decided to quit, he just stopped one day and has not had any since, with no problems. i think it varies from person to person, and your mental will plays a big role in any physiological addiction, but of all the people i’ve known, cannabis was the LEAST addictive substance and least damaging to one’s life. some people that i’ve known have even used it (as a temporary replacement) to help themselves quit other addictive substances (which you can obtain legally) like alcohol, opiates (prescription pain-killers), and even cigarettes… even after smoking cannabis for 17 years (off and on), my last doctor visit said i was healthier than ever! and i still smoke!

  5. Rev. Guido DeLuxe

    i agree that drugs should not be available to people under a certain age (18 seems reasonable, but it’s up for debate), however once a person has reached that age, cannabis should be just as readily available to them as any other “legal” drug (like alcohol or tobacco).

    i am 50 years old, have used cannabis daily since i was 20, and i am happy to say that cannabis has not been any more addictive than coffee, and i have never suffered any negative effects when i have been unable to purchace cannabis for a month or more at a time.

  6. Deelon

    I sometimes screw up my appetite because of eating too much at random times instead of proper meal times. Other than that it’s easy as f**k to quit cannabis. I smoke everyday and find no problems in quitting for weeks at a time. There is just always that feeling in your mind like “ya that’d be nice and so would some sex.” I also feel that it makes me feel healthier in some way. Maybe I have an endocannabinoid deficiency? :D Maybe we all do?

  7. Dr. Zhang

    He’s a tool of the corporate media. He can’t say anything else and cash those big checks he gets for his opinions. He has as much authority on matters of cannabis as Sarah Palin has on matters of governance.

    The movement to legalize cannabis will happen from the grassroots up. The Feds, Wall Street (ie: Big Agra, Big Pharma, Big Oil, etc) and the national media will never concede to the will of the masses. The Feds will only drop cannabis from Schedule One when it is forced to by the states. We have come a long way since Nixon’s Folly but have a long, long way to go.

    Believe it or not, we may have to wait for the Baby Boomers to die off before we can achieve our goal. The irony of that is that they are also the Woodstock Generation. Go Fig.

  8. Raquel

    Don’t these retards have better things to do than monitor the amount of pot high schoolers smoke. Also it kinda seems like a form of entrapment to me

  9. John

    I wonder where Drew gets his info? Obviously not from a good source. I agree with most of the above comments. When it dries up and there’s nothing to buy, it takes just a few days to be totally past the withdrawal of getting high and no one is curled up on the floor shaking and puking. And it is more like Dude said. It’s the habit, not the drug, that takes a few days to get past.
    And if they were truly worried about cannabis getting into the hands of teens, they would be 100% behind legalizing and regulating it so teens would be carded when they tried to purchase. Problem solved.

  10. kaysha

    Marijuana is habitual, not physically addictive unless their have been additives. Much like the food you eat should be monitored for chemicals that have adverse reactions, medical marijuana is the same way. Those who claim to have had physical withdrawals from marijuana should consider where and how their mmj was grown. It’s entirely possible that if grown using pesticides and chemical fertilizers that the physical withdrawal comes from missing one of the chemicals used to grow the mmj.

    As a life long smoker, both recreational and medicinal, I have quit smoking for great lengths of time. I have never had any physical symptoms, though the habit may have been challenging to overcome. I liken it to giving up wine or sweets for Lent. You miss it, but you don’t physically need it.

    It’s a shame Dr Drew has taken the stance he has. As a public figure he needs to be more responsible and accountable for how he shines a light on things.

    Portugal is a great example of decriminalizing drugs. The rate of mmj use in teens dropped since they made it “legal.” Portugal attributes this to the very real “forbidden fruit” theory.

    The federal governments statistics state that 8 out of 10 states (the other 5 states have not had it legal long enough to study) in the USA have experienced a notable drop in the mj use of teens since those 10 states have made it legal. Teens being the “target market” for the anti-drug committees. MMJ decriminalzation has dropped the use in teens. Decriminalizing mmj has accomplished a goal that the last 40 years of “just say no” haven’t been able to accomplish.

    People need to shake out the old, government fed ideas about MMJ and actually research its wonderful healing properties. RESEARCH before you make up your mind.

  11. An Honest Injun's Opinion

    That’s not true at all. I have what is known as an “addictive” personality and have experienced withdraw from several substances, tobacco being one, prescription opiates being another. Stopping the use of Marijuana has never been as tough “mentally” on me as either of those and there have never been any PHYSICAL withdraw symptoms whatsoever. I have been in a pain management program now for approx 4 years, currently taking 300mg of Morphine and 60mg of Oxycodone daily.

    1. I’m ADDICTED to the opiate meds that are slowly KILLING ME –

    2. These opiates, while reducing the amount of pain I am constantly in, have destroyed the quality of my life –

    3. Using Marijuana in combination with the Opiates, allows me to take less opiate to obtain the same degree of relief –

    4. Marijuana is much much SAFER to use than the Opiates that the Dr.’s freely prescribe –

    5. Stopping the use of Marijuana is a cakewalk when compared to stopping use of Alcohol, Tobacco or Opiates –

    6. The BENEFITS of using Marijuana for pain management, overwhelmingly outweighs the risks of using it –

    7. If you disagree with me, than you obviously have NOT DONE YOUR HOMEWORK (research) –

    8. With all of the DOCUMENTED HEALING PROPERTIES & HEALTH BENEFITS, it’s clear that God did not put Marijuana on his green earth to make rope alone –

    9. Dr. Drew OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT KNOW what he is talking about with respect to Marijuana Addiction –

    10. Ask yourself, how much is BIG PHARMA paying Dr. Drew for his BIASED OPINION regarding Marijuana Addiction ???

  12. Brenda Pohl

    @ Dr. Zhang::::::
    I am a baby boomer. I have been smoking, toking, ingesting, vaporizing cannabis for over 40 years now. I have never experienced withdrawal symptoms. The cartels would be put out of business if Cannabis & Hemp were legalized. There are many many scientific studies proving the healing properties of Cannabis. Check out “Phoenix Tears” which cures cancer. Did you know that the U.S. government has known this for years??? We have been lied to over and over again despite the “evidence based on factual science”.
    You may want to check out the studies to inform yourself, because obviously you have it all backwards I’m sorry to say. PEACE
    LEGALIZE CANNABIS & HEMP! “WE. THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT” nor are we going away.

  13. Brenda Pohl

    Dr. Zhang, I made a mistake mentioning your name, it was a mistake and I truly apologize!
    Peace, liberty and Justice for all.

  14. josh cannabis sativa

    The one thing I feel I need to say most about this video is regarding one of the last things I heard. Dr. Drew, marijuana is not a gateway drug. I can tell you that in my life’s experience, in more cases than others, people start doing harder drugs because they can’t find any pot when they need it. That’s why I was stupid in my past and tried different things. It’s not because of a built-up tolerance level causing a lack of gratification from the pot being smoked. It’s because there’s no pot to smoke!

    I’d like to ask, Dr. Drew, have you ever been a user of cannabis? Have you seen any of the videos regarding its MANY benefits? Are you simply one who is against standing up for what is actually right because you’ve been brainwashed through your life’s experiences and people telling you what to believe?

    Just because marijuana is currently illegal in many places doesn’t mean it should be illegal, or that there is so much wrong with it. There’s a downside to everything, and by that, I mean that everything else has more of a downside than marijuana. I’d rather successfully treat my ailments by smoking a naturally growing plant than by taking some man-made chemical that has a possibility of doing so many horrible things to me, including stroke, heart attack, and death as the worst 3. Plus that chemical may not even help what was wrong in the first place.

    I really think this war against cannabis is absolutely ridiculous. FREE THE PLANT!

    Peace, love, and unity to all my advocate friends,
    josh cannabis sativa

  15. Courtney

    I want to slap them. Pot is not different. There is no way to change pot. And it is definetly not addictive. People are so dumb these days.

  16. Courtney

    Plus the only withdrawal is you pass out. I think they need to go smoke a joint and see what pot really does to them.

  17. greggo

    I think we should all take a look at the sponsors of this snake oil salesman, and I think we would find big pharma, in one form another, behind him. And he obviously isnot a guy to bite the hand that feeds him

  18. Joey

    Gateway…psh! One’s own mind is his gateway. In 30 years of life, aside from the occaisional trip (big up Tim Leary!!), the only “drug” i’ve ever touched is weed. For some reason, I guess I just never reached that plateau where the buds weren’t enough. It’s narrow-minded Nancy-Reaganist thinking like this that lands marijuana as a “schedule 1 dangerous substance” while meth, coke, and HEROINE are all listed as a LESS DANGEROUS schedule 2 substance…yeh, that one made me scratch my head, too. But then if heroine were a schedule 1 substance how would they justify the sale and distribution of oxycontin, which is essentially one chemical component away from being heroine? Oh wait, they’re Big Medicine…they don’t have to. Yet, every morning, if you were to sit outside the methodone clinic you would see people who were prescribed oxy by a physician going in the same door to receive the same daily dose as a heroine addict.. We need to wake up people..this is the age of information. We no longer live in the 50’s..and even THEN I’m sure marijuana was just as effective medically as it is today..yet Big Medicine would rather prescribe you a pill to solve the problem, then three more pills to curb the side effects caused by the first one..then more on top of that to “balance you out” until your internal organs start shutting down……THEN they got ya. Know what means, kids? MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY!!! Let’s not kid ourselves here..if there was money in the cure I’m sure we wouldn’t have so many issues with cancer or AIDS.. Now, as I light this next sour diesel bowl, my first hit is for Dr. Drew Pinsky and his obtuse, teleprompter-led, agenda-pushing, Nancy-Reaganist way of thinking..my next hit is for each and every one of you reading this..peace & love to you and yours.. Stay informed my friends…

  19. CaliJaq89

    A true psychologist would say: “Everything in moderation”…if one is really really sick and in a whole lot of pain, one hit of heroin won’t kill you.

    There are thousands of Cannabinoid receptors in our brains, so it’s no surprise that it is the best thing for us, any why it agrees most to our bodies than any other substance. Also, many psychologist use the terms “addiction”, and “tolerance” and “dependence” for the same thing, when in fact there are all completely different.

    Pot is not a gateway drug…Nicotine is. So everyone should just stop saying that pot leads the way heavier drugs.

    Yes, people can become dependent on marijuana, but we can also become dependent on other things necessary for the well-being of our species, like chocolate, food, water, shelter, sex, etc.

    People will not see that they are “addicted” to their chosen substance until they are aware that their usage has caused serious negative effects for themselves, or to others (i.e. imprisonment, theft, murder, etc.).

    They are letting people who have committed serious offenses like rape, and child molestation out of the prisons in order to make room for people who commit petty offenses, like smoking pot. I don’t know what’s more dangerous and studid, letting rapists and murders out into the world again, so they can inflict more pain on others, or the fact that people can be put in prison for smoking a plant that hasn’t caused a single death…ever…

    If you are at a party where there is “alcohol”, people can become rowdy, obnoxious, stupid, and can become incredibly hostile, abrasive, and aggressive.

    You get a bunch of stoners together and they’re hungry, and they want to watch a movie, or listen to music, contemplate about life, and sleep. Which is a safer alternative? People are not in rehab for pot, they are there for alcohol, Okycontin, Codeine, Valium, Percoset, Meth, Cocaine, and Opiates.

    Hell, even George Washington, one of our founding fathers grew hemp, and he even documented when he separated the female plants from the male plants (i.e. fertalization stage). Even HE was aware of the benefits of pot. Our Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. Its is incredibly hypocritical for a country, which should be accepting of all people, regardless of SES, Sexual orientation, mental abilities, etc., when in fact it harms more people than actually doing good.

    They should just let us run this country….it’s not like they’re getting anything done in washington…If shit got done, we’d be rolling in the benjamins, not spending it all on war, oil, and shitty pharmaceuticals…

  20. David Swanson

    I was a regular user of marijuana for 6 years. That’s using from morning till night. Waking till sleeping. I don’t know what anyone else considers to be ” severe withdrawal symptoms “, but I had night sweats and nightmares for about 3 months, severe irritability, and depression for a little more than 3 months. Severe enough for me.

  21. HappyGoLucky

    I have used pot daily for 16 years, with a few breaks here and there, the longest being 2 years. I don’t have severe withdrawals, however, I have withdrawals and it is not fun. I am currently stopping my pot use cold turkey and relapsed (ha-ha) last week. The thing, for me, is that I don’t want…can’t…just smoke a little and be happy, I have to smoke all day, every day until I have no pot left…ugh, talk about no self-control. Or even if I do not smoke all day for whatever reason, my mind is craving it until I get it. I spend a ton of money on it and it does affect the people, I feel, I allow to know of my pot use; I have many friends, but the ones that don’t smoke, don’t know that I smoke.

    My withdrawals: HIGH-levels of irritability accompanied with temper tantrums, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, feel at a loss for what to do with my time (ha-ha). It’s nothing that I can’t overcome, but it takes about a week to start feeling “normal”. **Not to mention, for me, without pot I am skin and bones. It’s nice to be thin, but DA*N do I have to get so thin?!

    **sorry to all the chubbies that get upset when someone complains about being too thin, but hey we thinnies have body concerns too; it’s not our fault we can’t gain weight and you can’t lose it!!!

  22. Liz

    I think there is some truth to what Dr. Drew is saying. I am psychologically addicted to weed. Instead of dealing with my negative emotions and feelings I numb them with weed.

  23. Boomer

    I agree with Liz, David Swanson & Happy Go Lucky. If you smoke pot a lot as in several times every day & especially very strong pot, once you stop; you get major withdrawals. It’s been 1 1/2 months now since I stopped & I’m still going thru withdrawals being extreme anxiety, night sweats & mood swings. I even became depressed while using & lost my appetite while using pot to the point that I would only eat at night when I had the shakes from not eating all day. What food I could eat at the end of the day was limited to carbs. I think about pot almost daily, but know if I pick up one joint, I’m back at the crazy amount I was using before. I was going thru 3/4 oz to an oz of kush every week. I’m a boomer & I remember what pot was like when I was a teen compared to now. Withdrawal sucks, but smoking like I did sucked my life away & finances & that’s what I remind myself every time I think of going back.

  24. Dave

    There’s always gotta be some loser like Boomer to give their little ‘testimonials’ of their experiences of ‘weed withdrawl’. Thanks for f**king us all over with your bullsh*t Boomer, get well soon. I guess if you ‘relapse’ maybe we’ll see each other in jail since your exaggerated emotional b.s. is the kind of stuff that keeps this drug war going.

  25. yours truely

    I mean do you dumb fucks hear yourself? I do it cus it gets me away from problems. I do it because I can escape. I do it cus it makes me feel good. Those are addictive feelings. If you have to turn to a drug to feel good you need some help.

  26. Kevin Delappe

    Marijuana addict of 5 years and I am 22 years old, I am fed up with you guys defending something you’re a slave to. Marijuana users are starting to disgust me the way they defend it to their death as a harmless herb. Even more sadly then their inability to admit their addiction, they more than often use comparison of other drugs as a way to differ the attention away from the problems caused by marijuana. Of course it helps with people dying or extreme pain. Thats an exception.. But once you are dependent on marijuana to get through your day, you are addicted. Admit and and get help. Ive been trying to quit for years and still in the process. Quit lying to yourself and others publicly, giving kids the wrong idea of what they are getting into.

    • Old Hippie

      You sound like you’re addicted to drama, or maybe you’re a paid shill for a rehab clinic. There’s no physical addiction to marijuana, at least nothing as bad as the physical addiction to coffee. If you really can’t get through your day without smoking pot, and there’s nothing else physical or mental wrong with you, then you’re missing something…there is something wrong with you. But it’s not “marijuana addiction”. Go see a doctor and find out.

  27. bobb

    i agree that drugs should not be available to people under a certain age (18 seems reasonable, but it’s up for debate), however once a person has reached that age, cannabis should be just as readily available to them as any other “legal” drug (like alcohol or tobacco).

    i am 50 years old, have used cannabis daily since i was 20, and i am happy to say that cannabis has not been any more addictive than coffee, and i have never suffered any negative effects when i have been unable to purchace cannabis for a month or more at a time.

  28. Jade

    yes! I get so sick every time I stop….and this is simply for a few days because I can’t handle it. My body shakes inside. massive headache, diarrhea, upset stomach and sometimes vomiting. I have always told people about my addiction only to be laughed at. Today it isn’t funny for me. I am in my physical state less than useless and mentally unstable. I am having trouble sleeping, eating, and functioning as a whole. This is real and I can attest to what Dr. Drew says in that episode. I suggest anyone in my position work thru it. You can do it! I can do it as long as the will is there. Now I’ve said my peace I am going to go to bed so I can forget about how I feel for today. Now we will see how long I’m able to sleep.

  29. Don

    Yes. After becoming a daily smoker, when I’d quit I’d experience/recognize a recurring set of symptoms, many of which are anxiety-based. Initially it would be tension headaches, insomnia, irritability. After a decade, it’s gotten to where I can’t stop cold turkey and function at work without some pepto, dramamine, benadryl, no caffeine, because I’ll be nervous, sweaty, shaky, and have intense mood swings and angry/paranoid thinking that can be difficult to mask. In addition to fatigue, aching muscles, headaches, insomnia, IBS .Definitely a touch of bipolar and psychotic rage going on. Before I knew what was going on I’d also have panic attacks. Having also experienced moderate poppy tea withdrawal, I can say they’re similar though pot withdrawal is much more manageable.

  30. Paula

    I am married to a pot addict. He binges on marijuana from the time he wakes up and cannot fall asleep until he is stoned. He sometimes wakes in the middle of the night to get high. He hasn’t worked in years. He binges for a year, then quits cold turkey, says it messes up his mind. When he quits, it is exactly how Don below explains. He calls me a whore, pulls all the money out of the bank account, you can’t have a conversation with him, he talks to me like I’m an idiot and turns all discussions into an argument, we split up, cops, children’s aid, and lawyers. He becomes cold and withdrawn, no love, his eyes are a dark hole, no soul, like staring at the devil himself. His mind clears up after a few months, our relationship continues, then it happens all over again. We have been married 21 years. The longest he has been clean is 7 months. I wish he would always be high, that seems to be the only personality of his that I can get along with. Not even his friends can stand him when he quits. I should have listened to my mother!

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