10 Legal Addictions Worse Than Cannabis

Of course, no one wants to feel controlled by any substance or addiction. Addictions affect huge numbers of Americans, whether it’s opioid addiction, alcohol, or even gambling. And we all know, despite some debate around the issue, that there are those who say marijuana users can develop dependence on the plant as well. But here are 10 perfectly legal addictions we think are more damaging than cannabis.

  1. Alcohol. This one is obvious. Alcohol’s adverse effects on your own health and everyone around you are well known and well documented. Sadly, we’ve probably all experienced someone close to us being consumed by an alcohol addiction.

  2. Cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.

  3. Caffeine. While rare, documented deaths from caffeine addiction do happen. But worse than that, The Mayo Clinic states that consuming more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. We love coffee, but we don’t love caffeine addiction.

  4. Porn. Nothing wrong with a good wank, but Cambridge Neuropsychiatrist Valerie Voon’s research demonstrates that the brains of habitual porn users show great similarity to the brains of alcoholics.

  5. Sugar. Scientists have found that sugar is addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin. Just like those hard-core drugs, getting off sugar leads to withdrawal and cravings, requiring an actual detox process to wean off.

  6. Smartphones. We all known someone who can’t put their phone down. According to a 2011 study published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, people aren't addicted to smartphones themselves as much as they are addicted to "checking habits" that develop with phone use -- including repeatedly (and very quickly) checking for news updates, emails, or social media connections.

  7. Fast food. Multiple studies in rats show that they can become physically addicted to junk food in the same way as they become addicted to drugs of abuse, and they suffer the same withdrawal symptoms when their junk food is taken away.

  8. Shopping. While many people enjoy shopping as a treat or as a recreational activity, compulsive shopping is a mental health disorder with rather severe consequences, especially when credit cards are involved.

  9. Video Game Addiction. Compulsive video gaming is a modern-day psychological disorder.

  10. Gambling. In the United States, the percentage of pathological gamblers was 0.6 percent, and the percentage of problem gamblers was 2.3 percent in 2008.


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