What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a psychoactive drug, best known for its use as a recreational drug. It contains over 400 chemicals which alters the mood and perception of the user. One of these chemicals is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the active ingredient in illicit cannabis.
If you or someone you love is struggling with cannabis addiction, we can help!
Is Cannabis Addictive?
Cannabis is addictive and it is one of the most commonly abused illegal drugs in the United Kingdom.
Regular cannabis use can cause physical dependence and you can experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. This drug isn’t considered to be as addictive as other substances such as heroin, cocaine or alcohol, but it can still get people hooked easily.
Cannabis Can effect:
- Health: A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that chronic use of cannabis can lead to a number of health problems. The main health consequences are related to the respiratory, cardiovascular, and behavioural systems. Regular users can experience symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, depression, cognitive impairment and psychotic symptoms. These physical effects are known as Cannabis Use Disorder or simply “CUD”. People affected by this disorder will show continued use of cannabis despite the negative effects it causes to their physical health.
- Social Life: Cannabis can also effect your social life. It can be extremely hard to live with someone who is addicted to cannabis, especially if they are living within the same household as you. They could lose their job due to the effects of the drug, and this could affect your finances too. When it comes to your education, you could face issues with grades or even drop out of college because of cannabis use.
- Emotional Health: Smoking cannabis can have a big impact on your mood, and when you have a bad mood, you are more likely to experience problems with your relationships. The consumption of cannabis can cause anxiety and paranoia, which can make it difficult for people to socialize with their loved ones.
- School / Work Life: Due to its effects on public order, cannabis can affect your work life. Depending on the circumstances of your working environment, you could be fired or lose your job. You may also experience problems with getting a job or even with getting promoted, which could lead you to financial problems too.
- Financials: Cannabis can be a very expensive habit, and it can cause a lot of financial problems too. If you get caught with large amounts of cannabis, a large fine or prison sentence is possible.
Driving under the influence of Cannabis will result in a ban. Police in the UK can now test for Cannabis using roadside tests.
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What Causes Cannabis Addiction?
Addiction is a result of the dopamine and endorphins that the brain releases when we take drugs. The reason why we feel “high” and euphoric after taking drugs is because these chemicals create pleasure pathways within our brains.
The problem is that these pathways remain intact even after we stop taking drugs, so as a result, we experience cravings for the drug over and over again. Over time, if these cravings persist, you can become hooked on cannabis resulting in dependence.
How does Cannabis affect the overall body?
Cannabis affects almost all of the major systems of the body, and this can cause a wide range of unwanted symptoms. These symptoms will vary from one person to another and they can be triggered by certain factors.
You may experience:
- Crowded Vision: This is also known as tunnel vision and it can make your vision narrow and blurry. This symptom is brought on by the effects of cannabis on your visual system.
- Dry Mouth: Cannabis dries up the mucus in the mouth and this can lead to a dry cough and difficulty in breathing with cannabis use.
- Drowsiness: The same effect of dryness on the mouth can also cause you to feel very drowsy when under the influence of cannabis. Do not drive, especially after smoking marijuana while driving.
- Dry Eyes: Due to dryness in your mouth, you can experience dry eyes too.
- Paranoia or anxiety
Cannabis and Psychological Dependence
Cannabis addiction is often linked to psychological dependence. When you are psychologically dependent on any substance, you feel the need to have it over and over again, regardless of the consequences.
Over time, if you continue to use cannabis, your tolerance will increase and this will cause your dependence to grow. Cannabis withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other drugs; anxiety, irritability, depression and insomnia are common among people.
Cannabis & Mental Health
There is a big link between cannabis use, mental health and other smoked smoked substances such as tobacco. Cannabis smokers are more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression or anxiety than those who do not smoke it.
Cannabis use could also lead to certain physical conditions, such as lung cancer and bronchitis. The regular consumption of cannabis can cause irritability and anxiety, which could eventually cause you to stop taking it.
Different Forms of Cannabis:
There are several forms of cannabis, and it can be sold as a flower (bud) or as an extract (concentrated oil). It is important to know that even if you buy it legally, it’s still possible to have an overdose.
- Marijuana : It has been used for thousands of years for medical and religious purposes. However, the use of marijuana has become illegal in many states because it is considered to be a dangerous drug.
- Hashish : Hashish is a resinous solid preparation of the cannabis plant. Some people take hashish as a medicine to relieve pain or medical conditions, for example for rheumatism or migraine headaches. However, it can also be used as a recreational drug.
- Hash oil : Hash oil is a highly concentrated form of hashish. It is often called wax, honey oil or amber oil, which are the names of the cannabis resin that come from marijuana. Hash oil is extracted using butane or supercritical carbon dioxide.
- Concentrates : Concentrates include hash, marijuana and resin. Generally, there is a high level of THC in the concentrate and some people prefer to use this form of cannabis over smoking.
Sign & Symptoms of Cannabis Addiction:
The signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction can vary from one person to another. This is because people react very differently to the use of cannabis.
- Behavioural Symptoms: Cannabis shows an association with an increased risk of developing mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
- Physical Symptoms: It is also possible that you’ll develop strong physical symptoms if you use drugs. For example, some people experience severe cravings for the drug even after they have stopped taking them completely.
- Social Symptoms: These symptoms can cause you to feel very isolated when you are no longer using cannabis. It is also possible that you may show emotional, physical and neurological symptoms and mostly it is related to the effects of chronic use.
The Effects Associated with Cannabis Addiction
Cannabis can have a variety of effects on different people, depending on their individual characteristics. As a result, the effects will differ from one person to another.
- Short Term Health Effects:
- Anxiety: Anxiety is the most common recreational drug induced anxiety. It occurs when your brain is trying to stop you using drugs.
- Irritability: Irritability occurs when the chronic use of cannabis alters your mood. You can become irritable, angry, depressed and anxious after smoking marijuana.
- Dizziness: Cannabis lowers your ability to focus and increases your heart rate while it is in your body. This makes some people feel unsteady or even dizzy when they are under the influence of cannabis.
- Long Term Health Effects:
- Cancer: Marijuana smoke is bad for your lungs. When you smoke marijuana, you are also more likely to get cancer of the mouth, throat and lungs. Also, smoking marijuana causes damage to the lining of your mouth and throat. This can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat.
- Heart Disease: Marijuana use increases your risk of heart attack or stroke due to the increased pressure in the arteries while you are under the influence of cannabis.
- Health Effect During Pregnancy:
Cannabis is a risk to your baby during pregnancy, even if you have taken it for a short time. If you have used cannabis during the first trimester of pregnancy, your baby may have a lower birth weight, or a change in their birth weight. This can also affect the central nervous system of the baby.
- Health Effects on Youth:
If you are under the age of 25 and you use cannabis, you could damage your brain and learning skills. You can lower your IQ and memory and you’ll find it harder to learn.It is also possible that regular use of marijuana can affect your emotional health especially when it comes to self-esteem. Those who use cannabis regularly feel more tired and tend to have lower energy levels than people who do not use marijuana.
- Effect on Social Life:
Those who are affected by cannabis addiction will have a hard time quitting. Even if they try to give up drugs, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Once the substance has been taken away, it will be difficult for them to stop using it all together. This is because abusers of cannabis do not recognize the need to quit and relapse in the future often. Cannabis can build its own network of friends and family members who support it and make sure that the abuser stays in contact with this group.
- Physical Issues Associated With Cannabis:
Because cannabis affects your central nervous system, many people experience a range of physical signs and symptoms resulting from regular cannabis use. The most common of these include
- Cannabis Effect on Financial well-being:
Recreational drug use has a major effect on your financial well-being. You risk losing your job or even losing more money through gambling or spending it on more marijuana. It is also possible that you will experience legal problems because of your marijuana use. It can be more difficult for you to perform well at work if you do not have the ability to concentrate.
- Cannabis impairment and safety risk:
Your ability to drive a car or operate machinery may be affected by cannabis. It is also possible that you may develop paranoia and feel the need to stay away from other people because you think they are staring at you or talking about you behind your back.
- Health and safety risks of illegal cannabis:
If you are using cannabis illegally, it is difficult for medical professionals to treat you because they do not know how much marijuana is safe for you to take. It will be hard for you to accurately tell your medical care providers how often or how much you are taking cannabis.
Getting Help for Cannabis Addiction
There are many different treatment options available for cannabis addiction. Treatment with medication is the most common treatment option used for this addiction.
Treatment Options Available:
Inpatient Cannabis Rehab (Residential Drug Rehab)
Residential drug rehab is the most expensive and most intensive form of both inpatient and outpatient drug treatment. People who need our residential drug rehab services stay in a large, multi-bed facility for several weeks or months. The length of stay in this type of treatment depends on how long it takes patients to get clean and sober. Residential treatment centres are privately funded.
Outpatient Cannabis Rehab
Outpatient treatment is ideal for people who do not need to be located in a hospital setting during their stay. Outpatient treatment programs are available at various locations such as your home or at your workplace. Outpatient drug rehab programs require less time than traditional inpatient programs and focus on more of an outpatient atmosphere. This approach is recommended for those who do not have long-term substance abuse issues and plan to quit on their own.
NHS Cannabis Addiction Treatment
The NHS provides free outpatient services to help people combat cannabis addiction. These services are available in your local area. The NHS keeps a directory of local services, in most cases you do not need a referral by a GP. If cannabis is causing you mental health problems (feelings of paranoia or anxiety), it may be worth speaking to your GP.
Detoxing from cannabis without therapy is not the best way to part ways with your addiction. Instead, it is more helpful to talk about how you can avoid relapse after treatment.
Withdrawal symptoms tend to occur in younger age groups and younger people are at a higher risk for abusing cannabis and experiencing problems as a result of the drug. Cannabis may be smoked by individuals or ingested via food products such as brownies and cookies.
Detoxing from cannabis is typically safe at home, but if you have tried to quit cannabis before and failed, consider speaking to a therapist or going through rehab to help you deal with the underlining causing of your cannabis dependence.
Medications to reduce Cannabis cravings
Cannabis cravings may be reduced with the help of medications that alter your mood or relieve anxiety.
Some antidepressants can be used to reduce cannabis cravings by affecting the chemicals in your brain. Antidepressants work by increasing certain chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters), which are responsible for reducing anxiety, desire to use drugs, and cravings for drugs. As well as relieving withdrawal symptoms, these medications may also be used to prevent further relapses.
12 Step Recovery Programmes
Group therapy or 12 step programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous, are an excellent option for individuals trying to stop the use of cannabis. These programs are based on 12 steps that will help you to stop using drugs.
Therapies to Treat Cannabis Addiction:
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a form of counselling that combines individual and group therapy with a solution-focused approach to help individuals with their mental health problems. The goal of this type of treatment is to teach skills, such as distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a commonly used form of counselling that was developed to help people with their chemical dependency issues. In this type of therapy, you will work together with a counsellor on examining your thoughts and behaviours.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT encourages individuals to make a decision to change their behaviours and to take a step back from their addiction. The goal of this therapy is to make a change in the way you think and feel about your addiction.
Motivational Enhancement and Interviewing
Motivational enhancement involves using methods to increase motivation to change, which may include counselling or motivational interviewing.
Motivational interviewing is also in the form of counselling and helps you in your recovery by providing the guidance and support needed to overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Motivational interviewing is based on how people can learn to solve problems.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
IPT is a form of counselling that helps people to identify problems in their relationships. The goal of this type of treatment is to help individuals learn how to improve their relationships, teach them how to set healthy relationships, and develop healthy social networks.
Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF)
TSF is a form of therapy that focuses on the use and review of AA and NA methods of recovery. This type of therapy will encourage an individual to work on adopting new behaviors in their life.
Get Help with Cannabis Addiction today!
If you or someone you love is suffering from cannabis addiction and need assistance with treatment options, please contact us today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24/7 to discuss treatment options.