The psychoactive drug of cannabis, derived from the plant itself has divided opinions for years. Also known as marijuana, the drug is advocated for its holistic healing properties, assisting within therapeutic services for wellbeing and mental health.
However, also medically categorised as an addictive drug, cannabis is one of the most abused recreational substances in the UK, yet still carries a harmless image.
Such image may be down to its CBD properties, which is now found and sold legally through beauty products, wellness supplements and holistic therapies.
However, the THC chemical, causing psychoactive effects is the driver of many addictive responses, responsible for fuelling cannabis use disorder (CUD) rates.
Causing physical and psychological responses, cannabis can be dangerous, can be controlling and can be adopted and addictive if misused.
Understanding this is very important, as excessive usage is seen for its calming effects, overlooking its psychoactive traits.
In order to overcome a cannabis addiction, like any other illegal, illicit drug, treatment will be required to promote withdrawal, cognitive stabilisation and relapse prevention.
Here’s a closer look at the drug itself, along with necessary forms of rehabilitation to overcome the grasp of cannabis addiction.
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Cannabis As A Drug
Stemming from the cannabis plant, marijuana is an illegal substance, yet carries such a normalised image. Combining the chemicals of CBD and THC, cannabis is recognised as both healing and psychoactive, resulting in contradictory views.
While it may be used for holistic therapies, cannabis is a drug and is addictive, down to its chemical makeup and the traits that it induces for users.
Consumed in a number of different ways, from inhalation to baked goods and cannabis oil, research suggests that its toxicity and addictive rates are less than further illicit drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.
It also suggests how cannabis itself isn’t the catalyst for the development of addiction, as those who misuse drugs will have an organic susceptibility and vulnerability to addictive behaviours.
However, through the calming effects that cannabis offers, for those with vulnerabilities or emotional needs, it is addictive, resulting in a cannabis use disorder (CUD).
Cannabis Addiction – Physical & Psychological Effects
The presence of cannabis can impact both the body and brain. If dual impacts are encountered, this is where the greatest risk of a cannabis addiction will be, as the entirety of an individual relies on and craves the substance.
Physically, cannabis can take some time to cause a significant effect. However, once its relaxing and unwind traits have been experienced, a false sense of reward and fulfilment are expected.
This is down to the fact that cannabis produces dopamine, which is a happy chemical. Through cannabis abuse, the body will become flooded with dopamine, all down to the makeup of marijuana.
As effects can elevate mood, help with mental health symptoms and suppress pain, it’s easy to see how addictive and supportive cannabis can become to the body.
Psychologically, the increased levels of dopamine will also impact the brain, again adjusting outlooks and emotions.
However, uncontrollable levels of dopamine can be challenging to digest in the brain, is known to cause feelings of anxiety and irritability, and also induces short-lived benefits.
As the brain recognises this, for someone with cannabis addiction, the substance will be craved over and over again to block out mental health symptoms and to prolong the relaxing benefits.
Physical and psychological effects will not impact and ingrain all users. Those with a mild cannabis dependency will likely develop cravings, but long-term adaptations to the body and mind will be minimal.
Yet, for 11% of individuals who do abuse cannabis, developing a cannabis addiction is expected.
Signs & Symptoms Of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)
The signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction do reflect further physical side effects of substance use disorders. This is down to the impacts that addictive and toxic drugs have on the body and mind, displaying through common symptoms.
With this in mind, symptoms themselves will not highlight a cannabis addiction but will promote the recognition of change, caused by cannabis use disorder.
Keeping a close eye on your personal health and responses, or of those around you is key to determining a cannabis dependency.
Physically, cannabis can cause general symptoms which reflect a hangover, such as bloodshot eyes, nausea, headaches, sweating and binge eating.
Psychologically, as cannabis has a significant impact on the brain, withdrawal can showcase feelings of depression, anxiety, paranoia, irritability, insomnia and frustration.
Behaviours themselves can indicate whether cannabis and its consumption are being prioritised, by considering how users respond to responsibility and everyday life.
Missing work, isolating oneself, neglecting responsibilities, experiencing money worries yet purchasing cannabis, mood swings and a withdrawn personality are all noticeable changes linked to excessive cannabis abuse.
It is however important to take notice of the above changes as, while cannabis isn’t life-limiting on a short-term basis, it can materialise into aggravated habits, behaviours and consequences, which can be crippling for the long term.
Treating Cannabis Addiction
As a cannabis addiction can intensify and transition into further problems, sourcing treatment will be encouraged. It’s found that it can take the average cannabis user 6 attempts before accepting and completing addiction treatment.
However, prolonging the efforts of treatment can rapidly intensify your problems, which is why we’re here at Rehab Clinics group to promote residential rehab.
Here you can detox from cannabis, work on your mental health, source healthy coping strategies of relaxation, and look to secure relapse prevention planning as a skill.
Mindfulness, exercise, a healthy lifestyle, balance and holistic therapies are also found to benefit cannabis addiction recovery, which again can be obtained here.
While cannabis as a drug is viewed as less harmful, in comparison to other illicit substances, it can influence the vulnerabilities of addiction, making it a difficult drug to withdraw from.
Yet with professional support, the causation of cannabis addiction can be worked through to deter ongoing abuse.
Reach out to commit to your own take of residential rehab to withdraw from cannabis.