Cannabis Addiction & Abuse

Laura Smart - Author for Rehab Clinics Group

Laura Smart - Last Updated: June 14, 2024 | All Sources

Last reviewed: September 26, 2022 by Dr Alexander Lapa. All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

About This Page

Due to the varied physical and psychological responses, cannabis can be dangerous. Understanding this is very important, as excessive usage is seen for its calming effects, overlooking its psychoactive traits.

We treat Cannabis Addiction at Rehab Clinics Group. We are dedicated to giving you the best advice and care if you are considering private drug and alcohol rehab.

Cannabis Addiction

A cannabis addiction can be seen as a lack of control or a weakness, but very often, addictions are caused by high stress, trauma or mental health issues.

The psychoactive drug of cannabis, derived from the plant itself, has divided opinions for years. Also known as marijuana, the drug is advocated for as it has medical properties that aid those with specific health conditions.[1]

Medically categorised as an addictive drug, cannabis is one of the most abused recreational substances in the UK, yet it carries a harmless image. Such image may be due to its Cannabidiol (CBD) properties, which are now legally found and sold through beauty products, wellness supplements, and holistic therapies.

However, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) causes psychoactive effects and is the driver of many addictive responses, responsible for fuelling cannabis use disorder (CUD).

Here’s a closer look at the drug itself, along with necessary forms of rehabilitation to overcome the grasp of cannabis addiction.



Are you suffering from Cannabis Addiction and need help? If so, Rehab Clinics Group are a leading UK based experts in cannabis rehabilitation treatment. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with our friendly team today. You can either call our confidential helpline on 0800 470 0382 or request a callback by clicking on the below form.

Contact Us

Cannabis The Drug

Stemming from the cannabis plant, marijuana is an illegal substance, yet its use is a normalised image. Combining the chemicals of CBD and THC, cannabis is recognised as healing and psychoactive, resulting in contradictory views.

Cannabis As A DrugWhile 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 in users.

Consumed in several ways, from inhalation to baked goods and cannabis oil, research suggests that its toxicity and addictive rates are less than 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.

To overcome a cannabis addiction, like any other illegal, illicit drug, treatment will be required to promote withdrawal, cognitive stabilisation, and relapse prevention.

However, the calming effects that cannabis offers for those with vulnerabilities or emotional needs are addictive, resulting in 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 unwinding traits have been experienced, a false sense of reward and fulfilment is 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 dopamine levels will also impact the brain, adjusting outlooks and emotions. However, uncontrollable levels of dopamine can be challenging to digest in the brain, are 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 repeatedly to block out mental health symptoms and prolong the relaxing benefits. Physical and psychological effects will not impact and ingrain all users. Those with mild cannabis dependency will likely develop cravings, but long-term adaptations to the body and mind will be minimal.

Cannabis Effects

Yet, people who use cannabis have about a 10% likelihood of becoming addicted. [3]


Signs & Symptoms Of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)

Signs & Symptoms Of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)

The signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction reflect further physical side effects of substance use disorders. This is down to addictive and toxic drugs’ impacts on the body and mind, displayed 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 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 significantly impacts the brain, withdrawal can look like mood changes, irritability, sleep difficulties, including insomnia, increased feelings of depression, and stomach problems.[4]

Behaviours indicate whether cannabis and its consumption are 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.


As we’ve highlighted, symptoms can reflect alternative issues; it is wise to seek a medical diagnosis to gauge whether an addiction is present.

It is important to notice the above changes as, while cannabis isn’t life-limiting on a short-term basis, it can materialise into aggravated habits, behaviours and consequences, crippling in the long term.


Treating Cannabis Addiction

As a cannabis addiction can intensify and transition into further problems, sourcing treatment is encouraged as new entrants with cannabis problems increased again [in 2020] by 5%.[5] However, prolonging treatment efforts 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 for 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 can be obtained here.

While cannabis as a drug is viewed as less harmful than other illicit substances, it can influence the vulnerabilities of addiction, making it a difficult drug to withdraw from. 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.


Dr Alexander Lapa - Psychiatrist & Clinical Reviewer for Rehab Clinics Group

Dr Alexander Lapa - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: September 26, 2022

MBBS, PG Dip Clin Ed, OA Dip CBT, OA Dip Psychology, SCOPE Certified

Dr Lapa graduated in Medicine in 2000 and since this time has accrued much experience working in the widest range of psychiatric settings with differing illness presentations and backgrounds in inpatient, community and secure settings. This has been aligned to continuation of professional development at postgraduate level in clinical research which has been very closely related to the everyday clinical practice conducted by this practitioner as a NHS and Private Psychiatrist.
He is fully indemnified by the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) and MIAB Expert Insurance for Psychiatric and Private Medical practice. He is fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK with a licence to practice.

Dr Lapa is approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act (1983)

Member of Independent Doctors Federation (IDF), British Association for Psychopharmacology (BMA) and The Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO)

Dr Lapa’s extensive experience has also concentrated on the following areas of clinical practice:
– Assessment, Diagnosis and Pharmacological Treatment for Adults with ADHD.
– Drug and Alcohol Dependency and maintaining abstinence and continued recovery
– Intravenous and Intramuscular Vitamin and Mineral Infusion Therapy
– Dietary and Weight Management and thorough care from assessment to treatment to end goals and maintenance
– Aesthetic Practice and Procedures