Cannabis Addiction

Cannabis addiction is perhaps the most prevalent form of drug addiction in existence in the United Kingdom today. Many people consume cannabis for social reasons. However, many people soon begin to take cannabis in isolation away from their friends. This is perhaps the most common sign that you may be suffering from an addiction to cannabis.

Unfortunately, successive Governments in the United Kingdom have chosen to shun investing tax payer’s money on campaigns aimed at tackling cannabis addiction. For this reason, there is limited information and resources available to those of you who may be affected by cannabis addiction.

Many people addicted to cannabis are in denial about the existence of their addiction. They may rationalise that they have control over their cannabis and that they can stop using cannabis as and when they see fit.  Denial is perhaps the most significant factor stopping these people seeking out treatment for cannabis addiction.

When you continue to take cannabis over an extended period of time, your body will build up a tolerance to its effects. This means you will need to consume ever increasing quantities of cannabis in order to experience the desired effects. This tolerance causes a dependency to cannabis because you must consume cannabis in order to function normally. Eventually, a full blow cannabis addiction will arise. This addiction brings with it many moderate-to-serious mental health issues, and seeking out professional cannabis addiction treatment is highly recommended.

But is cannabis really addictive?

The medical community has accepted for many decades that cannabis is highly addictive. Some believe cannabis is as addictive as other drugs such as heroin and alcohol. Whilst this may be true, an addiction to cannabis is purely psychological in nature, and no physical dependency to cannabis arises. This means you will not experience physical withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to kick your cannabis habit. However, you will experience a range of psychological withdrawal symptoms that may be equally difficult to overcome.

Examples psychological withdrawal symptoms that occur when cannabis is withdrawn include anxiety, depression, paranoia, mood swings and insomnia. These psychological symptoms will make it difficult for you to function ‘like a normal person’ and likely cause you to relapse. These effects may last for several months following your decision to stop consuming cannabis. If these withdrawal symptoms are not correctly addressed, you may begin to ‘self-medicate’ with stronger drugs in order to control these negative thoughts and feelings.

The rise of a cannabis addiction

Short term and infrequent cannabis use is rarely known to give rise to a full blow addiction to cannabis. However, if you are a frequent and long term cannabis user, the risks of developing an addiction to the drug are significant.

When an addiction to cannabis arises, giving up is rarely merely about ‘having enough willpower’.  This is due to the onset of psychological withdrawal symptoms that appear shortly after you stop using cannabis. These withdrawal symptoms include: insomnia, agitation, cravings for cannabis, insomnia, irritability, mood swings and depression. Resuming cannabis use will provide temporary relief from these symptoms, but these symptoms will re-appear when you once again begin to stop using cannabis.

What are the signs of cannabis addiction?

If you experience denial related to your cannabis addiction, it may be helpful to inform you of the signs that indicate you could be experiencing an addiction to cannabis. Understanding and recognising these symptoms will help to convince you that you do indeed suffer from an addiction to cannabis.

Typically signs indicating the existence of a cannabis addiction include:

  • Tolerance to cannabis
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when cannabis consumption suddenly ceases
  • You are unable to cut down on the amount of cannabis you consume
  • You lie to your loved ones about the extent of your cannabis addiction
  • You consume cannabis for effect and not for social reasons
  • You stop participating in hobbies or other interests so you can instead use this time to smoke cannabis
  • Your education or career has been negatively impacted due to your cannabis consumption
  • You must smoke cannabis in order to sleep
  • Cannabis use has caused or aggravates mental health issues you suffer from or you are beginning to suffer from

Why stop consuming cannabis?

If you have consumed cannabis for many years, you may reason that there is no point giving up this habit now. You may ignore adverse consequences linked to your cannabis addiction to prevent you from seeking out the necessary treatment required to arrest your cannabis addiction.

Below we outline a number of reasons to assist you in concluding that continuing to consume cannabis simply is not worth the risks:

  • Cannabis is expensive and eats up your earnings
  • Cannabis causes or aggravates a range of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and paranoia
  • Cannabis is illegal and thus consuming cannabis may get you into trouble with the law
  • Cannabis may cause serious mental health problems such as psychosis and schizophrenia

Undergoing an assisted cannabis withdrawal

To stop this frustrating cycle of withdrawal and relapse, you would be well advised to attend a cannabis rehab clinic. Here, you will have a psychiatric assessment. You will also be offered medications that aim to treat the above psychological withdrawal symptoms arising when your cannabis consumption suddenly ceases.

Whilst the ‘acute’ withdrawal stage requires around a week or two to complete, some symptoms will continue for up to 12-months following your decision to stop consuming cannabis. You will continue to attend aftercare sessions following the completion of your cannabis detox. These sessions help you fight the urge to relapse, particularly during the first 12-months into your recovery.