Cannabis Addiction & Treatment

Cannabis Addiction

A Guide To Cannabis, Cannabis Addiction and Treatment

Cannabis leaves and a joint

Step by Step Recovery specialise in treating Cannabis Addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Cannabis use and finding it difficult to stop, we can help!

According to the Home Office Crime Survey for England and Wales 2017/2018, Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK, with 7.2% of adults aged 16 to 59 having used it in the last year. This equates to around 2.4 million people in England and Wales alone. This is an increase of 0.7% on the previous years statistics.

Cannabis is very popular with the younger generation in particular and in 2017 around 975,000 individuals aged 16 to 24 used cannabis during that year.

Cannabis addiction is quite common but is rarely taken seriously. As a Class B drug that also has medicinal purposes, cannabis is often perceived as harmless. This general perception is not based on the full picture of the pros and cons of cannabis and is very short sighted.

Step by Step Recovery take all addictions seriously. Whether it is a Class A drug, Class B drug, alcohol or prescription drugs. Addiction is a life threatening illness, regardless of the form it presents in. More often than not, professional addiction treatment is required in order to attain a full recovery.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a drug that comes in various forms and strengths. All forms of cannabis are derived from the cannabis plant.

The main psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short. Depending on the type of Cannabis used and the source, THC content can vary greatly.

Cannabis can be smoked, eaten or vaped. It is mostly used as a recreational drug or medicinal drug but the forms with higher THC content can be particularly addictive and are prone to being abused.

Cannabis is legal is some countries but is currently illegal for recreational use in the UK. Classified as a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it is illegal to possess, sell or give away.

It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis as the drug can delay your actions and affect your ability to make rational decisions. Drug driving carries the same penalties as drink driving in the UK.

Video: How Cannabis (Marijuana) Affects Your Brain

Medical Cannabis

As of the 1st November 2018, medical cannabis based products in pill, liquid or oil form can be prescribed by medical consultants where they feel their patients would benefit.

Medical marijuana can be prescribed for:

  • Children with rare and severe forms of epilepsy
  • Adults suffering from chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting
  • Adults with muscle stiffness caused by multiple sclerosis

Types of Cannabis

Puff, Skunk, Weed, Marijuana, Joint, Blunt, Hash, Solid, Grass, CBD, Solid, Dab

There are many different types and names for different derivatives of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis can be extracted from various parts of the plant and can range in THC strength.

The appearance of different derivatives of cannabis include a soft black resin, hard brown lumps, sticky dark oil, dried grass, furry green leaves and lumpy green mass.

The main types used are:

Hash/Hashish

Derived from the resin of the cannabis plant, hash is brown/black in appearance and solid. It can be hard or soft and is usually smoked, crumbled and added to tobacco in a joint.

Weed

Weed is the dried out leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. It has the appearance of dried herbs and is usually added to tobacco and smoked.

Skunk

Skunk is a particularly strong strain of cannabis and has a high THC content. A small amount can produce powerful psychoactive effects and it is well known for triggering mental health episodes and illnesses.

Its appearance varies but is often a bright, pale or dark green colour and is usually added to tobacco and smoked.

Cannabis oil

Cannabis oil is a dark sticky liquid and is usually used for medicinal purposes and added to creams and potions. It is not usually used recreationally and can be very concentrated in its THC content

Dab/Shatter

This form is extracted from the cannabis plant using butane. Dab or shatter comes in solid form and is highly concentrated. They are most commonly used in e-liquids and vaped

How Does Cannabis Make You Feel?

How cannabis makes you feel can vary from person to person. Some will feel happy, relaxed and giggly. Others will feel nauseous, paranoid and scared.

When the THC content is medium or high in strength, the effects can be likened to an Acid or LSD trip.

Cannabis is well known for stimulating the appetite and causing the onset of “munchies”. Most people will feel very hungry after ingesting or inhaling cannabis.

Cannabis and Mental Health

Cannabis is not known for being physically dangerous but it can and does often cause mental health problems, especially in heavy users of the stronger cannabis varieties.

Teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to developing cannabis related mental health problems. This is due to the fact that their brain is still developing and therefore very susceptible to chemical changes.

Whilst most cannabis induced mental health problems can be resolved by stopping the drug, this is sadly not the case for everyone. Some will continue to battle with mental health illness and require ongoing medication and support.

Risks of Cannabis Use

Cannabis can cause a serious relapse in those that already suffer from sporadic mental health illness, it can also cause the onset of psychosis and schizophrenia. The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis THC can can lead to hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, depression, demotivation, memory problems and cognitive impairment. There’s a great article on cannabis, suicidal thoughts, psychological distress and how it can affect women more than men.

If there is a history of mental health problems in you, your family or you are using cannabis and under the age of 25, your risks of developing a life changing mental health illness are vastly increased.

Signs of Cannabis Addiction

An individual that is using cannabis is likely to smell of the drug. Cannabis has a very distinct smell that clings to hair, clothes and soft furnishings.

Someone who is intoxicated may well appear “stoned”. This is reference to being spaced out and high on the effects of the cannabis.

A cannabis user is also likely to have slowed reactions, delayed speech, may laugh inappropriately, be giggly and have bloodshot eyes. Some users become paranoid and aggressive under the influence and suffer from cannabis’s negative effects. Mood swings are common in an individual who uses the drug frequently.

A cannabis addict will use the drug despite negative consequences, as they become unable to exert any will power or control around moderating their use. They are likely to be demotivated, anxious, paranoid lethargic and depressed, perhaps even suicidal. They may become irrational, unpredictable, aggressive and even violent. When these cannabis addiction signs are showing it is important that they access appropriate addiction and dual diagnosis help without delay.

How to Help a Family Member With Cannabis Addiction

If you have found cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia in a family members possession, it is a pretty sure sign that they are using the drug themselves. We suggest that you educate yourself as to the effects of the drug and that you encourage and support your loved one in seeking help for their problem.

Left untreated, cannabis addiction can cause irreversible mental health problems and the individual may reach a point where they decide they cannot carry on.

It is vital that you do not ignore the signs of cannabis addiction and speak to your family member about accessing professional evidence based addiction treatment.

Cannabis Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from cannabis can include anxiety, agitation, restlessness, mood swings, depression and insomnia. These symptoms usually pass within a few weeks. The time frame for cannabis detox does vary depending on the length of time the drug has been used and its strength.

There is no detox medication that is specifically licensed for cannabis withdrawal. Some private rehabs will provide a short course of medication to assist the patient in feeling more comfortable so that they can concentrate on their rehabilitation.

Cannabis Addiction Treatment Options

When it comes to accessing cannabis treatment on the NHS, sadly there are few options. This is because by many cannabis is still considered a non addictive and less dangerous drug.

Step by Step Recovery understand that cannabis addiction is very real problem for those that suffer from it. We offer private addiction treatment for cannabis addiction at our Lighthouse Rehab in Essex.

For those that cannot afford private rehab, please contact your local drug and alcohol services and Marijuana Anonymous UK  for community based support.

Cannabis Rehab

If you or a loved one need private cannabis rehab, please call us directly for more information. We provide a professional medical detox and bespoke treatment programme for those in need of help for a cannabis addiction.

Step by Step Recovery also specialise in the treatment of dual diagnosis treatment and have our own rehab psychiatrist and highly skilled counsellors and therapists.

Call us on 0800 170 1222 or complete our online form to find out how we can help.

Sources and Resources

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