Cannabis addiction has become a common discussion topic in the UK in recent years, not in the least due to the growing popularity of CBD oil, combined with the increasing legality of the drug in many places such as the United States and Canada.
In fact, “Can you get addicted to weed?” is something we get asked worryingly often.
But just because a drug is being legalised in some places and becoming more popular for both medical and recreational reasons, doesn’t mean it’s harmless or that you can’t suffer from a life-changing addiction.
In recent years it has become a common viewpoint that cannabis isn’t as addictive as other illegal drugs and can be enjoyed on occasion without causing real issues, but is this actually true?
Let’s start with the basics:
Can You Be Addicted to Weed?
It’s become a fairly common view that you can’t get addicted to marijuana, especially among smokers themselves.
This has occurred for many reasons, for example:
- Some early experiments into the threat posed by cannabis were carried out in illegitimate manners. This includes an infamous 1976 study into the effects of cannabis on monkeys which led to brain damage in some of the subjects. It was later found that the brain damage was caused by asphyxiation due to the monkeys intaking cannabis smoke via airtight masks with limited access to oxygen, invalidating the study. Some people have taken this to mean that all studies into cannabis are invalid, which is of course not true.
- People who are addicted to weed can often use facts like the above as a form of denial, refusing to believe that they are putting themselves at risk of harm or addiction.
- As mentioned above, growing popularity of CBD products and legalization of cannabis in some countries and states has led some to view the drug as beneificial
There are plenty of studies that confirm this fact, so anybody who begins smoking with the belief that they won’t get addicted, is putting themselves at risk. While the chances of getting addicted to weed are much lower than they are with drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, or even alcohol, they are still undeniably present and should be treated with respect.
Perhaps even worse, is the fact that many who suffer from cannabis addiction in the UK also mix their cannabis with tobacco. This is an incredibly dangerous thing to do as the addictive qualities of both drugs are essentially combined – which means your brain learns to associate these things as one experience.
The end result is that tobacco withdrawal and cannabis withdrawal can affect you separately at different times, both making you crave a “spliff”. Your brain doesn’t know whether it’s craving nicotine or cannabis, it just knows it wants to smoke.
People in this situation often find that continuing to mix tobacco and cannabis is the only way to satisfy their cravings, and that neither do much for them when used individually
This is even further exacerbated by the fact that cannabis and tobacco mixes are usually smoked without a filter. Most studies into the risks of smoking tobacco come from cigarettes with filters, so it is safe to assume the risk of things like lung cancer are much higher when a filter isn’t present.
So now that we know without a doubt that cannabis is an addictive substance and can be harmful, what exactly does cannabis addiction look like?
Let’s take a look:
Cannabis Addiction Symptoms
There are a few different ways regular cannabis use can affect somebody, so we will break this up into a few smaller sections, but first are the long term effects of cannabis dependency:
Behavioural Symptoms of Cannabis Addiction
Long term cannabis smokers who are dependent on the drug can experience some or all of the following marijuana addiction symptoms:
- Loss of motivation or being completely satisifed when doing/achieving nothing. This often appears to simply be a decrease in stress or increase in life satisfaction when cannabis is first used, potentially being seen as a positive side effect, but over time it will develop further until the cannabis user appears to care about nothing.
- Losing interest in previous hobbies, interests, jobs or even relationships. This can be related to the above symptom, simply due to prioritising cannabis, or a combination of the two.
- Using cannabis even when it’s an obviously bad idea, such as before driving or using heavy machinery
- Claiming to want to stop using cannabis but being unable to do so
- Financial issues/spending majority of expendable income on cannabis
- Lying, secrecy, or denying how regular their smoking habit is
- Excessive snacking or dramatically increased appetite
- Possessing smoking paraphernalia such as lighters, rolling papers, bongs, pipes etc
- Continuing to smoke cannabis even after negative repurcussions result
- Declining interest, performance or attendance at school in the case of younger smokers
- Lack of attention to basic routines such as washing the dishes or personal hygiene
- Associating with other smokers/losing touch with previous friendship groups
While the above are common long term symptoms experienced by those addicted to cannabis, the following are more short term symptoms that can manifest immediately on smoking cannabis.
This can be the case even if it is the first time and the person in question isn’t yet experiencing the above-listed cannabis dependency symptoms:
Symptoms of Being “High” or Under the Influence of Weed
- Red/bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth/extreme thirst
- Giggling/laughter/inability to take anything serious
- Increased appetite or craving for snacks, known colloquially as “the munchies”
- Fatique, lethargy and a desire to sleep, regardless of the time
- Loss of balance and co-ordination
- Loss of concentration/inability to focus
- Delayed responses to conversation/preferring to think internally than talk to others
- Loss of ability to keep track of time
Cannabis Addiction Treatment UK
For those suffering from all of the above, it can be very difficult to admit you have a problem and find help.
If you do find the strength to contact professionals regarding cannabis addiction help, the most common treatments involve:
- Detoxification – This stage involves not using cannabis for 5-7 days to rid your body of the substance. In some cases this will be accompanied by an alternative medication meant to replace cannabis, or medications to help control withdrawal symptoms. This can be done at home or as an inpatient at rehab facilities depending on the severity of your addiction
- Rehabilitation – Once detoxification is complete and withdrawal has passed, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), support groups, holistic treatments, medications, and even friendly informal talks on your hopes for the future and reasons for quitting are required to prevent relapse and keep you on the right path.
- Aftercare/Support – Once you have successfully overcome your addiction and got your life back on track, regular contact with GPs, nurses or other experts is required to help prevent relapse and remind you how much you have achieved.
Rehab for Cannabis Addiction UK/Cannabis Rehab Clinics
As the leading source of cannabis addiction treatment and rehabilitation in the UK, we provide all of the above and more.
If you’re sick of being addicted to weed and would like to discuss getting help, why not call us now on 0800 118 2892?
It is common to think “I’m addicted to weed, I can’t call somebody for help in case I’m arrested” but not only is this not going to happen, but failing to speak to a professional could turn a temporary problem into a lifelong addiction.
Our friendly, expert staff are waiting to hear from and are 100% non-judgemental. In fact, some of them were addicted to weed and needed help in the past themselves!
We will be happy to discuss your issues, strugglies, history with cannabis, and hopes for the future.
We can provide:
- Free, no-obligation advice on NHS treatments in your area, our own facilities, and other private options
- Free tours of our rehab facilities to see how well they suit you
- GP consultations to see exactly what you need to recover
- Personalised recovery plans based on your own goals and difficulties
- A full, professional detoxification treatment, either in the safety of your own home or in one of our facilities
- Access to GPs, nurses, therapists and other specialists
- Support groups and networks
- CBT and other Therapeutic treatments
- Holistic treatments such as acupuncture, yoga and more, to help manage stress
- Medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms and make quitting cannabis as easy as it can be
With all of the above, in our leading UK rehabilitation facilities, you’ll have the best chance possible to regain control of your life!