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Cannabis Addiction: Effects, Symptoms & Treatment

Cannabis buds in a jar on a desk

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, cannabis is often described as a gateway drug and we regularly get asked the question “can you get addicted to weed?”, 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?

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis (also known as marijuana) is a naturally growing plant that when ingested or smoked acts as a relaxant, mood enhancer, appetite stimulant, and sometimes very mild hallucinogenic.

Users usually report feeling the effects are quite quickly from smoking and prefer marijuana as medicine to ease the pain and nausea of cancer, AIDS and other extremely serious health conditions.

However, like most psycho-interactive substances the effects of cannabis can differ from one person to the next, with some users feeling intensely anxious and paranoid.

Other Names For Cannabis

Known by hundreds of nicknames like spliff, ganja, weed, hash, skunk, and herb to name just a few, cannabis actually has a lot of myths surrounding it for a substance that is so widely known.

To get some straight facts about cannabis beyond this article you can get in touch today on 0800 234 3825 any time, day or night.

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 research 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.
  • As mentioned above, the growing popularity of CBD products and legalization of cannabis in some countries and states has led some to view it as beneficial.

Despite all of the above, cannabis does have addictive effects and can cause addictive behaviours and symptoms, including withdrawals when not smoking for a while.

There are plenty of research 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 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 is 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?

With cannabis, also commonly known as marijuana, in the national and world news so much lately you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t at least vaguely aware of what this drug is. Despite having some knowledge about cannabis, you might not know that an addiction to cannabis can be a serious problem. Have you or a family member got a problem with cannabis? Contact us today for some immediate help and advice.

Call Now – 0800 118 2892

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 it can experience some or all of the following marijuana addiction symptoms:

  • Loss of motivation or being completely satisfied 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 repercussions 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 dependence symptoms:

Symptoms of Being “High” or Under the Influence of Weed

  • Red/bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth/extreme thirst
  • Giggling/laughter/inability to take anything seriously
  • Increased appetite or craving for snacks, known colloquially as “the munchies”
  • Fatigue, lethargy and a desire to sleep, regardless of the time
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • 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

Health Impacts of Cannabis

The primary findings from a recent study from the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (UK) were that while there are some health risks associated with inhaling smoke of any kind, even frequent use of cannabis cannot be rightfully associated with major health problems for individual users or society as a whole.

Unlike almost any other recreational drug, the risk acute toxicity of cannabis is extremely low; studies have found an unusually large factor of separation (more than 10,000:1) between pharmacologically effective and lethal doses. In other words, it is nearly physically impossible to consume enough cannabis to die as a result of an overdose.

There have been some suggestions that there is a minor risk of bronchitis or lung cancer from smoking marijuana, but a study by the United States’ National Toxicology Program found “absolutely no evidence” to backup these claims. Extremely heavy and consistent use of cannabis will probably lead to dependence in some form, but its physically addictive potential is almost trivial compared to even tobacco and alcohol.

Call Now – 0800 118 2892

Cannabis Addiction Treatment

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:

  • Cannabis Detox – 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 withdrawals. This can be done at home or as an inpatient at rehab facilities depending on the severity of your addiction
  • Cannabis Rehab – 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

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, struggles, 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!

Think You Or A Friend Has A Problem With Cannabis?

It is becoming more widely accepted societal wisdom that the occasional use of cannabis is less dangerous than socially accepted drugs like alcohol and tobacco, but sale and possession remains a criminal offence in the UK and most countries.

Cannabis can be discovered in the urine through drug testing for as many as to 2-7 days after a few sessions, but up to 30 days after the last time for heavy users.

We understand that making the decision to commit to rehab can be difficult, you can schedule a tour at one of your local rehab centers to see the available facilities, resources and environment. This can help you with taking the first steps towards your rehabilitation.


  • Continuously taking drugs that are no longer needed for a health problem
  • Building up a tolerance against the drugs
  • Feel shaky, depressed, stomachaches, intense sweating, headaches and more intense symptoms when the drugs wear off
  • Even when drug addiction is hurting your loved ones, you still can’t stop
  • You spend time thinking about how to get drugs, when to take it, how good it feels.
  • Having a hard time giving yourself limitations to drug use
  • Losing interest in extracurricular or social activities that don’t involve drugs
  • Losing priority over personal & professional responsibilities
  • You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs
  • Having trouble to get along with loved ones and colleagues. They complain about your actions or how you’ve changed.
  • Sleeping and eating too much or too little
  • Drug addiction reflects on your physical appearance. Bloodshot eyes, bad breath, tremors, blood nose, or you may have gained or lost weight.
  • You have a new set of friends with whom you do drugs and go to different places to use the drugs.
  • Drug inpatient detox
  • Drug home detox
  • Drug rehab
  • Intervention
  • Counselling
  • Group Therapy
  • Rehab facilities

We have private rehab and detox clinics all across the UK to help you on your journey to recovery. Click here to find rehab centres & facilities near you.

For more information on how much drug addiction treatment costs, please click here.

The best way to get started is to give us a call at 0800 118 2892 for free advice and assessment. Let us help you or your loved one figure out the best treatment plan for your cannabis addiction so you can get started on your journey to recovery.

  • Keep track of the volume of your drug use to have a better understanding of the role of drug addiction in your life.
  • Consider the impact of your drug use to the things that matter most to you, such as your partner, your children, your career and your health.
  • Consider getting advice from a person you trust about your drug use.
  • Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to change for the better.
  • Analyse your attempts at recovery. What worked and what didn’t?
  • Set specific, measurable goals, such as time and limitations you’ve made to recover from drug addiction.
  • Consider to open up to your loved ones that you’re committing to recovery and seek for their support