Cannabis (weed, skunk, pot, hash or grass) is the most widely used illicit drug in the UK, with around 30% of all 16-59-year-olds reporting having used the drug in their life.
Despite its prevalence in society and certain myths enduring about its safety, cannabis can be a dangerous and destructive substance, linked to numerous physical and mental health problems.
Get help with drug addiction now. Call 0808 1150 446.
Cannabis addiction overview
Also known as marijuana, ‘grass’ and ‘weed’, cannabis is an illegal drug made up of a combination of dried leaves, flowers and stems from the cannabis Sativa plant.
Cannabis can either be smoked, ingested or brewed in tea.
The most popular illegal drug in the UK, cannabis affects the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation, mild euphoria and increased appetite.
Certain mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and schizophrenia make a person more likely to become addicted to cannabis.
Is weed even addictive?
There is a commonly-held notion that cannabis is not an addictive or habit-forming substance. Many casual users are confident that, unlike ‘harder’ drugs such as cocaine or heroin, cannabis is not a substance that will lead to chemical dependence issues.
While it isn’t addictive in the same way as opiates such as fentanyl or heroin have, it can cause significant dependency issues.
Especially as those who use it, smoke it to escape reality, calm anxiety and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Cannabis users self-describe what they perceive to be the positive effects of the drug, often unaware of the damage it is concurrently doing to their bodies and minds.
If you’re concerned about someone smoking cannabis – chat with us right now, we can advise on what to do next.
How to spot marijuana abuse
If you are concerned about a friend or loved one who uses cannabis and are concerned that they may have an unhealthy or dangerous relationship with the drug then there are several tell-tale signs to look out for:
- Using alone without other people knowing
- Hiding your usage / lying about usage
- Memory loss
- Using it to shut out negative thoughts
- Trying to numb any pain – physical or psychological
- Losing interest in activities that were previously important
- Lack of confidence
- Symptoms alike to depression
- Declining performance at school or work or increasing unexplained absence
- Using cannabis (in any amount) in dangerous situations (ie. before driving)
- The onset of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and paranoia
Over 10,000 patients have passed through our rehab centre’s doors since 1988, and the majority have gone on to achieve, long-term abstinent recovery from their addictions – Castle Craig.
Treatment: Cannabis rehab
- Treatment programmes that last from 28-90 days
- 1-week detoxes
- Identifies any co-occurring mental health conditions
- Outpatient sessions
- Inpatient “life-changing” programmes
What can be done now?
The best and often the first place to start is with a free addiction assessment, which will consist of a half-hour phone call conversation designed to find you the best and most appropriate help.
As drug-dependent individuals, we crave drugs because they fill a hole, they allow us to escape.
How can we expect to be free from addiction when we have not dealt with the root cause of why we use it in the first place.
Types of therapy for marijuana addiction
Like addiction to any substance, the long-term treatment pathway involves physical detox, group therapy and psychological treatments such as CBT.
Around 30% of those who smoke cannabis experience what health professionals call ‘cannabis use disorder’ which presents in a very similar way to chemical addiction.
Also, much like chemical addiction to opiates, cannabis use disorder brings with it negative withdrawal symptoms.
However, the physical and emotional side effects of withdrawal are a small price to pay to lead a healthier life, free from the constraints of dependency brought on by a cannabis use disorder.
Detox and therapy benefits
- Be in a secure and safe environment
- Medically managed detoxes with round the clock, 24/7 care and support
- Opens you up to a life-changing diagnosis that ensures you receive the correct help
- Experienced team of doctors, nurses and therapists (note, not all facilities will have onsite medical staff – ask us to see who does)
- Personalised rehabilitation and aftercare programmes (some facilities)
- Work on strategies to prevent relapse
Removing yourself from temptation and triggers at a cannabis rehab, which specialises in cannabis dependency is perhaps the most effective way of overcoming your addiction.
Why do you smoke weed to cope?
The most effective hospital that provides help for amphetamine addiction is the Castle Craig facility.
The Castle Craig clinic provides the patients with access to:
- A medically supervised detox programme
- Personalised psychotherapy plan for every patient
- Relapse prevention training
- 24/7 medical supervision
The major issue that gets in the way of people suffering from cannabis addiction is an unwillingness to see their problem as an issue, unlike with some of the more immediately destructive effects of opiates such as heroin and Oxycontin.
However, the long-term health and social problems caused and worsened by cannabis addiction use are just as likely to require medical intervention.
Residential rehab provides a chance to get sober in a safe environment free from judgement, the temptation to relapse and also provides the patient with all the tools needed to maintain their sobriety when they leave the rehab centre.
Take a look at our rehab comparison guide to choose the best rehab for treating an amphetamine addiction.
Call 0808 1150 446 today to speak to an expert at the Executive Rehab Guide and discuss how you or your loved one can overcome cannabis addiction to lead a healthier, happier life in recovery.
Know the true danger
In terms of the long-term prognosis for how cannabis use disorder affects the body and mind of a user, this depends to an extent on when a person begins to use the drug and at what age they become addicted.
Smoking weed daily for a number of years has seen to cause alarming issues, such as psychosis and separation from reality.
Younger users of cannabis (particularly teenagers) can experience:
- Altered brain development – The effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the psychoactive element of cannabis) mean that if a user becomes addicted to cannabis at a young enough age, they do not develop as many neural fibres in certain parts of the brain, leading to limited brain development at a key stage in life.
- Lower IQ – Teenagers who smoke or ingest significant quantities of weed at a young age experience cognitive impairment and a lower intelligence quotient as they grow up.
The danger with cannabis is that the most dangerous and medically damaging symptoms of addiction appear over a longer period of time than with some harder drugs.
Casual users of the drug may go for years without experiencing any serious effect on their life before realising that over time they have become addicted.
As with many other types of addictive substances, the earlier in the process of addiction that you seek medical treatment, the better your chances of avoiding serious long-term consequences, including death.