Despite being the most widely used drug in the UK, cannabis remains a Class B substance, but despite what many people think, it can be addictive even though it is a naturally occurring drug. The fact that cannabis grows naturally makes some assume it is safe to take, but it contains an active chemical known as THC – or tetrahydrocannabinol – which causes many of the side effects experienced by those who take it.
As with all types of addiction, not everyone who uses this drug will be affected. There are some individuals who are more prone to a cannabis addiction than others. In light of this, you may be wondering what is cannabis addiction and who is affected. In this article, we aim to give you as much information as possible regarding the drug and how it affects the individuals that use it.
Is Cannabis Really Addictive Though?
There is a lot of debate about whether cannabis can cause addiction in the way that other illegal drugs can. The fact that it is a Class B and not a Class A illegal drug gives many the impression that it is less harmful than other substances; in fact, there are those who would argue for it to be legalised.
When used for medicinal purposes, there are some benefits, as proven by ongoing studies into the benefits of use for various health conditions. In the US, cannabis has been made legal in several states for both recreational and medicinal purposes. In other states, it can be used for medicinal purposes only. Here in the UK, it remains an illegal substance and there are currently no plans to change this any time soon.
So, is cannabis addictive? There are those who would argue that the drug is not addictive at all, but here at Oasis Recovery, we know that this is definitely not the case. We have helped many individuals who have become psychologically dependent on cannabis and whose lives had been negatively affected by it.
In truth, anything can be classed as addictive if the use of it becomes a problem for the individual. In the case of cannabis, the physical impact of the drug is not as devastating as other illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin, but that does not mean it is not an addictive substance.
Cannabis can cause both physical and mental health problems for the user while those who become dependent on it will feel compelled to use it. They may not develop a physical dependence but they will often become psychologically dependent.
What are The Side Effects of Cannabis?
Cannabis is a hallucinogenic drug that can cause a number of side effects to users. These side effects can be very pleasant and can make the user feel relaxed and content, or they can be unpleasant, leading to feelings of paranoia, anxiety, suspicion, and panic.
Cannabis affects mood and can result in disturbed sleep patterns. Some people who take the drug suffer from hallucinations and feelings of paranoia. For many, these experiences can be quite frightening and can go on to cause lasting mental health problems such as schizophrenia and psychosis.
Since most people who use cannabis, smoke it, they are also risking those illnesses typically related to smoking and smokers, namely cancer of the mouth, throat, and lungs. Cannabis is also known to affect blood pressure and heart rate, which can be particularly dangerous for those with existing heart conditions or heart disease.
Long-term use of the drug can lead to addiction, with those affected feeling that they cannot quit, even if they want to. Affected individuals who try to quit suddenly may suffer with various withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- mood swings
- poor appetite
- cravings for the drug.
How to Spot if You Have a Cannabis Addiction
If you have been using cannabis for a long time, you may believe that you can stop at any time. Maybe you have never tried to quit and think that you do not actually have a problem that requires help. However, it is a good idea to take a long hard look at your cannabis use and consider whether you actually might have an addiction or not.
If you were asking yourself what is cannabis addiction but have since started to recognise some of the signs of addiction in yourself, it would be a good idea to reach out for help with assessing the severity of your problem. Here at Oasis Recovery, we have knowledge and experience of cannabis addiction and can provide helpful information and advice on how to overcome it. It could be the case that you are not at the addiction stage yet but that you could be in danger of heading that way if you do not cut back on your use. If so, we can still help.
Think about how much cannabis you use now and how much you used in the past. If you have realised that you are smoking more of it than you used to, it could be that you have built up a tolerance. This means that your body has adapted to the presence of the drug and has adjusted so that you do not get the same affects you once did. When this happens, there is a natural temptation to increase the amount of cannabis being consumes, which can ultimately lead to addiction for some people.
If you also notice that you are beginning to suffer side effects such as agitation, upset stomach or anxiety when you are not smoking the drug, it could be that you have developed a physical dependence on it. These side effects are known as withdrawal symptoms and occur when the effects of the drug wear off and your body is craving more of it.
Another way to spot if you have a problem with cannabis is to think about how you use the drug. If you regularly smoke more than you planned to or find that you are unable to cut down or quit, you could require help. You may also find that you have begun to neglect other aspects or responsibilities in your life in favour of smoking cannabis. This often happens to those who have developed an addiction. In this case, you need to get help as soon as possible.
Addiction is an illness of the brain that will not simply go away if you ignore it. Turning your back on cannabis will benefit your life in more ways than one. You will feel better, have more energy, and will reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression you have been experiencing. It is likely that your relationships will improve and you will also notice a difference in your financial situation.
There has never been a better time to put cannabis addiction behind you once and for all. Call Oasis Recovery today for advice and information on how to stop for good.