Cannabis is classified as a Class B drug in the UK, which means it is illegal to possess and supply it. Many argue that cannabis is harmless and that there are other legal drugs, such as alcohol that are far more damaging; that cannabis addiction is a myth. Around the world cannabis is largely accepted and many countries have legalised its use. Possession of cannabis in the UK can carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years. Yet despite being classified as a class B drug it is still widely available in the UK. Some cannabis suppliers/dealers even grow the drug in rented out warehouses or their own property
The problem with cannabis is that the internet is flooded with articles and pro-cannabis sites, promoting its benefits and calling for its legalisation in the UK. Speak to any cannabis user and they will tell you all about its benefits and how harmless it is, but is this the truth?
Cannabis isn’t physically addictive as such, the dependence tends to be psychological for its effects. For any addict, of any substance, whether it be alcohol, cannabis or a class A drug, the problem is not the drug itself but the individual who suffers from addiction. Regardless of what the substance is, they will use it to excess and it will take over and affect all areas of their life and consequently impact on their family and loves ones too. An addict reaction to a substance is very different to others; in that once an addict picks up a drug or drink, the brain’s receptors set off and overwhelming craving for more. Addiction centres in the individual’s mind, in their cognitive thought processes and personal belief systems. They suffer from an obsessive and compulsive illness that is destructive and can lead to death. Think about it: Why is it most individuals can safely drink without enormous consequences? Yet for others the drug becomes “their everything” and yet takes everything from them. No matter what the consequences are to their physical, emotional and mental health, their finances, career and relationships, they continue to use. They have no control over the obsessive thoughts that compel them to carry on repeating the same behaviours and patterns. This is how a sort of cannabis addiction happens to the users.
Whilst there is no recognised medical detox for cannabis addiction, Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn assist the individual through the initial withdrawal period with a short course of light medication. This helps to relieve the short term withdrawal symptoms of insomnia and anxiety. Each individual is comprehensively assessed by our doctor on admission. If the Doctor feels a medical detox will be of benefit to the individual, then this will be prescribed and supervised by our trained and qualified staff.
Our patient’s safety and comfort is paramount, so we take every measure possible to ensure this.
Cannabis comes in varying strengths and forms, all derived from the cannabis plant. The drug can come in a grass-like form, liquid oil or solid form. It is known under many different names on the street such as: Hash, Marijuana, Blunt, Blow, Pot, Weed, Dope, Joint, Blunt, Spliff, Ganja and Hashish.
As well as pure cannabis being widely available, synthetic cannabis is produced under many different names and forms and sold as Legal Highs. Legal highs are just as, if not more, dangerous. The user believes that because they are “legal” they must be safe. This is far from the truth, a typical example of this is the legal high “Spice”. Spice is very addictive and produces similar effects to that of Heroin with similar detox symptoms. The drug has now been classified as illegal to possess and supply. The danger with synthetic legalised cannabinoids is that many of them contain illegal drugs. The manufacturers are always one step ahead of the law, by changing the chemical components they can remarket the product under a different brand name. This makes it impossible for the law to keep up with classifying the drugs accordingly. Taking a legal synthetic Cannabinoid is just as risky, if not more risky than using a pure form of cannabis. The user doesn’t really know what they are taking, what the mixture contains and if it is addictive.
cannabis in its legal and nonlegal forms causes huge problems when the user develops an addiction. All forms of cannabis contain the psychoactive chemical THC, in varying amounts. Below are the 3 main forms of pure cannabis, all derived from the cannabis plant:
Herbal cannabis – Herbal cannabis is made from the flowers of the cannabis plant. Its appearance is similar to that of dried grass and often has a very pungent smell that lingers in the air and clings to the users clothes. Often referred to as weed, skunk or grass, it comes vacuum-packed, in small bags or wraps. The user of this form will usually mix it with tobacco and smoke from a joint or from a pipe.
Cannabis Oil – The least common out of the three main types, cannabis oil is dark and sticky in texture. In terms of the psychoactive component THC, it is the most potent and contains the highest levels. This form of cannabis is usually added to ointments, food and home made potions. Taken from the sticky buds of the Cannabis Sativa plant, cannabis oil is most popularly used for medicinal purposes, whereas the other two forms are popular for recreational use and tend to be abused more.
Cannabis Resin– Usually smoked in a joint or through a bong, cannabis resin comes in a solid pressed form and in varying shades of brown/black in appearance. This form is commonly known as hash or hashish. As well as being smoked, it can also be added to food and eaten. cannabis resin is taken directly from the Cannabis plant
Out of the three main forms of cannabis, Skunk (h
erbal cannabis) tends to cause the most problems, due to its high levels of THC. Smoking Skunk carries a higher risk of developing mental health issues than the weaker strains available. Smokers can be prone to developing paranoia and schizophrenia, especially when smoked at a young age whilst the brain is still developing.
Smoking cannabis regularly or excessively carries a high risk of developing a mental health illness; not only in the short term whilst the drug is being used still, but also in the long term…long after the drug has been stopped. Some of its effects on the brain cannot be reversed or adequately treated. cannabis has been used through the ages for its medicinal purposes and pain relieving qualities. More commonly it is widely used recreationally for its relaxing and mind altering effects. Seen as harmless by many users, it is often referred to as a natural and herbal drug. For individuals with addictive tendencies, it is anything but safe. They will find it almost impossible to stop without the aid of professional help and many go on to develop distressing mental health conditions as a result of its continual use.
Much scientific research has been conducted into the short term and long terms effects of heavy cannabis use on the brain. Scientifically, it has been proven that users who start smoking in their teenage years are at the highest risk of developing mental health issues and a lowered IQ. Up until early adulthood the brain is still developing and is particularly vulnerable when exposed to mood and mind altering substances. Teenagers in particular and those who have a predisposition to developing addiction or other mental health related disorders are at an increased risk of developing illnesses such as Schizophrenia, Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. For some, sadly the changes to the brain are permanent.
If you are wondering if you or a loved one have an addiction to cannabis, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate you have a problem that requires professional help. Users of cannabis will often have a glazed, red and droopy-eyed appearance. They are likely to smell of the drug, as it clings to clothes, hair and furnishings. Whilst an individual is under the influence of the effects produced by cannabis, they are often referred to as being “stoned”. Those under the influence will have slowed and slurred speech, their emotional and physical reactions are delayed and they will suffer a severe decrease in motivation. Heavy users or users of a concentrated form will often appear confused, unfocused, and may even struggle to hold a conversation. They will lose all sense of time and become extremely forgetful. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away, addiction is a progressive illness with ever-increasing consequences. Delaying treatment can lead to the development of an irreversible mental health condition; leading the sufferer to become very depressed, isolated and even suicidal. If you or your loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, typical of addiction, it is vital that you seek professional help and treatment without delay:
If cannabis is taking over your life and you need help to stop, you have come to the right place. We provide a full cannabis rehabilitation and relapse prevention programme. We only use the latest in proven and highly effective cannabis addiction treatments. Our highly trained and dedicated counsellors and therapists will devise a personalised care plan, designed to treat the root causes of your addiction and help you to make a full recovery. Our prescribing doctor will conduct a full assessment and treat any mental health issues that are presenting accordingly. We also have a Psychiatrist for those that need additional support for a mental health illness. Our rehab programme is designed to restore each individual to full physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Whilst undergoing treatment, you will be in the safe hands of our experienced and professional, medical and therapeutic staff. Please speak to a member of our clinical team for more information on the treatments we provide and how we can help you overcome your cannabis addiction for good.
“As a daily skunk smoker, I couldn’t see a life without it. All my friends smoked too, but the difference was I didn’t seem to have a stop button and made myself seriously mentally ill as a result. No matter how hard I tried I kept going back to it, time and time again. When I arrived at the clinic i was reassured by the friendly and professional staff; after a few weeks I began to think more clearly and became less anxious. Whilst undergoing intensive therapy I came to understand the truth of my addiction and could see clearly for the first time how it had taken over my life. I now follow the suggested recovery programme and a day at a time the desire for the drug has not returned. The feeling of freedom from its clutches is indescribable! Asking for help was undoubtedly the best thing i ever did for me” ~Stefan 27