Cannabis is a Class B illegal drug, but one that is widely used among people in the UK. It is derived from the cannabis plant and contains a psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It is this ingredient that produces the relaxed, happy feelings experienced by many cannabis users, and that leads to cannabis addiction. However, THC is also a psychoactive component that, for some, can produce extremely frightening hallucinations and sensations. There are various different types of cannabis, all vary in THC strength. THC can lead to adverse negative effects such as paranoia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorder, especially when used heavily or smoked during teenage years when the brain is still vulnerable and developing.

Cannabis is also known as marijuana, weed, hash, ganja, dope, joint, blunt, spliff, blow, hashish, grass, and pot. It is typically rolled into cigarettes or smoked through a pipe or bong. Some individuals use it as an ingredient to add in to tea, homemade cakes and biscuits.

marijuana leaf image

Many people wrongly believe that cannabis is safe to take because it comes from a natural plant, but it is a mood-altering substance that has the potential to become addictive, especially for an individual with addictive tendencies. Most of those that smoke cannabis do so recreationally, but there are some for whom it becomes a real problem. Individuals who have an addiction to cannabis, may find that the drug becomes an obsession that interferes with their everyday life. They will find it hard to control their use, and it may well cause negative consequences in their life and impact financially, mentally, physically, socially and in their interpersonal relationships with others and their career.

What Are the Various Types of Cannabis?

All types of Cannabis have the potential to be addictive and have damaging effects to the user. Teenagers and young adults are particularly at risk of developing mental health problems as their brain is vulnerable to change whilst it is still developing.

Please read on to find out more about the different types of cannabis available and the differences between them:

Synthetic Cannabis:

As well as pure cannabis being widely available, synthetic cannabis is produced under many different names and forms and sold over the internet. Due to the recent ban on all legal highs, these substances can now only be obtained illicitly off street dealers or from ordering online. These synthetic forms, are just as, if not more, dangerous. The user never really knows what they are getting or using; the THC content can be particularly high and the drug mixed with other illegal and legal drugs that cause physical dependency.

Much media coverage and dangers were exposed over the then legal high substance SPICE. Spice a synthetic form of cannabis was highly psychologically and physically addictive, with the effects and withdrawal symptoms produced similar to that of Heroin. Many users are still addicted to synthetic forms despite them now being a classified as a Class B illegal drug.

Cannabis in all forms, whether synthetic or pure causes huge problems when the user develops an addiction.

The three main forms of pure cannabis are detailed below and all are derived direct from the cannabis plant:

Herbal Cannabis – Herbal cannabis is made from the flowers of the Cannabis plant. Its appearance is similar to dried grass. It often has a very pungent smell that lingers in the air and also clings to the user’s clothes and soft furnishings. Often referred to as weed, cheese, 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. This particular type is commonly used recreationally and very addictive as it contains high levels of THC in a smokable form.

marijuana buds image

Cannabis Oil – The least common out of the three main types, Cannabis oil is dark appearance 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 forms that are popular for recreational use and tend to be abused more. It also has medicinal purposes used to treat chronic pain.image showing a syringe with cannabis oil

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 and 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. The user will heat a portion of the solid (usually with a lighter) so that it becomes crumbly in texture and then can be added to tobacco and smoked. It usually contains the lowest of three main pure types in terms of THC content. It is commonly used recreationally and also can be very addictive.

image showing marijuana resin

 

What Are the Effects of Cannabis?

Those who use cannabis when it works well, will experience pleasant side effects such as a calmness, relaxation and a euphoric sensation. Many users become very talkative while others will experience fits of giggles and extreme euphoria. The hallucinogenic effects of cannabis can make individuals feel as though everything has slowed down and time stands still. As the effects begin to wear off, many people will get what is referred to as ‘the munchies’, where they feel very hungry and just want to eat.

However, it is important to remember that cannabis can also cause very unpleasant side effects. Some may feel faint or lightheaded while others could feel nauseous. Others might experience panic attacks, paranoia, extreme anxiety and hallucinations.

 image displaying the health risks of smoking weed

The effects of cannabis occur almost immediately if it is smoked, although it can take longer for people to feel the effects if they have ingested the cannabis through consuming it in tea or food. There is also less THC delivered to the bloodstream when cannabis is taken through food and drink. Nevertheless, because of the delayed effects, many users take much more of the drug than intended, which can lead to adverse side effects. Large doses of THC can in the short term cause delusions, paranoia and psychotic episodes. These effects are generally temporary, lasting from one to three hours when smoked, but can last longer if it is taken in food.

How Long after Using Can Cannabis Be Detected in the Body?

At Addiction Helper, we receive many calls from individuals who are worried that their use of cannabis will show up in a routine drug test at work. The more you smoke and the more regular you smoke the substance will impact on how long it is detectable in urine, saliva, hair and blood samples. THC can be detected in the body after use for up to one month or more; longer in cases of heavy or prolonged use. This can show up in urine samples as well as other types of drug testing.

What Are the Dangers and Risks of Cannabis?

Smoking Cannabis regularly or excessively carries a very 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 are irreversible or cannot adequately treated, leaving the individual with permanent mental health problems and illnesses. Through the ages, Cannabis has been used for its medicinal pain relieving effects. More commonly, it is now used recreationally for its relaxing and mind altering properties. Most users will justify using it as it is a safe, natural plant. For individuals with addictive tendencies or a predisposition to mental health disorders, it is anything but safe, in its natural or synthetic form. An addict 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 and heavy use.

table showing the mj use patterns

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 cannabis during 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 psychoactive substances. Teenagers, young adults and those who have a predisposition to developing addiction or other mental health related disorders are at an increased risk of developing permanent and irreversible distressing mental health illnesses such as Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Sometimes these illness are treatable or at least can be reversed once the drug has been stopped, but sadly for others, damage to the brain is permanent and their life will never be the same. Regular use of cannabis can also cause changes in how the brain functions and processes thoughts and emotions. It is can also impact on the individual’s memory, and can lead to permanent learning difficulties, concentration problems and ability to retain and process information. Much of the cannabis now available is much stronger than it used to be and is known as skunk cannabis or synthetic cannabis. These versions of the drug have been directly linked to an increased number of individuals developing psychosis related mental health illnesses.

image showing the pot smoking effects

What Is the Current Law on Synthetic and Pure Cannabis?

Synthetic cannabinoids and the law

Some synthetic cannabinoids have been sold legally in the past as legal highs. Due to many containing illegal substances, their addictive properties and the high THC content discovered within most of them; the Misuse of Drugs Act introduced the Psychoactive Substances Act, which came into force in May 2016. All “legal highs” containing illegal drugs or psychoactive properties have now been banned and classified as a class B drug, making it illegal to possess (even for personal use), supply, sell or give away for human consumption.

 

 Cannabis in all forms and the law

Cannabis in all of its derivatives under UK law is classified as a Class B drug; making it illegal to possess (even for personal use), supply, sell or give away for human consumption. Many countries have now legalised its use, but in the UK it is still classified as an illegal drug

Cannabis and the Drug Driving Law

Driving whilst impaired under the influence of drugs is classified the same as drink driving. Cannabis can seriously slow down your reactions, impair your cognitive decision making and cause hallucinations. With some drugs, if still affected, it is illegal to drive the next day also. In England and Wales it is illegal to drive over very low set level of 17 named drugs (legal and illegal), whether you consider yourself impaired or not. Very low limits have been set for Cannabis. So if you have used any amount of Cannabis within the last 24 hours it is a wise decision not to risk driving. Being caught can carry a driving ban, heavy penalties and even imprisonment, depending on the levels within your body and the impairment of your driving.

Is It Possible to Get Addicted to Cannabis?

While experts used to believe that cannabis was not addictive, studies have shown that regular use over time can change the way the brain functions and it can lead to both psychological and physical addiction.

Those who have tried to quit or cut down on their cannabis use, but have not been able to do so and who suffer withdrawal symptoms when they are not taking the drug, could well be considered to have an addiction. Likewise, those who continue to take cannabis despite knowing that doing so could cause harm and negative consequences could also be classed as addicted.

Long-term cannabis use can affect the mind and lead to problems with sleeping. Those who take it regularly may find that they suffer from anxiety and aggression. Others will experience hallucinations and paranoia. If the drug is smoked, it can also lead to a nicotine addiction and associated problems such as lung cancer.

Are You Addicted to Cannabis?

If you are worried about your cannabis use, you should ask yourself the following questions and answer them honestly:

  • Do you regularly smoke cannabis?
  • Are you smoking more cannabis than you used to?
  • Do you need more of the drug than you used to get the same effects?
  • Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as depression, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, aggression or upset stomach when you are not smoking cannabis?
  • Do you often smoke more cannabis than you intended to?
  • Have you tried to cut down or quit smoking cannabis but have not been able to?
  • Do you avoid responsibilities in favour of smoking cannabis?
  • Are you spending much of your free time smoking cannabis?
  • Do you continue to smoke cannabis even though doing so will have negative consequences?
  • Do you need to smoke cannabis in order to feel happy or relaxed and unable to feel this way without cannabis?
  • Does the thought of giving up cannabis frighten you?
  • Do you feel lost, without a sense of purpose or unable to motivate yourself unless you have cannabis?
  • Has cannabis negatively affected your physical or mental health, sociability, personal relationships with others, your ability to work, your responsibilities or finances?

If you have answered yes to two or more of the above questions, you may have a problem that requires professional help; that being the case, we would urge you to call Addiction Helper now. We can assess your situation in full to determine if you need help for a cannabis addiction and talk you through the appropriate treatment options that would work best for you.

Our team of professionally-trained addiction treatment experts are on hand to discuss your cannabis use and will help you when it comes to getting treatment to overcome any addiction issues you may have. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or require help for a cannabis problem or addiction

Is Cannabis Rehab Available on the NHS?

Rehab for cannabis addiction is not available on the NHS. There is no such thing as NHS rehabs. Funding can be requested from the government by your local DAT (Drug and Alcohol Team). However they do not usually fund for a cannabis addiction alone. If funding is approved there are very lengthily waiting lists and you will be asked to attend a pre-rehab course in preparation. NHS funding for rehab is only awarded to the most severe cases of drug and alcohol addiction and the individual is required to attend groups and appointments to show that they are willing to make the most of the opportunity. If self-funding a private rehab is not an option or is not financially possible, you can still access support from your local DAT who will provide key work sessions and groups for you to attend. Many find Narcotics Anonymous and also SMART groups helpful to maintaining recovery. Any mental health illnesses presenting will need to be dealt with by your local mental health team. Your GP will be able to provide a referral to their services for a correct clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

What Is the Available Treatment for Cannabis Addiction?

There are various options for private treatment of cannabis addiction; the type of treatment most likely to be successful will depend on the severity of your individual addiction and any additional addictions, co-occurring illnesses or mental health conditions also present.

The first step towards recovery from cannabis addiction is to stop using the substance completely, only then can psychological, medical and therapeutic measures be of maximum benefit. For an individual that finds it impossible to stop smoking cannabis, an inpatient rehab programme would be strongly recommended.

Addiction Helper only work with CQC regulated treatment centres and have access to over 100 exemplary private rehabs within the UK and also some elite and luxurious rehabs abroad. All of our approved rehabs adhere to strict medical and therapeutic guidelines and policies at all times. Providing you with the reassurance and treatment needed to get well.

We specialise in treating addiction and have helped over 10,000 addicts to access the correct support and treatment for their individual addiction. We can find you or your loved one the ideal treatment plan and rehab facility in which to recover from cannabis addiction, ranging from affordable to luxury treatment, with locations all over the UK and also overseas.

For those that have a physical addiction to a cannabinoid, following a comprehensive assessment by a Doctor on admission to one of our rehabs, they will receive a short medical detox to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms. When it comes to cannabis there is no medically recognised detox that you will be able to obtain from your GP or on the NHS. We appreciate that physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can manifest in early withdrawal from cannabis; therefore our doctors will prescribe a suitable and approved medication to help alleviate these symptoms, making withdrawal much more comfortable and easier. Our doctors and therapists will also ensure that any co-occurring conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, dual addictions, depression or PTSD for example are treated simultaneously for a maximum chance of recovery from all conditions presenting. Our rehabs are staffed only by experienced and fully qualified addiction treatment experts, including doctors, nurses, counsellors, psychotherapists, holistic therapists and highly trained and experienced support workers.

Our private cannabis rehabs deliver the latest in evidence based cannabis addiction therapeutic and medical treatments such as One to One Counselling, Process Group, Trauma Therapy, CBT, DBT, 12 Step Therapy, Group Therapy, Educational Workshops and Relapse Prevention, Mindfulness, Meditation, Fitness Programme, Healthy Eating Programme and more. Addiction is far more than just the use of a substance, the issues and maladaptive behaviours and thought processes underpinning the cannabis addiction must also be comprehensively treated for a full recovery to be possible and maintained. We will provide you or your loved one with a full, individualised, therapeutic rehabilitation programme and the recovery tools required to maintain permanent recovery from cannabis addiction. With privately funded rehab for cannabis, there are no waiting lists and we can arrange for you or your loved one’s immediate admission and take care of all of the arrangements for you with just one call. Furthermore we offer 12 months free aftercare to all patients that complete their treatment programme with us; thus further securing on going recovery in the early and vulnerable days on returning back home.

If you have any questions relating to cannabis addiction, cannabis treatment, cannabis rehab, or would like to find out more about how we can help, please call or chat to us live, for a free and comprehensive assessment of your individual treatment needs. We are open 24/7 and ready to help you now!