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. However, THC is also responsible for hallucinations that, for some, can be frightening.
Cannabis is also known as marijuana, weed, hash, ganja, grass, and pot, and it is typically rolled into cigarettes or smoked through a pipe. Some individuals use it as an ingredient in tea or cakes.
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 can become addictive. Most of those that smoke cannabis do so recreationally, but there are some for whom it becomes a problem. Individuals who develop addictions 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 begin to cause negative consequences in their life.
The Effects of Cannabis
Those who take cannabis may experience pleasant side effects such as a calm, relaxing and happy sensation. Many users become very talkative while others will experience fits of giggles and euphoria. The hallucinogenic effects of cannabis can make individuals feel as though everything has slowed down. As the effects begin to wear off, many people will get ‘the munchies’, where they feel very hungry and just want to eat.
However, cannabis can also cause unpleasant side effects. Some may feel faint or light-headed while others could feel nauseous. Still others might experience panic attacks, paranoia, and anxiety.
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 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 cause delusions, paranoia and psychotic episodes. These effects are generally temporary, lasting from one to three hours when the drug is smoked, but longer if it is taken in food.
The Dangers of Cannabis
Regular use of cannabis can cause changes in the brain function, which can affect the ability to deal with particular emotions. It is believed that cannabis can affect brain development in teenagers. It is also thought to affect memory, and it can lead to mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety disorder.
Much of the cannabis available on the market these days is much stronger than it used to be and is known as ‘skunk’ cannabis. This version of the drug has been linked to an increased number of individuals developing psychosis.
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 been unable to do so and who suffer withdrawal symptoms when they are not taking the drug could be considered to have an addiction. Likewise, those who continue to take cannabis despite knowing that doing so could cause harm 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 subsequent 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:
- Do you regularly smoke cannabis?
- Are you smoking more cannabis than you used to?
- Do you need more of the drug every time to get the same effects?
- Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety 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 been unable 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?
If you have answered yes to two or more of the above questions, you may have a problem and so 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.
Our team of professionally-trained counsellors and therapists 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.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s cannabis use, you can also call us here at Addiction Helper. We understand how addiction can affect entire families and, as such, we offer free advice and information to family members and friends of those with addiction problems. Just call us now for advice and support as well as information on where to access suitable treatments. We are waiting for your call.