There is a common misconception among marijuana users that cannabis does not create dependence. Nevertheless, this is simply not true. How do we know? Because a chronic marijuana user usually exhibits withdrawal symptoms during detox. Withdrawal symptoms are evidence that a dependence exists.
That said, an addiction to cannabis tends not to be as severe as addictions to more harsh drugs like cocaine, morphine and heroin. Cannabis detox seems to be easier and more successful as well. That should be reason enough for you to seek out a detox programme if you are a heavy user or addict.
Why You Need Detox
Along with the dependence misconception is a companion misconception that using the drug does not cause any long-term physical damage. This is also not true. Prolonged use of marijuana can have very significant effects on the body:
- Immune System – Cannabis is known to affect the immune system negatively in most users. A compromised immune system can lead to a long list of additional complications, including pneumonia and cancer.
- Mental Illness – Research suggests that prolonged use of cannabis is related to the development of schizophrenia in some people. The problem is more pronounced the younger cannabis use begins. Statistics show that one in every 10 people who begin using cannabis prior to age 15 develops schizophrenia by age 26.
- Depression – Cannabis has a measurable effect on brain functioning whenever it is used. Prolonged use can eventually lead to clinical depression and/or anxiety.
Experts say that cannabis dependence is more common in the UK than most people recognise. Like alcohol, it is a drug that finds a home in a modern society that sees no real harm as long as users keep it to themselves. Such a permissive attitude only encourages abuse and eventual dependence.
If you are a cannabis abuser or addict, you need addiction detox if you hope to avoid the damage prolonged use of the drug can cause. Only detox will allow your system to fully cleanse itself of the drug once and for all. Then, and only then, can you truly begin to recover from your addiction.
How Detox Works
Like any other drug, detox works by separating the addict from his or her cannabis to allow the healing process to begin. The good news with cannabis detox is that withdrawal symptoms are less severe and more easily managed than those associated with stronger drugs are.
For example, psychological dependence may cause an individual to believe he or she cannot cope with life outside of cannabis use. During detox, they may become very anxious or panicked because of this belief. Their anxiousness might even become irrational fear if detox is not managed properly.
Likewise, chronic insomnia is one of the physiological side effects of cannabis withdrawal. Insomnia is especially troubling because it negatively affects the body’s ability to get well. Cannabis detox should be managed to deal with insomnia issues.
Outpatient Cannabis Detox
In most cases, cannabis detox is handled on an outpatient basis. However, it still needs to be managed by medical professionals with appropriate experience. Trying to detox from cannabis on your own is a good way to set yourself up for future relapse. Why? Because the psychological dependence is extremely difficult to overcome. For many people, psychological dependence is even stronger than physical dependence.
The key to a successful cannabis detox is cleansing the body of the compound known as THC. This compound builds up over time as cannabis use is prolonged. The problem is that it takes longer to fully detox the more THC is in the system. However, using certain medications, lots of water, plenty of exercise and sleep, the body can be completely rid of THC eventually.
Except for the most severe cases, cannabis detox is normally conducted through an NHS clinic or an at-home programme. Prescription medications may be used to reduce cannabis cravings and help neutralise the THC already in the system. These medications should only be used on a temporary basis.
To begin an outpatient programme, the cannabis user typically visits a GP or clinical therapist who will provide an initial assessment and decide on a course of action. When prescription medications are appropriate, the doctor or therapist will use them. If they are deemed inappropriate, they will not be used.
During the detox process, the individual will routinely pay a visit to his or her GP or the rehab clinic. They will be assessed regarding their progress, their general health, and their attitude. Should any medical issues arise during the detox period, the doctor or therapist will be prepared to deal with them.
Cannabis Detox Time Frame
The good news about cannabis detox is that it is not nearly as uncomfortable as other kinds of detox. The bad news is that it also tends to take significantly longer. Depending on how much THC has built up in the system, complete detox could take months. That means the patient must be willing to persevere throughout the course of treatment.
If psychological or physical withdrawal symptoms persist, it may be necessary for the patient to push through them until they subside. For example, let’s assume you experience chronic insomnia as part of your cannabis detox. If you are still suffering insomnia three or four weeks down the road, your doctor may be unwilling to prescribe sleeping pills for fear of causing another addiction. It would be foolish for you to purchase over-the-counter sleeping pills on your own for the same reason.
Rest assured that you would be in much better health when your body is thoroughly cleansed of THC. Your withdrawal symptoms will eventually subside completely as well. As long as you don’t return to using marijuana in the future, no matter how slight, you will be permanently free of your cannabis addiction.
Addiction Helper encourages you to deal with your cannabis addiction today. Do not make the mistake of thinking it’s nothing to worry about. It could end up being very serious if you don’t deal with it soon.