Cannabis Addiction

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis, or Marijuana, comes from the cannabis plant, and is used both medicinally and recreationally. CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of two main chemicals found in the cannabis plant, and is extracted from the plant for medicinal use due to its proposed pain relieving and anxiolytic properties. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the other main chemical, and is responsible for the drug’s psychoactive properties. Cannabis is most commonly smoked, once the leaves have been dried and ground. It is also often eaten when cooked with other ingredients.

Effects of Cannabis

In the short-term, cannabis is known to have both positive and negative effects. Users sometimes feel a sense of calm and increased positivity, relaxation, and openness. Intake of cannabis is usually followed by an increased appetite. One’s sense of time is also altered, and senses and imagination are heightened. However, users also find that intake can lead to heightened anxiety and paranoia, increased heart rate, delusional thinking, and a sense of panic.

In the long-term, the effects of cannabis are more serious and pose a greater risk to one’s overall health. Chronic use of cannabis can lead to dependency and psychological addiction. Dependency and addiction are not helped by the common misbelief that cannabis is completely harmless. It may be legal in some states and countries, but so too are alcohol and tobacco, and there is no question about their adverse health effects in the long term.

Chronic use and abuse of cannabis has a number of harmful effects on one’s mental and physical health, as well as in their work and social life.

Effects of long-term use of cannabis on mental health include the onset or resurgence of depression or depressive tendencies, feelings of confusion and poor memory and concentration, anxiety, paranoia, and increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, and the exacerbation of pre-existing, underlying mental health disorders.

As it is often smoked and sometimes mixed with tobacco, the risk of throat and lung diseases like cancer is significantly increased.

Professionally or academically, performance and abilities are reduced. One may also experience a sense of apathy and lack of motivation.

Social problems can also arise, like a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities like socialising and partaking in hobbies. Chances of finding or maintaining employment are also decreased due to the aforementioned decreased work performance.

Cannabis Addiction Treatment

Effective and comprehensive treatment is available for men affected by cannabis abuse at Brazos Recovery Services. Our gender specific treatment serves to focus on each patient as his own man by developing effective tools for self management and self-encouragement, supported by a network of other men in similar circumstances. Support groups are highly beneficial when it comes to recovery. They reduce the sense of isolation and loneliness that usually accompanies a substance use disorder, and being able to see progress and vulnerability in others makes it easier to see and feel those things within yourself.

Before treatment, patients will receive a full health assessment to identify and treat underlying mental health conditions that could be playing a highly influential role in thinking and behavior related to use. As cannabis addiction is primarily psychological, addressing these root causes is vital in achieving a full, successful recovery.

During treatment, patients will be provided with both individual and group therapy, which serve to provide education on substance misuse and tools for self-management.

Recovery from addiction is not an overnight phenomenon. When struggling with any addiction it can feel like one has no control over themselves and behavior. Tools for self-management that one learns in therapy modalities like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) are important because they can return to the patient a sense of control and autonomy over their own lives. Recovery takes work and conscious effort, for long after primary treatment has been completed, but success is completely possible. Follow up support is available to those who complete their treatment, which encourages patients to continue on their journey back to health and sobriety.

Signs of Cannabis Addiction

Upon first learning that a loved one has a substance use disorder, those closest to them can feel hurt, upset, and betrayed. It’s important to know that professional help is available and that the addiction does not need to be suffered alone. However, the first step in any successful addiction treatment is the recognition that there is an issue in the first place.

There are some signs characteristic of a person struggling with an addiction to or dependence on cannabis. Absence from school or work with no explanation, dishonesty around behaviors, possession of paraphernalia, like rolling papers, small plastic bags, or bongs, continued use despite noticeable harmful effect, unsuccessful attempt to stop using cannabis, using cannabis in high risk areas where use is prohibited, and operating machinery or vehicles while high are all signs of an addiction. Bear in mind, however, that possession of paraphernalia does not necessarily imply dependence, but possession of cannabis itself within those paraphernalia, like a bag or a cannabis grinder, can lead to trouble with the law in places where cannabis use is illegal.

Causes of Cannabis Addiction

Those who are prone to addiction and psychological dependence are likely to become dependent on and addicted to cannabis, as it provides users with pleasurable feelings in the short term that are sought after. It’s easy to see the appeal of cannabis for those who suffer from frequent stress or anxiety, as it can provide the user with feelings of calmness and relaxation. However, intake of cannabis can become habitual, and lead the user to believe that they can’t feel calm or relaxed anymore without using. If this is the case, then the individual has developed a dependency and should seek professional help to prevent progression of the dependence. Professional help is available at Brazos Recovery Services and led by our team of highly skilled counselors, psychologists, and therapists who can evaluate the severity of addiction and figure out the best, most suitable approach to treatment.

Genetic factors also also play a role in the onset of an addiction to cannabis. Having a family member with a history of addiction or with a current substance use disorder is an indicator of one’s potential for addiction.

Environmental factors must also be considered. Exposure to a family member or a peer group that uses cannabis frequently can normalize the behavior and increase a person’s likelihood to use.

It is a common belief that cannabis is not addictive, but there are many in treatment who could argue that. Addictive or not, the adverse effects can cause as many troubles in the lives of users as other addictive drugs. When abused, it has the potential to negatively impact a person’s life in terms of their behavior and their physical, social, and psychological health and well-being.