Cannabis Addiction: Definition, Causes and Treatment

Many misconceptions abound about cannabis, but the main one seems to be that because the substance is a natural one, it cannot be addictive. The reality though is that use of marijuana can affect your day-to-day life and can cause a crippling addiction that threatens to destroy your health and your relationships with others. Fortunately, cannabis addiction is a treatable illness and here at Banbury Lodge, we have the knowledge and the experience to help you and your loved ones overcome this illness.

What Is Cannabis Addiction?

This drug is rated in the UK as a Class B drug and it comes from the cannabis plant. However, even though it grows naturally, it contains a mood-altering chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is this active chemical that causes the hallucinogenic effects associated with using the drug.

Use of cannabis can make the user feel very relaxed and content, but it can also cause episodes of intense paranoia. It is commonly used for recreational purposes but has also been used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, particularly in several US states where it is legal for medicinal purposes.

Despite some people advocating for the drug to be made legal, it remains a Class B drug here in the UK because it can cause an addiction that can ultimately destroy the life of the affected individual. And yes; contrary to popular belief, cannabis can cause addiction.

If the use spirals out of control to the point that it interferes with daily life, then it can be classed as an addiction.

Do I Have a Cannabis Addiction?

Many people can use cannabis in moderation and will never go on to develop an addiction. Conversely, some individuals become so preoccupied with the drug that they neglect other responsibilities in favour of using it.

What must be noted here is that cannabis addiction does not occur overnight. It develops gradually and tends to occur when tolerance to the drug increases. If you build up a tolerance, it means that you are no longer getting the same effects from the same amount of the drug that you previously did.

When this happens, the common response is to increase the amount of cannabis being consumed. For most people, this happens without them even realising. It is only when forced to consider their use of the drug that they realise they have slowly started to take more than they once did.

Think about how much cannabis you use now and compare it with the amount you used when you first started taking the drug. If you are using it more often than you used to, and if you are taking more of it than before, it is very likely that your tolerance levels have increased.

Your chances getting addicted increase if you are a daily user of the drug and if you have been using it for a long time. If you find that you are unable to quit cannabis or even cut back on your consumption, it is likely that you have become addicted.

You may suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit, which can include:

  • agitation
  • irritability
  • cravings
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • loss of appetite.

What Are the Consequences?

Studies have shown that long-term regular use of cannabis can lead to many mental health problems. With the strength of marijuana-based drugs having increased dramatically in recent years, a quarter of all new psychosis cases have been linked to the drug. There is also a strong correlation between use and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Since cannabis is commonly mixed with tobacco and smoked, long-term users also have the potential to become addicted to the nicotine found in tobacco. In addition, there is the elevated risk of tobacco-related illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Lung problems like chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), bronchitis and asthma can all be aggravated by using the drug.

As well as the damage to physical and mental health, there is also the risk of harm through accidents. As cannabis is a mood-altering drug that can impair judgement and coordination, there is an increased risk to health due to accidents and injuries. Those who take unnecessary risks while under the influence may, for example, be involved in road-traffic collisions or become the victim of violent crimes.

Your relationships with loved ones will also suffer if you develop a cannabis addiction. As the addiction progresses, your need for the drug is likely to become stronger. The more preoccupied you become with cannabis, the less interest you will have in spending time with family members and friends.

This will inevitably lead to friction in your relationships. Those who do not have any experience of addiction often find it hard to understand why anyone would continue to do something that is having an obvious negative impact on not only their own lives but also the lives of others.

You may have already faced criticism from well-meaning loved ones who cannot understand why you continue to abuse cannabis when it is causing such obvious harm. These individuals do not understand that you have no control over your urge to use. They do not realise that the drug has altered the structure of your brain, making it impossible for you to make good judgements.

Why Have I Developed an Addiction to Cannabis?

As mentioned above, not everyone who uses cannabis will go on to develop an addiction to the drug. So, why are you addicted when others are not? This is a question that we are frequently asked, and while there is no way to pinpoint an exact cause of your illness, there are certain factors that could have increased your risk.

For example, if you have a family history of addiction or of mental health problems, your chances of developing an addiction are higher. But there are other risk factors too. Suffering trauma can increase the likelihood of an addiction developing, and the more traumatic experiences you had, the greater the risk.

In addition, if you began using cannabis at an early age, you have a greater chance of becoming addicted. That being said, having these risk factors does not guarantee you will go on to develop an addiction. In fact, there are many individuals who have every single risk factor listed above and never have any problems. On the flip-side, there are some with no risk factors at all who will still go on to suffer from addiction.

There is just no way of knowing for sure why you are affected while someone else is not. What we do know is that with a programme of treatment, you can turn your life around and go on to live a healthier and happier substance-free life with your loved ones.

Can Banbury Lodge Help Me to Get Better?

Banbury Lodge is staffed by a team of fully trained experienced therapists who all have an in-depth knowledge of various types of addiction. We can help you to say goodbye to cannabis use once and for all.

When you come for treatment with us, you will receive an individualised treatment plan that is expected to work effectively for you and your own personal situation. We will use a range of therapies to help get to the root cause of your illness as well as to help you identify triggers to your addictive behaviour.

We will then work closely with you to help you develop various coping strategies that will ensure you can avoid a return to addictive behaviour going forward.

What Type of Treatments Are Used for Cannabis Addiction?

When treating cannabis addiction, we may use a combination of traditional psychotherapeutic therapies and holistic treatments. Combining both approaches means you will have a more rounded plan of care that will address your mind, body, and spirit.

We know that a whole-person approach is effective when trying to overcome any addiction. Instead of focusing solely on your illness, we will address issues that affect your overall wellbeing. By combining a range of therapies, we can hopefully reduce your levels of stress and help to heal you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Some of the treatments we use include:

  • individual counselling
  • group therapy
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • dialectical behavioural therapy
  • art therapy
  • yoga
  • sound therapy
  • mindfulness
  • massage
  • acupuncture
  • nutrition and physiological wellbeing.

Can You Help My Family?

You may be worried about the effect that your illness has had on members of your family and are wondering how we can help. The good news is that we offer a fantastic family recovery programme because we know how much damage addiction can cause to the family unit.

Addiction is often referred to as a family illness and there is a good reason for this. It is rare for a cannabis addiction, or any other type of addiction for that matter, to negatively affect the individual without also affecting his or her loved ones.

Family members react in various ways when one member develops an addiction. Some may try to do everything in their power to help while others might become withdrawn as they struggle with feelings of anger, hurt and resentment. Some will even go on to become what is known as co-dependent, where their entire lives begin to revolve around the addict.

You will likely have noticed the way in which your addiction has changed the dynamics within your family unit. It may even be the case that your addiction is the result of underlying issues within the family unit. If so, there is no need to worry. Our family recovery programme aims to help you and your loved ones overcome the illness once and for all.

Is There Help Available for Me after Rehab?

The aim of our detox and rehab programmes is to help you get better and to learn how to go on to live a happier and healthier life free of substance abuse. We offer comprehensive rehabilitation programmes that run for up to twelve weeks, after which you return to normal everyday life.

Nevertheless, the thought of returning to normal life may be one you are struggling with. The idea of making that transition can fill some people with dread. It could be the case that you are worrying about how you will cope when you no longer have around-the-clock care and support from fully qualified professionals. Or you may be worried that you are bound to suffer from a relapse when faced with the temptations and triggers that led to your addiction in the first place.

A major part of our programme is relapse prevention. We work hard to provide you with the skills required to avoid a return to addictive behaviour going forward. In addition, you can rest assured that you will not be left to deal with the transition to daily life alone.

We know that the early days of independent living will be a time when you are particularly vulnerable to a relapse. In response to this potential vulnerability, we offer up to twelve months of free aftercare support, should you need it. We want you to know that we are here for you to help with your continued recovery maintenance.

You can also access support from your local fellowship support group, and we will help you in this regard. A part of our programme includes 12 step therapy, which will introduce you to the principles of fellowship support groups. We encourage all our patients to get actively involved with such groups as part of their ongoing sobriety maintenance.

Fellowship support groups can provide much-needed support and can open a whole new world to those recovering from addiction. By joining such a group, you will always have a place to go where everyone else is just like you and where you can be yourself without fear of recrimination or judgement.

If you would like further information on how we treat cannabis addiction, or for details on any aspect of our treatment programme, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us now.

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Call Now 0203 553 0618
Call Now 0203 553 0618

Call Now 0203 553 0618

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  • Fenton House,
  • Box Mill Lane,
  • Halstead, Essex,
  • CO9 2DR
  • United Kingdom

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