30 percent of marijuana users will develop a cannabis use disorder, according to a study by JAMA Psychiatry.
What’s worse, people who begin using cannabis before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a use disorder than those who begin using as adults.
Cannabis addiction is a real thing, and it’s causing people real problems.
Whether it’s memory loss, depression or anxiety, overusing cannabis has harmful side effects, and oftentimes, we deem these side effects as ‘trivial’ or tell ourselves there’s ‘nothing to worry about’, when in reality, overusing cannabis can lead to great harm in a person.
In this blog post, we explore whether or not cannabis addiction is a real thing, and how you can begin identifying whether you have an addiction.
The dangers of using cannabis regularly
Cannabis is arguably one of the most common drugs on the market. In fact, according to the UN, 158.8 million people around the world use cannabis, which is more than 3.8 percent of the world’s population. In Canada, cannabis was recently legalised, and other countries are set to follow suit.
While recreational use of cannabis can have enjoyable side effects like a sense of euphoria, complete relaxation and a feeling of contentment, overusing the drug is dangerous.
Long-term side effects from using cannabis can include:
- Confusion and forgetfulness.
- Anxiety and paranoia.
- Increased risk of developing mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and psychosis.
- Existing mental health problems can be worsened, while medication may not work as well while smoking cannabis.
For those people using cannabis at an impressionable age, these side effects are worsened. Memory loss becomes a common problem later in life.
People often feel a sense of apathy about the world and fail to chase their goals and dreams.
And sure enough, because people lose their motivation, there’s a greater risk of feeling victimised and depressed.
Cannabis: A gateway drug
Of adults 26 or older who used cannabis before age 15, 62 percent went on to use cocaine at some point in their lives; 9 percent went on to use heroin at least once; and 54 percent made some nonmedical use of mind-altering prescription drugs, according to Drug Free World.
Cannabis is nicknamed ‘the gateway drug’. It’s often the first drug that people try in their lives, and as explained above, it leads to the use of other drugs later in a person’s life.
One prominent reasons for this is because of psychological dependence.
Unlike cocaine and heroin, people don’t think of cannabis as an addictive drug. And they’re not entirely wrong.
Cannabis doesn’t have addictive properties like nicotine in cigarettes or sugar in candy, but while it might not be traditionally addictive, people often develop a tolerance, and to achieve the same high, it requires an increase in dosage.
Because of this, the short-term pleasure effects of cannabis often wear off in regular users, and the desire for something stronger leads people down the dark path of hard drugs. Regular cannabis use, then, can indirectly cause severe and even fatal problems.
Quite simply, to understand whether you have a cannabis use disorder, you need to consider your dependency on the drug.
If you regularly use cannabis and experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the drug when you are not using it, this could be a sign that you have developed a cannabis addiction.
Treatment for cannabis addiction
In 2015, approximately four million people in the United States alone met the diagnostic criteria for a cannabis use disorder, and 138,000 people voluntarily sought treatment for their dependence.
It is becoming a prevalent problem, but people are waking up to these issues and seeking the expert treatment they need to overcome their dependence.
For a no-obligation conversation with one of our professionals, speak with an expert today.