The Real Problem With Cannabis Addiction
The use of cannabis has been a controversial matter for hundreds of years. While many people debate about its legal status and its reported medical benefits and potential harms, there’s another side to cannabis that’s not often discussed: addiction. Getting addicted to cannabis can have major consequences, and many people don’t realize just how hard it can be to recover from this addiction. This article will take a look at the real problems with cannabis addiction, as well as exploring ways to overcome it.
1. What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a type of flowering plant that includes three primary species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis has been used by various cultures for centuries both medically and recreationally, despite being illegal in most countries.
The components of cannabis that are ingested recreationally are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemicals found in the plant which interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system. The two most widely studied cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the psychoactive component, producing the ‘high’ associated with marijuana, while CBD is the non-psychoactive component which can be used for its medicinal properties.
Cannabis is typically smoked or vaporized, though it can be ingested in food or used as an oil or tincture. On its own, cannabis has many potential uses, including:
- Pain relief
- Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects
- Anticonvulsant effects
- Anti-nausea properties
Cannabis has been studied for its potential effects in treating a variety of medical conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis. More research is needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of using cannabis and its related products for medicinal purposes.
2. How Prevalent is Cannabis Addiction?
Cannabis addiction, also known as marijuana addiction, is increasingly becoming a major public health issue in many parts of the world. Cannabis use can have serious and long-term effects on a person’s health and other aspects of their life. Its use can also lead to dependency or addiction.
Research has found that the misuse of marijuana can cause physical, psychological, and behavioural problems. People may become addicted to the drug and struggle to control their use.
The prevalence of cannabis addiction varies in different regions and even between different groups of people. For instance, young people often have higher rates of marijuana use and misuse than adults. Men tend to misuse marijuana more than women.
As of 2019, an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States and 4.3 million globally had cannabis use disorder.
It is estimated that about thirty percent of those who use cannabis will become dependent on it. This means that they will experience withdrawal symptoms or will need to use more and more cannabis to achieve the same effects. The longer someone has used marijuana, the more likely they are to become addicted.
- Research has found that the misuse of marijuana can cause physical, psychological, and behavioral problems.
- The prevalence of cannabis addiction varies in different regions and even between different groups of people.
- As of 2019, an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States and 4.3 million globally had cannabis use disorder.
- It is estimated that about thirty percent of those who use cannabis will become dependent on it.
3. Are There Physical Symptoms of Cannabis Addiction?
Research indicates that physical symptoms of cannabis addiction are uncommon, but they can still appear in some cases.
Acute Withdrawal Symptoms: If a person has become dependent on marijuana and then abruptly stops using it, they may experience physical withdrawal symptoms similar to those of other addictive substances. These may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Irritability and mood swings
Typically, these symptoms will subside after a few days or weeks, although they can linger longer for some people.
Long-Term Effects: Prolonged and heavy marijuana use has been associated with profuse sweating, weight loss, anxiety, and depression. Marijuana smoke is an irritant and can lead to chronic cough, bronchitis, and reduced lung functions.
In some cases, cannabis use can lead to the development of psychosis and schizophrenia, although this is rare. More research is needed to understand the link between marijuana use and mental health.
4. What Causes Cannabis Addiction?
Cannabis addiction is a real and serious mental health disorder, similar to any other addiction, and it can have serious consequences if left untreated. When someone becomes dependent on cannabis, they no longer have control over their use and their life becomes consumed by the substance. This causes disruption to their physical and mental health, as well as social, occupational, and recreational activities.
There are several potential causes of cannabis addiction, including:
- Biology: Some research suggests that individuals who are genetically predisposed to addiction are more likely to become addicted to cannabis.
- Environment: People with access to cannabis, either due to socio-economic status, living in an area with more access to the substance, or having peers that use cannabis recreationally, are more likely to use it.
- Exposure: Early cannabis use has been associated with an increased risk of addiction. Individuals who begin using cannabis at an early age are more likely to become addicted.
- Mental Health Conditions: People with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, are at an increased risk of developing cannabis addiction due to altered brain chemistry.
- Age: Young people are more likely than adults to develop substance abuse problems due to the developing brain and changes in hormone levels during adolescence.
People with cannabis addiction often feel helpless or ashamed and are unable to recognize their own destructive behavior. If you or someone you know is suffering from cannabis addiction, there is help available. It is important to reach out to a medical professional or addiction specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
5. What are the Solutions to Cannabis Addiction?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – the initial step in treating cannabis addiction, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps users to gain control over their addiction. It’s based on the idea that users can learn how to identify their thoughts and behaviors that are related to their addiction and modify them in order to prevent relapse. CBT typically addresses several topics, such as self-esteem, resolution of past abuse, understanding triggers, refusal skills, and relapse prevention.
Contingency Management – this approach also known as motivational incentives, it can help people to stay away from addiction by rewarding them for positive behavior. This reinforcement approach encourages users to adopt healthier behaviors as a reward. For example, when users give up their addiction they can receive vouchers, tokens or something that will be useful for their recovery.
Support Groups – Cannabis anonymous groups help people to interact with others affected by addiction. It’s often a big part of the recovery process as users learn how to support and be supported by others. This type of support can help people to regain control of their lives and stay clear of the addiction.
- Engage in activities that provide a healthy distraction.
- Exchange support with family and friends.
- Have long-term goals for recovery.
- Keep away from situations that can make one use the drug.
As with all addictions, cannabis addiction is a serious problem and it takes tremendous motivation and support to overcome. The first step to curbing cannabis addiction is awareness of the signs and risk factors. Through gaining a better understanding of the drug and its possible side effects, individuals can more easily identify if they or someone they care about may be struggling with cannabis addiction. With the right resources, knowledge, and help, cannabis addiction can be effectively managed and people can live a healthy life free from substance abuse.