Cannabis has become increasingly accepted by society and laws are changing fast. If you want to pursue the medical cannabis route, can you develop a cannabis addiction and what are the potential cannabis risks involved? This article discusses how to recognise a cannabis addiction and how to avoid it, the differences between THC and CBD in cannabis and what each means for your health.
Disclaimer: This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services.
What is cannabis?
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, weed or skunk is a plant that contains the psychoactive compound THC. Cannabis can be smoked, vaped, or ingested in food or drinks. It used to be drug sold on the black market, although now in some countries and states, you can either buy it online or have it delivered.
Cannabis can be found in multiple different products.
THC is the main compound in cannabis that gives users a “high” feeling. CBD is another compound found in cannabis, but it does not have psychoactive effects. The main difference between THC and CBD is that THC gets you high while CBD does not.
When you smoke or ingest cannabis with high levels of THC, you will experience the psychoactive effects of being high, such as increased heart rate, heightened senses, and changes in mood. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce these psychoactive effects.
Although Cannabis has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational properties, cannabis use can also lead to dependence and addiction.
People who use cannabis can develop tolerance to its effects, meaning they need to take increasingly larger doses to achieve the same desired effect.
Cannabis dependence occurs when people feel they need to use the drug to function normally. People who are addicted to cannabis may have difficulty controlling their use, even if it’s causing problems in their lives. They may give up important activities in order to get and use the drug. Cannabis withdrawal may occur when people try to quit, resulting in symptoms such as irritability, sleep difficulties, and cravings. Treatment for cannabis addiction typically includes behavioural therapy and counselling.
What are the Pros and Cons of medical cannabis?
Cannabis is a controversial drug with a long history of debate. Supporters claim that it has a wide range of medical benefits, including pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and the ability to help with conditions like anxiety and depression – Nutrascience Labs 1Nutrascience Labs https://www.nutrasciencelabs.com/blog/cbd-vs-thc-learn-the-difference-in-2-minutes . Opponents argue that cannabis is addictive and can lead to mental health problems like psychosis.
How do drugs impact the brain?
Drugs impact the brain by causing changes in the way neurons to communicate. These changes can lead to alterations in mood, behavior, and consciousness. Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences.
Cannabis use can have a range of short- and long-term effects on your brain. Short-term effects can include:
* impaired ability to remember, concentrate or pay attention
* changes in your mood
* impaired coordination and motor skills
The Long-term effects of smoking cannabis
The long-term effects of smoking cannabis are similar to the effects of smoking tobacco. These effects can include risks to lung health, such as:
* lung infections
* chronic (long-term) cough
* increased mucus buildup in the chest
Does cannabis addiction exist?
Cannabis is a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it, and people can have very heated debates on the subject. So, let’s set the record straight, the majority of people that use cannabis — either recreationally or medicinally — do not develop a cannabis addiction. However, some people (and the exact reasons are unknown) may develop a dependence on cannabis. This means they feel withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it.
There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of whether or not cannabis addiction exists. Some people believe that it does, while others believe that it doesn’t. There is still a lack of scientific evidence to support either claim. However, there are some cases where people have experienced withdrawal symptoms after quitting cannabis, which suggests that addiction may be possible.
If you’re concerned about your cannabis use, it’s important to talk to a doctor or other medical professional who can help you figure out if you have an issue with addiction. They can also provide you with resources and support to help you quit if you need to.
Why do people potentially develop a cannabis addiction?
Cannabis addiction is a real phenomenon, and it’s one that is affecting more and more people every year. While the exact reasons why someone might become addicted to cannabis are not always clear, there are some risk factors that have been identified.
Risk Factors of a potential cannabis addiction
1) Young Age
People who start using cannabis at a young age are more likely to become addicted than those who start using it as adults. This is because the brain is still developing during adolescence, and exposure to THC during this time can interfere with normal brain development.
Myth vs fact about marijuana use
|Myth||Fact||What we don’t know|
|Marijuana is not addictive||1 in 6 teenagers becomes addicted (just like addiction to alcohol or cigarettes)||Why do some people become addicted and others do not|
|There are no long-term effects||Marijuana use before the age of 18 may affect IQ||How long-lasting these effects are, and whether they resolve after abstinence|
|Marijuana is safe for teenagers||Nearly all negative effects of marijuana (e.g. brain changes, neurocognitive deficits) are worse in teenagers rather than adult users||How differences in mental health and use of other substances affect marijuana-related harms|
Psychiatric Times Research 3Psychiatric Times: Cannabis use in young adults https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/cannabis-use-young-adults-challenges-during-transition-adulthood.
2) History of mental health
Cannabis addiction is also more likely to develop in people who have a history of mental health disorders or who use cannabis to self-medicate for other problems. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder, using cannabis might seem like an attractive way to cope. However, this can often lead to addiction.
3) Family History
Finally, people who have a family history of addiction are also at increased risk for developing an addiction to cannabis. If you have parents or grandparents who struggled with alcoholism or drug addiction, you may be more likely to develop an addiction yourself.
If you’re concerned about your own cannabis use, or if you’re worried that someone you know might be addicted, it’s important to seek help from a professional. Addiction is a serious problem, but it’s one that can be treated with the right help.
How can you tell if someone is a cannabis addict?
The DSM-5 4DSM-5 Research: What are the diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders due to cannabis use? https://nadk.flinders.edu.au/kb/cannabis/cannabis-health/what-are-the-diagnostic-criteria-for-mental-health-disorders-due-to-cannabis-use have advised if a person displays at least two of the following symptoms over a 12-month period, they potentially have an addiction.
You can identify the signs of cannabis addiction in yourself or someone you care about by identifying the most common traits.
1. Tolerance: The need to smoke more and more weed to get the desired effect.
2. Withdrawal: Experiencing physical and psychological symptoms when trying to quit or reduce consumption.
3. Unsuccessful attempts to quit: A person who is addicted to cannabis will often try to quit or cut back but find themselves unable to do so.
4. Neglecting responsibilities: An addicted individual may start neglecting their work, school, or family responsibilities in favor of using cannabis.
5. Problems in relationships: Cannabis addiction can lead to problems in both personal and professional relationships.
Potential risks of cannabis addiction
Cannabis addiction can be a risk with potentially harmful consequences. Some of the risks associated with cannabis addiction include:
– impaired cognitive function and decreased IQ
– difficulty concentrating and short-term memory problems
– impaired motor skills and coordination
– increased anxiety and paranoia
– psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations
– withdrawal symptoms including irritability, insomnia, and decreased appetite
Cannabis addiction should be taken seriously and for it to be successfully treated, professional help is required.
Although there is still much debate on the matter, it seems that cannabis may indeed be addictive (although as mentioned, the exact reasons are unknown). If you are considering using cannabis, be sure to do your research and consult with a medical professional to ensure that it is the right decision for you. Remember, addiction is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly.
Sources and References
- 1Nutrascience Labs https://www.nutrasciencelabs.com/blog/cbd-vs-thc-learn-the-difference-in-2-minutes
- 2Research Paper: Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26903403/
- 3Psychiatric Times: Cannabis use in young adults https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/cannabis-use-young-adults-challenges-during-transition-adulthood.
- 4DSM-5 Research: What are the diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders due to cannabis use? https://nadk.flinders.edu.au/kb/cannabis/cannabis-health/what-are-the-diagnostic-criteria-for-mental-health-disorders-due-to-cannabis-use