Cannabis has always been prevalent in the United Kingdom, but over the past decade, there has been a serious increase in people not only trying it once or twice but becoming overly reliant on cannabis. With an average of 30% of people aged between 16 and 59 years old having tried cannabis in their lifetime. The majority report consuming cannabis with peers in social situations but this can quickly develop into a habit, and then taking cannabis alone, which is a common sign an addiction is forming.
Is Cannabis Addictive?
Although many believe cannabis isn’t addictive like other substances, this is untrue. It is possible to develop a dependence on cannabis, meaning a person will feel withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. These withdrawal symptoms include; irritability, appetite issues, mood swings and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks after taking cannabis.
Addiction can also be defined by behavioural signs. For example, acquiring and taking cannabis becomes more important than work, family or a person’s own basic needs. Studies suggest 9% of people who use cannabis will become dependant, but this number rises to 17% when the person began taking cannabis before the age of 18.
The Increase of Cannabis Dependency
The studies previously mentioned have noted an increase in the use of cannabis but many believe the increase in dependency is linked more closely to the increased potency of cannabis within the United Kingdom, and the world. The increase in potency comes from the higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels available. THC is the chemical in cannabis that creates the psychological ‘high’. Before the 90s THC levels would average less than 2%. In the 90s, this percentage doubles to 4%. This percentage very quickly begins to climb until 2015, where THC levels were now averaging 12%. After 2017, THC levels range from 17% to 28%.
Many people believe if we are to have an educated discussion about the legalisation of cannabis in the UK, similarly to the US, the issue of potency should be more widely discussed and the information more openly shared.
Signs and Symptoms of Cannabis Addiction
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction is very important to know, not only for self-reflection but as a helpful insight about a loved one. Typical indicators to be aware of include;
- Increased tolerance to cannabis
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Inability to cut down on consumption
- Lying to loved ones about cannabis usage
- Lack of interest in old hobbies – using the time you used to dedicate to hobbies to use cannabis.
- Education or work is being affected
- Must have cannabis in order to sleep.
If you believe you, or a loved one, is struggling with cannabis addiction contact us today! We can help arrange treatment and answer any questions you may have.
Treatment For Cannabis Addiction
There are a number of options for recovery from cannabis addiction. Every rehab will have a slightly different approach but they tend to follow a similar process when tackling cannabis addiction.
Detoxification: Detox is the process of slowly weaning someone off cannabis. You will be closely monitored by medical staff and given any medications if withdrawal becomes difficult. They can also assist with any mental health issues that may also arise during detoxification.
In-patient rehab: Also known as residential rehabilitation is when you stay at the facility, and receive constant support and care from a highly trained team. Whilst you are there you will undergo a range of therapies and treatments. Which treatments are appropriate for you will be determined by the staff but will include; counselling, group therapy and sometimes holistic approaches to addiction recovery.
Out-patient care: This is a more flexible option but can be less effective. You will remain at home and attend a rehab facility for treatment.