Rehab 4 Addiction

Cannabis is one of the most commonly consumed psychoactive drugs available in the modern world, including in the UK.

Also known as marijuana, bud, or weed (amongst many other names, both official and street names), this refers to the plant matter obtained from the plants Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica.

Cannabis can be consumed in multiple ways: through smoking, consuming, or infusions with oils or other tinctures.

This is one of the reasons why cannabis is considered a dangerous drug, as many of these methods are unregulated, meaning that often individuals are unaware of the true potency, or ingredients of what they are consuming.

Currently, there is growing concern over the mental health issues that are associated with cannabis usage and most research is now focused on this area.

However, there is still a wide range of effects that are caused by cannabis usage, and these are explored later in this post.

How can cannabis be consumed

As mentioned above, there are many ways in which cannabis is consumed, making it one of the most commonly consumed drugs for recreational purposes.

In it’s most common form, cannabis is consumed as dried plant matter. This can originate from the leaves, stems, or buds of the plant.

In this form, cannabis can be rolled into cigarette papers, infused into other products such as oil, or further processed to produce hash oil.

This hash oil is extremely potent and can be added to any of the previous methods mentioned or smoked alone in a practice known as ‘dabbing’ which is becoming increasingly common.

Overall, when consuming cannabis, individuals are aiming to consume the chemical known as THC (the active ingredient of cannabis) as well as CBD, the chemical with more calming properties.

Most cannabis sold and consumed will have a higher THC content than CBD, as plants are now being bred with this purpose in mind to provide a stronger high.

As more interest is being brought to the field of cannabis and its consumption, there are more and more developments being made into the highs experienced as well as the contents of the cannabis itself.

As cannabis is still illegal in many countries, this is still unregulated and is causing a massive increase in the risks involved with consuming cannabis in these areas.

However, there is increased research into the medicinal purposes of cannabis, many of which are extremely promising and the medicinal use of cannabis has been implemented in several regions.

The different effects of cannabis

Cannabis, when consumed, affects the central nervous system (CNS). This can have a variety of effects, depending on the individual’s past history with cannabis as well as the potency and amount of cannabis they are consuming.

Some of the more common effects are listed below:

  • Altered perception of time and the environment
  • Increased appetite
  • Difficulty in moving
  • Increased libido
  • Sore throat (when smoking)
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Decreased attention

Though these effects will vary between individuals, and there are many other effects that are not as commonly reported, this list outlines the most common effects and the experience an individual may have when consuming cannabis.

The duration of these effects will also vary based on the individual’s history and the type of cannabis they have consumed.

As seen from the list, cannabis has both physical and mental effects and both of these must be considered when thinking of the further impacts of consuming cannabis, as well as the treatment options later in the rehabilitation process.

Effects of cannabis on teens in school

From these effects mentioned above, and from existing research, links can be drawn between regular cannabis usage and its effect on a child or teenager’s school career.

When regularly consuming cannabis, young people are much more likely to experience some of the negative effects that cannabis can have on the brain and cognition.

For example, a decreased perception whilst at school may decrease the amount of information the young person is able to take in, therefore potentially having a negative effect on their quality of work and/or exams etc.

Additionally, individuals at school may be affected by the physical effects of cannabis during sports lessons or physical activities in the classroom, impairing their ability to engage fully and effectively.

In the past, studies have shown that increased consumption of cannabis can increase the risks of a young person failing to obtain qualifications, not getting into university, and failing to graduate from university with a degree (1).

However, recent research based on experiences of high school students is being directed towards the positive benefits of cannabis during school careers, investigating effects such as reducing anxiety and depressive thoughts.

Effects of cannabis on work lives and careers

Even after leaving school, cannabis can affect an individual’s life substantially.

When someone is addicted to cannabis or using it regularly in high amounts, some research has shown that these individuals are likely to have a lower income, risk unemployment, and (in some cases) experience a lower quality of life (2).

Though these differences may only be minimal, this research is still limited and does not include a wide sample.

As mentioned earlier in this post, cannabis usage can have some serious impacts on mental health, contributing to issues such as anxiety and depression.

If an individual is using cannabis regularly, they may be more likely to experience these disorders, therefore having an impact on their career if they are unable to work at a high level or attend in general.

Feelings associated with these disorders such as overthinking, panic attacks, and low mood may make work extremely challenging, often having a serious impact if the individual is unable to attend.

This can lead to further issues such as relationship problems and financial difficulties.

Overall, consuming large amounts of cannabis regularly can have a knock-on effect on the individual’s everyday life and general wellbeing.

Effects of cannabis on social lives

As mentioned above, cannabis usage can have a knock-on effect on an individual’s life, including their relationships and social behaviours.

If an individual loses their job, for example, they may lose essential everyday socialisation, inducing feelings of loneliness which may worsen their mental health but also increase their cannabis consumption as well.

Furthermore, research has shown that heavy cannabis use can have a serious impact on cognition (thought patterns) which can have serious impacts on memory and communication (3).

Additionally, some of the effects of cannabis consumption include feelings of lethargy and an inability to move, meaning that individuals may be unable to attend social gatherings and/or maintain relationships vital to their overall wellbeing.

This can include all types of relationships. Rehab 4 Addiction provides support for those who may be seeking help on behalf of a loved one or partner as well as for yourself.

How can cannabis use in early life affect individuals?

A human’s brain develops in the early years of their lives, making these the most vital and important years in terms of maintaining a healthy environment for development.

This period of development continues until an individual is in their early 20s, meaning that any serious impacts during these times may affect an individual for the rest of their lives.

Cannabis can have a serious impact on the brain in this way, affecting the cognitions associated with the drug and its usage.

This may last until adulthood, affecting individuals in some of the ways mentioned above such as career issues, financial troubles, and issues maintaining relationships. These can all have serious effects on the individual’s day-to-day life as well as their mental wellbeing.

Getting help, support, and treatment for a cannabis addiction

As with all addictions, Rehab 4 Addiction has a wealth of experience helping those struggling with cannabis addiction.

Through our referral service, individuals will be advised and recommended on suitable therapy programmes, addiction treatments, and rehabilitation clinics where needed.

Not every individual experiences addiction in the same way, and therefore no treatment programme will be the same, meaning that every suggestion is tailored to each individual’s specific needs.

As cannabis generally has longer-term mental health effects, individuals are generally recommended to undergo mental health treatments such as therapies, both groups and individuals.

Below is a list of some of the most common types of therapy:
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – is the most common and popular therapy that people think of when considering therapy. It is based on the concept of helping the individual to create their own coping mechanisms and techniques to help manage their addiction in the long term.
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) – based on similar ideas to CBT, this type of therapy is more suitable for those who are more emotion-based. DBT helps individuals focus on recognition and management of emotions as part of developing coping techniques.
  • Group talking therapy – as part of a group, individuals share and explore their experiences with addiction, learning from others’ experiences and developing ways to share their own experiences, developing from this in the process.
  • Holistic therapies – are more modern therapies, at the forefront of addiction research. Including therapies such as art, music, exercise, and equine therapy, these use a combination of different techniques to help the individual explore their addiction, finding the origin and growing from this.

For more information, or to ask any questions relating to addiction, don’t hesitate to contact Rehab 4 Addiction.

References

[1] Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J. and Beautrais, A.L., 2003. Cannabis and educational achievement. Addiction, 98(12), pp.1681-1692.

[2] Gruber, A.J., Pope, H.G., Hudson, J.I. and Yurgelun-Todd, D., 2003. Attributes of long-term heavy cannabis users: a case-control study. Psychological medicine, 33(8), pp.1415-1422.

[3] Block, R.I. and Ghoneim, M.M., 1993. Effects of chronic marijuana use on human cognition. Psychopharmacology, 110(1), pp.219-228.

boris

Boris is our editor-in-chief at Rehab 4 Addiction. Boris is an addiction expert with more than 20 years in the field.  His expertise covers a broad of topics relating to addiction, rehab and recovery. Boris is an addiction therapist and assists in the alcohol detox and rehab process. Boris has been featured on a variety of websites, including the BBC, Verywell Mind and Healthline.