Cannabis remains probably one of the most widely misunderstood and widely used substances in the UK. Despite being illegal in Great Britain, many people still regard cannabis to be more or less risk free and relatively innocuous. It brings on a state of calmness, relaxation and euphoria, and you don’t get the hangover, as you might with alcohol. It was, up until recently, also commonly thought that cannabis wasn’t addictive.
However, recent research has shown neither of these popular misconceptions to be true. Research suggests that cannabis addiction is certainly not free of risk. It is now known that:
- Cannabis can affect your driving ability (driving under the influence of drugs is illegal, like drink driving.)
- Cannabis can have an adverse affect on your mental health. Regularly using cannabis may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses. This is particularly the case in young people.
- If you smoke cannabis with tobacco on a regular basis, you may also be more likely to develop tobacco smoking-related illnesses, such as lung cancer and heart disease.
- Cannabis could make it harder to conceive if you are trying for a baby. Research suggests that cannabis can affect the production of healthy sperm in men, and disrupt ovulation in women.
- Research suggests that using cannabis during pregnancy could affect your baby’s brain development.
- Cannabis is illegal, therefore its manufacture is not monitored in the way that legal products are, and could be contaminated with unknown substances, thereby increasing health risks.
- Research suggests that long-term cannabis use can reduce motivation and cause depression.
If used on a regular basis, current evidence now suggests that cannabis can be addictive. Additionally, cannabis addiction shares the same characteristics as other “harder” drugs, namely the build up of tolerance. In essence, the addict has to consume ever larger quantities to achieve the same effect.
As with other, more well known drugs, heavy cannabis users experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- loss of weight
- low appetite
- sleep disorders
- strange dreams
- increased levels of irritability and/or aggressive behaviour
It would seem that cannabis addiction is not as “harmless” as some people would suggest. Although they probably wouldn’t like to admit it, those addicted to cannabis find it affecting their home, school and working lives.
If you need to discuss cannabis addiction or any other addictions which are affecting you, please call us on 020 8720 6521. Your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.