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How Cannabis Addiction Affects Your Mind and Body

Cannabis addiction, also known as cannabis use disorder, can happen to anyone and is not to be taken lightly. According to the Government of Canada, one in three people who use cannabis will develop a problem. Roughly nine percent of those who use cannabis will become addicted to it. Addiction of any kind should be taken seriously, regardless of the substance.

Cannabis addiction, like other addictions, comes with many negative consequences and can impact an individual’s life. When an addiction takes over, the individual is at risk for many life-altering effects. These can include the suffering of familial or other relationships (which are often lost), poor work reputation putting termination at high risk, as well as financial hardships.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis goes by many names. Some of these are marijuana, stick, grass, head, mary jane, pot, weed, hash, dope, ganja, joint, cone, dabs, choof, mull, 420, dabbing, and BHO. No matter what it is referred to, cannabis is a cannabinoid drug.

Cannabinoids are a group of substances found in the cannabis plant. How many cannabinoids are in the cannabis sativa plant is still unknown. However, the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) are among the main ones.

Cannabis (marijuana) refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. It can be smoked, vaped, or eaten.

Where Does the Cannabis “High” Come From?

The high that comes from cannabis derives from the THC‘s effects on the nerve cells that control sensory perception and pleasure. Increased levels of THC will result in an increased level of high. THC is responsible for the way the brain and body respond to cannabis.

During the inhaling or ingestion of cannabis, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This leads to mood changes, memory troubles, appetite changes, and perception of pain, among other effects. These various effects can be broken down into two categories: mental health and physical health.

Mental Health Effects

When using cannabis daily in high doses, individuals are at risk for serious impacts on their mental health. The most common among these are paranoia, anxiety, disorientation, as well as negative feelings and thoughts.

Studies have linked heavy cannabis use to even more serious conditions such as psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders (SUDs). One, in particular, suggested that smoking high-potency cannabis daily could raise the risk of developing psychosis by almost five times compared to non-users of cannabis.

Physical Health Effects

Smoking marijuana delivers not only THC and other cannabinoids to the body but also harmful substances, including several of the toxins and carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) found in tobacco smoke. These cause harm to the lungs and cardiovascular system. Additionally, smoking marijuana also increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.

Treatment Options Available

While cannabis addiction can seriously impact physical and mental health, it is a treatable condition. There are many treatment options available that aim to help individuals recover from cannabis addiction.

Studies have shown both inpatient and outpatient treatment to be equally effective forms of treatment regarding addiction. Deciding which one to pursue is on a case-to-case basis. A consultation is the best way to determine which is needed

Some of the most common treatments for cannabis addiction are as follows:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient rehabilitation (residential rehab) is intensive care that is designed to treat severe addictions. There are, however, some great outpatient programs geared toward intensive care available. This allows individuals the flexibility of the outpatient option while maintaining the intensive care of an inpatient program.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

This type of rehabilitation is a part-time program that allows individuals flexibility in their day-to-day schedules while still receiving excellent and effective treatment for their addiction. These rehabilitation programs are built to assist in relapse prevention and overall addiction management.

Support Groups

Joining a support group is a very effective tool for recovery in multiple ways. Studies have reported a decrease in relapse risk from 24% down to seven percent from individuals who joined a support group for addiction. These groups are designed to help participants experience a sense of camaraderie and overall belonging. The members have a newfound family to lean on and hold them accountable. Support groups also encourage healthy habits and hobbies.

Find Treatment for Cannabis Addiction Today

The most important aspect of treatment is that there is treatment available. No matter what level of cannabis addiction you’re facing, you don’t have to face it alone. There are great programs available whose team’s primary goal is to help you get to recovery and get your life back. You can achieve whatever you set your heart and mind to. Your future is yours to take hold of once more.

We believe no one should have to face cannabis addiction alone, so you shouldn’t have to either. Here at BeWell, we want to be the shoulder you can lean on during recovery. We offer a range of treatment plans to help you regain control of your life with a full team of support. Our team knows that reaching out takes a lot of courage, and we couldn’t be more proud of you for taking this step to better yourself and your future. Overcoming addiction is an amazing accomplishment to take pride in every single day. Call us today at (647) 715-3900 to get started on your personalized recovery journey. We can’t wait to begin this process with you.

About the Author

Katlyn Morrison

Registered Psychotherapist
Katlyn is a Registered Psychotherapist with 10 years of experience in the field of mental health and addiction. Katlyn’s experience has allowed her to specialize in working with individuals impacted by substance use, depression, anxiety, trauma, personality disorders, stress, and grief and loss. She integrates a variety of modalities into her practice including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Attachment and Trauma Focused Therapy.