What are the signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction?
This page was reviewed by Robin Clayton, Primary Therapist, (BACP, ATSAC) in September 2021.
Cannabis addiction is associated with a whole host of psychological, physical, behavioural and social symptoms. As well as being unique to each individual, these symptoms can also vary according to how much cannabis you are using, how frequently you are using cannabis, the method by which you are consuming cannabis and the strength of the cannabis that you’re using.
Our highly experienced team at Life Works are dedicated to enabling you to overcome your challenges and get your life back on track. Understanding the signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction is the first step towards finding appropriate cannabis addiction treatment, and achieving recovery and wellbeing.
As well as consuming cannabis on a regular basis, the following are also signs that you, or someone that you know, may be struggling with a harmful addiction:
Psychological symptoms of cannabis addiction:
- Feeling nervous and ‘on edge’
- Increased temper and irritability
- Feelings of guilt
- Reduced self-esteem
- Mood swings
- Inability to track the passage of time
- Poor judgement
- Memory problems
- Regularly consuming cannabis to relieve stress and tension; this can often be the trigger for many people who go on to become addicted to cannabis
- Finding it hard to focus or concentrate at work, home, or in any other areas of your life
- Intense cravings for cannabis
- Exacerbation of any existing mental health problems
Physical symptoms of cannabis addiction:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Disrupted sleep patterns, including insomnia
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Impaired balance and co-ordination
- Lack of concern over physical appearance/personal hygiene
- Appearance of withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, and feeling shaky, emotionally volatile and nauseous, if you haven’t consumed cannabis for a certain amount of time
Behavioural and social symptoms of cannabis addiction:
- Continuing to take cannabis despite the negative effects that this has had on your life
- Using other drugs alongside cannabis
- Engaging in risky behaviours when under the influence of cannabis e.g. driving
- Avoiding contact with family and friends, leading to social isolation
- Finding that you only tend to spend time with other people who take cannabis
- Devoting an excessive amount of time to obtaining and using cannabis
- Prioritising cannabis over other activities
- Losing interest in activities, hobbies or events that were once important to you
- Neglecting responsibilities and relationships
- Poor performance and/or attendance at work
Cannabis addiction and denial
Denial is another common symptom of cannabis addiction. You may deny that you have a problem with cannabis misuse both to yourself and others through:
- Minimising the effects of your cannabis use
- Criticising those around you for making too much fuss about your cannabis use
- Concealing your cannabis misuse from your loved ones
- Considerably underestimating the amount of cannabis you are taking
- Placing the blame for your cannabis use on other people or situations in your life
What are the long-term effects of cannabis addiction?
Cannabis addiction can also result in a whole host of long-term negative effects such as:
- Damage to internal organs such as the heart and lungs
- Problems with mental processing
- Reduced self-esteem
- Strained or ruined relationships
- Family breakdowns
- Job loss and long-term unemployment
- Financial difficulties
- Legal problems, including arrest and imprisonment
Why it’s so important to get help for your cannabis addiction
At Life Works, we know that cannabis addiction is an illness. This is central to our clinical philosophy and underpins our approach to cannabis addiction treatment. We use the very latest research to inform our understanding of how problems with cannabis use affect the individual and how we can provide effective treatment for these problems.
Feeling ashamed or guilty about your behaviour can be incredibly difficult and often increases your need to take cannabis, if only to get relief from these feelings. This is one of the most common and insidious symptoms of cannabis addiction.