According to a recent study from King’s College London, 16 and 17-year-olds are nearly four times more likely to suffer from addiction to cannabis than adults because their brains are still developing.
While cannabis is seen as one of the less harmful drugs, due to its class B status and its legalisation in other countries, the substance can become highly addictive and harmful, with 1 in 10 regular cannabis users becoming dependent on it.
With this in mind, Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has explained the signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction to look out for if you’re worried about your or a loved one’s relationship with the substance.
The Signs and Symptoms of Cannabis Addiction
Fatigue, lethargy, apathy
While addicted to cannabis, a person may experience symptoms of fatigue, lethargy or apathy. This is because cannabis contains THC chemicals that send signals to your brain that often make you tired or promote sleep.
Lack of interest in physical appearance
A person addicted to cannabis may often show a lack of interest in physical appearance. This can include not changing clothes for days on end or forgetting to shower.
Cannabis addiction can also lead to mood swings. This is because it interferes with the region of the brain that helps regulate emotion control and how we react to other people’s behaviour. These changes may mean that the person who is addicted to cannabis could experience outbursts of sudden anger.
Poor attention span
Another sign of addiction can include poor attention span. This is because the chemicals in cannabis slow down the brain’s cognitive functions, including memory and learning, making it harder to concentrate.
Anxiety or paranoia
Using cannabis regularly can also cause symptoms of anxiety or paranoia. This can be because high levels of THC (the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis) can increase anxiety symptoms such as an increased heart rate or racing thoughts.
Finding a stronger substance
Someone addicted to cannabis may also become obsessed with finding and accessing stronger strains of the substance or may start mixing it with other drugs to experience greater effects.
Becoming defensive when challenged
A person struggling with cannabis addiction may become defensive or try to justify their use of cannabis despite an apparent decline in mental, physical, social or emotional health.
Disinterest in things they used to enjoy
As a person’s addiction to cannabis progresses, a common sign that they may be struggling could include becoming disinterested in spending time with their friends or loved ones or spending less time doing activities they used to enjoy.
Risk-taking while under the influence
Cannabis addiction can also cause a person to take more risks or find themselves in dangerous situations while under the influence. It can impair motor skills and affect judgement and decision-making.
Cravings become overwhelming
A person who struggles with cannabis abuse may experience symptoms, including cravings for the substance that become overwhelming when they do not have access to it.