Cannabis, or Marijuana, is a plant-derived, psychoactive drug that is generally smoked. Its effects include changes in perception and mood, as well as feelings of euphoria, or relaxation.
However, users may also experience negative effects such as paranoia, or anxiety. Increased appetite, sleepiness, and short term memory impairment are more common effects of smoking cannabis.
Cannabis can sometimes act as a ‘gateway drug’, meaning that users may start off taking this drug before moving onto harder drugs in search of a stronger high. Drug dealers selling harder drugs in addition to cannabis will inevitably ask clients if they would like to sample these too.
Negative Health Impact of Smoking Cannabis
Cannabis has a reputation as a ‘soft’ drug, but it can damage both physical and mental health in a number of ways.
Cannabis can interrupt the user’s sleep pattern, and cause changes in mood, which can, in turn, lead to depression. Increasing evidence has linked cannabis use to the emergence of mental health disorders in people that are predisposed to psychological disorders. In extreme cases, heavy cannabis use can trigger a psychotic episode.
These psychological effects have been linked in particular to the potent ‘skunk’ variety of cannabis, which contains high levels of THC. This is now the main type of cannabis that can be found on the street in the UK.
Long-term cannabis use can have a damaging effect on memory and concentration abilities.
High doses of cannabis can cause psychosis or panic. Some people experience an acute psychotic reaction (disturbed perceptions and thoughts, paranoia) or panic attacks while under the influence of cannabis.
There is a strong link between cannabis use starting before the age of 16 and schizophrenia in late life. Cannabis use can also worsen psychotic symptoms in people who already have schizophrenia.
According to different studies and reports, cannabis consumption can also result in:
- Acute memory loss
- Weakened immune system
- Severe vomiting sickness
Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms
Long-term cannabis users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Irritability, Aggression, Insomnia
- Night sweats, Loss of appetite
- Weight fluctuations, Digestion problems
- Cramps or nausea after eating
- Restlessness, Anxiety, Depression
All of these withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to remain abstinent.
Residential Cannabis Addiction Treatment
Castle Craig has been successfully treating patients with drug and alcohol addiction for over 30 years. As one of the leading addiction clinics in the UK, we provide the highest quality of care to our patients.
Our cannabis addiction treatment programme is personally tailored to each patient based on their history of drug use and their individual treatment goals. Our treatment programme incorporates group therapy and personal therapy, alongside family therapy if appropriate.
We also offer a range of complementary therapies and activities which provide emotional and spiritual healing. These include drumming therapy, equine therapy, art, creative writing and mindfulness meditation.
We continue to support patients after they have completed their treatment with us by providing:
- A two-year continuing care plan
- Weekly group therapy sessions
- Helping them to engage with local Narcotics Anonymous groups
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | September 10, 2021