Cannabis and Addiction: The New Evidence

18th December 2020

A new research study has revealed that, although most cannabis users won’t develop an addiction, almost a third of people could develop a dependence on the drug after heavy use. But what does dependency mean in this regard? 

According to an Insider reports, researchers found that almost every other cannabis consumer “experienced withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using cannabis.”

The seriousness of these symptoms varies, though. Some have reported irritability, nervousness or even aggression, while others had sleep disturbances, headaches and appetite disturbances.

Samantha Miller, PhD, a psychologist specializing in children and adolescents at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, told Insider: “Signs of cannabis addiction include not only the physical effects of cannabis intake (like mood changes, slowing of speech, changes in appetite) but also the behavioural changes associated with addiction like being preoccupied with cannabis, experiencing financial hardship, increasingly withdrawn and secretive behaviour, involvement in crime or dangerous situations.”

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), cannabis disorder is “a problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

Physical dependence, however, is when the user requires more dosage as their body has built a tolerance to a drug.

Aaron Sternlicht, a licensed mental health counsellor who specializes in substance abuse disorders in New York City, said: “While cannabis may not be as physically addictive as substances such as opioids or alcohol, it can be physically addictive.

“While all drugs are different, all substance use disorders must meet the same criteria in order to be diagnosed and classified as such.”

The report says certain groups are in more danger of developing a dependency on drugs such as cannabis than others.

For instance, adolescents, people with mental health disorders and people that have had previous drug-related issues in their families – it would appear that genes do play a part in this matter as well.

For more information on the report and the signs of cannabis addiction visit Insider on this link.

Related Stories