There are many signs and symptoms of cannabis abuse that can signal whether a state of addiction to the drug has been reached. And if an addict or abuser—or friend or family member of that addict—is concerned that their use of cannabis is out control, it’s important to take action in seeking professional help to determine the severity of the dependence and what steps can be taken to cease use of the drug.
The first and most obvious sign of cannabis addiction (marijuana, hash etc.) is that a state of tolerance on the drug has been reached. When cannabis use first begins, it often takes only a small amount of the drug to feel the desired effects of relaxation and euphoria. But in time the body and brain quickly become accustomed to the effects and therefore the user must smoke more and more of the drug to achieve the characteristic “high.” And often, the abuser will lose control over their use of cannabis, perhaps making promises to cut back but finding themselves unable to do so as they have become dependent on the drug’s ability to create an “escapist” sense from daily responsibilities. Likewise, an obvious sign of cannabis abuse occurs when the user spends most their time getting high and begins to ignore friends and family as well as activities once enjoyed.
If someone who is a consistent user of cannabis begins choosing their relationships based on use of the drug—essentially spending more and more time with people who also abuse marijuana—there’s a good chance that a state of addiction to the drug has occurred. Also, if a cannabis user ceases using the drug, they will most likely experience a state of withdrawal, which can take the form of insomnia, anxiety and a sudden loss of appetite.
Of course, one of the hallmarks of cannabis use is the pleasurable sense of relaxation it provides. However, if the addict suddenly begins using the drug to calm down or reduce anxiety—and if they’re unable to reach a state of relaxation without cannabis—there is a clear indication that a state of physical and mental dependence has been reached. Additionally, a lack of ability to handle daily responsibilities—a job, school, caring for a family etc.—is common with long-term cannabis use, as is a persistent lack of productivity when attempting even simple tasks.
Lastly, most often frequent cannabis users experience negative consequences as a result of their abuse of the drug, whether it’s the loss of a job, strained relationships with family and friends or financial and legal troubles. And if the user continues to abuse cannabis despite knowing the negative consequences that accompany that use there is a good chance that a level of addiction exists, and professional help should be sought to determine the extent of the addiction and what courses of action can be taken to cease abuse of the drug.