Cannabis addiction treatment

Explaining how cannabis addiction is treated and the different treatment options available.

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This page was reviewed by Stephanie Chick, senior addictions therapist in Priory Hospital North London, in July 2020.

Cannabis is one of the most widely misused substances in the UK, and yet many myths still persist about the dangers of this substance. Also commonly referred to as 'marijuana' or 'weed', this drug is derived from the cannabis plant, and yes, it is addictive. Over time, your brain adapts to the chemicals within the drug, to the point where you need more of the drug in order to achieve the same high.

If you regularly use cannabis and experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the drug when you're not using it, this could be a sign you've developed a cannabis addiction.

How is cannabis addiction treated?

When you choose Priory for treating cannabis addiction, you'll benefit from the many levels of support that we provide. We will ensure that you're placed within a setting that will help you to achieve the most beneficial outcomes possible.

Treatment for cannabis addiction can take place as part of our 28-day addiction treatment programme, which will be tailored to you and structured within National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

 What’s included in our 28-day addiction treatment programme?

  • A FREE, no obligation addiction assessment
  • 7 to 10-day medically assisted detox, if needed
  • Individual 1:1 therapy, online therapy and structured group therapy programmes
  • Family and couples programmes
  • Access to both on and off-site 12-step support groups
  • Free aftercare for 12 months following treatment (aftercare is provided for life following treatment at Priory Hospital Roehampton)
  • Free family support for 12 months following treatment (family support is provided for life following treatment at Priory Hospital Roehampton)

Lead addiction therapist discusses treatment at Priory Hospital Altrincham

In this video, Frank Dunne, Deputy Lead Addiction Therapist at Priory Hospital Altrincham, talks about how we treat addictions at our network of hospitals and rehab facilities. 

Free addiction assessment

We recognise that reaching out for help can be daunting. That’s why we offer a free assessment with a Priory expert at your nearest Priory hospital. Call our dedicated team today to arrange an assessment.

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Cannabis addiction treatment options

Detoxification - a closely monitored environment where you can come off cannabis while receiving support from our medical staff. We will support you to manage your withdrawal symptoms and keep associated feelings of anxiety under control.

Residential rehabilitation - inpatient treatment services offer 24-hour care and support for patients who need more intensive care.

Day care - used as a step-down from residential treatment or a step-up from outpatient care, this flexible option is used to promote continued recovery.

Outpatient therapy – the least intensive treatment option available, this level of care involves patients attending a Priory hospital or clinic, usually for a set number of hourly sessions, which take place on a weekly basis.

Patients at Priory will also have access to a wide variety of treatments, including one-to-one and group therapy. One-to-one therapy provides a private space to process your challenges, explore past issues that may have contributed to your addiction, and develop coping skills for the future.

Group therapy is an excellent way of combating the sense of isolation that many people struggle with when they have an addiction. In groups, patients can share their stories and learn from others who've gone through similar experiences.

While at Priory, patients will have the option to attend lots of different types of therapy groups, including:

  • Assertiveness therapy
  • Body image therapy
  • Educational and vocational programmes
  • Exercise and activity classes
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Psycho-educational workshops
  • Creative and experiential groups

We also offer a free and confidential addiction assessment within an understanding environment. This helps you to understand the extent of your cannabis addiction and how you can regain control of your life.

According to Priory expert, Dr Niall Campbell, cannabis misuse is on the rise, especially amongst teens, and it's strongly linked to increasing cases of drug-induced psychosis.

“I am seeing an increasing number of young adults with paranoid psychoses – a schizophrenia-like illness and depression, which developed from marijuana use,” he said.

Read more about how cannabis and psychosis are linked.

Dr Niall Campbell Cannabis use linked to rise in psychosis

What causes cannabis addiction?

The calming, relaxed state that cannabis produces can be enticing if you struggle with untreated mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, or if you struggle in social or professional situations. If you need to consume cannabis to function or avoid discomfort, it's likely that you've developed an unhealthy dependence on the drug that needs professional help.

The chances of developing an addiction varies from person-to-person and some people can use the drug without developing dependence. Factors such as the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC - the psychoactive compound of cannabis), that's consumed when taking cannabis can determine the intensity of the high. Different strains of cannabis contain higher amounts of THC than others, with particularly strong types of cannabis believed to contribute towards a greater likelihood of you developing an addiction. Different strains of cannabis can also stay in the body for longer, so the symptoms people experience can vary.

Some people argue that cannabis is a safe and harmless drug, although misusing cannabis and developing an addiction occurs in 10% of people who are exposed to the drug. If you begin using cannabis in your teens, the chances of you becoming addicted rise to 16%. Also, the long-term damage to your mental health increases as you need more cannabis to achieve the same effects.

Other factors that can play a role in whether you develop an addiction to cannabis include:

  • Genetic - if you have an immediate relative who has struggled with addiction at some point in their life, this might make you more predisposed to having an addictive personality and an increased chance of cannabis addiction
  • Environmental - a disruptive home life as a child is believed to increase the chances of developing an addiction as you grow older. This is possibly due to you wanting to take back a level of control that wasn’t possible when you were young. The earlier you start taking drugs, such as part of a social group at school or college, the more likely it is that you'll develop an addiction
  • Psychological - if you're already struggling with an existing mental illness, you might self-medicate by using drugs such as cannabis, to reduce unwanted symptoms. This method is likely to worsen your mental health symptoms and can lead to co-existing mental health problems alongside an addiction

Private medical insurance

We are a registered and approved provider for all of the UK's leading private medical insurers. All of the services we offer at Priory can be funded through private medical insurance. This includes:

  • Mental health treatment
  • Addiction treatment
  • Eating disorder treatment

All clients will have access to our highly skilled and accredited clinicians, many of whom are published experts in their fields of treatment. Whatever your requirements, we're committed to working with you to get your life back on track.

Registered and approved provider

We are a registered and approved provider for all of the UK's leading private medical insurers.

Addiction treatment near me

We have addiction treatment centres located throughout the country, ensuring that you can access the support you need in a location that's convenient for you. To find your nearest addiction treatment centre, please use the search form below.

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

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