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Cannabis addiction signs and symptoms

Also commonly referred to as 'marijuana', 'grass' and 'weed', cannabis is a mixture of dried leaves, flowers and stems from the cannabis sativa plant and is the most commonly misused illegal substance in the UK. Cannabis is typically smoked, either in a cigarette form or via a pipe, while the drug may also be misused by brewing it in tea or cooking it in certain foods.

Cannabis affects your central nervous system to produce sensations including relaxation, mild euphoria, increased appetite and difficulties perceiving space and time. Many people mistakenly believe that cannabis is a safe or harmless substance, although if you misuse cannabis you expose yourself to both immediate harm and long-term damage, including the development of an addiction.

If you become addicted to cannabis, you will feel compelled to continue to misuse this substance, often in increasingly greater amounts, to the detriment of your health and wellbeing.

Cannabis addiction symptoms

As with all forms of substance misuse and addiction, cannabis misuse may reveal itself through a variety of signs and symptoms, which can vary in appearance and severity from person to person.

The following are the more common signs of cannabis misuse.

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Frequent, unexplained absences from work or school
  • Declining performance at work or in school
  • Losing interest in activities or events that were previously significant
  • Lying, secrecy or other forms of deception involving whereabouts and/or activities
  • Possessing rolling papers, water pipes and other paraphernalia
  • Continuing to misuse cannabis even after experiencing negative repercussions due to prior misuse of the drug
  • Trying but being incapable of stopping or reducing your cannabis use
  • Using cannabis when it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as prior to driving a car

Physical symptoms of cannabis addiction:

Those with a cannabis addiction often experience the following physical symptoms:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Impaired balance
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Lack of attention to grooming and hygiene

Mental symptoms:

Mental symptoms of cannabis addiction can include:

  • Problems concentrating or focusing
  • Delayed responsiveness
  • Poor judgement
  • Impaired ability to track the passage of time
  • Indecisiveness
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia

Social symptoms:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Associating with new peers
Effects of cannabis misuse and addiction
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Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal
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