Cannabis is a plant that has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. In recent years, it has become more widely legalized and accepted around the world, leading to increased use among adults. However, there is a lot of debate around whether or not cannabis can be addictive.
What is addiction?
Addiction is defined as a compulsive behavior to use a substance despite negative consequences, but it is different to speak of addiction or psychological dependence that it is to speak of physical dependence. We, humans tend to develop psychological dependence to everything: to our phone, to our bed, to our ex. So it wouldn’t be fair to measure how addictive a substance is based solely on the psychological dependence developed by the users. It is true that anything that makes us feel good and we use it for long periods of time or indulge in it periodically has the potential to become something that we depend on in the future.
Addiction vs Physical dependence
Physical dependence is something that happens in more extreme cases in which the body becomes accustomed to the presence of THC and needs it to function normally. When someone who has developed physical dependence on THC stops using it or reduces their intake, they can experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety, insomnia, decreased appetite, sweating, and tremors. These symptoms can typically last for several days to a few weeks, depending on the extent of dependence, and they are treatable, in many cases with CBD.
Best practices to avoid addiction:
While cannabis addiction is a possibility, it is important to note that it is less common than addiction to other substances such as alcohol or opioids. In fact, research suggests that only about 9% of people who use cannabis will become addicted.
Having said so, it is not a bad practice to be aware and be careful of the possible consequences of long term cannabis use, so here we will discuss many approaches one can take to avoid developing a dependence or addiction to cannabis.
Use it moderately: it sounds cliché, but it is much harder to come back from an intense periodical use than to never start it. If you are still at a phase in which you can choose which days you consume cannabis and which you don’t, a smart strategy would be to try to keep it under control and let yourself rest from the substance now and then.
Space it out: if you are already at a stage in which you are consuming cannabis regularly, and you are also starting to feel you need more weed every time to get the same “high” as before, it would be a good idea to take a tolerance break. If you let your body rest and your brain receptors clean up from the flood of THC, you will allow for the natural chemical balance of your body to be reestablished. If you want to know more about what a tolerance break is and how to do it, check this article here.
Change the method: another way we can keep alert and prevent addiction is by choosing the way we consume weed. Something with a quick turnaround or an instant reward like it is smoking it, has a bigger potential of developing some kind of addiction or dependence because the activity and the reward are very well related in our brain. On the other hand, if we consume cannabis in the shape of oils or edibles or anything that has a slower effect, then it is less likely that we develop an addiction.
Find the right social space: for those who choose to use cannabis in social settings, it is important to do so in a safe and responsible manner. For example, joining a cannabis club or a Barcelona dispensary can provide a community of like-minded individuals who can support each other in their cannabis use. It is also a place where you can find knowledgeable staff that can provide advice for a proper use of weed and other cannabis products.
Things to consider:
It is worth noting that there are many individuals who use cannabis on a regular basis without developing addiction. However, for some others, cannabis use can lead to problematic use, and many times that has to do more with personal backgrounds and genetics than with the substance itself. If you think you might be developing some kind of addiction, or you fear for someone else, here are some
flags that we can be in the lookout for:
Difficulty controlling use: The individual may have tried to stop using cannabis or reduce their use, but find themselves unable to do so.
Spending a lot of time using or recovering from use: The individual may prioritize cannabis use over other activities or responsibilities.
Continued use despite negative consequences: The individual may continue to use cannabis despite negative effects on their physical, mental, or social health.
Withdrawal symptoms: If the individual tries to stop using cannabis, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, and decreased appetite.
It is important for individuals to be aware of the signs and symptoms of addiction and to prioritize their physical and mental health. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be struggling with cannabis addiction, it is important to seek help from a medical or mental health professional.