Doctor Adam Winstock, a leading drugs expert and founder of the Global Drug Survey believes that “cannabis can be as tough to give up as heroin”.
Cannabis use is actually falling in the UK, however the number of people seeking help for cannabis addiction is rising. In 2005 the number of 18-24 year olds seeking treatment for cannabis addiction was 3,328. That figure had risen to 4,997 by 2013/14.
According to Winstock, 50% to 60% of all dependent cannabis users face serious withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to come off of smoking cannabis products. Many become irritable, sleepless and ultimately violent. For those who believe cannabis is not physically addictive, Winstock responds that:
“I think people get confused with physical withdrawal symptoms and equating those to being addicted.
“Addiction for me is a loss of control and when you stop you feel uncomfortable.
“[It] could be you feel miserable, you can’t sleep, you lose your appetite or it can be very physical as it is with heroin or alcohol”.
Compounding the problem for many users may be the fact that the younger the user, the more likely they are to experience problems withdrawing from use in the future.
According to Dr. Winstock:
“About 10% of people who use cannabis are dependent and two-thirds of those people, when they stop, will experience withdrawal symptoms.
“They last seven to 10 days for most people. You are more likely to run into those problems if you start using early.”
For young people addicted to cannabis, social pressures compound the problem. Many feel it is impossible to avoid because everyone else is doing it. Some may fear loss of social connections or status if they stop using.
Cannabis is currently a class B drug, carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for possession and up to 14 years for supply and production.
Gladstones Clinic understands how difficult it can be to beat cannabis addiction. Please do not feel that you have nowhere to turn for help. Feel free to call us today.