by Laura Geftman, LCSW
In this day and age of legalized cannabis, users still run the risk of developing an addictive relationship with the plant- otherwise known as cannabis use disorder. It’s been reported that 9% of cannabis users develop this affliction. Whether you are using for medicinal or recreational reasons, it’s important to understand your use. It’s sometimes difficult to gauge if you are in the beginning abusive stages of use or addicted. Here are 10 signs of cannabis use disorder:
1. Cannabis tolerance & withdrawal
If you are chasing your high and find that you need to use more and more cannabis to get it, your tolerance level is a concern. If you stop using or take a break, experience loss of appetite, irritability, insomnia or anxiety, you maybe experiencing withdrawal.
2. Using more cannabis than intended
If you “I’ll just take a couple hits” habit turns into smoking a whole joint or increase levels of any kind of consumption, this may be a concern.
3. Unable to cut down or stop cannabis use
So you think you should cut down on your cannabis use or even stop for a bit or for good, but you can’t. This is definitely a symptom of cannabis use disorder.
4. Lot of time spent getting high
Cannabis shouldn’t be the thing you’re always thinking about. Cannabis shouldn’t be the thing that you’re always using. Cannabis shouldn’t be what you’re spending all your time on. It just shouldn’t be that way.
5. Reduced activities
Sure we flake on some Friday night plans after a long week or all skip a day a the gym. But if you find that you’re skipping out on all kinds of things to use cannabis, you should be concerned about your use.
6. Continuing to get high despite the problems it causes
If the people in your life- your partner, friend or employer- has already noted that your cannabis use is problematic, it really could be.
7. Using cannabis to escape from problems
Two words- conscious consumption. If you don’t know what that means you can read a bunch about it here. Yes cannabis can be used to relax or energize you, but if you are using it to avoid makes making you need to do so- think again.
8. Depending on cannabis to be creative or relaxed
Yes cannabis can contribute to the experience of being creative or relaxed, but if you aren’t able to achieve this without cannabis- then you should be concerned.
9. Choosing relationships and activities based on whether or not you will be able to get high
If using cannabis is your main priority and getting high is all you’re about such that it’s how you choose friendships and activities, you really need to think about your use being problematic. Cannabis should not be your deciding factor.
10. An ability to attend daily responsibilites
If you struggle with motivation and aren’t able to manage your daily responsibilities, cannabis might not be for you.
That’s all ten. If you or a loved one can related to multiple factors listed and are concerned about cannabis use disorder, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. If you would like to talk to someone now, call The National Drug Helpline at 1-888-633-3239.
If you have questions, please comment below…
About Laura Geftman, LCSW
Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.
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