10 Signs of Cannabis Use Disorder

10 Signs of Cannabis Use Disorder

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

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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This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Terri

    Recognizing that you might have a problem is the first step in taking back control. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Holly Bird

    Interesting, I know many people who use cannabis for medical reasons, I really can not stand the smell of it. Addiction is with anything that has a mind altering effect and needs to be considered! Thank you for all this great information!

  3. Katie

    Thanks for spreading awareness, I know people say it’s not addicting, but that doesn’t mean people can’t rely on it or use it improperly!

  4. Melissa Parcel

    Very interesting and valid points. Since I live in a state where cannabis is legal, people automatically think that it must be fine and can’t be used too much or for the wrong reasons.

  5. Katie Mitchell

    This is a great guideline. It is so important to know the signs of cannabis use disorder. Thanks for the list.

  6. Lisa

    I’m pretty ignorant about all things cannabis, so this post was very enlightening for me!

  7. Shelly

    Very thought-provoking. I live in Ohio and the opioid epidemic is so prevalent. It’s scary. Thanks for the post.

  8. Rachel Newlon

    I live in Colorado where it is 100% legal. I find myself bombarded with the skunky odor everywhere I go. Some use it recreationally, some medicinally, others have a serious problem and it shows. Thank you for this.

  9. Robin

    Great and true information! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Tricia Snow

    Interesting information. Unfortunately, most of the people who I know who use it regularly are experiencing these issues.

  11. Rose

    Wow, such good info here. Thanks for enlightening me!

  12. Jennifer Morrison

    Very interesting information. I think it is a good point that just because it is legal in some places, does not mean that it is good for everyone, or that it won’t become addictive. Great points.

  13. Flor

    It’s a great article. I always questioned how to avoid addiction with the medicinal use.

  14. Brianna

    Very informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Great tips! I personally don’t use cannabis, but I know it’s so important to use responsibly.

  16. Rosanna

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t know much on this subject, but I do know that people become reliant on many things.

  17. Susan Franklin

    Laura, your post provides really solid and great guidlines to help someone using Cannabis to recognize if their use has moved from medical relief to an addicition problem. This was very informative – thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so very much for your comments! In the world of cannabis education, I’m striving for being very candid and real about it’s use to help people understand and best manage their use! I’m so glad that’s coming thru! Thanks so much for your comment!

  18. Deanna

    Great points. Too much of a good thing is still too much. I wonder if there will be more disorders with it being legal?

    1. More disorders? Hmmm…wondering what you’re wondering about…? Do you mean with more frequent use, you fear there are more issues to yet be discovered? Would love to hear more about this…?

  19. Vessy

    Very interesting info! It’s good to watch out for all these signs! I do understand that at least there is no hangover in the morning…which is definitely a plus over alcohol! Is that correct?

    1. In most case that does seemed to be correct! I have, however, heard that with too much THC some do experience a sort of hangover. With cannabis, it’s important to find the right strain for you! Good luck!

  20. Dennis

    Addiction and abuse is always a serious issue. Good reminders.

  21. Bola

    Very informative. Thanks

  22. Nicki

    Thank you for sharing.

  23. Kirsten

    Thanks for the info!

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