Cannabis Treatment at Hope Rehab

Cannabis Plant

Cannabis treatment at Hope often requires a high degree of commitment to take full advantage of our comprehensive program. On this page is an explanation of our Cannabis treatment program and general information about Cannabis and the impact of Cannabis addiction.

Cannabis addiction is commonplace and highly destructive for many who are affected by it, including family members and loved ones. Many clients attend Hope for their Cannabis addiction, and we have a high success rate with our form of treatment. It is surprisingly easy to become dependent on Cannabis for relaxation and sleep. However, it quickly catches up with you and outlives its usefulness, creating more problems than benefits. Depression and a loss of motivation are the main areas to work on, however, return to normal after 2 or 3 months at Hope rehab.

You will learn to manage triggers and cravings

At Hope Rehab we have a strong emphasis on physical health and fitness which is very useful for Cannabis smokers as health is an area seriously affected. Lung damage and muscle wastage can become problematic after years of cannabis abuse.

Anxiety and anger are often associated with Cannabis withdrawals and can continue for months afterwards, so we teach you ways to regulate these emotions. At Hope, you will practice Mindfulness and Meditation twice daily. This will give you the tools to manage triggers and cravings that could come when you are least expecting it.

The path to recovery from cannabis addiction involves healing in the following areas:

Brain damage and disruption to work and education are very common with Cannabis use. The habits formed during years of addiction create a cycle that is tough to break alone. The program at Hope Rehab will lead you into healthy routines with physical exercise; sleep hygiene and new thinking patterns. A comprehensive approach is required to make lasting change.

With healthy routines in place, natural motivations return. A belief that life without drugs becomes possible. Goals and long-term plans are once again part of life. Relationships with family and friends can begin to heal and renew. The path to recovery from cannabis addiction involves healing in all of these areas and more. A comprehensive program that addresses the addiction and its setbacks as well as creating a future that is happy and balanced life is required. The program at Hope Rehab been designed specifically in this way.

How dangerous is Cannabis?

Cannabis (aka Marijuana, Weed, or Grass) usage has become socially more acceptable as the public attitude towards cannabis has changed dramatically in recent years. It is increasingly common to hear even politicians use words like ‘harmless’ and ‘natural’ when describing Cannabis use – in the US, even President Obama felt comfortable enough to admit that he used to smoke it. The British Drug Survey 2014 found that about 88% of the population believes that Marijuana should be legal, and respondents perceived it to be the least dangerous of all mind-altering substances (including alcohol). Despite the growing tolerance in many societies towards Cannabis use, it would be a mistake to believe that this drug is relatively harmless or even safe. That’s a misconception though. Overindulgence in Cannabis is damaging to both physical and mental health, and likely to lead to addiction eventually. Once you have become dependent on this drug, it can be incredibly hard to quit without help.

A couple of weeks into sobriety, I began to realise that I’d spent the previous 10 – or was it 15? – years walking round like a sleepwalker.

– Rebecca Cripps (My High Life – Guardian Newspaper)

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis, sometimes in a loose dried grass form or solid compressed form is usually smoked in a hand rolled cigarette called a joint or smoked in a pipe or bong, it can also be eaten.

Cannabis has many different street names including:

  • Weed

  • Marijuana

  • Grass

  • Skunk

  • Joint

  • Ganja

  • Hash

  • Pot

  • Hashish

  • Herb

  • Spliff

Cannabis/Marijuana is a psychoactive substance (it changes the way the brain functions) that is hard to classify because it acts as a sedative, stimulant, hallucinogen, and tranquiliser. The drug is obtained from the leaves and flowering parts of the cannabis plant. It is fairly common to mix the drug with other synthetic compounds to increase the effect. Cannabis can be consumed in a number of different ways including:

  • Smoked as a joint

  • Eaten (e.g. hash cookies)

  • Smoked with a bong

The desired effects happen within minutes and range from euphoria to relaxation, with visual enhancement or distorted perception and some users claim a creative performance enhancement effect also some users say it helps with sleep.

New strains and cultivation techniques have concentrated the psychoactive ingredient or THC in the plant, and sometimes additional chemicals are even added to intensify the effects. This has made the use of some types of Marijuana and Cannabis more addictive and more damaging to the brain, often triggering paranoia and psychotic episodes.

The Dark Side of Cannabis

The damage Marijuana/Cannabis addiction and dependency does is seriously underestimated by users and society alike. Cannabis does have medicinal uses, and there are recreational users who never develop any problems, but there are definite risks associated with this substance. We get many clients here at Hope Rehab who have experienced the dark side of this substance, and it caused them a great deal of suffering and loss. We have witnessed many lost and depressed individuals as a result of using this drug. Cannabis is the most commonly abused substance apart from Alcohol around the world. It is easy to become dependent on this drug to such an extent that it makes life unbearable. Regular users can suffer from low energy with frequent episodes of depression – it can also mean being so numb to life that nothing appears meaningful. Users are four times more at risk of developing long-term depression and mental health symptoms requiring a treatment program for Marijuana and Cannabis Addiction. Exploring the reality of the drug’s impact on your life is very much part of Cannabis treatment. We find there are high levels of denial around this issue.

Some of the other Negative Effects of Cannabis would Include:

Many long-term users experience extreme low energy and lose the ability to self-motivate. Also, if they are still young and studying, users can find learning very difficult. In addition, sleeplessness and insomnia are common, particularly when trying to stop as the dependency develops. Smoking marijuana and cannabis can also affect your breathing or respiratory system over time and increase the risk of lung damage and getting cancer.

Not only is Marijuana and Cannabis not a soft drug as you may have imagined but it is also known to be a gateway drug. Users regularly come into contact with a range of other substances via their dealers and using associates or friends.

Because marijuana impairs short-term memory and judgment and distorts perception, it can impair performance in school or at work and make it dangerous to drive an automobile. It also affects brain systems that are still maturing through young adulthood, so regular use by teens may have a negative and long-lasting effect on their cognitive development, putting them at a competitive disadvantage and possibly interfering with their well-being in other ways. Also, contrary to popular belief, marijuana can be addictive, and its use during adolescence may make other forms of drug abuse or addiction more likely.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Signs and symptoms of cannabis use:

  • Red and bloodshot eyes

  • Increased hunger

  • Bad cough

  • Paranoia

  • Slow reaction times

  • Mood swings

  • Being withdrawn and distracted

Neuroscience of Cannabis or Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana or Cannabis concentrations of THC – the drug’s psychoactive compound, has been rising from about 3.75 percent in 1995 to 13 percent in 2014. High levels of THC are associated with paranoia and psychosis in many users.
MRI scans show what is going on neurologically causing psychotic symptoms like altered thinking and perception:

  • Reward center: Changes in the way we experience pleasure and life

  • Impaired memory: Euphoric recall despite negative consequences of Cannabis

  • Self-medicating: Numbing negative thoughts  and feelings

Hijacked Brain: The human reward system is designed for survival but hijacked by chemical payoffs provided by Cannabis. The reward circuitry normally bookmarks important things: food, nurturing children, education, work and friendships. However, now it has been corrupted by the drug.

Understanding the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in addiction is helpful for cannabis treatment.

People with addictions are low on dopamine, causing addiction, depression, loss of satisfaction, poor focus and other symptoms. Low dopamine levels cause us to consciously and unconsciously seek out dopamine raising substances or behaviours. All substances stimulate dopamine release or increase its activity and produce the hedonic response “I like that”.

Ours is a progressive illness often leading us to addictions to other drugs, including alcohol. Our lives, our thinking, and our desires centre around marijuana – scoring it, dealing it, and finding ways to stay high.
– Marijuana Anonymous – Introduction to MA

Rehab for Cannabis – Do You Need to be Addicted?

What if you are not sure if you are actually addicted to cannabis, but you want to stop, would rehab still be a good idea for you? Definitely. Even if you find it relatively easy to quit Cannabis for a few days or weeks, you might still benefit from an inpatient program. This is because the problem isn’t so much stopping but in staying stopped – just think of all of those broken New Year’s Eve resolutions people make.

It is also important to understand that one of the symptoms of addiction is denial. We can be incredibly poor at judging the severity of our substance abuse. Some of the signs that suggest you could already be addicted to cannabis would include:

  • Uncomfortable symptoms when you stop using the drug

  • Much of your life revolves around cannabis use

  • You have lost interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy

  • You feel the need to use cannabis in order to unwind

  • You find it hard to imagine your life without the drug

  • You become defensive when anyone questions your usage of cannabis.

  • You sometimes downplay or hide the extent of your cannabis usage

An even simpler way to diagnose a problem with cannabis and if you require Rehab for Cannabis would be that you continue to engage in this habit even though it is obviously causing problems in your life.

Recovery from Cannabis

The first step towards getting better is to admit that you have a problem. You are going to have some justification for this behaviour – maybe you believe cannabis makes your more creative or that you need it to be able to deal with stress. It is vital you are able to see how the cons of this drug outweigh the pros because this is how you develop the motivation to change.

Treatment options and programs from Cannabis addiction

There is an ever-increasing demand for Marijuana and Cannabis addiction treatment although many countries have neglected it – even though some experts say it is one of the most difficult drugs to stop. The treatment is now targeting the reward effect and encouraging users to use meditation and mindfulness to combat the inevitable withdrawal symptoms and cravings that follow attempts to stop.

Now Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and 12 step programs are as popular for Marijuana, and Cannabis addiction treatment as for Class A drugs and the need for a robustly structured recovery plan has been recognized. The withdrawal process is all too often dismissed, and it usually takes a couple of weeks depending on your history and level of usage. Unfortunately, there are no specific medications available for Marijuana and Cannabis addiction treatment. However, Doctors can prescribe sleep aids to help and anxiety medications temporarily.

Young people who are at a greater risk of Marijuana and Cannabis addiction require a motivational program including outward bound activities for confidence, also help with nurturing self-discipline for getting back to education and work. Post-acute withdrawals can last up to a year, and we do not recommend medication as it can cause difficulties with natural brain chemistry and dopamine production that probably triggered the addiction originally.

Hope Rehab Center Thailand uses a varied program combining 12 Steps / Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with meditation and exercise:

Cannabis and Marijuana Treatment at Hope Rehab Center Thailand

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