A Journey Within and Beyond Cannabis Use Disorder
Cannabis use disorder often catches people by surprise because of the widespread belief that cannabis is not habit-forming and medicinally useful. Cannabis is significantly less destructive to the human organism than many psychoactive substances, including many mainstream pharmaceuticals. An abundance of health claims has been linked to the use of cannabis in natural healing.
When cannabis is used for its healing properties, it can indeed be a friend to humanity. Even when used not as medicine but for recreation, cannabis is not a particularly violent substance. Campaigns against cannabis, which sought in the past to demonize any use, such as the infamous 1936 propaganda film Reefer Madness, failed in part because they are not accurate to people’s experiences with the substance.
Due to its associations with countercultural movements, the negative aspects of cannabis use disorder have historically been vastly overstated by the establishment. For example, cannabis sits in the same class as heroin, as a Schedule I controlled substance, while the far more deadly benzodiazepines are classed Schedule IV. This is just silly. Any substance abuse education program that equates heroin with cannabis in terms of deadliness and addiction potential is doing a disservice, whatever its intentions may have been, because it departs from the truth.
As many people now know, cannabis is a much friendlier, less invasive, but still mood-altering substance. Many people find they can safely use in moderation without developing a cannabis use disorder. Although they exist, the withdrawals are not life-threatening (whereas alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal are), and overdose is not either. However, anything that provides pleasure can be addictive, as research and anecdotal evidence has shown.
Just look at process addictions, such as gambling addiction and love addiction, where people get entangled in behavior patterns. They find they cannot stop on their own, even though no psychoactive substance is being consumed. If we can get attached and eventually addicted to behaviors that feel pleasurable, it should not come as a surprise that, contrary to popular belief, cannabis is addictive.
Not all people develop an addiction and require cannabis use disorder treatment, and medical or recreational use represents a low risk of addiction. Whereas some substances are highly addictive and develop conditions of tolerance, withdrawal, and dependence rapidly – for example, it is sometimes said that single heroin use can create an addict – cannabis use disorder is slower to develop. It does develop; nevertheless, if abused daily and over a long period, it may require cannabis use disorder treatment.
Women who require cannabis use disorder treatment typically use daily and chronically when it is an essential tool for them to handle their lives – whether because it helps them sleep, relax, or because they need help to feel better in their skin. Women have various reasons for coming to rely on substances. Still, typically when they are self-medicating in a long-term way, they will need to seek cannabis use disorder treatment to address their addictive habit’s underlying conditions.
Cannabis, when it is overused and abused, has adverse effects on physiology and psychology. Especially when smoked, cannabis has detrimental impacts on the respiratory system and heart rate, increasing the risk of lung diseases and heart problems. Memory is typically impaired by chronic use, and sleep becomes increasingly disturbed. Many people get caught in the grips of cannabis use disorder through insomnia – seeking relief from the physical and psychological discomforts of sleepless, anxious nights; they ingest a substance that reinforces the presence of insomnia in the long term.
On the psychological plane, long-term cannabis use creates an ever-deeper presence of anxiety, depression, paranoia, and in some cases, psychosis. As is the case with many drugs, when chronically used, the euphoria that cannabis initially provides turns into its opposite pole, anhedonia – the inability to experience a natural pleasure. A loss of motivation, an increasing desire to isolate, and a tendency to center social life around cannabis use typically accompanies cannabis use disorder.
Lifestyle effects can include erosion in relationships with loved ones and a decline in ambition and agency (the desire and ability to take positive action in one’s life). Cannabis use disorder, when frequent and heavy under the age of 18, can actually be quite damaging to neurobiology and will likely lead to a predisposition to experiment overly with, and possibly become mixed up with, other more seriously destructive substances. In that sense, the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug becomes accurate for some, especially if the substance’s underage abuse is severe.
Also, the use of cannabis when attempting to recover from another substance, such as alcohol or prescription drugs, is not endorsed by cannabis use disorder treatment communities. It almost always results in an uncontrolled backslide into addictive use of the original problematic substance. Many relapses have begun hoping that cannabis is not incredibly addictive for many people and can be used safely by a recovering addict of another substance. Usually, individuals in recovery from cannabis use disorder treatment find out the hard way that this is not the case.
It is essential for women who require cannabis use disorder treatment to understand that it does not matter whether cannabis is or is not objectively addictive for everyone – the relevant question is whether it is addictive. Typical signs of when cannabis use disorder treatment is needed include (but not limited to) the classics:
- Tolerance (needing more amounts of the substance to get the same effect).
- Withdrawals (feeling inadequate, anxious, sick to your stomach on days when you do not use).
- Using the drug to cope with everyday life rather than for celebration or joy.
- Lifestyle changes to suit drug use, a decline in social life.
- Loss of personal will power (usually evidenced by committing to yourself or someone else that you will cut down, only to find that you cannot do so or “change your mind” next time the substance is in front of you).
There is an entire 12 Steps program, Marijuana Anonymous (MA), dedicated to the sobering truth and need for cannabis use disorder treatment. The rise and proliferation of more and more concentrated forms of cannabis and cannabinoid substances may also be linked to the need for new entries in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which now includes diagnoses related to cannabis use, dependence, and withdrawal.
For a woman who undertakes cannabis use disorder treatment to free herself from addiction, she can expect to experience the healing of her anxiety, her depression, motivation, and engagement struggles, as well as recover her memory, correct her sleep patterns, and in general have a “clearer signal” going on in her intelligence stream. Her vitality has been if you will pardon the pun, blunted by cannabis use disorder.
In cannabis use disorder treatment and recovery, she enjoys a return to a more sparkling, fresh, alive version of consciousness as she retrieves herself from the muddiness of being off in the weeds. Especially if she undergoes a spiritual transformation from within as a part of recovering her freedom, this woman will find that she does not need a substance to induce feelings of peace, connection, enjoyment of life, or soften the edges of her challenging experiences into something more manageable.
If addiction is running your life and you need cannabis use disorder treatment and help, please know that you are welcome here within the walls of Villa Kali Ma. Your healing path can be discovered and unfolded here, with support, kindness, and respect for all the twists and turns of your unique soul’s way back to a pure, vital clarity.