- 1. Can we speak of an addiction to cannabis? Researchers have taken a serious look at the issue of addiction
Can we speak of an addiction to cannabis? Researchers have taken a serious look at the issue of addiction
WHO (World Health Organization) recently confirmed that the CBD molecule, is not addictive. However, there is still a debate around the addictability of THC, the most important molecule in cannabis.
The debate around cannabis addiction is particularly controversial. While opinions are often exacerbated, science has done a lot of research on the matter, and the answers are far more subtle than a simple yes or no. Many factors come into play, showing that THC alone is not the determining factor. Small point on the results.
Cannabis, no physiological addiction
There are no addictive properties in cannabis that can trigger an addiction. So, physically your body will not be pushed to take more cannabis.
Unlike most drugs, such as heroin, but also psychotropic drugs, such as ritalin, Adderall and most prescription drugs, cannabis is therefore not addictive. this guy.
What this means is that with physiological addiction, the body needs the addictive substance in order to be able to function "normally". Without the presence of the drug in the body, it begins to show signs of disturbance, regardless of the person's mental condition. His disorders are particularly severe, and can lead to death.
Cannabis does not have a chemical component that induces physical dependence, as THC does not allow such physiological reactions to occur.
A psychological dependence
While a substance may not be physically addictive, it may be quite different with psychological addiction. It is common to attribute this specific type of addiction to cannabis. What is it really? The reality is much more complex and is not related specifically to cannabis.
Cannabis is no more addictive in reality than any product that allows the brain to to secrete dopamine… And practically anything that gives pleasure allows him to secrete it. This is a known system of reward related to the mechanism of the brain.
The latter brings a feeling ranging from simple relaxation to a deep comfort, through well-being. This type of relief allows many people a better ability to tolerate everyday problems.
So, the bigger the problems, the more the search for a way to deal with them is felt.
Symptoms of "Cannabis Use Disorder" (CUD)
However, there is a phenomenon called “cannabis use disorder” or CUD that should not be completely overlooked. CUD is a psychological disorder linked to improper use of cannabis.
In the case of the CUD, clues may indicate that there is a form of dependence that may be linked to certain factors. The ease with which cannabis can be obtained, group pressure, low self-esteem, or even other factors such as the death of a parent at a young age or socio-economic background.
These are all elements that are not directly linked to the chemistry of the molecule and its interaction with the sensors in the body.
Thus, unlike drugs such as alcohol, cocaine or heroin, CUD finds its origin mainly in psychological factors.
In the case of physical dependence, the body absolutely needs the substance in order to be able to function. Without it, it experiences a withdrawal effect, such as we find in the case of blood alcohol. These signs of addiction are so severe that they can require hospitalization and even lead to death. None of this appears in the CUD.
Signs to watch for
However here are some symptoms appearing in the case of the CUD to be taken into account:
- An increase in consumption,
- The difficulty in reducing consumption
- The time we devote to it
- A strong desire for cannabis
- Difficulties in fulfilling personal or professional obligations
- Relationships with others affected
- The development of a tolerance threshold requiring an increase in doses, and
- Some signs of lack.
How many people are affected?
Of the total number of cannabis users, the percentage does not exceed 10% in the USA, which is relatively low for such a disparaged substance. In France, even INSERM, in a document on the risks associated with cannabis is obliged to admit that the "risk of dependence is quite low" and when cited by sites yet opposed to cannabis, there are only estimates ranging from 5 to 10% of consumers.
Can we call it addiction?
An interesting phenomenon: when the source of the problem causing the use of cannabis is removed, the so-called "addiction" automatically ceases.
Cannabis then becomes something that the individual will or will not use, completely freely, without pressure from the subconscious or the body.
This process of disappearance of dependence does not exist in the case of drugs causing physical dependence.
Cannabis, a weaning aid
Contrary to popular belief, cannabis is not a gateway to other drugs.
It would be rather the opposite
Cannabis is increasingly used as a “Herb to Release” to help drug addicts stop taking drug.
Psychological problems are easier to manage and understand when good cannabis is used.
Cannabis significantly helps alleviate a variety of complications arising from drug withdrawal such as heroin. Nausea suppression, comfort, mild euphoria (with the right strains), pain control and much more.
A non-addictive pain reliever
Continuing in this direction, and becoming aware of the potential of cannabis, doctors have based on the property of the plant to develop new painkillers.
Their particularities being to have no addictive effects.
and a recent study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University indicates new method of treating chronic pain. And of course the solution is in cannabis.
Indeed, one of the important risks that accompany the treatment of this type of pain is drug dependence.
Research has focused on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, in cases of inflammatory pain. This type of pain increases the activity of CB2, and reduces that of CB1.
What is important? Because the CB2 helps reduce pain, and CB1 is linked to addiction. In this situation, by intelligently activating the CB2 sensors, while minimizing the CB1, one can have a pain reliever avoiding the withdrawal effect.
Certain cannibinoids found in cannabis are in effect more likely to act on CB2.
Thus drugs focusing on the endocannabinoid system induce the production of analgesic with fewer side effects than opioid-based treatments.
So addictive or not?
The answer is therefore both simple and complex.
Clearly, cannabis does not lead to physical addiction, like alcohol or heroin, or even some pain relievers.
However, there may be a different, more psychological dependence, the external factors of which will impact consumption: the age of the first joint, rate of consumption, general psychological state. If this dependence is in no way comparable to others, and has never concluded with the slightest death, we must nevertheless remain vigilant. As with everything, moderation should be the norm.