When is cannabis use a problem?
Using cannabis is a problem when it negatively affects our life or the lives of others. We may think this refers to people who use large amounts of cannabis on a regular basis but even using cannabis on a single occasion can lead to problems. For example, we may make a poor decision such as driving a car before the effects of cannabis have worn off.
Regular cannabis use, especially by a youth, has particular risks. Like other psychoactive drugs, cannabis can interfere with healthy brain development. Early and regular use can interfere with developing positive patterns of social interaction with peers. Regular use may also negatively impact mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Our relationships with friends and loved ones, and our ability to function and fulfill the responsibilities of our daily lives may also be negatively affected by using cannabis regularly.
The risk of developing problems is often connected to the reason a person chooses to use cannabis to begin with. If someone uses cannabis now and then to have fun socially, then they will likely only use cannabis socially and occasionally – similar to having an alcoholic drink while at a party. But when a person uses cannabis to cope with challenges related to mental health and wellness or chronic stress, it may lead to long-lasting and intense use of cannabis.
While most people who use cannabis do not become dependent on the drug, those who use cannabis frequently over a long period of time may be putting themselves at some risk. A person who uses cannabis frequently or on a daily basis may feel they need to use cannabis to feel normal and function during the day.
People who stop using cannabis after regular use may experience mild feelings of withdrawal, such as irritability, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
Signs of Problematic Cannabis Use
If you are concerned about having difficulty controlling how and when you use cannabis, here are some signs of problematic cannabis use:
• using regularly from an early age
• using cannabis to cope with depression or anxiety
• using cannabis every day
• using cannabis before or during school or work
• using cannabis while driving or doing other physical activities
• using cannabis as a major form of recreation
• when using cannabis interferes with your job, home life or relationships
• when cannabis use is more important to you than other parts of your life, for example your relationships or hobbies