Cannabis, like all drugs, can develop both psychological and biological/physical deprivation. Cannabis-induced biological withdrawal symptoms are lighter than most substances and can be managed very well with treatment. Cannabis withdrawal reaches its highest level within 1 week and disappears within 2 weeks.
Anger, irritability, restlessness, mood swings, sleep problems, concentration problems, decreased appetite, and weight loss is among the most common withdrawal symptoms. However, its social and psychological dimensions can lead to a longer and more complex deprivation. Cannabis cessation may be more troublesome and longer, especially if there is an underlying and unrecognized depression and / or anxiety disorder.
Especially in the first two weeks after quitting, cannabis users may develop anger, irritability, restlessness, tremor, sweating, fever, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, digestive system problems (such as diarrhea or constipation), unstable mood, susceptibility and so on. In some users, cannabis can be ignored by the user because it causes milder physical withdrawal symptoms (sometimes evokes depression). However, it is often the case that users often crave what they call “habit” or “psychological dependence”. Contrary to popular belief, this situation is as biological as physical withdrawal symptoms.
Cannabis Addiction: Tolerance and Deprivation Period
We have all heard the terms such as cannabis addiction, tolerance, and deprivation. So, what exactly do these words mean? As commonly understood, the term substance abuse disorder is used to refer to all substances that affect a person’s mental state and behavior when they enter the body. These substances include legal substances such as alcohol and cigarettes, as well as illegal ones such as cannabis, cocaine, and l.s.d.
Current data on the use of psychoactive substances are shocking. 91 percent of people aged 15 and over reported to consume alcohol, and that value is 64 percent for cigarettes. Numerous data on substance use between the ages of 14 and 18 are even more worrying. 66 percent of this group consumed alcohol in the previous month, 37 percent said they smoked cigarettes in the previous month.
The key factors that enable us to understand why substance abuse occurs are processes of tolerance and avoidance. These two processes are closely related to dependence because they are both compensatory responses of the body. But before we go into detail, we need to understand what happens in our brains when we use drugs.
Cannabis Use and Reward System
Most psychoactive substances are closely related to the reward system and dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released when we engage in “pleasurable” activities. It functions by reinforcing these behaviors to enable us to repeat the function in the future. Dopamine is a “reward” our body gives us. It makes us feel pleasure when we do something it perceives as true. Drugs trigger the secretion of dopamine in our reward system and even make us feel like dopamine is being secreted. Some of these substances, for example, alcohol, do so through indirect mechanisms. Other substances have a similar chemical composition and act like dopamine. Amphetamines are examples of this latter group.
Such incorrect secretion of dopamine during substance use causes our reward system to become active. That’s why we associate certain situations with pleasure. The brain is beginning to think that the use of these substances is beneficial for the body, although they are very harmful. However, such a “false” secretion of dopamine leads to a severe imbalance in an individual’s organism. To correct this imbalance, the body’s regulatory mechanisms are activated. This last stage leads to the processes of tolerance and deprivation that I will explain below.
Tolerance and Withdrawal Syndrome in Cannabis Addiction
The body’s regulatory mechanisms change the chemistry of our brain, preventing internal instability. Substance use is one of the examples in which this occurs. Now let’s see what kind of process is going on. Let’s say you go out every Saturday and drink a few glasses of alcohol. Since alcohol is a substance that mimics endorphins, your internal opioid system becomes hyperactive. This results in dopamine secretion and a sense of pleasure. If you repeat this behavior, your body will learn it and produce a compensatory response.
This is where drug tolerance begins. The next Saturday, when you go out, your brain will know that you are about to consume alcohol, and this will lead to an imbalance. So it will lower the base endorphin level. This will cause your internal opioid system to suffocate but will return to normal after you start drinking. You will think that alcohol has no effect on you. This means that you will have to drink more to compensate for the compensatory lowness due to tolerance.
So, what happens if you stop drinking alcohol at once? What happens to the compensatory response? Even if you minimize your consumption of alcohol or stop drinking completely, the compensatory response will persist. Returning to the previous example, your brain will think that you will drink alcohol even if you go out without your intention to drink alcohol. Because his past experiences taught him that. So your endorphin levels will drop quickly. Because you do not compensate for alcohol consumption, anxiety will result. This is what is known as abstinence or withdrawal syndrome.
Tolerance and withdrawal are clear signs of substance dependence. If signs of tolerance begin to appear, withdrawal symptoms will also occur if there is no substance consumption. Moreover, withdrawal symptoms often cause the person to consume the substance to feel good. We need to consider these biological mechanisms to understand the process of substance abuse.
On the website, https://www.marijuana-anonymous.org, it is said that: “The fourth most common symptom is anger. This can range from a slow-burning rage to constant irritability to sudden bursts of anger when least expected: anger at the world, anger at loved ones, anger at oneself, anger at being an addict and having to get clean.” ( https://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/pamphlets/detoxing-from-marijuana/ )
Substance use is a global health problem. In addition to health problems, it causes many problems in the social life, private life and business life of the person. In addition, if we want to improve the quality of life of people, we need to raise awareness of what substance addiction is so that people understand the risks.
More Info on Cannabis Addiction and Angriness
Cannabis, which has been known to have been grown and used throughout history, is one of the most commonly used substances. Cannabis sativa is a cannabis plant that has been used in the Far East for more than 4000 years. The most effective form is found in the dry, coffee-black resinous part of the poppy plant.
The use of it is generally like this: cannabis is dried and cut into pieces and wrapped into the smoking paper. Another method of use is the so-called bucket or bong to absorb the vapor. There are also uses such as mixing into a cake or drinking its tea. Phrases such as marijuana, tea, joint, weed, Mary Jane are used for cannabis. Hemp, chasra, bhang, ganja, dagga, and sinsemilla are used to express its hardness.
The effect of cannabis, when used in cigarettes, is seen within a few minutes. Cannabis has the highest effect in 30 minutes and ends after 2-4 hours. Some operational and mental effects can last up to 12 hours. In addition to smoking, cannabis is also consumed by placing it in foods. When the consumption of cannabis occurs by inhalation of smoke, cannabis use is more than the amount taken orally.
The effects of cannabis vary depending on the type of cannabis, the way of use, the method of smoking, the place of use, the last experience, expectation and the biological susceptibility of the users. While cannabis is consumed, the use of alcohol or other substances taken along with it also affects the effect of cannabis. After use, there is an increase in activities such as watching movies, listening to music or eating too much food. Cannabis is a gateway to other substances. Studies have shown that cannabis use increases the individual’s potential for substance abuse as well as being addicted to other substances.
The most common side effects seen with cannabis are dryness in the mouth, hunger, redness in the eyes, increased blood pressure and palpitations. The decrease in testosterone level and sperm amount in continuous use and decrease of fertility in women are some of the side effects. Some individuals have anxiety, fear, and panic attacks. It causes mental and physical disturbances such as restlessness, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, weight loss, and impatience.
When cannabis users use cannabis, they are seen laughing unnecessarily when they are under the influence of the substance or they are observed to be afraid and panic. Stability problems, redness in eyes, weakness of memory and weakening of reactions are other symptoms observed.
Fatigue, drowsiness, and anxiety are seen after the effects of cannabis have passed. Depending on the use of cannabis; Disorders of emotions and thoughts are the most seen side effects. Symptoms such as hypersensitivity, susceptibility, irritability, restlessness, decreased appetite, gastrointestinal disorders, fever, nausea, chills, insomnia, and loss of sense of direction can also be experienced. People who have used cannabis for a long time may experience hallucinations, a complexity of consciousness, and emotional disturbances that suddenly appear and may last for several days. Cannabis also reduces brain volume and causes brain damage.
Methods of Coping with Irritation Caused by Cannabis
According to psychologist Dr. Charles Spielberg, who works in this field, anger is a feeling that can range from mild discomfort to severe wrath and violence. Other emotions are followed by physiological and biological changes; When you get angry, your energy hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Aggressive reactions are the instinctive and natural way to express anger. Anger is a natural response to adaptation to threats; it evokes powerful and often aggressive behavior and emotions that help us protect or fight ourselves in the event of an attack. In other words, some anger is necessary for the survival of our lives. On the other hand, we cannot physically attack anything that bothers or annoys us; social norms, laws and general truths determine how much our anger can drag us.
People use both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their anger. Three main approaches; to express, to suppress or to calm down. It is the healthiest way to express your anger in a defensive, not aggressive way. To do this, you need to know clearly what your needs are and decide how to meet them without hurting others. Being defensive means not to be demanding or persistent, but to respect yourself and others.
The purpose of anger management is to reduce both emotional and physiological actions caused by anger. You may not be able to escape, avoid, or change the events and people that angered you, but you can learn to control your reactions. There are some psychological tests that measure the severity of your anger feelings, your tendency to anger, and the degree to which you can cope with it. The best part of this is; if you have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting out of control and frightening, you can start looking for ways to deal with this emotion.
Strategies to Minimize Your Anger
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing or relaxing dreams, can help calm your anger. You can benefit from some books and courses that teach relaxation techniques. Once you have learned these techniques, you can apply them whenever you need them. If you are in a relationship where both of you are frustrated, it is helpful to learn these techniques together. Some simple steps you can try;
- Breathe deep into your diaphragm. Breathing through your chest will not calm you down, feel your breath coming from your belly.
- Slowly say a soothing word such as relax or don’t care. Tell it to yourself as you breathe deeply.
- Use your imagination and imagine a relaxing scene that is either imagination or reality.
- Slow, non-tiring exercises such as yoga can relax your muscles and make you feel calmer.
- Try these techniques every day. Learn to use them automatically in a tense situation.
Cognitive restructuring is simply changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, and use expressions full of high-level emotionality to express their thoughts. When you are angry, your thoughts can be exaggerated and extremely dramatic. Try replacing these ideas with the more rational ones. Instead of saying to yourself, “Too scary, too bad, everything is ruined”, say, “It’s a sweltering situation and my anger is understandable, but it’s not the end of the world, and being angry won’t solve anything”.
Be careful not to use words like “never” or “always when talking about yourself or someone else. “This machine never works” or “you always forget everything” is not only ambiguous, but it also makes you feel that there is no solution to the problem by justifying your anger. It also scorns those who are willing to solve the problem with you. Remind yourself that anger doesn’t solve anything, it doesn’t make you feel better or even makes you feel worse.
Logic can defeat anger because even when anger is legitimized, it can quickly become irrational. Apply cold and hard logic to yourself. Remember that the whole world is “not your enemy”, just that you are facing some of the challenges of everyday life. Do this every time you feel anger; this will give you a more balanced perception. Angry people tend to demand. They expect everything to be done in their own way. Everyone wants them, and we are all disappointed and hurt when these are not met; but when angry people do not meet their desires, their frustration turns into anger. Angry people should become aware of their demanding personalities as part of their cognitive structuring and transform their expectations into desires. In other words, “I wish”; It is a healthier form of expression than “I want” or “I should take”. If you do not receive your desires, you will react more normally, and instead of anger you will feel frustrated and hurt. Some angry people use this feeling to avoid resentment, but in fact, resentment does not disappear.