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Cannabis Addiction in Arabic Countries

Cannabis is banned in many locations around the world, including Arabic countries and other countries such as England. However, this doesn’t mean that people don’t use it.

There are many reasons why a person may begin using cannabis. For example, some people may use drugs to deal with complex feelings, psychological stress, or mental unwellness. In contrast, younger people who use drugs may do so due to peer pressure or curiosity.

Irrespective of why people begin using drugs, it is important to understand the short and long-term risks of doing so. It is also vital to understand what to do if a cannabis addiction arises.

At Addcounsel, we know how difficult it can be for those living with a cannabis addiction to reach out for help and support. As a result, we offer bespoke and confidential one-on-one treatment programmes. Our professional team supports people from all walks of life in overcoming their addiction and learning how to avoid relapse triggers.

Don’t suffer in silence; call Addcounsel for confidential advice today.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana or weed, is a commonly used recreational drug obtained from part of the cannabis plant. A derivative known as hashish – a cannabis resin – has long been popular in Middle Eastern countries.

People have smoked marijuana and hashish for thousands of years due to their medicinal properties. Cannabis is still sometimes used today in countries such as the United States for medical purposes. However, the drug is typically consumed for a short-term euphoric high.

Usually smoked but also sometimes vaped, cannabis can also be infused in food and drinks – these are known as edibles. A psychoactive stimulant, marijuana is a mind-altering drug. Although commonplace in some countries and cultures, cannabis use comes hand-in-hand with the potential for harm and addiction.

What Are the Dangers of Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is dangerous and never recommended. Recreational drug use can lead to short and long-term issues, including addiction and, in some cases, death. Due to its potential for harm, cannabis is illegal in many parts of the world. In particular, it is strictly prohibited in the Middle East.

Drug possession, drug dealing, drug smuggling, and drug trafficking are all crimes that can result in prison time and the death penalty in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Each country has its own drug policy. Still, all drug offences can harm employment, relationships, and reputation.

What Are the Immediate Side Effects of Cannabis?

When smoked or inhaled, the effects of cannabis are rapid, taking only a few minutes to set in. How long each side effect lasts depends on how much cannabis is consumed and how long it is used. However, most of the side effects are at their most potent within the first 30 minutes. Following this, they begin to wear off.

When ingested through edibles, the effects of cannabis could last up to an hour. However, it could take several hours for these effects to subside.

Short-Term Effects of Cannabis Use

Some typically reported side effects of cannabis use include:

  • Temporarily experiencing a euphoric high
  • A sense of well-being
  • Feeling relaxed, happy, and giddy
  • Increased confidence
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Impaired judgement
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
Cannabis Addiction in Arabic Countries

Though the side effects above can transpire, cannabis affects people differently. The effects felt following drug use often depend on an individual’s circumstances, environment, and mental health. People may experience a number of these symptoms, all of them, or none of them.

What Are The Long-Term Side Effects of Cannabis Use?

There are almost always adverse consequences associated with recreational drugs and long-term cannabis use. These dangers vary depending on the extent or severity of cannabis consumption.

Long-Term Effects on Physical Health

Cannabis use can lead to long-term side effects such as:

  • Cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure and heart attacks
  • Lung problems including respiratory issues and lung cancer (especially when cannabis is consumed alongside tobacco)
  • Digestive problems
  • Stroke
  • Weakened immune system

Long-Term Effects on Mental Health

Cannabis is a mind-altering substance. In addition to physical health problems, prolonged use can lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia

Scientists have also found links between substance abuse and psychosis, particularly amongst long-term cannabis users.

Additional Risks

Although it is unusual and rare to die from cannabis use, studies have found that it can be a gateway to abusing other illicit narcotic drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Upon using drugs, many people engage in dangerous behaviours, such as driving under the influence, which can lead to injury, death, or a criminal record.

Prolonged cannabis use also comes with the risk of addiction. However, knowing the signs of drug addiction enables many to seek support and help.

What Is Cannabis Addiction?

Addiction is a brain disorder that compels people to engage in harmful behaviours such as alcohol drinking, drug-taking, smoking, gambling, or even shopping despite adverse consequences. It is this all-consuming compulsion that causes addiction to ruin people’s lives.

When people take a substance such as alcohol or drugs or partake in an activity such as gambling, they experience a rush of dopamine known as a happy hormone. Although dopamine is released naturally through a number of daily activities such as eating and exercise, when cannabis is used, this instant and frequent hit of dopamine affects the brain’s natural reward pathways. The brain then expects this steady dopamine hit, craving it at all costs.

Due to the severity of cannabis addiction, it requires professional treatment and support. However, many people defer seeking support due to stigmas and taboos surrounding addiction.

Cannabis Addiction in Arabic Countries

Cannabis use and abuse are prevalent worldwide, including in Middle Eastern countries. Although recreational drug use is forbidden in many cultures and religions, such as Islam, this does not mean the use of cannabis and other illegal drugs does not occur.

In 2017, a study conducted by Egypt’sFund for Drug Control and Treatment found that 23.3% of drug users in Egypt use cannabis. The study also found that the country’s illegal drug trade reached £400bn Egyptian pounds (£16bn GBP) in 2017. Unfortunately, this issue is showing no signs of slowing.

Other Arab countries also report rates of cannabis addiction. A study amongst Saudi clients in addiction treatment settings indicated that the most commonly abused substances were amphetamine (4–70.7%), heroin (6.6–83.6%), alcohol (9–70.3%), and cannabis (1–60%). In 2017, Saudi seized 700kg of cocaine on the Yemen border. This shows that cannabis is accessible even in countries where it is prohibited.

It can be difficult to escape the presence of illicit drugs. If you have a cannabis use problem, talk to us about getting help.

What Are the Signs of Cannabis Addiction?

As noted above, due to shame and fear, many people hide their addictions from friends and family. Sadly, addictions are often not discovered until it is revealed through adverse consequences such as ill-health or risky behaviour. As addiction is best treated as quickly as possible, knowing the signs is important.

Signs of Cannabis Addiction

  • Poor school or work performance
  • Poor hygiene and self-care
  • Exacerbated existing mental health issues
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once important
  • Isolation from friends and family members
  • Prioritising drug use over other things
  • Obsessing over getting the next ‘fix’
  • Secretive behaviour
  • Lying about drug use
  • Denial and defensiveness when questioned
  • Risky behaviour such as using crime to fund habits
  • Not stopping drug use despite adverse consequences to health and well-being
  • Being unable to stop drug use

Whether a number of the symptoms or all of the symptoms noted above are experienced, many people will realise when a cannabis addiction begins to impair their lives. However, this does not mean that they will secure treatment.

Instead, many people will attempt to keep their addiction a secret. Some may even attempt to withdraw from cannabis alone. But due to potential adverse withdrawal symptoms, this is not safe.

Help for Cannabis Addiction at Addcounsel

At Addcounsel, we provide bespoke, individually tailored treatment programmes at our London clinic. Priding ourselves on a one-on-one treatment basis, we ensure that each person in need of cannabis addiction treatment can secure the support they need whilst under 24-hour care. We also understand the sensitive nature of this challenging time and offer completely private treatment under full confidentiality.

Our comprehensive treatment designed by professionals includes biochemical restoration and a range of therapies such as psychotherapy, family systems therapy, spiritual counselling, mindfulness, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and hypnotherapy. We also offer tailored fitness plans, restorative activities such as yoga, and therapeutic activities such as volunteering or wilderness programmes.

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