Sunday October 26th 2014

Can you get addicted to hash?

Yes. You can get addicted to hash, just like any other form of marijuana.

In fact, because hashish contains a higher amount of THC than other types of marijuana, it may be easier to become addicted than by simply smoking parts of the whole plant. But how does hash affect the brain? What are the long-term health effects of hash addiction? And just how many hash users go on to become addicts, and why? We answers these questions here…and invite your questions and feedback at the end.

Psychoactive ingredients of hash

Why do people smoke weed or hash?  Mainly for the psychoactive effects of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical found in marijuana. Hash is a form of marijuana that is made when the resin of the hemp plant is concentrated and formed into a solid form. Blocks of hash are then smoked or eaten. The resin of the hemp plant can also be extracted as a liquid, which is called “hash oil.” Like any form of marijuana, hash contains the psychoactive chemical THC, only in a more potent form.

What does hash do in the body?

Hash has some immediate effects on the brain. When smoked, it only takes a few minutes to have an effect. If ingested, hashish can take up to an hour for effects to onset. While the THC in hash can create a pleasurable “high,” feelings of relaxation, and euphoria, it can also have negative side effects. Panic attacks and paranoia, loss of coordination, mild hallucinations, and difficulty concentrating are all potential complications of hash use.

Long-term use of hash can also result in a depressed immune system, leading to a higher rate of respiratory infections. Hash can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and cause irritation of the airways that can lead to coughing or asthma. Does hash kill brain cells?  Researchers are unsure if there is a link between heavy marijuana use and developing mental illness.

How do you get addicted to hash?

Using hash regularly will increase the risk of addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that only about 9% of hash users will go on to develop an addiction, mostly those who have been using it long-term. Periodic smokers probably won’t get addicted to hash.

Who gets addicted to hash?

There is a much higher risk of addiction in users who started smoking hash at a young age, with 1 in 6 becoming hash addicts. 25-50% of daily hash users started before the age of 17. One study of fraternal and identical twins found that the twin who started smoking before 17 tended to have higher rates of abuse and addiction to other drugs later in life.

Signs of hash addiction

You may have a hash addiction if you find that:

  1. You engage in compulsive behaviors to obtain hash.
  2. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using hash, including irritability, sleeping difficulties, and anxiety.
  3. You have intense cravings for hash.

How to avoid hash addiction

The only way to completely avoid hash addiction is not to take any form of marijuana. However, occasional use does not always present a problem, and in cases where marijuana has been prescribed for medicinal purposes (such as cancer or depression), the risk of addiction may be worth the relief from symptoms. Hash and other forms of marijuana are illegal to use in most of the US, and only legal in certain jurisdictions like Colorado and California with a prescription.

Are you addicted to hash?

Much like smoking cigarettes, a hash addiction can be difficult to quit. Studies show that people with a physical dependence on marijuana tend to suffer from psychiatric disorders, suggesting that marijuana use might be a form of self-medicating. For these people, quitting will usually have to involve therapy and treatment for the underlying disorder. Behavioral treatments and therapies can be helpful in reducing hash dependence. There is currently research into the possibility of medical treatment for hash addiction.

Questions about hash addiction and treatment

Please leave us your questions about using hash, hash addiction and addiction treatment. We will be happy to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt response.

Reference sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse: Research Reports: Marijuana Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse: InfoFacts: Marijuana
Medline Plus: Drug abuse

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5 Responses to “Can you get addicted to hash?
19230492
9:39 am October 18th, 2012

For just over a year now I can probably say I have smoked at least one joint a day (even if comes to using to ends of old joints to make a new one in “desperate times”). Although I don’t do it with a stereotypical stoner life, I’m just your average Joe but I do enjoy it because of the instant relaxation it brings you, however I clearly have a problem no matter if I think I only do it for the enjoyment when I’m scraping bits together as if to get my “hit”. Where I live in the Middle East it is very strong, cheap, easily available and a good chunk of the youth follow a similar lifestyle most likely due to boredom as there really is nothing for anyone to do, smoker or non smoker. I’ve stumbled upon this website because I was initially looking up symptoms of depression, I’m not suicidal in any way but certainly more negative on life. I cannot fall asleep ever, until I’ve laid in bed for hours and it’s past midnight, and then having real trouble waking myself up even if I get enough hours of sleep. Hash being a depressant I figured the two would most likely be related. The withdrawal symptoms suck and I know that’s something I will have to just push through, is there any advise that may help me deal with this.

12:54 pm October 18th, 2012

Hello 192…

Great question. Thanks for asking.

There is no real pharmaceutical intervention necessary for hash withdrawal. The irritation, restlessness, insomnia, etc. which come along with withdrawing from hash usually resolve within 72 hours up to a week later on the acute scale,. However, the depression can be a more long term issue that requires both mental health behavioral treatment as well as medications. Have you thought about seeking help from a psychologist? Are there any psychologists near you?

Best regards!

amy
10:02 pm April 1st, 2013

Withdrawal symptoms to marijuana can be somewhat characterized as the opposite to the intoxicating effects of the drug…instead of hunger, a loss of appetite, and instead of drowsiness, an inability to sleep.

Some additional symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can include headache, nausea, anxiety (common) paranoia and even irritability or aggression.

These sensations will endure with some intensity for several days before gradually subsiding, and it is during this period that the cravings to use are strongest, and there is the greatest risk of relapse.

Tarek
10:31 am August 20th, 2014

hello,
i think my partener is addicted to hash. he smokes almost every day, and planning all outings to include hash. when he stops for 1 or 2 days, he sleeps a lot and become depressed. he is a doctor, yet he refuses to admit that he is addcited. what can i do to help him? is there a medicine that can be taken?

thanks
Tarek

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
12:13 pm August 20th, 2014

Hi Tarek. Thank you for your question. Here is a link that explains the treatment approaches and options for dependence on cannabinoids:
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/available-treatments-marijuana-use-disorders

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