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:
- You engage in compulsive behaviors to obtain hash.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using hash, including irritability, sleeping difficulties, and anxiety.
- 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.