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Cannabis side effects

Find out more about the side effects of cannabis with help from the experts at Delamere

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“Delamere helped me find the pathway to challenge and change the unhelpful values I’d created over years of self-abuse to help me heal and grow.” Delamere Guest, 2021

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What are the side effects of cannabis?

With around 193 million users worldwide, Cannabis remains the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug. Whether it’s used experimentally or frequently, the widespread prevalence of cannabis use means its impact on public health is significant and cannabis has subsequently been associated with a range of acute and chronic health problems (1).

As with all mind-altering substances, cannabis has both short- and long-term effects on the brain. THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, stimulates the part of the brain that responds to pleasure, which provides the initial ‘high’ from the release of dopamine. When taken long-term, the side effects of cannabis have been linked to mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

At Delamere, we want everyone to understand the side effects of cannabis so that they can recognise the warning signs of addiction and get the help they need. We help our guests to overcome cannabis addiction with a range of therapies to support physical, emotional and psychological health. We can provide the perfect surroundings for a safe and comfortable clinical detox to manage the unpleasant side effects of cannabis withdrawal. Our holistic therapists also offer one-to-one counselling and group mentoring sessions to allow you to share your story in a welcoming and non-judgemental environment. If you are suffering from the side effects of cannabis, whether from short- or long-term use, please do get in touch and see how we can help.

If you think you may be addicted to cannabis or know someone who is, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.

See how a more holistic approach to treatment can help you truly transform your life for the better. Book a consultation

The side effects of cannabis

People experience different side effects when taking cannabis. Some people will feel spaced out and relaxed, while others will be chatty and happy. The short-term side effects of taking cannabis can also vary depending on age, sex, mental health and the method of administration. When smoked or vaped, cannabis enters the blood stream much more quickly and the user feels the effects almost instantly. Whereas if cannabis is ingested, the ‘high’ is less immediate and may take several hours to wear off. Despite these variables, the detrimental side effects of cannabis have been recognised for many years.

Short-term side effects of cannabis

The World Health Organisation reports that cannabis impairs the capability to learn, impairing thinking, attention-span, memory and recall. Cannabis is also said to impact psychomotor performance, such as being able to multitask, maintain good hand-to-eye coordination or operate complex machinery (2). This explains the significant increase in the risk of car crashes following acute cannabis use, especially fatal collisions (3).

Episodes of nausea and vomiting
Impaired body movement
Breathing problems
Increased heartrate
Sensitivity to light
Mood swings
Anxiety and panic attacks
Memory loss
Visual disturbances
Hallucinations and delusions
Psychotic symptoms

Long-term side effects of cannabis

Scientists are still investigating the long-term side effects of cannabis on the brain. Experts know that teens and young people are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but are yet to determine if the damage caused to the parts of the brain that control attention, memory and learning are permanent (4). The side effects of cannabis on the brain are dependent on many factors including its potency, frequency of use, age of first use and whether or not other substances are involved.

Many people use cannabis regularly, either recreationally or medicinally. Despite cannabis not being as addictive as drugs such as heroin and cocaine, cannabis use disorders affect roughly 10% of the 193 million users in the world (5). As well as the potential for cannabis addiction, People who take cannabis frequently over many years may develop mood disorders and mental health problems. Cannabis can also exacerbate psychotic disorders, making symptoms more severe for sufferers of conditions such as schizophrenia.

Poor cognitive functioning
Inability to perform daily tasks
Cannabis dependence syndrome
Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases
Blocked airways and lung inflammation (if smoked)
Chronic bronchitis (if smoked)
Low birth weight (in pregnant individuals)
Cannabis withdrawal syndrome

Withdrawal side effects from cannabis

Someone with a cannabis use disorder will experience withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly quit. The side effects of cannabis withdrawal include intense cravings, irritability and restlessness, lack of appetite, stomach pain and nausea. If you are struggling with the side effects of cannabis withdrawal, please talk to the holistic therapists at Delamere who can arrange a safe and comfortable drug detox programme.

The Delamere approach to treating the side effects of cannabis

Cannabis use disorders develop for a variety of different reasons. If you are continuing to use cannabis despite its negative effects on your health, work and those around you, it’s time to get help. At Delamere, we believe in treating the side effects of cannabis based on the individual person and their needs. Our unique three-step approach considers your physical, emotional and psychological needs, allowing us to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms of your cannabis addiction.

We welcome guests of all ages to our wellness retreat beside Delamere forest, where we offer a medically assisted drug detox to help you stop craving cannabis in safe and comfortable surroundings. Our holistic therapists offer a wide variety of evidence-based therapies, from one-to-one counselling to somatic healing techniques, to understand the reason for your reliance on cannabis and help you find a way forward. You will leave our care with a renewed sense of self, empowered to grow beyond addiction.

Our Stop Start Grow model is a refreshing approach to recovery and is what makes treatment at Delamere different.

We believe life after addiction should be abundant, so our programmes focus on addressing any underlying issues that underpin your addiction, helping you let go of the past and rewrite your future without addiction holding you back.


Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
any distractions

A day at Delamere A day at Delamere


Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first place

Delamere treatment model Delamere treatment model


Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere

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Practice using the tools
while staying anchored to support.
Bring Recovery Home.

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Our core elements of treatment

We believe that cannabis addiction, whether stemming from a need to relieve stress or forget troubles – stems from somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.


Stopping the cycle of addiction or burnout safely and comfortably


Healing whatever
pain is causing
the behaviour


Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth

Why choose Delamere?

Holistic approach to recovery

Discreet location

Luxury ensuite accommodation

Personalised programmes

Flexible stays

24-hour care & support

On-site gym & health studio

Business & family lounges

Free collection service


Outcomes focused

Everything we do here is about outcomes. Focusing on getting you back to yourself again in the short term, but then growing beyond that when you leave Delamere. Helping you create the foundations for long-term recovery and growth.

Individual care

There’s no one-size-fits-all here. We listen, learn and tailor our programmes to meet your personal needs, whatever they may be. Your journey to recovery is yours, so we design our programmes with you in mind.


Creative therapies

Nature and creativity often bring out the best in people, especially after a difficult period in their life. We offer equine and art therapy, fire ceremonies, nature walks and more to help you relax, reflect and see the world in a new way.

“My own journey through addiction was the inspiration for Delamere. We provide exemplary care in first-class facilities, focusing on creating lasting outcomes for our guests and their families. Helping them not just overcome their addiction, but grow beyond it.”

Martin Preston, Founder & CEO at Delamere

Transformational stories

Suffering from the side effects of cannabis?

We can help you overcome addiction and enjoy life without cannabis.

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Know someone who needs help with cannabis addiction?

If a friend, family member or work colleague is showing signs of cannabis addiction, it’s important they get help.

Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our drug detox programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.

Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.

Source of information

  1. Karila L, Roux P, Rolland B, Benyamina A, Reynaud M, Aubin HJ, Lançon C. Acute and long-term effects of cannabis use: a review. Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(25):4112-8. doi: 10.2174/13816128113199990620. PMID: 24001294.
  2. World Health Organization
  3. Preuss Ulrich W., Huestis Marilyn A., Schneider Miriam, Hermann Derik, Lutz Beat, Hasan Alkomiet, Kambeitz Joseph, Wong Jessica W. M., Hoch Eva. Cannabis Use and Car Crashes: A Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Vol 12.2021. DOI=10.3389/fpsyt.2021.643315.
  4. Meier MH, Caspi A, Ambler A, et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2012;109(40):E2657-E2664.
  5. Connor J, Stjepanovic D, Le Foll B, Hoch E, Budney A, Hall W. Cannabis use and cannabis use disorder. Nature Rev Disease Primers. 2021;7(16). doi:10.1038/s41572-021-00247-4.