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Cannabis (Marijuana) Facts and Statistics

Being aware of cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics are vital, due to common misunderstandings. For support contact Addiction Advocates. Enquire Now
Cannabis (Marijuana) Facts and Statistics
Updated on 01/04/2022
Medically reviewed by
Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist)

Cannabis is a widespread drug with excessive consumption rates attached to it. Yet, through consumption, there are unknown effects for some individuals, including risks of addiction.

Due to its mass circulation [1] and accessibility, it is important to be aware of the realism of cannabis as a drug and its effects, with a grave focus on addictionmental health, and consequences.

Cannabis consumption will impact every person differently, depending on the regularity and the degree of enabled exposure. For some, it will be a social, recreational substance where consumption can be controlled. Yet, for others, it will show as the addictive drug that it is, causing significant issues for users.

Here’s some cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics to consider, displaying the reality behind cannabis abuse. If you’re one of many who are struggling through marijuana addiction, we at Addiction Advocates are here to offer greater awareness, along with guidance through the rehab process.

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What is cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is an illegal Class B plant-based psychoactive drug that is highly adopted through recreational consumption.

Although it is used and backed across some platforms for holistic healing and treatment, its organic form, including THC, is addictive and dangerous when heavily consumed.

Acting as a rapid drug, the effects of cannabis (marijuana) can be instantly felt, lasting over a 1-hour period, offering relaxing, chilled out and suppressing effects.

Although there are positive reinforcers to the drug, cannabis is hazardous to the mind, known to increase mental health symptoms, risks of hallucinations and diagnoses of schizophrenia. It’s also impactful across physical wellbeing, linked to lung cancer and further respiratory problems.

Commonly cut with further chemicals, marijuana on the surface is viewed as harmless, yet in fact is a toxic, unpredictable, and addictive substance when normalised and abused consistently.

Can you get addicted to cannabis?

Cannabis addictions are more common than imaginable. Cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics show how 1 in every 10 [2] users of cannabis will develop addictive tendencies and if enabled, will be diagnosed with an addiction.

The drug will not impact every user in the same way, where a dependence can develop for some. The result of drug abuse will usually be linked to the quantity and consistency of cannabis consumption, along with further vulnerabilities, such as genetics.

However, once cannabis interferes with brain structure and taps into the reward system, an addiction can materialise. Its presence will impact decisions, attention, and emotional responses found to drive the addiction cycle.

Cannabis (Marijuana) Facts and StatisticsCommon withdrawal symptoms are also an indication of addiction, which is unbearable, will motivate ongoing cannabis (marijuana) exposure. Through attempting to mask symptoms, a habit can develop, influencing consistent use of cannabis.

Signs of cannabis addiction

The signs of cannabis addiction are identified due to the effects that the drug has on users. Common signs surround changes in behaviour linked to drug addiction, such as priority of consumption and withdrawing from everyday life. Yet specific physical and psychological signs surround the drug when an addiction is present.

  • Hallucinations
  • A lack of motivation
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Feeling drowsy and confused
  • Memory problems
  • Poor performance across everyday responsibilities
  • Excessive eating habits
  • Risks of mental health symptoms
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory problems, such as asthma
  • Consistent cravings of cannabis
  • Withdrawal symptoms in between consumption


Addiction is commonly diagnosed when the above is paired with the inability to stop consumption, with the chase of ongoing consumption and with viewing cannabis as a positive reinforcer.

Long Term Symptoms Cannabis

Cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics

On average, 158.8 million [3] people consume cannabis on a global scale. It’s, in fact, the most adopted illegal drug, normalised across generations and demographics. Cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics show that 1 in every 10 people who consume cannabis regularly will develop an addiction, which turns to 1 in 6 [4] when exposure begins under 18 years of age.

Alongside common risks of addiction, cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics [5] also show how early exposure to cannabis within teenage years increases the risk of abusing stronger drugs, including cocaine and heroin.

Although its image comes across as harmless, due to its social links, its potency has increased across recent years, causing worries through mass consumption. Acceptance rates [6] of support through cannabis addiction are moderate yet fall below the number of individuals who welcome addiction support through alcohol and opiate abuse. This is commonly linked to the normalisation of marijuana exposure.

Overcoming Cannabis Addiction

Cannabis (marijuana) is one of the most damaging drugs for its link to mental health vulnerabilities, with a focus on psychosis and schizophrenia [7]. This, alongside the consequences of addiction and low acceptance rates of treatment, is worrying as mental health crises continue to rise.

Facts and statistics around cannabis (marijuana) consumption and abuse clearly show the widespread problems linked to its circulation, increasing the below risks.

Risks of cannabis abuse

Cannabis abuse, where long-term and consistent exposure is experienced, can result in many risks. The biggest concern lies in the mental health damages it can cause due to adjusting the internal reward system and production of chemicals. It’s also found to slow down activity, resulting in impairment, including memory problems and instability.

Physical health risks are also prevalent to excessive cannabis exposure, especially linked to lung functionality and organ health. Very similar to tobacco, cannabis is found to increase the risks of cancer and further life-limiting conditions.

Cannabis exposure is hazardous for those who have pre-existing mental health issues, who are pregnant and who are experiencing ill-health due to the toxicity of its makeup. Risks of psychosis, infertility and reduced quality of life are found for those with cannabis addictions.

Withdrawing from cannabis

Due to its addictive nature, withdrawing from cannabis can be tough. A wide range of withdrawal symptoms is expected through getting clean. However, treating cannabis addiction is possible through a wealth of addiction treatment services.

Physical withdrawal can be achieved through detoxification, psychological recovery will require many therapy efforts, dual diagnosis treatment will be required for those displaying mental health symptoms, and management and prevention steps will be necessary.

For more information on cannabis (marijuana) facts and statistics, available treatment programmes and services, and how we can help, contact our team at Addiction Advocates. Alternatively, Marijuana Anonymous UK [8] is a helpful resource to understand and work through cannabis addiction recovery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does cannabis affect the brain?
Cannabis affects the brain by influencing change through the central nervous system and the reward system. It offers significant feelings of fulfilment by producing happy chemicals, which adapt the organic brain structure and health.

Mental health vulnerabilities are highly linked with cannabis abuse due to how it impacts brain functionality and health.
Is it possible to overdose?
It isn’t possible to overdose on cannabis, due to its strength. However, if cannabis is cut with a dangerous substance, the risks of overdose can increase. The key worry of cannabis exposure is linked to the realism of addiction and secondary health issues.
Can second hand cannabis affect people around me?
Yes, second-hand smoke from cannabis can affect those around you, just as smoking other substances can. It is very important to consider those around you when consuming cannabis, especially those at risk of additional health problems.


  • [1] mass circulation -
  • [2] 1 in every 10 -
  • [3] 158.8 million -
  • [4] 1 in 6 -
  • [5] statistics -
  • [6] Acceptance rates -
  • [7] psychosis and schizophrenia -
  • [8] Marijuana Anonymous UK -

Seth is an author, addiction recovery expert and fully accredited member of the national counselling society. He has experience working with a wide range of addictions and mental illnesses using a number of evidence-based therapies and programmes such as the SMART models of addiction recovery.

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