Effects of Hashish Use: Short-Term, Long-Term, Side Effects, and Treatment
What Is Hashish?
Hashish comes mainly from the flowers (as well as the leaves and stems) of the cannabis plant. The active ingredient in hash is the same as the active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the concentration of THC in hashish is much higher than it is in marijuana. The concentration of THC found in most marijuana products ranges between 1% and 5%, whereas in blocks of hashish it ranges between 5% and 15%. Hash oil is an even more concentrated form of hashish and may have as high as 20% concentration of THC, per the Drug Enforcement Administration.
When it comes to the active psychoactive chemicals substances involved, the mechanism of action of hashish is similar to that of marijuana. THC binds to certain receptors in the brain known as cannabinoid receptors, evoking feelings of euphoria, well-being, and sedation. THC also affects cognition, including memory, concentration, and motor coordination.
Is Hash Harmful?
Because hashish and related products are produced from cannabis, many accredited organizations, such as the American Psychiatric Association, include hashish and marijuana as drugs that can facilitate the development of a condition known as cannabis use disorder. While many believe that hashish and marijuana are drugs with no potential serious dangers, there is evidence to the contrary.
Short-Term Effects of Hash Use
The short-term effects of hashish use include:
- A feeling of well-being or happiness.
- Enhanced emotional experiences.
- Vivid sensual experiences—including vision, hearing, and taste.
- The sense that time moves more slowly.
- A feeling of passiveness.
- Increased sociability.
- A reduction in fear and behavioral inhibitions.
Hash Side Effects
The side effects of hashish are similar to those of marijuana and can have an impact both mentally and physically. Some of the side effects of using hashish include:
- Sensory distortions.
- Nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
- Significant loss of motor coordination.
- Changes in respiration.
- Increased heartbeat and blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular issues (e.g. heart attack).
- Extreme sleepiness.
- Increased appetite and weight gain.
- The increased potential to be involved in accidents due to the loss of coordination and poor decision-making.
- Anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, and a sense of a loss of control.
- An inability to make sound decisions.
Long-Term Effects of Abusing Hashish
Individuals who chronically use or abuse hashish or other cannabis products may have issues with:
- Lowered resistance to common illnesses such as colds, the flu, and bronchitis.
- Adolescent growth issues.
- Abnormal cell structure and cell division.
- Reduction of testosterone production and reduced sexual functioning.
- Respiratory problems.
- Emotional and psychological issues that include apathy, a lack of motivation, depression, and an increased risk for the development of psychosis.
- Changes in mood and cognition.
Many of these issues may persist over time and extend past the period of use.
The term dependence is no longer used to signify an addiction or substance use disorder (the current preferred clinical term). Physical dependence refers to the physiological adaptation of the body to a drug’s presence. Withdrawal symptoms will occur with decreased levels of the substance in a person’s system once physical dependence is established.
Even though many sources in the past denied that cannabis products could produce serious addictive behaviors, many national organizations such as the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the American Psychiatric Association now consider the development of substance use disorders involving cannabis products a reality. The American Psychiatric Association formally lists the diagnostic criteria associated with a cannabis use disorder (or hashish use disorder). They include:
- Experiencing many unsuccessful attempts to control or cut back on the use of hashish.
- Financial problems associated with hashish use and purchasing of hashish products.
- Issues with one’s job, personal relationships, or school as a result of the use of hashish.
- Issues with one’s health or psychological well-being as a result of hashish use.
- Craving hashish relatively often.
- Continuing to use hashish even though using it has many negative ramifications.
- Getting extremely angry or defensive when the excessive hashish use is pointed out.
- The development of tolerance.
Hashish Withdrawal Treatment
When used chronically, cannabis products will often result in the experience of withdrawal symptoms once the drug is discontinued. Hash withdrawal symptoms include:
- Disturbing dreams.
- Loss of appetite/weight loss.
Find Hash Addiction Treatment Programs
While the symptoms of hashish withdrawal are not considered to be serious or potentially physically damaging in the same way that withdrawal from alcohol is considered dangerous, they may be psychologically distressing enough to prompt relapse. Formal detox and addiction treatment programs can help you handle these symptoms and move forward into recovery.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading treatment provider and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. To find a program today, please call AAC free at .