Hash addiction treatment most often focuses on psychological dependency. Use of the drug causes only mild physical and psychological addiction and does not produce the serious physical and mental side effects that can be associated with other drugs, such as cocaine. Abusers must often be convinced that their use of hash is significantly damaging their lives, because even the heaviest users can stop using with few withdrawal symptoms.
Like marijuana abuse, which is similar, hash abuse can develop into a lifestyle choice that takes on a culture of its own. Many people feel that hash has medicinal or religious value and justify frequent use by referring to the drug’s psychological benefits. Any activity that develops into a habit can detrimentally impact a person’s home and work life and the relationships that he or she has with family and friends. When that habit involves the use of an illegal, mind-altering substance, the potential for negative consequences increases. Getting off the drug often requires individual and group counseling through hash rehab to address the root causes of habitual behavior.
Is Hash the Same as Marijuana?
Hash, also called hashish, is made from the same Cannabis sativa plant that produces marijuana. The name is often listed as a street term for marijuana, so it is easy to assume that hash and marijuana are the exact same drugs. Hash, however, is a more potent formulation of the more than 400 chemicals that are contained in the cannabis plant. The drug is produced by drying and compressing the parts of the plant that contain the most THC, the main chemical ingredient that produces the drug’s psychoactive effects.
Unlike marijuana, hash is sold in a variety of compressed forms, such as in balls, cakes, or sheets. A piece is broken off and smoked, either by itself or with tobacco. Users will often refer to smoking implements, such as pipes, bongs, and hookahs, when discussing hash or will talk about making hash into a joint, which can be smoked like a cigarette, or a blunt, which can be smoked like a cigar.
Effects Associated with Using
Hash is a mind-altering drug that affects brain chemistry to produce feelings of euphoria and increase focus and concentration. The hash high is different for each person and depends on the quality and composition of the drug. In general, people experience dissociation from reality and feel relieved from stress and worry. Many people say hash gives them a burst of energy, while others experience a lethargic effect. If the hash is smoked, the effects are experienced immediately and last for about three hours. If the drug is eaten, it can take up to an hour for the effects to manifest.
Experiences seem more intense when a person is on a hash high, and the altered mental state sometimes allows people to view problems in a different way. For this reason, hash is sometimes used as a creative stimulator or spiritual guide. Experts who have studied the hash high tend to classify it as an experience enhancer, rather than as an escape mechanism. The drug will speed up a person’s heart rate and can make sexual experiences seem more intense. With all of these benefits, the need for hash addiction treatment can often be a hard sell.
What are the Consequences?
“Hash use can negatively impact a person’s physical health.”
Hash use can negatively impact a person’s physical health. Like any drug that is smoked, hash can damage a person’s lungs and cause bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. The toxins and carcinogens in the drug increase the user’s risk of cancer. Using hash over a long period of time can suppress the immune system, leaving the user vulnerable to a wide array of medical problems.
The most immediate negative effects of hash use are psychological. The drug can impair judgment, perception, memory, and coordination. Users may end up making decisions while on hash that they would not have made while sober. A distorted sense of time combined with poor body coordination can result in dangerous accidents. While the drug enhances feelings of happiness in most people, it can also exacerbate feelings of depression in people who are already suffering from that illness.
Common short-term side effects:
- Reddened eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Cold fingers and toes
- Food cravings
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Distorted perception
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty thinking
Common long-term side effects
- Impaired judgment, memory, and concentration
- Loss of motivation
- Earlier onset of psychotic disorders in those who are predisposed
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
Although hash is only mildly addictive, it can be habit forming, especially with people who become enamored of the drug’s euphoric effects or feel that the drug positively affects their creativity or religious practices. So how do you know when it is time to seek hash addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one?
Hash abuse often manifests as frequent use that impairs the progress of a person’s life. This condition is called a motivational syndrome, which occurs when hash use has resulted in a lack of motivation to do anything other than use more of the drug. If a person’s hash use has progressed to the point where he or she is skipping school or work, disconnecting from friends and family, or refusing to leave the house, it may be time to seek help.
What is Overdosing and Withdrawing Like?
There has never been a reported case of a person fatally overdosing on hash in the United States. Taking an excess amount of the drug can result in negative physical and mental side effects, but these are not life-threatening effects. Overindulgence in hash can cause mental confusion, panic attacks, hallucinations, and depression, and these effects typically wear off in a relatively short amount of time.
Chronic use of high doses of hash can cause withdrawal symptoms if a person stops taking the drug; however, these symptoms are considered mild compared to the withdrawal dangers of more addictive drugs, such as barbiturates. People who quit using hash can experience headaches, shakes, nausea, restlessness, irritability, and sleep disorders. Some people are quite successful going cold turkey on their own, because the withdrawal symptoms are relatively manageable, but others may need professional hash detox and rehab to stop using.
The Detoxification Process
It is very difficult to determine precisely how long hash will remain in a person’s system. TCH, the primary chemical in hash, can stay in a person’s system from three to 90 days. The length of time is affected by individual factors, such as height, weight, age, and metabolic rate. The body stores the drug in the fat cells of all the major organs, so it is particularly difficult to estimate what it will take to flush a person’s system to the point where the drug is no longer present.
“…hash addiction and abuse can typically be handled without resorting to inpatient or outpatient medical detoxification programs.”
Like an addiction to nicotine, hash addiction and abuse can typically be handled without resorting to inpatient or outpatient medical detoxification programs. Many people can manage the detox stage at home. People who want to ensure their recovery and prevent relapse can choose to detox in a private inpatient facility, which will offer medical solutions for flushing toxins out of the system while providing structure to help people resist temptation. A formal hash detox program can sometimes make the difference between a complete break from drug use and a constant cycle of relapse.
There are also consumer products that a person can buy to assist with hash detox. Hash is one of the drugs that can show up on an employment drug test for up to 90 days after the last use, so people are motivated to find ways to remove evidence of the drug from their bodies. These types of consumer solutions are most appropriate for the occasional user or the hash abuser who has not been using the drug in high doses or over an extended period of time.
Options for Rehabilitation
The medical industry tends to focus on treatment for drugs with more severe withdrawal symptoms. For the person who has been abusing hash, however, structured help can get his or her life back on track. The treatment for hash addiction may focus more on motivation, habitual behavior, and emotional conditioning, but help in these areas is just as valid as help for severe physical and psychological addiction.
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Hash addiction treatment options range from inpatient and outpatient counseling in residential treatment facilities to individual and group therapy that is self-directed. Inpatient residential treatment offers the best opportunity to stay clean and develop healthy lifestyle habits to prevent relapse. Removing the person from the cares of everyday life allows him or her to concentrate on recovery, without the distractions of home and work.
Most experts agree that longer treatment tends to result in a better chance for long-term sobriety. The longer a person has to internalize the skills needed to resist drug use while in care, the easier it is for the person to keep up those skills after returning to regular life. Typical inpatient and outpatient residential facility options for hash addiction treatment can range from 21 days to as many as 90 days, depending on the situation.
Whether the treatment takes place on an inpatient or outpatient basis, it usually consists of intensive motivational counseling and behavior modification training. Some facilities also offer hypnotherapy and other innovative approaches to behavior modification. There may be some group therapy involved and training to address related lifestyle issues.
If the user embarks on a course of self-directed treatment, a 12-step program can often provide the type of long-term emotional support that is needed to remain sober. Finding the right counselor is an important step in a person’s recovery, so make sure to seek out specific recommendations that are focused on the person’s individual needs. We can help you decide on the best hash addiction treatment option for the circumstances involved.
Finding the Right Program to fit Your Needs
Hash addiction treatment is often grouped with general treatment for marijuana abuse. If you can’t find a program that focuses specifically on hash, you can broaden your search criteria to include marijuana, as the drugs are so closely related.
In some areas, the medical treatment options are limited to life-threatening drug addictions. Hash abuse does not fall under this category, so it is possible that there are no addiction treatment centers in your immediate vicinity that focus on hash use. This does not mean treatment is not available, however. An alternative involves therapy that focuses on behavioral problems, such as overeating, obsessions, and phobias. These options focus on the willpower needed to break habits and modify behavior. This is often enough support for a hash user to break a negative cycle. An outpatient therapist can provide counseling in addition to behavioral therapy to assist with recovery.