Why are the withdrawal symptoms of cannabis ignored?

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Answered by: Stephanie, An Expert in the Addictions - General Category
A shocking amount of cannabis users in Australia was what triggered researchers at the University of New South Wales to put together a study on the withdrawal symptoms of cannabis. About 200,000, including one particular individual, Daniel Csatlos, are users of this drug on a frequent basis. Csatlos admits to being a user on a daily uses for five years. Smoking up to 1.5 ounces per week, this 20 year old started to notice the impacts this drug had on his daily life. With cannabis being so easily accessible in where he resides in Woolloomooloo, near Sydney, his habit runs him around $150.00 per week. Like other drugs, this habit can be costly.



The withdrawal symptoms of cannabis are not as recognized when compared with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine. As a matter of fact, Doctor Melissa Norberg recognizes the issue that withdrawal from cannabis is widely ignored. The reason being the withdrawal symptoms are not as severe as harsher drugs. The National Cannabis Prevention & Intervention Centre hopes their recent study proves otherwise.

The study took several participants who smoked marijuana for a one week. They were then instructed to stop taking the drug for two weeks and had to keep a daily journal noting their experience. The outcome; withdrawal symptoms beginning after 24 hours of non use included loss in weight, mood swings, feeling of depression, headaches and anxiousness.



When you open up the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, you will find withdrawal symptoms noted for drugs such as cocaine and opiates. Don’t bother looking up information within the manual on cannabis because it does not exist. Doctor Norberg speculates that perhaps it is because people do not die from cannabis withdrawal. It is therefore not deemed as being as serious versus your more stereotypical, hardcore drug.

Although the results of this study have not been published yet, Norberg hopes that her research brings to light the reality of marijuana use in attempt to decrease the relapse rate. During sobriety individuals begin to feel these symptoms and smoke cannabis to rid themselves of those feelings. In some cases people will consume alcohol and use nicotine which shifts the addiction versus ridding it.

As a study participant, Csatlos notes that he would feel normal but sweat in his sleep uncontrollably. He also felt enhanced levels of stress and would show anger regarding insignificant matters. Remaining sober for about three weeks, he has hopes of becoming an electrician. Although he is not completely ready to give it up for good, he wants to be able to gain control back.

Research, beyond a doubt, has proven that cannabis users do indeed suffer from some sort of withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms are comparable to withdrawal symptoms of other drugs. In understanding the syndromes using research, further research is predicted to ultimately lead the way into new developments of pharmacological interventions. With this better understanding, the 200,000 people who suffer from this addictive drug and many others have hope.

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