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Heavy Cannabis Users Experience Withdrawal Symptoms: Study

Update Date: Sep 27, 2012 06:58 AM EDT

Like cigarette smokers, those who smoke cannabis have a high possibility of relapsing to cannabis use when they experience certain withdrawal symptoms, suggests a new study led by David Allsop of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) at the University of New South Wales.

For the study, the researchers tested a group of dependent cannabis users for two weeks of abstinence to study how withdrawal symptoms affected them. The findings of the study were compared to the probability of the candidate relapsing to cannabis use and the level of usage a month later.

The researchers found that people who were more dependent on cannabis use had certain withdrawal symptoms like physical tension, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, mood swings and loss of appetite, according to Medical Xpress.

These symptoms were also more strongly associated with relapse to cannabis use than other symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue or night sweats.

It was also found that participants with greater dependence reported more severe impairment from the withdrawal compared to those who were not heavily dependent. They also consumed more cannabis when checked after a month.

The findings of the current study may be useful in treating cannabis users seeking treatment for withdrawal and for those looking for support.

"Tailoring treatments to target withdrawal symptoms contributing to functional impairment during a quit attempt may improve treatment outcomes," says Allsop.

The study was published Sept. 26 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

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