Have you ever heard the theory that marijuana isn’t an addictive substance? Well, sorry pot smokers, but marijuana produces the same withdrawal symptoms as tobacco, according to a new study.
An Australian study that was published on Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE surveyed 50 marijuana users about their withdrawal symptoms before, during, and after a two-week abstinence period, reports ABC News.
The authors of the study have shown that marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with the lives of regular users attempting to quit. Study co-author Alan J. Budney, a professor of psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Lebanon, New Hampshire, stated:
“It’s very similar to what people experience with tobacco. It makes you irritable. It makes you restless. It makes it hard to sleep.”
Budney adds that withdrawal from marijuana, at its worst, “can be very disturbing and distressing … It can be enough to cause you some problems at work and home.”
Researchers also discovered that heavy users are more likely to suffer worse withdrawal symptoms and relapse during the two-week abstinence period if their symptoms are bad enough. Subjects also used marijuana a lot more in the following month if they had worse withdrawal symptoms.
Yahoo! News notes that the findings show that marijuana (contrary to popular belief) “behaves just like other drugs of abuse,” stated Scott E. Lukas of Harvard Medical School and MacLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study. Lukas added:
“There is a common belief among the public that marijuana is not very addictive and so it is not a big problem. It is not enough to simply say, ‘I want to quit,’ but, instead, the person must be able to withstand the turmoil of going through withdrawal.”
Dr. A. Eden Evins, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston who was not involved in the study, stated that there are telltale signs that accompany marijuana withdrawal just like with any other substance. While most people may “seem moody, tense, anxious and nervous,” one of the most troubling symptoms, and also one of the most common, is an intense desire to use marijuana to get high.
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal typically last for two weeks but peak at about four days. While the symptoms last around two weeks, the extreme craving to use marijuana again can last much longer. The symptoms are not life threatening like some hard substances (cocaine and meth), but they can be very disruptive to daily live. Evins stated:
“It impairs people’s functions. Often, it leads people to use more than they want to. Withdrawal symptoms lead people into a cycle of heavier and heavier use that impairs their functioning.”
Do you think that marijuana withdrawal is real?