Some people think that cannabis is not addictive, but a new study shows that it could be. In a study conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the results showed that 40 percent of young marijuana users who were treated in an outpatient program showed signs of withdrawal symptoms.
The study’s lead researcher, John Kelly from the MGH Center of Addiction Medicine told Yahoo Health there are plenty of false impressions about marijuana use.
“There’s a lot of misperception out there that marijuana is not addictive. But it produces both physical and psychological dependence in a similar way to that of other drugs, along with its own characteristic withdrawal symptoms.”
The study was conducted on 127 participants between the ages of 14 through 19, and were assessed at the start of the study and three, 6, and 12 months after the treatment. Based on the results, 84 percent were said to be dependent on marijuana, while 40 percent showed withdrawal symptoms such as sleeping difficulties, depression, irritability, and anxiety.
“Our results are timely given the changing attitudes and perceptions of risk related to cannabis use in the U.S. As more people are able to obtain and consume cannabis legally for medical and, in some states, recreational use, people are less likely to perceive it as addictive or harmful.”
Medical marijuana is now legal in half of the states in the U.S., and recreational use is allowed in Washington and Colorado.
Daily Mail UK reports that in the study, participants who recognized early on that they have a problem and reported withdrawal symptoms had a steady improvement in abstinence throughout the 12 months of study. On the other hand, those who did not recognize that they have a problem and reported withdrawal symptoms had an increase in abstinence the first 3 months, but then increased marijuana usage after the third month.
Co-author of the report, Claire Greene said:
“We hypothesize that participants who experience withdrawal symptoms but do not recognize having a substance use problem may not attribute those symptoms to cannabis withdrawal. Those who do acknowledge a substance-use problem may correctly attribute those symptoms to cannabis withdrawal, giving them even more motivation to change their substance use behavior.”
Greene said that further research is needed in order to determine the implications of marijuana. Kelly said that legalizing marijuana will bring new cases of addition. “The rates of addiction and harm will go up, there’s no doubt about it.”
[Image via Rant Lifestyle]