Cannabis Dependence

Cannabis Dependence

Cannabis Dependence

Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), is the continued use of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment. Cannabis is a psychoactive drug used primarily for medical or recreational purposes. The main psychoactive component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Prevalence
Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug both in the United States and the world, although it is also legal in some jurisdictions. In the United States, approximately 50% of people have used cannabis and approximately 10% of users develop cannabis dependence. Recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in some countries. Medical use of cannabis, requiring the approval of a physician, has been legalized in a greater number of countries.

Symptoms of Cannabis Dependence or Abuse:

Cannabis has multiple mental and physical effects.

  • Mental effects – include euphoria, altered states of mind and sense of time, difficulty concentrating, relaxation, and impaired short-term memory.
  • Physical effects – include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, nausea, dry mouth, red eyes, body movements, and an increase in appetite.

Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract. The onset of the effects of cannabis is usually felt within minutes when smoked and can last for two to six hours, depending on the amount used.

Diagnosis of Cannabis Dependence or Abuse:

Frequent and heavy use of cannabis can lead to Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). Increasing the strength of the cannabis taken and an increasing use of more effective methods of delivery often increase the progression of CUD.

For a diagnosis of CUD to be made, at least two of the following eleven criteria must be present over a 12-month period:

  1. Hazardous use
  2. Social and interpersonal problems
  3. Neglected major roles
  4. Withdrawal
  5. Tolerance – consuming higher doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect or “hit”
  6. Used larger amounts and/or for longer periods of time
  7. Repeated attempts to quit or control use
  8. A great deal of time spent using
  9. Physical or psychological problems related to use
  10. Activities given up
  11. Craving

CUD can be classified as:

  • Mild: 2 – 3 criteria
  • Moderate: 4 – 5 criteria
  • Severe: 6 or more criteria

Causes of Cannabis dependence:

The exact cause of cannabis dependency remains unknown; however, genetic and environmental factors have both been implicated.

Young age and frequency of use are the main factors that increase the risk of developing CUD. Other risk factors include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Poor parenting
  • School drop-out
  • Affiliation with drug-using peers
  • Daily cigarette smoking
  • Ready access to cannabis

Risk factors for Cannabis dependence:

Long-term adverse effects may include decreased mental ability in those who started regular use as adolescents, chronic coughing, anxiety, depression, and susceptibility to respiratory infections.

People who use high doses of cannabis/weed are at increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. People who experience psychosis as a result of cannabis use are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia.

Treatment for, and recovery from, Cannabis dependance:

Treatment options for CUD include:

  • Talking therapies – cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Medication – no medications have been found effective for CUD. Rather, the goal of medication therapy for CUD revolves around targeting the stages of the addiction:

    • Acute intoxication/binge,
    • Withdrawal/negative affect, and
    • Preoccupation/anticipation.
  • Peer support programmes
  • Adjustments to a person’s environment – such as the removal of any paraphernalia
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms occur in one-half of people in treatment for CUD. Symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, depression, restlessness, disturbed sleep, and decreased appetite. Most symptoms begin during the first week of abstinence and resolve after a few weeks. About 12% of heavy cannabis users show cannabis withdrawal.

Cannabis withdrawal symptoms occur in one-half of people in treatment for CUD. Symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, depression, restlessness, disturbed sleep, and decreased appetite.

Most symptoms begin during the first week of abstinence and resolve after a few weeks. About 12% of heavy cannabis users show cannabis withdrawal.

Symptoms of Cannabis Dependence or Abuse:

Cannabis has multiple mental and physical effects.

  • Mental effects – include euphoria, altered states of mind and sense of time, difficulty concentrating, relaxation, and impaired short-term memory.
  • Physical effects – include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, nausea, dry mouth, red eyes, body movements, and an increase in appetite.

Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract. The onset of the effects of cannabis is usually felt within minutes when smoked and can last for two to six hours, depending on the amount used.

Diagnosis of Cannabis Dependence or Abuse:

Frequent and heavy use of cannabis can lead to Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). Increasing the strength of the cannabis taken and an increasing use of more effective methods of delivery often increase the progression of CUD.

For a diagnosis of CUD to be made, at least two of the following eleven criteria must be present over a 12-month period:

  1. Hazardous use
  2. Social and interpersonal problems
  3. Neglected major roles
  4. Withdrawal
  5. Tolerance – consuming higher doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect or “hit”
  6. Used larger amounts and/or for longer periods of time
  7. Repeated attempts to quit or control use
  8. A great deal of time spent using
  9. Physical or psychological problems related to use
  10. Activities given up
  11. Craving

CUD can be classified as:

  • Mild: 2 – 3 criteria
  • Moderate: 4 – 5 criteria
  • Severe: 6 or more criteria

Causes of Cannabis dependence:

The exact cause of cannabis dependency remains unknown; however, genetic and environmental factors have both been implicated.

Young age and frequency of use are the main factors that increase the risk of developing CUD. Other risk factors include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Poor parenting
  • School drop-out
  • Affiliation with drug-using peers
  • Daily cigarette smoking
  • Ready access to cannabis

Risk factors for Cannabis dependence:

Long-term adverse effects may include decreased mental ability in those who started regular use as adolescents, chronic coughing, anxiety, depression, and susceptibility to respiratory infections.

People who use high doses of cannabis/weed are at increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. People who experience psychosis as a result of cannabis use are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia.

Treatment for, and recovery from, Cannabis dependance:

Treatment options for CUD include:

  • Talking therapies – cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Medication – no medications have been found effective for CUD. Rather, the goal of medication therapy for CUD revolves around targeting the stages of the addiction:

    • Acute intoxication/binge,
    • Withdrawal/negative affect, and
    • Preoccupation/anticipation.
  • Peer support programmes
  • Adjustments to a person’s environment – such as the removal of any paraphernalia
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms occur in one-half of people in treatment for CUD. Symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, depression, restlessness, disturbed sleep, and decreased appetite. Most symptoms begin during the first week of abstinence and resolve after a few weeks. About 12% of heavy cannabis users show cannabis withdrawal.

Cannabis withdrawal symptoms occur in one-half of people in treatment for CUD. Symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, depression, restlessness, disturbed sleep, and decreased appetite.

Most symptoms begin during the first week of abstinence and resolve after a few weeks. About 12% of heavy cannabis users show cannabis withdrawal.