The time course and significance
of cannabis withdrawal

Budney AJ, Moore BA, Vandrey RG, Hughes JR.
Department of Psychiatry,
University of Vermont,
South Burlington 05403, USA.
J Abnorm Psychol. 2003 Aug;112(3):393-402


Withdrawal symptoms following cessation of heavy cannabis (marijuana) use have been reported, yet their time course and clinical importance have not been established. A 50-day outpatient study assessed 18 marijuana users during a 5-day smoking-as-usual phase followed by a 45-day abstinence phase. Parallel assessment of 12 ex-users was obtained. A withdrawal pattern was observed for aggression, anger, anxiety, decreased appetite, decreased body weight, irritability, restlessness, shakiness, sleep problems, and stomach pain. Onset typically occurred between Days 1-3, peak effects between Days 2-6, and most effects lasted 4-14 days. The magnitude and time course of these effects appeared comparable to tobacco and other withdrawal syndromes. These effects likely contribute to the development of dependence and difficulty stopping use. Criteria for cannabis withdrawal are proposed.

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