Often considered a relic of the 1970s culture, marijuana is no longer a baby boom generation issue. Today, nearly 50 percent of U.S. teenagers try marijuana before they graduate high school, and by 12th grade, about 21 percent are regular users.
Consequently, treatment for marijuana dependence is on the rise, but, researchers have discovered, theres a catch – withdrawal symptoms, much like those experienced by people quitting cigarettes, cocaine or other drugs, may make abstinence more difficult to achieve. A new study in todays edition of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows that teens that use marijuana frequently also may face the same withdrawal symptoms that have been found to challenge adult marijuana users trying to quit.
Ryan Vandrey, a graduate student in psychology, and Alan Budney, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Vermont, studied 72 adolescent marijuana users seeking outpatient treatment for substance abuse. Participants in the study were heavy marijuana users ages 14 to 19, who were primarily male Caucasians, and who completed study questionnaires. Nearly two-thirds of the participants reported experiencing four or more symptoms of marijuana withdrawal, including anxiety, aggression, and irritability. More than one-third of participants reported four or more symptoms that occurred at a moderate or greater severity level.
Jennifer Nachbur | EurekAlert!
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