Does Marijuana Withdrawal Syndrome Exist?
By Elena M. Kouri, Ph.D.
February 1, 2002
Dr. Kouri is assistant profesor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.
Taken together, the data from these two studies provide further evidence of the existence of a marijuana withdrawal syndrome. An important aspect of both of our studies is that we used two control groups: 1) former heavy marijuana users and 2) individuals who had rarely smoked marijuana during their lives.
It is noteworthy that these control groups were indistinguishable from one another in diary scores or number of aggressive responses on the PSAP, whereas both were significantly distinguishable from the current marijuana users. This observation argues that the elevated diary scores and aggressive responses of the current marijuana users were attributable to marijuana withdrawal, rather than a mere history of marijuana use or some other aspect of subject selection or study design. Future studies should focus not on whether a marijuana withdrawal syndrome exists but rather on determining the clinical significance of this syndrome and the role withdrawal symptoms play in perpetuating marijuana use.
These studies were supported by NIDA grants DA10346, DA03994, DA00343.
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