Weed withdrawal: More than half of people using medical cannabis for pain experience withdrawal symptoms

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We found that 59% of people who use medical cannabis for chronic pain had moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. Unlike withdrawal from some psychoactive substances – such as alcohol – cannabis withdrawal is not life threatening or medically dangerous. What cannabis withdrawal looks like Cannabis withdrawal symptoms can include both physical and psychological experiences that emerge when someone comes down from being high or goes for a period of time without use. To figure out how common withdrawal symptoms are, over two years, my colleagues and I repeatedly surveyed 527 people who were using medical weed for chronic pain. Cannabis withdrawal can also be quite unpleasant and people can end up continuing their cannabis use – even when they want to cut back – just to avoid experiencing withdrawal.

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In stark contrast to the overblown fears portrayed during decades past, these days, most people think cannabis is relatively harmless. While weed is indeed less dangerous than some other drugs, it is not without risks.

In a study published Jan. 5, my colleagues and I found that 59% percent of people using medical cannabis for chronic pain experienced moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms if they stopped ingesting weed for hours or days.


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