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Cannabis Withdrawal

  • Nicolas J. SchlienzEmail author
  • Ryan Vandrey
Chapter

Abstract

Cessation from daily cannabis use reliably elicits a valid withdrawal syndrome characterized by a constellation of behavioral, somatic, and mood symptoms. The onset of these symptoms closely follows cessation, mostly persists for 2–3 weeks, and can produce clinically significant distress that contributes to the maintenance of frequent cannabis use. Cannabis withdrawal develops as a result of neurobiological changes in the endogenous cannabinoid system that result from prolonged cannabis use and are pharmacologically specific to activity at the CB1 receptor. Individual differences in the expression of cannabis withdrawal are apparent, and several experiments have demonstrated robust sex differences in the frequency and severity of withdrawal. The presence of psychiatric comorbidity may complicate symptom intensity and time course. Cannabis withdrawal significantly influences treatment outcomes and is a prime target of continued efforts to develop effective pharmacological interventions for cannabis use disorder.

Keywords

Cannabis withdrawal Cessation Sex differences Treatment target 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, The Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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