With social distancing in effect across the U.S., regular cannabis users may find it difficult to maintain their typical rate of usage, possibly leading to withdrawal from the drug. A newly published article in JAMA Network Open reveals that 47% of 23,518 patients who were part of a meta-analysis of cannabis users experienced withdrawal when they stopped or reduced their usage. Concurrent cannabis, tobacco, and other substance use disorders were associated with a higher prevalence of cannabis withdrawal syndrome (CWS), as was daily cannabis use. The authors advised that healthcare providers “should be aware of the prevalence of CWS in order to counsel patients and support individuals who are reducing their use of cannabis.” According to American Addiction Centers, symptoms of CWS include feelings of anger, irritability, and/or aggressiveness; extreme nervousness or anxiety; sleep disturbances; decreased appetite with or without weight loss; restlessness and general malaise; and depression. Consider probing patients with these symptoms to assess whether they could be experiencing CWS, and offer referral to local substance abuse programs or mental health professionals.
Be Mindful of Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms in this Time of Social Distancing