More than one-fifth of people who use cannabis struggle with dependency or problematic use, according to a study published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.
The research found that 21 percent of the people in the study had some degree of cannabis use disorderwhich clinicians widely recognize as problematic cannabis use leads in various symptoms, such as recurrent social and work problems, indicating disability and anxiety. In the study, 6.5 percent of users suffered moderate to severe illness.
Cannabis users who experience more severe dependency tend to be recreational users, whereas less severe but still problematic use is associated with almost equal medical and recreational use. The most common symptoms in both groups were increased tolerance, craving, and uncontrollable escalation of cannabis use.
Cannabis use is increasing across the country as more states legalize it. The new findings are consistent with previous research, which has been found around 20 percent of cannabis users develop a cannabis use disorder. The condition can be treated through detoxification and abstinence, therapies and other treatments that work on addictive behaviors.
The new study drew its data from nearly 1,500 primary care patients in Washington State, where recreational use is legal, in an effort to explore the prevalence of cannabis use disorders in both medical and nonmedical settings. that uses. The research found that 42 percent of cannabis users identified themselves as medical users only; 25 percent identified as non-medical users, and 32 percent identified as both recreational and medical users.
“The results here emphasize the importance of assessing patient cannabis use and CUD symptoms in medical settings,” the study concluded. That finding is consistent with previous research who urged people to be aware of the dangers of having a cannabis use disorder, especially “in those who start early and use frequently during adolescence.”