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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nearly Six Million People With A Marijuana Use Disorder

People's opinions about marijuana are not always rooted in fact. With more and more people around the country supporting marijuana legalization, there is no better time than now to discuss the realities of cannabis use - especially to a number of states voting on recreational use in November. When compared to other drugs currently illegal in the United States, it could easily be argued that marijuana is relatively benign. However, such comparisons do not mean that cannabis use is not without its own set of risks.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found that nearly six million Americans had a marijuana use disorder last year, Medical Daily reports.The findings come from interviews about alcohol and drug use on more than 36,000 adults. The findings were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The scientists determined that 6.3 percent of adults become dependent on cannabis during the course of their life, according to the article. The study showed that marijuana use disorder affected 2.5 percent of Americans last year. Men were more likely than women to have a marijuana use disorder, in fact, they were found to be twice as likely to become dependent on the drug. People with marijuana use disorder commonly experience other mental health disorders, and marijuana use is often accompanied by the use of other mind altering substances.

“These findings demonstrate that people with marijuana use disorder are vulnerable to other mental health disorders,” Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a news release. “The study emphasizes the need for such individuals to receive help through evidence-based treatments that address these co-occurring conditions.”

The research showed that most people experiencing a marijuana use disorder fail to receive marijuana-specific treatments, the article reports. About 7 percent of people with people with past-year marijuana use disorder received treatment, and less than 14 percent of people with lifetime marijuana use disorder received help.

During the first week of abstinence, people with a marijuana use disorder experience a number of symptoms, including:
  • Cravings
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Anger
  • Depression

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