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Thread: Marijuana Withdrawal

  1. #1

    Marijuana Withdrawal

    Marijuana Withdrawal

    Oct. 26, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Marijuana users have typically believed that smoking the drug is not habit forming and they could quit at any time without experiencing the effects of withdrawal. Not so, say investigators from the University of Vermont. A study of 12 heavy marijuana users found that withdrawal symptoms are significant among those who try to give up the habit.

    Each of the 12 participants was assessed on 16 consecutive days. On days one through five they smoked marijuana as usual. On days six through eight they abstained from the drug. They returned to smoking on days 9 through 13, and then once again abstained on days 14 through 16.

    Results showed that overall withdrawal discomfort increased significantly during the abstinence phases of the study, returning to pre-study levels during the smoking phases. Among the symptoms suffered: cravings for marijuana, decreased appetite, sleep difficulties, and weight loss. In addition, some participants reported aggression, anger, irritability, restlessness, and strange dreams during the periods when they were not smoking the drug.

    The investigators likened the withdrawal symptoms suffered by the marijuana users when they tried to quit smoking to the symptoms suffered by tobacco smokers when they try to give up the habit. They conclude that more study is needed to determine which and how many marijuana users experience these symptoms and how withdrawal symptoms impact attempts to give up the drug.

    SOURCE: Archives of General Psychiatry, 2001;58;917-924

  2. #2
    It is puzzling to me why people seem to consider the addictive properties of marijuana to be so important. Withdrawal is a characteristic of many drugs, especially drugs produce changes in brain activity. For example, caffeine and nicotine are well known to have significant behavioral and subjective effects when a person who has been taking these drugs consistently is then withdrawn from these drugs. Yet, both of these drugs are quite well-accepted by society.

    Likewise, cold-turkey stopping of many other drugs can have significant withdrawal effects. That is one of the reasons why drugs like baclofen, neurontin, ditropan, steroids, and many other pain or spasticity drugs should be tapered off over a period of several days or weeks, in order to minimize withdrawal effects.

    Why should the presence or absence of withdrawal be a major factor in allowing marijuana for medical use? If the same criteria were used to ban other drugs, perhaps 20-30% of the drugs that we now routinely prescribe will be banned.


  3. #3
    Senior Member Joe B's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    16052 E Andrew Fountain Hills, AZ

    The Establishment!


    I get the impression you missed the sixties. The establishment was strongly against the youth movement in the sixties and seized on marijuana use as a symbol of that generation and as a means to incarcerate leaders, followers, and casual users. The sentence for marijuana use was 10 years (max). Rather ridiculous for a drug that was less harmful than either of the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco used by the establishment (adult) group.

    The establishment is still trying to justify its stance back then as logical. It amazes me that it has been forty years and marijuana use is still promoted as strongly addictive, permanently damaging and of no medical efficacy while the death-dealing drugs alcohol and tobacco continue to be allowed to flourish.

    I'm not against a cold beer after sports or a glass of wine with dinner or a romantic evening. I just am opposed to the mix of drinking and driving. Tobacco is evil in any form or use and is especially bad for SCI and us older persons.

    The fact that the Federal, State and local gov'ts make so much profit from it in taxes ensures that it will continue to be allowed in this country and exported to third world countries. It's a shame that the children in third world countries will die from the cancers, cardiac deterioration and lung diseases that tobacco causes. I dont think we can justify our selling tobacco in these countries by saying "If we dont someone else will."

    Just my $1.02 worth.

    BTW anyone, How much is a pack of cigarettes today? Is a "Nickle" bag of marijuana still $5?

    Joe B

  4. #4
    Joe B,

    I came to the U.S. for college in 1968, as the Vietnam war was reaching is nadir and when student protests against the war was accelerating. The flower power movement was already beginning to fade from its idealism to disillusionment.

    The establishment of the 1960's that you refer to is virtually gone. We baby-boomers (born in the 1950's) are in power. The vast majority of the political leadership in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government have probably used marijuana, LSD, cocaine, and other drugs in their youth and probably many have smoked tobacco and most drink alcohol. I find it hard to believe that many of the people who are making the punitive laws against marijuana use truly believe that it is so evil that it should not be allowed for medical purposes. After all, we allow doctors to prescribe morphine which is well known to be addictive. Why is marijuana worse and singled out for exclusion? That is what I don't understand.


  5. #5
    Senior Member Joe B's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    16052 E Andrew Fountain Hills, AZ

    Wow! You were here in the 60s!

    Doc Young,

    Where did you go to school back then, or were you already in medical practice? I'd be interested in your impression of the times if you would comment.

    You got here just when things were heating up. Half my graduating class (1967) were asked to report for the draft. Most of them did. Some had college deferments some went to Canada etc. (Hi up there fellow Canucks. My Father was Canadian.)

    My schools, U of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, had their share of student protests (riots by the newspapers).

    I agree that those older authoritarians are gone but their dictum that marijuana is the root of all evil lives on. It is fading rapidly in the light of recent science but the religious (right?) still uses it. Religion has nothing to do with reason and logic.

    Joe B

  6. #6
    November 7, 2001

    FDA Approves Ecstasy Clinical Test

    Filed at 6:21 a.m. ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time since the drug ecstasy was made illegal, the government will allow researchers to test the drug as a treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Approval came Tuesday from the Food and Drug Administration and marks a shift for the agency, which has virtually banned the drug from researchers for more than a decade.

    The trial has not been approved by a review board at the Medical University of South Carolina, the proposed site for the research.

    If the university accepts the plan, the test will be supervised by the husband and wife team of Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist, and Annie Mithoefer, a psychiatric nurse in Charleston.

    Michael Mithoefer said research should not be impeded because ecstasy is a hot commodity among some teen-agers.

    ``It's ironic that when these drugs become illegal, the legitimate research goes to zero, and the illegal and recreational use goes way up,'' Mithoefer said. ``It seems foolish to me to have a situation where millions are using the drug in an uncontrolled way and yet physicians who want to do careful research are not allowed.''

    The FDA would not comment on the test.

    If the study proceeds, 12 people will be given ecstasy, also known as MDMA, as they go through therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Eight people will be given a placebo. Each person also will undergo 16 hours of therapy without drugs.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental problem for millions of Americans, is caused by fixation with an emotionally charged event.

    Victims often experience bad dreams and have trouble with relationships -- essentially having become stuck in the moment of crisis.

    In the 1970s, MDMA was used by many psychiatrists to treat the disorder. Some psychiatrists believe the drug can allow victims to have a cathartic moment, releasing their emotional stress over an incident.

    Treatment using MDMA stopped as the federal government began to crack down on the drug for its recreational use.

    The study is being financed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a group that advocates use of psychedelic drugs for therapy.

    Rick Doblin, the group's founder and director, said researchers have fought for years to overcome propaganda about the drug.

    ``The way things work in the drug war is, if a drug is criminalized, it is bad or evil,'' Doblin said. ``There is an effort to produce science to mislead people about the drug. This is a big step away from that for the FDA.''

    The plans for the test are producing strong skepticism from those fighting the drug war.

    ``I know of no evidence in the scientific literature that demonstrates the efficacy of ecstasy for any clinical indication,'' said Alan Leshner, director of the government's National Institute on Drug Abuse, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. ``We don't give drugs of abuse to naive subjects except under extraordinary circumstance.''


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