Cannabis withdrawal in patients with and without opioid dependence.Subst Abus 2014; 35(3):230-4SA
Cannabis use is common among opioid-dependent individuals, but little is known about cannabis withdrawal in this population.
Thirty inpatients (57% men) completed the Marijuana Quit Questionnaire (MJQQ) after completing acute heroin detoxification treatment in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The MJQQ collected data on motivations for quitting, withdrawal symptoms, and coping strategies used to help maintain abstinence during their most "serious" (self-defined) quit attempt made without formal treatment outside a controlled environment.
At the start of their quit attempt, 70% of participants smoked cannabis at least weekly (40% daily), averaging [SD] 2.73 [1.95] joints daily; 60% were heroin dependent. Subjects with heroin dependence were significantly older at the start of their quit attempt (22.9 [3.6] vs. 19.1 [2.9] years), were significantly less likely to report withdrawal irritability/anger/aggression (22% vs. 58%), restlessness (0% vs. 25%), or physical symptoms (6% vs. 33%), or to meet diagnostic criteria for DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) cannabis withdrawal syndrome (6% vs. 33%), and had shorter duration of abstinence (29.6 [28.7] vs 73.7 [44.1] months) than those without heroin dependence.
Cannabis users with opioid dependence are less likely to experience cannabis withdrawal, suggesting that opiate use may prevent or mask the experience of cannabis withdrawal. RESULTS should be considered preliminary due to small convenience sample and retrospective data.