Researchers found that heavy marijuana users who experience cravings and nervousness, which are typical withdrawal symptoms, have higher chances of using pot again sooner, researchers found.

University of Illinois researchers discovered that 85 percent of heavy marijuana users who met the criteria for cannabis withdrawal diagnosis during their treatment assessment returned to the habit within 16 days. Other heavy marijuana users succeeded in abstaining for 24 days before going back to the joint.

For the study, lead author Jordan P. Davis and his colleagues analyzed 110 young adults who are heavy cannabis users. On average, they consumed marijuana about 70 days out of 90 days before joining the treatment. Researchers found that 48 percent experienced mood disturbances, 40 percent had sleeping problems while 33 percent suffered from restlessness.

These marijuana withdrawal symptoms normally start one to two days when a heavy user suddenly goes cold turkey. Patients need to report that they are experiencing at least three cannabis withdrawal symptoms under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM-5) criteria. In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added the cannabis withdrawal code in its fifth and most recent volume.

The study's main implication is the reduction of the waiting time between the patient's first evaluation and start of treatment can help marijuana users who are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. The immediate treatment can help patients deal with the symptoms and stay off the cannabis longer.

Co-author Douglas C. Smith added that 53 percent of the study participants had received diagnoses of lifetime cannabis use disorder. The participants had sustained stern medical and social consequences from the cannabis use.

"Marijuana is tricky because it stays in your body so long. Highly addictive substances such as heroin have short half-lives and leave the body quickly, whereas marijuana is stored in the fat cells and can be excreted in a person's urine for up to a month - or even longer if you're a heavy user," added Smith.

Smith said that the findings show that people who meet with marijuana withdrawal's new criteria in the DSM-5 are having a more difficult time abstaining from the substance. There is a need be concerned about the patients who experience these symptoms during their first attempt at quitting.

The research was published in the Journal of Drug Issues.

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