Cannabis

A lot of people smoke cannabis because it relaxes them . So it has anxiety relieving properties. I often see patients who have had panic attacks after they have given up using pot.

Quite a lot of people with un diagnosed social anxiety disorder or attention deficit disorder self medicate with cannabis.

Having a habit also fills in time for the under-productive.  But along with this goes restlessness -not being able to sit through a one hour TV show without going out for a puff. This tends to be a vicious cycle because the cannabis use increases further impairing attention and memory- leading to fewer options for pastimes of interest.

Where there is a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar illness it is a good idea to stay away from drug abuse as cannabis and other drugs can precipitate these disorders.

The two key ingredients in cannabis are THC and CBD. THC acutely impairs learning,produces psychosis like effects, and increases anxiety ; CBD can enhance learning, has anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and analgesic properties.  In Australia, cannabis typically contains 15% THC and 0.1% CBD.

A New Zealand Study found that when cannabis abuse starts in adolescence there is a likelihood of permanent  impairment in attention, verbal fluency and visual-spatial skills amounting to an average drop of 8 IQ points.

The comparative risks of addiction are:  cannabis 9%   cocaine 21% alcohol 22% nicotine 67%. Concurrent cigarette use increases the risk of cannabis addiction. Cannabis withdrawal syndrome affects 50% of users on cessation and begins 1-2 days after cessation the symptoms being: cravings, insomnia, nightmares, irritability, nausea, and dysphoria.

There are some treatment options for cannabis dependence and withdrawal. These are :

N-Acetyl Cysteine

Gabapentin

toon983

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