TABLE 3.1 Common Withdrawal Symptoms Produced by Various Drugs

 

Marijuana

Nicotine

Alcohol

Cocaine

Opiates (morphine and heroin)

Irritability

X

X

X

 

X

Low Mood, Depression

 

X

 

X

X

Anxiety

 

X

   

X

Sleep Disturbance

X

X

X

X

X

Nausea

X

 

X

 

X

Cramps

X

     

X

Increased or Decreased Heart Rate

 

X

X

X

 

Craving

 

X

X

X

X

Source: O'Brien CP. 1996. Drug addiction and drug abuse. In: Harmon JG, LimbirdLE, Molinoff PB, Ruddon RW, Gilman AG, Editors Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 9th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 557-577.

participants took about half as much THC for only four days but reported that their withdrawal symptoms lasted longer.19

In animals, simply administering THC for several days or weeks and then discontinuing it does not provoke withdrawal symptoms because the drug lingers in the brain, allowing it to gradually adapt. A similar situation probably occurs in human marijuana users who go “cold turkey,” easing the process of withdrawal. However, by administering a chemical block that immediately interferes with THC's effects, researchers can create a sort of instantaneous withdrawal in experimental animals that have been chronically exposed to THC. These animals exhibit dramatic symptoms, including hyperactivity and disorganized behavior, which also occur during withdrawal from opiate drugs.

Tolerance and withdrawal certainly contribute to a drug's ca-



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