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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Cannabis 'is difficult to give up'
Cannabis
Many cannabis smokers miss their regular 'high'
Most people who stop smoking cannabis take up cigarettes in an attempt to suppress cravings for the drug, a study has found.

A survey of 49 regular cannabis smokers found that many find it difficult to give up the drug.

Three quarters had cravings after they gave up and 70% switched to tobacco in an attempt to stay off cannabis.

Like people who attempt to give up cigarettes, most increased their intake of coffee and alcohol and many returned to the drug, saying they missed their regular high and the relaxed feeling they gained.

Almost half said they became irritable after they gave up and a slightly lower proportion said they were bored as a result of not smoking cannabis.



This research gives us a better understanding of why and how people quit

Dr David Gorelick

A handful complained of depression, loss of appetite and poor memory.

The survey was carried out by Dr David Gorelick, a researcher with the American National Institute of Drug Abuse.

He said the findings may help doctors to provide better treatment for people wishing to stop smoking cannabis.

"Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance world-wide. This research gives us a better understanding of why and how people quit and may lead to better prevention and treatment," he said.

Dr Gorelick presented his findings to doctors attending the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists on Thursday.

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