Americans largely ignorant of cannabis use disorder and its effects: NIAAA

05-12-2016 Posted in cannabis use disorder, Marijuana

Even as marijuana reform activists across the United States push for the legalization of medical marijuana in the country, it seems not all are aware of the benefits and adverse effects of marijuana use if we consider the increasing rate of cannabis use disorder.

According to a recent collaborative study by the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 6 million adults in the U.S. were suffering from marijuana use disorder in 2015.

Need to educate doctors about prevalence of cannabis use disorder

The fact that such a large number of people in the country are suffering from cannabis use disorder stresses the need to educate medical practitioners, policy makers and the common people about the possible harms associated with its use and bring about improvement in the policies that prevent Americans from abusing it.

The study, titled “Prevalence and Correlates of DSM-5 Cannabis Use Disorder, 2012-2013: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions–III,” aimed at stressing on the imperativeness of having updated information on the incidence, demographic features, co-occurring mental disorders, deteriorated conditions and medical interventions for DSM-5 pot use disorder.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in March 2016, used material from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III in which 36,309 respondents aged 18 and older were made to answer a questionnaire.

Who are likely to suffer from the disorder?

The scientists found that an estimated 2.5 percent of the participants had been afflicted with cannabis use disorder for the past one year and nearly 6.3 percent of the respondents were suffering from the same during their entire life span. Further examination showed that men, native Americans, single individuals, young adults aged 18-24 and those with lesser financial stability were more likely to suffer from the disorder, ranging from a year to lifetime.

The assessment of the data revealed that the disorder stemming from marijuana use was linked to other substance use disorders, affective disorders, anxiousness and personality-related disabilities. Prolonged cannabis use, extending to a year, was linked to disability with related associations gaining severity proportionate to the aggravation in cannabis use disorder. The researchers also found that the 13.2 percent of the respondents suffering from lifelong cannabis use disorder had also taken part in the 12-step programs or professional therapeutic interventions provided to them.

Road to recovery

Weed lends a euphoric feeling when smoked and helps look at life from an altogether different perspective. The study revealed that though marijuana is widespread in the U.S., the disorder remains largely untreated.

The fact that the disorder is the precursor to other substance abuse disorders and mental health problems that persist for a long time, makes it necessary to educate people who stress that the illegality of marijuana is an impediment to full utilization of a drug that can be used for pain management.

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