Cannabis use disorder

Published Feb 13, 2019 03:31 p.m. ET

Cannabis use disorder is a medical diagnosis that is given to people who have an issue with the use of marijuana in one form or another. The previous diagnosis a medical professional would have given up until recently was broken down and labeled into two distinct categories including cannabis dependence and cannabis abuse. The transformation of the way this medical condition is treated has evolved along with more consistent and less degrading terminology. If that has you wondering “can get addicted to weed?”, the answer is yes. Though it is now considered to be what is referred to as a soft drug, it is still entirely possible to form a marijuana addiction.

Cannabis Use disorder symptoms

There are some very specific qualifications that must be met to be diagnosed with a Cannabis Use Disorder. They all focus on the impairment and adverse reactions that can be associated with over consumption of marijuana including:

  • A strong and often uncomfortable desire to use cannabis AKA marijuana withdrawal.
  • Difficulty controlling use or acknowledging a marijuana addiction.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences.

Difficulties caused by Cannabis Use Disorder

Those who receive this diagnosis tend to experience some negative problems in their lives including but not limited to:

  • Problems at work, including impairment or reduced motor functioning which hinders safety and or quality.
  • Antagonism which is the development of social anxiety or withdrawing from social circles.
  • Disinhibition which is a fancy word for lack of motivation that leads to neglect of spouses or children.
  • Impulsive behavior including unnecessary or dangerous risk-taking and or irresponsible choices and actions.
  • Regular impairment during day to day activities such as driving, cooking, or memory function.
  • Paranoia which may or may not include anxiety, delusions, or psychosis.
  • Schizophrenia
  • Short attention span.
  • Negative emotional distress that causes intense anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Medical conditions such as chronic fatigue or tiredness.

Commonalities among patients with Cannabis Use Disorder

Self-diagnosis is rarely reliable as the majority who have this disorder do not realize that they have a dependence on it. There are a number of other things a medical professional will look for when seeking a cannabis use disorder diagnosis as many different behaviors seem to be common across the majority of sufferers. Some of these traits include:

  • The individual’s chronic use of cannabis lasting more than five years.
  • The person is using more marijuana than they intend to daily.
  • There is a history of trying to cut down that has been unsuccessful.
  • The individual spends most of their time trying to either acquire cannabis or the money to purchase it.
  • The person experiences frequent uncomfortable cravings for marijuana that are difficult to ignore.
  • An individual's use is having adverse effects on their life including both job and family life.
  • The person has given up on important responsibilities and social interactions.
  • Experiencing marijuana withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorder

There is currently no approved treatment in the form of medication for those who receive this diagnosis. Instead, supports are offered to help an individual to set new routines and patterns that will help to slowly change the person’s chances of a positive outcome. Goals are often set to track the progress of a person through this transition. The primary goal is always to help the individual obtain a better quality of life including an improvement in their work, home, and social lives.

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