Sociodemographic characteristics of cannabis smokers and the experience of cannabis withdrawal

Marc L. Copersino, Susan J. Boyd, Donald P. Tashkin, Marilyn A. Huestis, Stephen J. Heishman, John C. Dermand, Michael S. Simmons, David A. Gorelick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Cannabis withdrawal can be a negative reinforcer for relapse, but little is known about its association with demographic characteristics. Objectives: Evaluate the association of demographic characteristics with the experience of cannabis withdrawal. Methods: Retrospective self-report of a "serious" cannabis quit attempt without formal treatment in a convenience sample of 104 non-treatment-seeking, adult cannabis smokers (mean age 35 years, 52% white, 78% male) with no other current substance use disorder (except tobacco) or chronic health problems. Reasons for quitting, coping strategies to help quit, and 18 specific withdrawal symptoms were assessed by questionaire. Results: Among withdrawal symptoms, only anxiety, increased sex drive, and craving showed significant associations with age, race, or sex. Women were more likely than men to report a physical withdrawal symptom (OR = 3.2, 95% CI = .9910.4, p = .05), especially upset stomach. There were few significant demographic associations with coping strategies or reasons for quitting. Conclusions and Scientific Significance: This small study suggests that there are few robust associations between demographic characteristics and cannabis withdrawal. Future studies with larger samples are needed. Attention to physical withdrawal symptoms in women may help promote abstinence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • cannabis
  • marijuana
  • quitting
  • race
  • relapse
  • sex
  • withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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