In light of Dr. Mel Pohl’s recent interview on KNPR regarding legalization of marijuana in the state of Nevada, we felt it was important to dig deeper into some the adverse effects cannabis can cause. Sleep disturbance, nausea, vomiting, severe anxiety, moodiness, irritability and depression. All classic heroin or prescription opiate withdrawal symptoms. However, this list of withdrawal symptoms is not from opiates. It’s from marijuana. Not joking. Marijuana in today’s society is vastly different from even ten years ago. If you are in your 30’s, this is certainly not the weed you might remember. Last year Forbes noted a study done by a lab in Colorado looking at the potency of both recreational and medical marijuana. This analysis measured the levels of both THC and CBD. Out of the 600 samples studied, they found potency values close to thirty percent THC. Considering marijuana used to have THC levels of ten percent or less, that’s a huge jump. There is a public perception that marijuana is “harmless” and you can’t get addicted to it. All it leads to is the munchies, people say. But we know today that long-term and chronic marijuana use can lead to problems upon stopping. The DSM-5 even included a section on Cannabis Withdrawal. Due to the increased concentrations of THC in today’s marijuana, users are experiencing emotional and physical symptoms after quitting. Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal One of the more prevalent symptoms of withdrawal is anxiety. In our treatment program at Las Vegas Recovery Center, many users report moderate to severe anxiety that does not go away. Beyond anxiety, we see serious sleep disturbance and moderate depression. Some users experience flu-like symptoms as well. We believe that chronic users of marijuana are less likely to think they need addiction treatment programs. They stop on their own and experience withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety. They may seek help from their local physician who may prescribe drugs to deal with anxiety. But some anti-anxiety drugs are habit-forming. So now the user is taking a prescribed habit forming substance to deal with withdrawal symptoms. If you are having a hard time believing this, do your own research. Talk to professionals who see the aftermath of chronic marijuana use. Check on the anxiety boards all over the internet. Some people are really coming to terms that marijuana is an addictive substance and has real withdrawal symptoms. What does this mean for states that have legalized or are considering legalizing recreational marijuana use? That’s a question we don’t have the answer for yet. Tell us what you think!