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Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome

Author: Dana Bartlett, RN, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI and Abimbola Farinde, PhD., PharmD

CE: 2.5 hours Pharmacology: 0.5 hour
Rated 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 3332 reviews

Course Summary

Cessation or a substantial reduction in the use of cannabis can cause cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Cannabis withdrawal syndrome may occur with daily, or almost daily, heavy and prolonged use. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has four criteria that must be met to establish a diagnosis of cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Cannabis withdrawal syndrome may lead to impairment. A recovery treatment plan must address the symptoms of withdrawal and discourage the patient from returning to cannabis use. These treatment plans may include pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, alone or in combination.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

I.       Introduction
II.      Prevalence of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome
III.     Pharmacology of Cannabis
IV.     Pharmacokinetics of Cannabis Use and Clinical Effects
V.      Cannabis Withdrawal
1.        Diagnosis
2.        Clinical Course
VI.    Risk Factors of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome
1.        Age
2.        Gender
3.        Genetics
4.        Psychiatric Comorbidity
5.        Race/Ethnicity
VII.     Symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome
VIII.    Pharmacotherapy of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome
1.        Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
2.        Nabiximol
3.        Dronabinol
4.        Lofexidine
5.        Gabapentin
6.        Guanfacine
IX.    Psychotherapy
1.        Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
2.        Motivational Enhancement Therapy
3.        Contingency Management
4.        Multidimensional Family Therapy
5.        Review of the Literature
X.    Case Study: Drug-Induced Psychosis
XI.   Summary


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