"Stressing out": defining severity of cannabis withdrawal symptoms in Australian indigenous inmates

Rogerson, Bernadette, and Jacups, Susan P. (2016) "Stressing out": defining severity of cannabis withdrawal symptoms in Australian indigenous inmates. Journal of Substance Use, 21 (4). pp. 368-373.

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Background: No previous studies have investigated cannabis withdrawal severity in indigenous or incarcerated populations.

Aims: We sought to quantify life-time cannabis use, report cannabis withdrawal symptoms and severity, and define the holistic experience of cannabis withdrawal.

Methods: Seventy consenting males (18–40 years) from an Australian correctional center were interviewed about lifetime cannabis use and experience of withdrawal upon incarceration.

Results: Findings indicate that participants smoked on average 12.3 cones or joints/day (95%CI: 9.5–15.2) for 9.4 years (95%CI: 7.6–11.1). Cannabis withdrawal symptoms most frequently reported were; physical symptoms (52.9%), insomnia (52.9%) and depressed mood (47.1%). The most severe symptoms were insomnia (22.9%), nervousness/anxiety (17.1%) and aggression (14.3%). Analysis further revealed the construct of "stressing out", defined as a highly anxious state with increased aggression.

Conclusions: Insomnia and physical symptoms were the most commonly reported symptoms with insomnia and nervousness/anxiety the most severe. Psychological symptoms were also voiced by this population sample; however, they were less frequent than the combined aggregated physical symptoms of "stressing out".

Implications: The identification of severe withdrawal symptoms, especially aggression, will facilitate identification and treatment to new inmates upon incarceration. The recognition of "stressing out" will enable safety measures and treatments to be prescribed in this setting.

Item ID: 41471
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1475-9942
Keywords: cannabis, offending, substance-abuse, symptoms
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2015 01:43
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520103 Forensic psychology @ 60%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4504 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing > 450412 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s health and wellbeing @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 20%
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