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Research Article

Quantifying the Clinical Significance of Cannabis Withdrawal

  • David J. Allsop mail,

    d.allsop@unsw.edu.au

    Affiliation: National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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  • Jan Copeland,

    Affiliation: National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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  • Melissa M. Norberg,

    Affiliation: National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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  • Shanlin Fu,

    Affiliation: Centre for Forensic Science, School of Chemistry and Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), New South Wales, Australia

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  • Anna Molnar,

    Affiliation: Centre for Forensic Science, School of Chemistry and Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), New South Wales, Australia

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  • John Lewis,

    Affiliation: Centre for Forensic Science, School of Chemistry and Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), New South Wales, Australia

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  • Alan J. Budney

    Affiliation: Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, Lebanon, New Hampshire, United States of America

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  • Published: September 26, 2012
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044864

Reader Comments (4)

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Body weight

Posted by phemslie on 28 Sep 2012 at 19:49 GMT

Was body weight, and more specifically body fat recorded for the 49 individuals? Is there any relationship between body fat and length/severity of withdrawal symptoms?

No competing interests declared.

RE: Body weight

DoobyDave replied to phemslie on 28 Sep 2012 at 21:46 GMT

Hi

This is a great question. We did not measure those variables in this study (we are in our current study) - but there is good reason to think that fat should have some link to levels of free THC in the body - as THC is heavily fat soluble and known to store in fat reserves. However I dont think any work has demonstrated a link between fat and withdrawal severity (remember the brain is a very fatty organ so visible body fat isnt the only place for THC to get stored).
Nevertheless, there is a literature on storage of THC in fat, and its slow release thereafter:

E. Johansson, K. Noren, J. Sjovall, M. M. Halldin, Determination of delta 1-tetrahydrocannabinol in human fat biopsies from marihuana users by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Biomedical chromatography : BMC 3, 35 (Jan, 1989).

And the question of whether stimulating fat burning (such as with exercise or fasting) releases THC into the blood and affects withdrawal is an emerging area of research. Good question

Competing interests declared: I am the lead author