Cannabis is addictive and can act as a ‘gateway drug’, two new studies have shown.
A research team from Canada analysed data from 23,000 cannabis users and argues that the drug is far more addictive than previously thought, causing serious withdrawal symptoms.
A separate study from the US suggests that cannabis acts as a ‘gateway drug’, encouraging users to experiment with other illegal substances such as cocaine.
Researchers from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario found that 47 per cent of all regular cannabis users suffered from withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using the drug.
Symptoms include irritability, anger, aggression, anxiety and depression.
The academics said the more a person uses cannabis – a Class B drug in the UK – the greater the risk of severe withdrawal effects.
The team concluded: “Many professionals and members of the general public may not be aware of cannabis withdrawal, potentially leading to confusion about the benefits of cannabis to treat or self-medicate symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders.”
The separate US study showed that cannabis acts as a ‘gateway drug’, leading users to other illegal substances such as cocaine.
Co-senior author Professor Denise Kandel of Columbia University said: “This study suggests that teenagers who use cannabis may have a favourable initial reaction to cocaine”.
She added that cannabis use will “increase their likelihood” of repeated use of cocaine.