Vandrey added that this is the first controlled comparison of the two withdrawal syndromes in that data was obtained using rigorous scientific methods - abstinence from drugs was confirmed objectively, procedures were identical during each abstinence period, and abstinence periods occurred in a random order. That tobacco and marijuana withdrawal symptoms were reported by the same participants, thus eliminating the likelihood that results reflect physiological differences between subjects, is also a strength of the study.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that half of the participants found it easier to abstain from both substances than it was to stop marijuana or tobacco individually, whereas the remaining half had the opposite response.
Given the general consensus among clinicians that it is harder to quit more than one substance at the same time, these results suggest the need for more research on treatment planning for people who concurrently use more than one drug on a regular basis, says Vandrey.
Vandreys study, which appears in the January issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, followed six men and six women at the University of Vermont in Burlington and Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., for a total of six weeks. All were over 18 (median age 28.2 years), used marijuana at least 25 days a month and smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day. None of the subjects intended to quit using either substance, did not use any other illicit drugs in the prior month, were not on any psychotropic medication, did not have a psychiatric disorder, and if female, were not pregnant.
For the first week, participants maintained their normal use of cigar
|Contact: Eric Vohr|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions