Marijuana spray to ease withdrawal

Marijuana users trying to kick the habit may soon have the help of a product similar to nicotine patches for smokers. A team from the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre at the University of New South Wales is trialling an oral spray to help ease marijuana withdrawal symptoms. The centre’s director, Professor Jan Copeland, says it is a pharmaceutical extract of botanical cannabis which smooths the peaks of withdrawal.

“It has low dose THC because we don’t want people to get stoned, we just want to help them settle down with their levels of cannabis use, and relatively high doses of CBD, which is the good cannabis which reduces anxiety and has an anti-psychotic effect,” she said. Professor Copeland says the spray is equivalent to nicotine patches for cigarette smokers.

“It is a really exciting new development in the management of cannabis withdrawal and it is a pharmaceutical extract of botanical cannabis, so it is a natural whole plant organically grown product and it is used as a mouth spray,” she said. She says it targets the cannabis withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to quit.

“Withdrawal symptoms are one of the main reasons that people have problems stopping. It is like tobacco withdrawal but different and of course we all know people that say ‘It is easy to give up tobacco, I’ve done it a thousand times.’ “It is a similar kind of situation here. It is not a life-threatening withdrawal such as alcohol but some people have extreme problems with their sleep, they have problems with feeling really irritable and in fact outbursts of anger.

“Their appetites are disturbed and things like that and it really is enough over a few days to drive them back to using again. “Helping people manage withdrawal is really going to set them on the pathway to long-term abstinence.” About 200,000 Australians use cannabis daily. That means about 1 per cent of the population currently meet criteria for cannabis dependence.

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