Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2015

Abstract

Rates of marijuana use among detained youths are exceptionally high. Research suggests a cannabis withdrawal syndrome is valid and clinically significant; however, these studies have mostly been conducted in highly controlled laboratory settings with treatment-seeking, White adults. The present study analyzed archival data to explore the magnitude of cannabis withdrawal symptoms within a diverse sample of detained adolescents while controlling for tobacco use and investigating the impact of race on symptom reports. Adolescents recruited from a juvenile correctional facility (N=93) completed a background questionnaire and the Marijuana Withdrawal Checklist. Analyses revealed a significant main effect for level of tobacco use on severity of irritability, and for level of marijuana use on severity of craving to smoke marijuana and strange/wild dreams. Furthermore, a significant main effect for race was found with Black adolescents reporting lower withdrawal discomfort scores and experiencing less severe depressed mood, difficulty sleeping, nervousness/anxiety, and strange/wild dreams. Although exploratory, these findings may have significant clinical implications for providers in juvenile detention facilities, allowing the execution of proper medical and/or behavioral interventions to assist adolescents presenting with problematic cannabis and/or tobacco withdrawal.

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