Massive Pot Use Causes Rise in ‘Cannabis Use Disorder’ Treatment


The chief medical officer for Caron Foundation, Joseph Garbely noted a dramatic increase in both inpatient and outpatient addicts seeking treatment for what is now being referred to as cannabis use disorder.

“A few years ago, it was rare to see a young person enter Caron with marijuana-induced psychosis,” said Garbely. “Now we see it on a regular basis. Older teens and young adults — approximately ages 18 to 26 — are the most impacted. We see a significant misperception about the safety and efficacy of marijuana among our teen and young-adult patient population.”

Primarily affecting adolescent and young adults who use high grade marijuana on a daily basis, cannabis use disorder has increased 22% from 2014 till this year. Those seeking treatment for cannabis use disorder has risen 40% in that same duration.

Terri L. Randall, medical director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Substance Use Disorder Clinic, said, “the fact that kids continue to use, even despite an adverse experience or unpleasant experience with marijuana, is really concerning to me,” Randall said.

“Not only are they having difficult consequences of their use, but they also are finding themselves using more and are unable to control their use. That really is at the heart of the diagnosis of addiction.”

One of the big issues is that the increase in treatment sought for medical or psychological issued caused during active cannabis use disorder is not limited to rehabilitation, but also those who wind up in hospitals due to cannabis use disorder symptoms or psychotic outbursts and reactions to many different stimulation that can be specific to the person suffering from this disorder.

“The nature of what’s being consumed has changed dramatically,” said Itai Danovitch, an American Society of Addiction Medicine fellow and psychiatry chairman at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“And then when people use extractions — oils and waxes — they can easily get 80% to 90%,” Danovitch said.

Frequent use of cannabis is more common now because of widely spread perceptions that cannabis use is not only not harmful at all, but medically helpful for just about anything.

While there are benefits to medical cannabis for certain people, the daily use of hyper concentrated marijuana is not recommended by any medical professional, even those focusing in cannabis.

“For many of them, there is a grieving process,” said Jason Whitney, program coordinator of the Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community.

“They’re so much behind where they want to be.”