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Cannabis Use Disorder: What You Need to Know


In the face of increasing regulation, academic research, and therapeutic applications, cannabis is widely becoming seen as a safe and effective substance for consumption. And while it’s true the evidence is demonstrating optimism about the benefits of the plant, caution is still needed. Particularly with regard to cannabis use disorder.

Cannabis use disorder is the medical term for describing a dependency on cannabis. Although many believe that cannabis doesn’t contain any addictive compounds, research shows that many users develop a dependency. 

President Biden only recently increased access for medical cannabis researchers to pursue answers to this and many more of the industry’s leading questions. There is still much to learn.

In this article, we’ll explore what we know about cannabis use disorder, including what is it, how to diagnose it, and what can be done to prevent it.

What is Cannabis Use Disorder?

Cannabis use disorder is a term used to describe a dependency on cannabis use. Those with cannabis use disorder cannot stop using cannabis or marijuana without experiencing unpleasant symptoms. This often leads to dependency disrupting the user’s social life, physical health, or professional life.

Studies have found that an estimated 3 in 10 cannabis users have the disorder and that marijuana users have, on average, a ten percent chance of developing a dependency

Users who begin experimenting with cannabis in childhood and early adulthood have the highest probability of developing the disorder.

Common Symptoms and Signs of Cannabis Use Disorder

The symptoms of cannabis use disorder are as follows:

  • An inability to quit use
  • Spending an excessive amount of time using 
  • Cravings and mood swings
  • Complications with relationships or professional life
  • Prioritizing cannabis use over other activities
  • Operating a car while impaired
  • Developing a tolerance to cannabis
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using cannabis

Diagnosing Cannabis Use Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the symptoms of marijuana use disorder are often not experienced in isolation. If someone is experiencing multiple symptoms listed above, there is a high likelihood of cannabis dependency. 

The severity of the dependency can be categorized as follows:

  • 2-3 symptoms = mild dependency
  • 4-5 symptoms = moderate dependency
  • 6 or more symptoms = severe dependency

If you’ve attempted and failed to quit using cannabis, it’s a good idea to seek medical support for overcoming cannabis use disorder. 

How is marijuana use disorder treated?

Common treatments for marijuana dependency include counseling, talk therapy, group therapy, and cannabis education. In the case of severe dependencies, a doctor may prescribe medications to ease the initial withdrawal symptoms.

Cannabis use disorder is typically less severe than other forms of addiction. For this reason, therapies focus on supporting patients with withdrawal symptoms, mood swings, and the root causes of cannabis use. 

Oftentimes, cannabis is used to help patients who deal with underlying conditions self-medicate. Therapies can help patients examine their habits, relationship patterns, relationship quality, work-life balance, and other chronic conditions to help them develop healthy habits.

The Rise of Cannabis Use Disorder

The rise of marijuana dependency has been attributed to an increase in cannabis potency. 

THC, (the compound found in marijuana that is responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects) levels in cannabis have increased over time. If THC has a stronger impact on the brain, then the chance of developing a dependency is higher. 

Vet and Verify Your Cannabis and CBD Products in Qredible®

The only way to increase the safety of cannabis consumption is to purchase from licensed, reputable brands. As a consumer, you need to know the potency levels of the products you’re consuming. Studies have found that many cannabis and CBD products are mislabelled for potency. Even more concerning is the number of products that are not properly tested for contaminants and toxic additives. 

The result is that cannabis, which is generally considered safe for consumption, becomes dangerous. Even licensed, legalized products have this problem. And with the rise in cannabis use across the country, this problem cannot be ignored. 

That’s why we developed Qredible®

Qredible is the only online registry of validated and verified brands in the cannabis industry. And consumers can use it free of charge.

While shopping, scan the QR code of your favorite product to read everything you need to know to make an informed decision from a single, accessible profile.

Here are some of the things consumers can do relative to their brand that is registered in Qredible:

  • Leave a review using Qredible’s proprietary quality rating system 
  • View brand history
  • Check for FDA warning letters
  • Sign up for product alerts indicating state-issued product recalls or consumer safety alerts
  • View ingredient list
  • View lab reports
  • Check compliance history
  • Confirm licenses and registrations
  • Confirm the validity of certificates

Qredible is on a mission to arm consumers with the information they need to make safe decisions that lead to a better industry. 

To learn more about how Qredible can help you find high-quality marijuana, visit our consumer education page. Sign up to be notified when we release our free consumer mobile app

And if you’re a brand that wants to be in Qredible, connect with us for  a free consultation or a no-obligation demonstration.


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