Cannabis-Related Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) lists five types of cannabis-related disorders: cannabis use disorder, cannabis intoxication, cannabis withdrawal, other cannabis-induced disorders, and unspecified cannabis-related disorder.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) statistics, cannabis (marijuana) is the most commonly used street drug in the United States, with nearly 15 million self-reported users per month. About 10% of adult Americans likely will meet criteria for a cannabis-related disorder during their lifespan. It is the most commonly used illicit drug in Europe, particularly among Western countries, with about 65 million adults reporting at least one use. Roughly 4% of the worldwide population between the ages of 15 and 64 years has used marijuana at least once in any given year.

Previously, cannabis abuse and dependence were considered separate disorders; that was changed when DSM-V combined the two under the heading of cannabis use disorder, with the main diagnostic criteria as follows: “problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress” and at least two additional symptoms, some of which are: very strong desire to use cannabis, persistent use leading to problems at home, school, or work; continued use despite those life issues; risky behaviors resulting from a strong desire to use cannabis; and spending much time thinking about, planning for, and acquiring cannabis. Other symptoms include tolerance (needing more) and withdrawal (getting sick when abruptly stopping use).

See also Addiction and addictive personality; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; Drugs and drug abuse; Withdrawal behavior .



American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.

Barkham, Michael, Susan P. Llewelyn, Graham Turpin, and Gillian E. Hardy. Clinical Psychology. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2013.

Booth, Martin. Cannabis: A History. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2015.

Brick, John. Handbook of the Medical Consequences ofAlcohol and Drug Abuse. New York: Haworth Press, 2008.


Genen, Lawrence. “Cannabis-Related Disorders Clinical Presentation.” Medscape. (accessed July 15, 2015).

MedicineNet. “Marijuana.” (accessed July 15, 2015).

National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Marijuana Abuse.” (accessed July 15, 2015).


SAMHSA, PO Box 2345, Rockville, MD, 20847, (877) 7264727, Fax: (240) 221-4292, .