If you are thinking about quitting weed, you may be wondering what it will be like to experience withdrawal symptoms. Understanding the drug and its effects may provide some insight into weed withdrawal.
What Is Weed?
‘Weed’, ‘pot’, and ‘marijuana’ refer to the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis plants. As a plant with many chemical properties, cannabis affects a person’s central nervous system, producing euphoria, relaxation, increased appetite, and an altered perception of time and space.
Among the more than 60 cannabinoid compounds the plant contains, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary intoxicating and psychoactive compound, while Cannabidiol (CBD) makes up 40% of the plant extract.
Many states have legalized the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana, leading many to believe it is a harmless substance. But misusing it can lead to mental health issues, immediate harm, and long-term health damage.
Regularly using marijuana can cause the brain to develop a tolerance for it, meaning that it will need more and more of the substance to produce the same effect. This easily develops into addiction, and marijuana withdrawal symptoms may come about when a person attempts to quit smoking weed.
Marijuana Abuse and Addiction
Around 36 million Americans use marijuana every month. When regularly smoking pot, a person may feel compelled to continue its abuse. This often happens in increasingly greater amounts, even though the addiction negatively impacts health and quality of life. Cannabis addiction treatment is available to help a person overcome their dependency.
Symptoms of Addiction Come in Psychological, Physical, and Behavioral Forms
Psychological Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction
Constantly using marijuana can lead to agitation and increased irritability. A distorted perception of time and space over a long period can lead to the development of paranoia.
A person may feel nervous or on edge, have difficulty concentrating, have poor judgment and decision-making ability, and go through mood swings. These include depression, anxiety, extreme defensiveness, feelings of guilt, and low self-esteem. Memory problems arise, and as a person may smoke cannabis regularly to relieve tension and stress, the exacerbation of any existing mental health problems is common.
Intense cravings for cannabis are another psychological symptom and are also part of marijuana withdrawal.
Cannabis can cause someone to have impaired motor skills, coordination, and balance, as well as a delayed reaction time, which places the person at risk of unintended injury or harm. A person may have a dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, and an increased appetite, while tiredness, insomnia, and disrupted sleep are common. The appearance of physical withdrawal symptoms may come about if a person has not consumed cannabis for a while.
Someone suffering from addiction may lie or deceive others to sustain their cannabis use while experiencing apathy too. They may avoid contact with family and friends which often causes social isolation, or may spend time only with others who smoke cannabis.
A lack of motivation, as well as a lack of interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed can result from prioritizing cannabis over anything else. This could include work, friends, or family life. An engagement in risky or dangerous behavior while under the influence, or using other drugs alongside marijuana, and continuing its use despite the negative consequences, are all behavioral signs of addiction to the substance.
While marijuana withdrawal symptoms may not be as severe as those for other drugs, the body will have to adjust to the absence of a regular supply of THC, and marijuana withdrawal is real. A person experiencing cannabis withdrawal syndrome will be tempted to relieve the discomfort they feel when they try to stop smoking pot by smoking more, which is why withdrawal with the help of healthcare professionals may be best.
How Severe Are Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms?
While some marijuana users have emotional and mental changes as they stop using their drug of choice, others experience physical withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms vary depending on the person, and while they may not be life-threatening, they can range from mild to severe.
Many factors affect the physical and psychological symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. With chronic and frequent use, a person may experience more severe symptoms than someone smoking marijuana a handful of times. This is most likely because long-term use develops a physical dependence on the drug.
At the same time, combining marijuana with other drugs or alcohol can heighten withdrawal symptoms too. A person’s age and overall health play a role, as well as the strengths and the blends of weed they have been using.
Smoking cannabis mixed with tobacco means that a person will also undergo nicotine withdrawal symptoms when they stop. These withdrawal symptoms share some of the signs of cannabis withdrawal, namely irritability, restlessness, and a lack of concentration.
How Long Do Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms will appear within 24 hours of stopping its use. They may peak during the first week after quitting and then gradually fade away. While most symptoms of marijuana withdrawal stop around ten days after quitting, some people carry them for up to four weeks; the active elements in cannabis are stored in fat cells in the body, which take up to one month to release.
Other symptoms, such as lethargy, mood swings, or depression may last even longer if they are not treated. Chronic users of cannabis have reported night sweats, unbalanced emotions, and insomnia for several months after stopping. People who suddenly stop after regular use may be at higher risk of developing depression and suicidal thoughts.
What Are Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms?
Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal may start with an inability to control the urge to smoke more.
One of the most common symptoms that come up next in marijuana withdrawal is anxiety, which happens in the first few days. It can lower a person’s appetite and may come alongside feeling irritable and experiencing stomach pains. Not everyone experiences headaches when they stop smoking marijuana, but those who do may experience it very intensely, especially during the first few days.
Many people experience withdrawal symptoms in the form of vivid or disturbing dreams that start to fade after about a week. As marijuana use can dampen a person’s dreaming mechanism, abstaining from it may cause vividly colorful, highly emotional dreams or nightmares to come back with a crash. Another common symptom is insomnia, having difficulty sleeping, or waking up and returning to the same dream throughout the night. While some may have a few nights of no sleep at all, others may endure a few months of occasional sleeplessness.
The restlessness at night may be accompanied by night sweats, which is especially common if a person is detoxing from marijuana and other drugs.
Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- irritability and anger
- sweats and chills
- nausea and vomiting
- weakness or tiredness
- dry mouth, throat, and dehydration
- increased sexual arousal
- weight gain or loss
In some cases, kidney pains, hormonal imbalances, low immunity, and chronic fatigue may occur for around two months.
Coping With Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms
Even though some people may be able to withstand the physical symptoms of marijuana withdrawal, they are much more likely to quit marijuana and resist relapse if they have guidance and medical assistance. Slowly tapering off and reducing marijuana use can help a person ease into a substance-free life, but as cannabis withdrawal symptoms may be difficult to deal with alone, seeking help from a medical professional for this process may be the best choice.
As a few sleepless nights is something to expect when a person gives up cannabis, trouble sleeping may become better with regular daily exercise. Swimming, walking or bicycling for 30 minutes a day can help reset the body’s sleep cycle and relieve sleep problems. It can also give a person a natural mood boost.
Other cannabis withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anger, or nervousness can also be improved through exercise, while meditation as a regular practice may help to alleviate depression and anger.
Excessive sweating can lead to a depletion of a necessary mineral in the body, called potassium. Healthy eating can replace potassium depletion, which means that fueling the body with fresh fruit containing it, such as bananas and leafy green vegetables, is good. It is best to avoid junk food because it could make a person feel irritable or sluggish.
As dehydration is another withdrawal symptom, it can help to drink plenty of water and clear fluids. Healthcare professionals suggest avoiding caffeinated beverages.
Seek Professional Help
Weed withdrawal can be very difficult when a person suddenly stops. Quitting marijuana abruptly may produce a ‘shock’ effect in the brain, whereby it thinks it does not have an essential chemical it has gotten used to. This may cause withdrawal symptoms to occur rapidly and intensely, while gradually lowering the dosage over time can make them more bearable.
That is why assistance and medical attention in a supervised facility can make detox a lot more comfortable. Not only can doctors and nurses monitor symptoms and help with discomfort as the substance leaves a person’s body, but they can also provide emotional support.
Another advantage of seeking help is access to a mental health professional, who can help determine the root cause of cannabis abuse or addiction, which is often masked by cannabis use. They can then provide treatment options for treating both cannabis abuse and mental health issues, ensuring long-term well-being and preventing relapse. A mental health professional can also be of great help when a person is dealing with multiple addictions, such as alcohol abuse and marijuana abuse at the same time.
If committing to a residential treatment program seems overwhelming, there are many short-term programs and outpatient settings in which rehabilitation from addiction can be carried out. Outpatient rehabilitation programs typically involve multiple therapy sessions each week, or meetings with a substance abuse expert. One-on-one therapy can be very useful in determining the underlying causes of drug abuse, as well as healthy ways to respond to triggers that may cause a person to use the drug again.
There are also support groups and group therapy sessions, where connecting with others who may face similar scenarios and share their insights and experiences of coping can provide great support. Seeking help can also mean surrounding yourself with family members, friends, and sober peers who can help while a person undergoes withdrawal.
Where Can I Find Help for Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms?
If you or a loved one is seeking help for marijuana withdrawal, look no further than NP Addiction Clinic.
With years of experience in helping people recover from substance abuse and mental health disorders, our staff combines clinical excellence with compassion and understanding.
Detoxification combined with our mental health treatments ensures that your first steps into recovery address your physical, mental, and emotional needs. Throughout detoxification with us, a specialist team will provide 24/7 support. By gradually reducing your dependency, we can help your body adjust to health as painlessly as possible.
NP Addiction Clinic understands that substance use is often the sign of an underlying wound, which is why we aim to help you completely heal through our various addiction treatment therapies. Individual and group therapies may be combined with alternative options such as art, music, and recreational therapies. We also offer support group meetings as part of our rehab program.