Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S., with over 7% of Americans admitting to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime, and 4.3 million people having Marijuana dependency or abuse problems within just 2012 alone.
The idea that Marijuana is not addictive may come about because it does not produce an intense high like crack cocaine does, which leaves some people feeling more relaxed than anything else after they use marijuana for the first time and this is why they don’t feel addicted right away.
Marijuana is a drug that can lead to addiction because of the way it interacts with receptors in your brain, and it’s important to understand the withdrawal symptoms so you know what you’re up against if you ever decide to detox from marijuana dependence yourself.
This blog post will go over marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
So let’s dive in…
Marijuana is most often smoked as a cigarette (joint), cigar (blunt), or pipe. However, it can also be eaten in foods such as brownies, cookies, or cake mixes that contain cooked cannabis leaves and buds called cannabutter which contains THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces the “high” sensation when ingested.
Cannabis is also known as grass, pot, weed, and hash. However, it’s most commonly referred to as marijuana or cannabis when used for medical purposes.
Marijuana is a drug that alters the chemical balance in your brain and can produce both pleasant and unpleasant effects. The withdrawal symptoms affect people differently, but they are often intense and occur when someone stops using the drug after regular use and can be very uncomfortable.
The symptoms, with the exception of sleep disturbance, are generally less intense or prolonged than those associated with quitting smoking or drinking alcohol and the symptoms typically last at least one week for heavy users and about three days to a week for light users who smoke marijuana occasionally.
The withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening like those associated with nicotine addiction which can often lead to heart attacks and stroke in heavy users who abruptly stop smoking cigarettes without the use of medications.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include:
- Decreased appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood swings
- Shakiness/tremors (from low blood sugar)
- Sweating (from increased adrenaline)
- Cravings for marijuana or other drugs such as alcohol to numb these physical and emotional feelings
- Stomach pain
The withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to manage and the severity of these symptoms may depend on a person’s age, how old they were when they first used marijuana, and the number of years that they have been using it.
These withdrawal symptoms occur because marijuana disrupts the endocannabinoid system in your body. The endocannabinoid system is an essential part of our central nervous system that regulates things like mood, motivation, memory formation, motor control, immune function, and pain sensation.
Disrupting this balance leads to marijuana addiction because it can leave you feeling irritable or depressed, or cause you to experience marijuana cravings that become more and more difficult to resist the longer you go without using marijuana.
Marijuana detox is often very difficult because of the way it affects your brain’s ability to produce dopamine naturally (marijuana makes your brain produce more dopamine than it normally would, which leads marijuana users to start seeking out and using it compulsively because of the way they get a “high” from using marijuana).
Timeline for Detoxing From Marijuana
In general, there are four basic stages of marijuana withdrawal symptoms that an individual may experience when quitting Marijuana:
48 hours after your last use of marijuana, you may experience symptoms like irritability or trouble sleeping.
Two to three weeks after quitting marijuana. The withdrawal symptoms can become more intense and include things like loss of appetite, depression/anxiety, restlessness, and cravings for marijuana. The cravings during this time can be overwhelming and seem uncontrollable, which is why it’s important to have a solid support system in place when you’re going through marijuana detox.
Two months after your last use of marijuana. The symptoms may still cause discomfort but will generally feel much less intense than they did at two weeks of marijuana detox.
However, the withdrawal symptoms are likely to continue for months or years after you stop using marijuana, but the good news is that they will gradually become less intense as your body readjusts itself back to normal hormone levels and metabolic processes. This process can take up to a year or more in some cases, which is why it’s important not to try marijuana detox on your own if you want the highest chance of success.
The withdrawal symptoms can still be felt after a year without marijuana, but they will not feel as intense or difficult to cope with anymore. It’s important to remember that addiction is always possible even after years of abstinence from marijuana use because of the way marijuana affects the brain.
The withdrawal symptoms will continue to decrease as your body continues to recover from long-term marijuana abuse, but you should never try detoxing from marijuana on your own again after a relapse.
Marijuana withdrawal is generally known for its psychological effects such as irritability, anxiety, mood swings, and lowered appetite which are milder in the beginning stages but the intensity may increase with time before gradually tapering off.
Marijuana can also affect sleep patterns which is another common symptom of withdrawal from this drug. Marijuana withdrawal can last up to one week for heavy users and for between three days to one week for light users.
Cannabis addiction affects everyone differently, so it’s impossible to know exactly how long cannabis withdrawal symptoms will last for you. The best way to find out is by consulting with a professional who can help you navigate marijuana detox and determine what your personal timeline for recovery should be like.
If you have had any experience with marijuana addiction in the past, it’s best to contact professional treatment centers that can help monitor and manage marijuana withdrawal symptoms.