Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that stays in the body past the emotional and mental effects it brings. Understand marijuana withdrawal timelines and other more information in this post.

Marijuana, now commonly known as “weed” or “pot” is one of the well-known psychoactive substances that people use to experience a wide range of pleasurable emotions and hallucinations. In some states, weed is legally sold and used within certain amounts.

However, even with lenient restrictions and people clamoring to legalize weed, it is important to know that there are still marijuana withdrawal signs that one needs to watch out for. Like any other substance with effects on the brain, people should expect that using weed long-term can potentially cause some unwanted symptoms, tolerance, and dependence.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

What is there to know when weaning off marijuana? First off, there is a certain timeline where withdrawal symptoms begin mild and a peak where it becomes physically and mentally challenging. When a person gets past that peak timeline, the symptoms wean eventually and the person feels generally better. Let us discuss the symptoms first, and then the typical timelines when mild to peak signs of withdrawal from marijuana occurs.

Below is a list of physical, mental, and behavioral marijuana withdrawal symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of using Marijuana

  • Loss of appetite: The feel-good chemical THC stimulates a part of a person’s brain that releases dopamine. These brain chemicals work in conjunction to encourage people to eat, engage in intercourse, or try risky, pleasurable behaviors. Without THC, a person may lose the desire to eat which is also compounded by physical discomfort.
  • Difficulties sleeping: The majority of people who withdraw from marijuana either experience insomnia or interrupted sleep.
  • Headaches: Sudden brain chemical changes can cause headaches. When dopamine is not released as much compared to a person who is regularly taking the pot, migraines and tension headaches can occur.
  • Cold sweat and chills: Most individuals also feel ‘feverish’ when on drug withdrawal of any kind. It is the body’s response to the sudden changes and an attempt to adapt without the drug.
  • Digestive issues: Since marijuana is also known to make muscles feel relaxed, cramping can occur without the drug. Stomach cramps can happen when trying to withdraw from marijuana, causing a myriad of digestive problems.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Another part of the body’s physical response to changes and desire to stabilize, feeling dizzy and vomiting can also occur in severe cases.

Mental Symptoms of using Marijuana

  • Difficulties focusing: When people are in a calm state, it is easier to focus on daily tasks. People who are on weed withdrawal can experience attention span problems and challenges in making decisions.
  • Sudden changes in mood: THC is also a hallucinogenic drug that makes people experience a distortion of reality. When someone is on a “good trip”, it makes them feel better about their day. Without the drug, they can’t rely on these mood uplifters, leading to drastic emotional swings.
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts: Along with mood changes, one can also experience an extreme form of depression and suicidal ideation due to the physical and mental discomforts.Increased anxiety: If a person self-medicates with marijuana to remove anxiety, this condition may reappear during withdrawal.

Behavioral Symptoms of using Marijuana

  • Isolation and relationship problems: The mood changes and physical discomfort of people who haven’t taken the drug for some time cause them to withdraw from others as well, causing relationship problems and increased isolation.
  • Marijuana cravings: One may also express their intense desire to take marijuana again as they are suffering from the unpleasant effects of withdrawal.

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Marijuana Withdrawal Schedule

How long does marijuana withdrawal last? Even with the overwhelming symptoms presented above, it is essential to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Typically, there is an average timeline where people will experience mild, moderate, then heightened symptoms, and the effects go down following the peak. Take a look at what you can expect when trying to withdraw from weed:

1-2 Days

At this stage, people first experience mild to moderate symptoms. These symptoms can include slight temperament changes, irritability, and bouts of sadness. Difficulties sleeping may also occur, but physical symptoms may be mild or non-existent.

3 Days

On day 3, the peak wave of symptoms occurs. This is where compounded physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms appear, such as stomach problems, loss of appetite, chills, along with mood and focus problems. For some severe cases, nausea and vomiting may also occur if the person is highly dependent on the drug. The peak may also bring people to take marijuana again, leading to a relapse which repeats the whole process.

4 Days

Around day 4, people start to feel better and physical symptoms gradually wane. However, relapse can still occur as emotional symptoms may still remain strong at this point. If weaning off marijuana was done independently and the drug isn’t properly removed from the body, some mental and physical symptoms can still happen from time to time, which prompts professional care and treatment.

2 Weeks

At 2 weeks is the typical time where people feel “back to their normal” selves. Like in day 4, physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms can happen anytime whenever there’s a trigger, and relapse may happen. As such, proper treatment is also essential for those who want a full recovery.

Side Effects of Marijuana Withdrawal

As mentioned, some discomforts can still persist beyond the typical withdrawal timeline. Without proper marijuana treatment, some people can still experience these side effects for months or years, which may lead to bigger health problems in the future. Below are the side effects you should take note of:

  • Cravings: When external or internal triggers occur and people do not know how to manage them, there is a possibility of giving in to these cravings leading to a marijuana relapse.
  • Mental health issues: The prior dependence on marijuana as well as brain chemistry changes due to THC may cause persisting mental health problems. These can include depression, anxiety, psychosis, and other personality disorders.
  • General discomfort: Individuals may still experience difficulty sleeping, nightmares, sudden bouts of nausea, headaches, and many other ailments related to remnants of THC in the body.

To prevent side effects from persisting, proper medical detox may be needed. Although marijuana withdrawal is not commonly deadly, the agony of the effects can make people repeat the vicious cycle of withdrawal and relapse. You can find information on how to quit marijuana safely and effectively below.

Treatment for Marijuana Dependency

When marijuana withdrawal symptoms occur, this is a potential sign that someone is dependent on the drug. The path to getting completely clean isn’t easy, especially when done using self-treatment. This is because a lot of elements are missing, such as medical detox as well as targeting the underlying issues that trigger marijuana use.

If you are thinking about recovering fully from marijuana dependency, this is what you can expect from professional treatment:

Medical Detox

Medical detox goes beyond providing you with assistance when you experience heightened withdrawal symptoms. Healthcare professionals are also trained to give you medications or do other procedures that will help rid your body of THC safely while addressing withdrawal effects.

The medical detox process includes lodging, 24/7 emergency care, nutritious meals, and a comfortable environment to avoid relapse triggers.

Treatment

After withdrawal symptoms completely wane, the next step towards recovery is understanding yourself and why you experienced a dependency on marijuana. Thus, getting into treatment methods such as:

Will help you pinpoint specific causes and give you the tools to become strong during addiction triggers. You may be recommended either going to the rehab facility for 30, 60, or 90 days or as a regular outpatient.

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Aftercare Instructions

After the given treatment period, you will be provided referrals and instructions to help you in your recovery journey. Quitting marijuana becomes easier when you have a community of support to rely on during difficult moments.

Marijuana Withdrawal: Recovery Is Possible

Marijuana withdrawal can be uncomfortable for many, and excruciating for some. With the right professional help, you can fully recover while addressing problems that trigger your dependency.

Sources:

  • Drugabuse.gov – “Marijuana DrugFacts”.
  • Dea.gov – “Hallucinogen”.
  • Medlineplus.gov – “Personality Disorders: Medline Plus”.
  • Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – “Cannabis Withdrawal in Chronic, Frequent Cannabis Smokers during Sustained Abstinence within a Closed Residential Environment”.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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