Wednesday November 26th 2014

What are marijuana withdrawal symptoms?

Marijuana (active ingredient THC) is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs in the country.  While most people do not believe in the addictive properties of marijuana, THC can be psychologically addictive.  And not surprisingly, many people develop physical dependence on marijuana every year. Learn more about marijuana withdrawal and how to beat it here. Then, share your questions about marijuana withdrawal and its symptoms at the end.

Why do marijuana withdrawal symptoms occur?

Minds and bodies without drugs are in a delicate balance known as homeostasis, and they don’t like to deviate from this balance. Once a person uses a drug like marijuana regularly, however, they can become physically dependent on it. In addition to building a tolerance to THC, some people even need it in their system in order to function normally.

Because of the psychoactive effects of marijuana on the central nervous system, the body must alter its functions slightly when you stop smoking. In effect, you have to create a new homeostasis when you’ve become dependent on THC after daily use. When a person who is physically dependent on marijuana stops using it, the body is still trying to function at this altered homeostasis, which results in withdrawal symptoms.

What are symptoms of marijuana withdrawal?

An intense craving for marijuana is one of the most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Irritability, anxiety, and restlessness may also occur during marijuana withdrawal, as can headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and a decrease in appetite. The severity of these withdrawal symptoms will usually depend on how long a person has been dependent on the drug as well as the severity of the dependency. Some people may not even have any marijuana withdrawal symptoms when they quit using it.

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms: How long do they last?

Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can begin in as little as a day after last use, but some individuals may not experience them until up to three days after last use. Once they begin, they can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Marijuana withdrawal symptom treatment

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms, while not dangerous, can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. The hardest symptom to deal with is usually the intense cravings for the drug, which can lead to a relapse. Staying busy with activities that do not involve marijuana use can help keep your mind off of using the drug. This can include activities such as going to a movie, working out in the gym, or hanging out with friends or family members that don’t use marijuana.

Other marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Ibuprofen for headaches and stomach medicine, peppermint or ginger for nausea can be helpful. Relaxation exercises and some herbal teas can also help relieve the intense anxiety that some individuals may experience. Physicians, mental health professionals, and addiction specialists are also an excellent resource when dealing with marijuana withdrawal and addiction.

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms questions

Do you have any questions about marijuana withdrawal symptoms? Are you or a loved one going through marijuana withdrawal? Leave us a message below to get your questions answered or even just to share your own experience about the subject.

Reference Sources: Cannabis Factsheet – NSW Department of Health
NCBI: Pharmacological Treatment of Cannabis Dependence
NCBI: Diagnostic criteria for cannabis withdrawal syndrome
SAMHSA: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment

Photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick

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8 Responses to “What are marijuana withdrawal symptoms?
jake
5:46 pm July 22nd, 2013

It is like losing your best friend. These withdrawl are there but since THC comes out of the system so slowly that its is weaning off naturally.

11:12 am July 23rd, 2013

Hi Jake. I can relate to that feeling. It took at least a few months for THC to leave my system, and then another 6 months to feel more energy.

Marshal
3:16 am October 28th, 2013

A few days and up to 2 weeks? That is nowhere even remotely close to reality. For a long time daily toker, it takes at least 4 MONTHS to get back to normal. The first 2 months are a living hell, and one must have an extremely solid reputation at work built up as you will be mentally worthless as well as physically weak. I am still shocked I wasn’t fired. The last 2 months are much more tolerable with a fair number of good days. Tobacco withdrawal is a laughable walk in the park by comparison.

1:36 pm October 28th, 2013

Thanks for sharing your experience, Marshal. I’ve actually heard that long term use of marijuana can stay in the system and impact the brain for up to 6 months after cessation of use…but we chose to be more conservative here and stick with the scientific evidence.

Lou
3:32 am January 24th, 2014

I smoked 30 years every day multiple times, my paws symptoms have lasted 4 months with no end in sight. Panic attacks, depressed , low energy. It is living hell, I never thought something that helped me so much for so long would be this bad.

Sas
7:26 pm June 20th, 2014

Hi, I’m 30 and smoking for 16 years. Like what jake said it’s like losing a best friend. I’m still smoking every day and want to quit but I enjoy it too much. I feel really really pissed off without it and feel like nothing is the same without it. I’m really deep in this and actually can’t see how my life will be balanced without it.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
2:42 pm June 24th, 2014

Hello Sas. What you describe sounds like physical and psychological dependence. However there is hope! Many have walked the way, which I can’t promise is easy, but sure you can go through the rough process and continue your life without it. You can talk to a doctor to get a further guidance.

Dormay
7:35 am November 7th, 2014

I agree with..Lou3:32 am January 24th, 2014
I smoked 30 years every day multiple times, my paws symptoms have lasted 4 months with no end in sight. Panic attacks, depressed , low energy. It is living hell, I never thought something that helped me so much for so long would be this bad….i now know that i get my panic attacks from Marijuana….when its time for a smoke…my bodies like act weird..,,like nervous and inpatient…and I am Naturally hyper active and this is why i started enjoying it..cause it calms me down…me too since i was 13 i smoked weed and now im 40,,,i got loss of sleep…i don;t dream anymore…and feel weird and funny when people are near,,,,,if it wasn;t for the nervouse and panic attack ..i would be releived…i know i am a funny person and used to like it making somebody laugh naturally…..me included…

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