Public opinion on marijuana use has changed dramatically over the past few years.
Not that long ago, it was incomprehensible for any state to legalize cannabis. Fast forward to today, and cannabis is the number-one recreational drug in the US, with 21 states having legalized its recreational use, and a further 16 states legalized medical cannabis use.
However, legal doesn't necessarily mean safe.
Although legal and, according to over half of Americans, "socially acceptable," marijuana remains a drug. Using it can quickly develop into drug abuse, leading to marijuana addiction.
Once that happens, stopping using cannabis will become unbearable due to severe withdrawal symptoms.
And while weed withdrawal symptoms aren't as extreme as cocaine or heroin ones, they can still become quite irritable, especially in the long run.
In this guide, we'll discuss topics such as, what a person trying to quit cannabis should expect, how to manage withdrawal symptoms, and when to consider a marijuana addiction treatment program if you or your loved one are struggling to overcome it alone.
What Is Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome?
Not all people who consume marijuana can develop withdrawal syndrome. For example, cannabis users who consume it occasionally will likely not feel any withdrawal symptoms once they cut back on marijuana use.
The problem might arise if you use cannabis regularly, for example, several times a week or daily.
Regular marijuana users can experience symptoms such as irritation or nausea when they stop taking cannabis. We'll talk more about them in a moment.
Also, it's not that all cannabis users experience severe symptoms. Typically, the more you use, the more challenging it will become to cope with withdrawal symptoms.
People who experience more severe withdrawal symptoms are the ones with a marijuana use disorder. In other words, people who are addicted to cannabis. Overall, a recent study found that approximately 47% of marijuana users experience withdrawal symptoms.
What Causes Marijuana Withdrawal?
THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, responsible for the famous "high" feeling marijuana users experience.
If you take or smoke cannabis regularly, your brain and body start to increase THC tolerance, slowly becoming dependent on it. Once that happens, cutting the THC supply will force your brain to adjust to not having it.
That withdrawal process is often followed by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If you use more potent cannabis products often, these symptoms could become relatively severe.
Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms
For instance, a person with a severe cannabis use disorder will likely experience more troubling symptoms than a user who takes marijuana three or four times a week.
Some users might not even experience cannabis withdrawal syndrome despite using marijuana regularly.
Another important thing is that marijuana affects both the mind and body, meaning cannabis withdrawal will likely include physical and psychological symptoms.
While these symptoms aren't as severe as other substances, such as alcohol or cocaine withdrawal, they can still be very irritable.
The most common cannabis withdrawal symptoms include:
How Long Do Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal Last?
The marijuana withdrawal timeline, like symptoms, varies between different cases. Depending on how severe one's substance abuse is and how potent the products one use, the withdrawal timeline can last up to 2-3 weeks.
However, those with severe psychological marijuana use disorders often experience mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, even after several months of sobriety.
In most cases, the cannabis withdrawal timeline will look as follows:
The withdrawal symptoms begin on the first day of cannabis withdrawal, peaking after 48-72 hours.
The second and third days are usually the most challenging, with many experiencing vomiting, stomach problems, sweating, irritation, and chills. This is also the moment where the cravings are the strongest, with numerous addicts relapsing during the first several days of withdrawal.
The withdrawal symptoms will continue to peak, especially psychological effects that will start taking over physical symptoms.
Many experience depression, anxiety, and sleep problems as their brains begin to adapt to the lack of THC. These psychological symptoms usually last for a week, although they can be present for several months if one's marijuana addiction is severe.
After the first two weeks, the symptoms should begin to subside, with most users feeling well by that time.
By the end of the third week, one should feel strong and stable, although, as covered, that will depend on the severity of one's substance disorder.
Some users might experience withdrawal symptoms even months after giving up cannabis, which is why it's essential to undergo the correct addiction treatment.
When to Decide If You Need Cannabis Detox?
It's not life-threatening like heroin or alcohol abuse withdrawal, and in numerous cases, detoxing can be done without professional help.
That, however, depends on several factors.
In many instances, medically supervised detox is the safest and most efficient option.
For instance, people with co-occurring medical conditions or disorders are recommended to undergo a medically monitored detox. Going on a cannabis detox is also recommended if your drug addiction becomes severe.
In such instances, cannabis withdrawal symptoms will be much more severe, meaning undergoing successful detox can become extremely challenging.
Cannabis Use Disorder and Withdrawal Treatment Options
Once it's over, you have several addiction treatment options you can take advantage of, such as going to a rehabilitation center or seeking help through support groups like Marijuana Anonymous.
Your addiction specialist might also prescribe you medications to help manage withdrawal syndrome. Implementing several lifestyle changes can also help battle marijuana use disorder. We'll discuss the most popular marijuana abuse treatment options below.
Inpatient Rehabilitation Center
These are comprehensive facilities where patients stay for a given period, during which the trained specialists help them treat their addictions, including marijuana addiction.
Residential rehabilitation programs typically include detoxing, therapy, and recovery, ensuring the entire process is secure and effective.
Support Groups and Therapy
Whether it's group meetings, like Marijuana Anonymous, or individual therapy meetings with a substance addiction specialist, it can help one's understand and cope with the underlying issues that led them to use cannabis excessively.
Many recovering addicts participate in such meetings after months and years of sobriety, helping other people lead a normal life.
In such instances, some specialists recommend taking medications that might help when experiencing worsening symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. However, there are no FDA-approved medications to help battle marijuana withdrawal yet, so be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any.
How Miracles Asia Can Help
Whether you opt for our residential treatment rehabilitation or online program, our team of dedicated professionals will guide you through your detox and recovery process, helping our patients take the first step toward their new life.
Furthermore, these symptoms of withdrawal can vary between users, with many experiencing more severe marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
For instance, if you or someone you know struggles with cannabis use disorder along with other co-occurring conditions or mental disorders, not treating withdrawal symptoms appropriately can lead to more severe, long-lasting negative consequences, such as depression.
At Miracles Asia, we believe it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Therefore, whenever you or your loved ones are planning any substance withdrawal, we strongly recommend reaching out to professionals who can ensure the withdrawal process goes smoothly and, more importantly, safely.
You can get in touch with our Admissions Team today, and schedule a free assessment call to learn more about how we can help you battle your demons.