Although it has recently become more accepted and even legal in some states, marijuana is not a harmless drug. In fact, marijuana can be both psychologically and physiologically addictive, especially to teenagers or young adults who may not know how to use marijuana responsibly.
In some cases, those who use marijuana regularly could experience marijuana withdrawal when they stop using it. The symptoms can range from minor to severe, but it’s always a good idea to monitor them and consider contacting experts for assistance if needed. Read on for more information about marijuana withdrawal and key facts you should know about marijuana addiction and treatment.
Marijuana Withdrawal Explained
Marijuana withdrawal is the host of side effects and symptoms a person may experience after smoking or consuming marijuana. In most cases, side effects only apply after using marijuana for a prolonged period or in large quantities, then stopping.
For example, a person may smoke cannabis every day for a week. Then, if they go a day without smoking cannabis, they could experience marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
The symptoms are similar to other withdrawal symptoms associated with using drugs like alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamines. They’re negative physiological reactions when the body is denied the substances it has become accustomed to over several days, weeks, months, or even years.
Is Marijuana Withdrawal Common?
This is very common and may become more common in the future because many states have legalized the recreational use of this drug. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 3 out of 10 cannabis users develop a substance use disorder and experience marijuana withdrawal symptoms to some extent.1
Furthermore, a study from 20212 indicated that:
- One-third of female marijuana users between the ages of 50 and 64 use it every day
- More than one-third of male users in all age groups use marijuana every day, 40% of which are over the age of 65
Overall, withdrawal symptoms are very common. A 2020 study that included 23,000 participants showed that the prevalence of marijuana withdrawal symptoms was 47%.3
Teenagers, young adults, and anyone using or planning to use marijuana must know what to expect from these withdrawal symptoms, as they can become debilitating and uncomfortable. If you or a loved one are struggling with marijuana withdrawal symptoms, you may have a substance abuse disorder and should seek out treatment assistance at Clear Life Recovery.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms and Severity
The symptoms of cannabis withdrawal can vary from person to person. They are often impacted by factors such as the strain of marijuana consumed or smoked, how long marijuana was used, and the individual’s tolerance level. Nevertheless, the most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms4 include:
- Mood changes, such as irritability, frustration, etc.
- Insomnia and other sleep difficulties
- Headaches or migraines
- Loss of focus or inability to concentrate
- Diminished appetite
- Craving for marijuana
- Chills or sweating
- Stomach problems, including nausea and vomiting
- Increased feelings of anxiety and/or depression
Generally, withdrawal symptoms are more severe if you’ve smoked marijuana consistently for a long period of time and have recently stopped. However, they may also be more severe for:
- Young adults, whose bodies may not be robust enough to protect them against the worst symptoms
- Women who are smaller than men and who have slower metabolisms. They may have more severe withdrawal symptoms if they smoke the same amount of cannabis as their male counterparts at the same social event, for instance
Because the symptoms can be very severe, it’s important to seek out assistance if you believe you’re suffering from them. There’s no shame in admitting you have a problem and need help.
How Long Do Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Individuals trying to stop their use of marijuana may wonder how long they’ll have to deal with withdrawal symptoms, particularly if they are minor and manageable at home.
The average symptom timeline is as follows:
- 1 to 2 days – the onset of marijuana withdrawal symptoms
- 2 to 6 days – most symptoms peak in their severity
- 7 days to 3 weeks – most acute or noticeable symptoms resolve
- After 3 weeks – most symptoms should be gone completely
However, if symptoms persist longer than this timeline, seek out medical attention for an official diagnosis.
Causes of Marijuana Withdrawal
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms aren’t as severe as the withdrawal symptoms from many other substances, like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and other opioids. However, the root cause of marijuana withdrawal symptoms is the same.
As you use marijuana regularly, your body becomes used to THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. In other words, your brain develops a general tolerance for THC. When you stop using marijuana, your brain has to get used to going without the substance.
Unfortunately, the more you smoke or consume marijuana, the more your brain learns to depend on THC. If you suddenly remove that THC, your brain and body will experience unpleasant symptoms. In many cases, these symptoms can be so unpleasant that people are inspired to start using again, even if they know it is bad for them.
Does CBD Cause Marijuana Withdrawal?
CBD or cannabidiol doesn’t produce the same “high” effect as THC. While it may technically be classified as a psychoactive substance, it’s very unlikely that CBD products such as tinctures will cause marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
It’s still possible to misuse CBD products, of course. But any symptoms, like irritability or mood swings, may be due to psychological dependence on this substance, not physical dependence in the same way marijuana withdrawal occurs.
How to Handle Marijuana Withdrawal
No matter your age or situation, the best way to handle marijuana withdrawal is with the support of friends and family members. If you have a problem or are experiencing negative symptoms of cannabis withdrawal, consider contacting a friend or family member and asking for help. You may need to take time off work and rest, as well.
You may need professional assistance at a treatment facility like Clear Life Recovery if your symptoms are severe. Marijuana addiction treatment programs, for example, can provide you with both medical support and social assistance so you can:
- Learn positive habits to stay away from marijuana in the future
- Remain strong as your body works through the withdrawal symptoms
As you overcome the symptoms, building healthy habits and lifestyles is important to prevent you from slipping back into addiction or abuse. For this, treatment with a therapist could be ideal, as can relying on your loved ones for support and reminders about the benefits of being healthy and not overusing cannabis and related drugs.
Contact Clear Life Recovery
Ultimately, it can be devastating and derailing, especially if you or a loved one are addicted to this substance. Treatment facilities like Clear Life Recovery can assist through marijuana addiction treatment programs or detox programs that can provide you with the social and medical support you need to recover.
With our assistance, you’ll overcome the symptoms or help your loved one get their life back on track. Contact us today to learn more.