Whether they use weed for recreational or medicinal purposes, people can develop withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it, such as cravings, restlessness, irritability and sleep problems.
Weed, or cannabis, is the “most
In recent years, more states have legalized the recreational and medicinal use of weed. However, based on a 2018 survey from Washington State, legalization does not seem to have significantly increased use. That said, weed use has been gaining a lot of attention.
There are many misconceptions about whether people can become addicted to cannabis. The truth is that it is possible to become dependent on, or even addicted to, cannabis with regular use.
This article will explore how and why a person can develop withdrawal symptoms from weed, as well as how to treat them.
People who use weed regularly and then stop abruptly can experience some withdrawal symptoms.
While many people use weed a without experiencing withdrawal effects, regular use can develop into cannabis use disorder. In severe cases, this can take the form of an addiction.
Experts define addiction as continued cannabis use despite negative consequences in a person’s life, such as issues relating to their family, job, or relationships.
Weed withdrawal symptoms peak within the first week of quitting and can last up to
Symptoms of withdrawal can
- difficulty sleeping
- decreased appetite
- cravings for cannabis
- abdominal pain
Cannabis is the name for dried extracts from the plant Cannabis sativa. This plant contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and terpenes, with THC contributing to the primary psychoactive effects associated with marijuana use.
THC defines the potency of cannabis products, while terpenes define the aroma and flavor. The more THC the cannabis contains, the greater the effect on the brain.
Using weed regularly means that the brain and body get used to a regular supply of THC. When this supply is stopped, the body takes some time to adjust to not having it. This causes uncomfortable physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Once the brain and body have adjusted to not having THC, the physical withdrawal symptoms will stop. People may still experience psychological cravings for some time, however.
Over the years, based on samples of confiscated cannabis, potency has
This indicates that the current effects of cannabis, including withdrawal, may be more extreme compared with their effects in previous decades.
The mood difficulties and physical discomforts of withdrawal peak in the first week of quitting and
Though the physical effects of withdrawal will stop after the drug has left a person’s system, the psychological symptoms can last longer.
Research states that brain receptors called cannabinoid 1 receptors start to return to normal after 2 days without cannabis, and they regain normal functioning within
People may feel cravings for cannabis after they have stopped using it, especially in contexts and settings where they are used to using cannabis.
Each year in the U.S.,
People in the U.S. can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s national helpline on 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They offer a free, confidential 24/7 helpline for people facing mental health or substance abuse problems.
People can also speak to their doctor or a local health clinic about cannabis withdrawal. Specialists can recommend local resources, including detoxification centers and support groups, that people can use.
The type of treatment may depend on whether or not the person has any comorbid disorders, such as psychiatric problems or addiction to other substances.
Some current treatment options include:
- Rehabilitation or detoxification centers. Though many people will not need to use an inpatient rehabilitation service, people with severe cannabis use disorder, poor social functioning, or comorbid psychiatric disorders can benefit from these services.
- Outpatient therapy. Outpatient rehabilitation programs involve working with a psychotherapist or other mental health provider and attending sessions on a consistent basis.
- Support groups. A person may be able to find local or online support groups to connect with others with cannabis use disorder.
Withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone. They also vary in severity based on the length of time a person has used cannabis.
While withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are not usually dangerous in comparison with withdrawal from alcohol or opioids, which can be life-threatening.
For a person who uses cannabis daily, slowly reducing use might make quitting easier. If a person only occasionally uses cannabis, they might be able to stop altogether.
If a person is ready to quit cannabis use, they should make sure to take care of their body during the peak withdrawal period within the first week.
Try to ease the symptoms of withdrawal using the following methods:
- Eat a varied diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables. Sugar and junk food can make a person feel worse.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Caffeinated beverages might make symptoms worse.
- Get plenty of sleep to allow the body to rest.
- Try to get some exercise each day to stay active.
- Get support from family and friends for motivation and accountability.
Though specialists currently consider them to be off-label uses, the National Institute on Drug Abuse
According to the CDC, research has linked cannabis use with
The National Institute on Drug Abuse state that there is
People can become dependent on, or even addicted to, cannabis. They may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.
A person might experience poor sleep, mood swings, or stomach problems.
Resources are available to those who are interested in quitting weed or cannabis.