The facts are that although marijuana isn’t physically addictive many people still experience some withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. Usually these symptoms are nowhere near as bad as those experienced when coming off hard drugs. It can be quite unpleasant for some people depending on their tolerance levels, frequency of use, metabolism and preferred consumption method.
How Long Do Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
When quitting marijuana, some people experience mild symptoms for up to 2 weeks. These symptoms may be psychological or physical, or both. Beginning between 1 and 7 days after giving up, and lasting for an average of 14 days. It is more likely that someone who has used cannabis heavily for a long period of time will experience worse symptoms than someone who is a light or occasional user. Symptoms are usually worse between the second and sixth day after quitting.
Aggressive behaviour and physical symptoms often come and go very quickly. Psychological symptoms often last longer, with trouble in sleeping being reported to be the symptom which lasts the longest. Reports suggest that some people have experienced withdrawal symptoms for more than a year.
Why Do Some People Experience Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms?
Long-term marijuana use causes changes in the body’s own cannabinoid receptors, with THC causing the downregulation and desensitization of the CB1 receptors. The amount of CB1 receptors in the brain decreases, and this results in withdrawal symptoms once marijuana is no longer being used. Luckily, however, the brain goes back to normal pretty rapidly, and after just two days without marijuana, the downregulation process begins to reverse quickly, continuing its improvement for around 28 days.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Marijuana Withdrawal?
The majority of symptoms experienced when quitting marijuana use are psychological, including cravings, mood swings, disturbed sleep and lowered appetite. Some former users also experienced physical symptoms including headaches and weight gain. A full list of reported symptoms after giving up cannabis include:
- Cannabis cravings
- Trouble sleeping
- Nightmares or vivid dreams
- Appetite changes
- Sex drive changes
- Boredom and restlessness
- Muscle twitches
- Vomiting and nausea
- Stomach upsets
How To Handle Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms after quitting marijuana use, there are some steps that you can take to ease them without going back to using cannabis and without seeking professional help. If you would prefer to resolve your own withdrawal symptoms you can try a number of these home remedy solutions.
Dealing With Mood Swings
If you are experiencing distressing mood changes, you should try some activities which are known to reduce stress lives. Taking a hot bath, writing a journal of your thoughts or just talking to friends may help to relieve the problem. Exercise, meditation, and yoga are also effective mood-boosting remedies.
Dealing With Sleep Problems
If you are struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, a melatonin supplement could be the perfect solution. As part of this remedy, you should devise a routine to help you relax in the evening by drinking herbal tea, reading a relaxing book and meditating. You should definitely avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages in the evening.
Dealing With Marijuana Cravings
If you find that you are craving cannabis, you can work on eliminating your triggers such as spending time with certain friends or becoming bored. If you usually use marijuana at a particular time of the day, replace it with a different pastime such as taking some exercise. Exercise not only occupies you but also boosts your metabolism so that your body can burn THC stored in your fat cells more rapidly.
Dealing With Stomach Pains
You can relieve stomach pain or nausea by using a heating pad and drinking a cup of ginger tea of ginger ale. Also Chamomile and Peppermint tea have been reported to help stomach pain.
Dealing With Headaches
If you have headaches, you can try drinking a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated. Water flushes out your system more quickly while boosting your metabolism, allowing for faster fat burning, which removes THC from the body more quickly.
Do You Need Professional Help?
Although currently no medications have been approved for use in treating cannabis dependence, there are some medications that could be helpful in dealing with some of the withdrawal symptoms. If the above list of home solutions is simply not working, you could consider professional help. Doctors will sometimes prescribe the following drugs:
Ambien – A sleep aid, which can help with problems in getting to sleep or with disturbing dreams.
Gabapentin – The anticonvulsant medication gabapentin can help with muscle twitches.
Buspirone – An anti-anxiety treatment which can help with depression and anxiety caused by marijuana withdrawal.
Antihistamines – Antihistamines can be used to treat nausea and can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores.
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol – Often headaches are the most common symptom when quitting marijuana. Plenty of water and some over the counter painkillers can be a great help.
Dealing With Psychological Symptoms
If former users are struggling with psychological symptoms, they could benefit from having some psychotherapy, behavioural and cognitive therapies. Motivational enhancement therapies are also effective in treating marijuana dependence.
Stick With It And Go Cold Turkey!
Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are usually nowhere near as intense as those produced from other drugs both prescription and recreational. The good news is that for most former users, the symptoms only last around 2 weeks and there are many ways to try to relieve symptoms. Most people find that their withdrawal symptoms are very mild and are gone within a week without taking any action at all. You need to stick with it and continue to abstain from using marijuana.