Despite federal prohibition, numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical use. According to the Mayo Clinic, many different medical illnesses can benefit from medical marijuana (also known as cannabis), including HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana is the “most commonly used trusted Source illegal substance in the United States” (CDC). Marijuana use has received a lot of attention in recent years.
There is a common misunderstanding that those who use marijuana never develop an addiction. The truth is that chronic marijuana usage increases the risk of psychological and physical dependence.
There are many negative effects associated with cannabis use, and withdrawal is just one of them. Here are three facts regarding marijuana withdrawal that you should know.
It is unclear how tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive element in cannabis, contributes to the development of dependence in chronic users.
Symptoms and Signs
Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana are rarely life-threatening, but they can lead someone who wants or needs to stop using cannabis back to using it.
You could become more on edge and irritated than usual, struggle to sleep or eat, and even experience physical symptoms like a stomachache or headache. The experience has been compared to that of caffeine withdrawal by others.
Former marijuana smokers often describe intense drug cravings in the first few days after quitting the substance, despite the fact that many current users don’t believe they’re addicted. Cravings can look different for different people, but they always involve a strong urge to consume the material.
Cannabis withdrawal can also cause depression, which is characterized by a consistently melancholy mood accompanied by various other symptoms, such as a lack of interest in daily tasks and an inability to focus. Feeling down every once in a while is normal. It is common for people to become more cognizant of the negative effects of their cannabis use as they withdraw from the substance, as well as of the emotional states that the marijuana has been hiding.
The spectrum of irritability spans from mild, easily managed irritation to the extreme, uncontrollable fury and even physical violence. To some degree, this is expected behavior during marijuana withdrawal. Anger that persists beyond a week may be a sign of a deeper problem that your cannabis usage was covering up; talking to a doctor, drug counselor, or psychologist can help.
4. Disturbed Sleep
During cannabis withdrawal, approximately 46.9% of former users report experiencing sleep disruptions such as insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep), extremely vivid or unpleasant dreams, and night sweats. “Using dreams,” in which the dreamer smokes marijuana, has also been reported by former smokers.
Also: Sativa vs. Indica: Overview of Common Side Effects Among Common Cannabis Strains and Types.
Both being high on cannabis and coming off of it can cause anxiety. People who have used marijuana are familiar with the paranoid effects it can have. Intense worry after quitting can be concerning. Remembering that your anxieties are likely a natural element of drug withdrawal, like anger, can be beneficial.
Headaches are a common side effect of discontinuing marijuana use, however not everyone gets them and for those who do, the withdrawal period can be particularly painful. Like other withdrawal symptoms, headaches from discontinuing marijuana use normally start one to three days after you stop using it and reach their peak two to six days later. Two weeks is the average time for symptoms to subside, but some ex-smokers report experiencing symptoms for much longer.
6. Distinct Physiological Manifestations
To a greater extent and earlier in the withdrawal process, the physical symptoms of marijuana use cessation are less severe and more quickly diminish than the psychological symptoms. The severity and duration of marijuana withdrawals are affected by the user’s regularity and dosage of the drug prior to quitting.
- Tummy ache
- Modifications to Appetite
- Changes in body weight
- Symptoms consistent with the flu, include a high temperature, a lack of appetite, achy muscles, a dry cough, and a sore throat.
Withdrawal from marijuana might cause symptoms like:
- Decreased Hunger
- Feelings Shift
- Problems Falling Asleep, Staying Asleep, or Both
- A Lapse in Concentration
- Needing to Smoke Pot
- Perspiring, Sometimes Even in Cold Sweats
- Raised Levels of Melancholy
- Problems Digesting
In different people, these signs and symptoms may be greater or less severe. It’s possible that these won’t be life-threatening, but they’ll still be uncomfortable. Withdrawal symptoms are more common among chronic marijuana users.
Also: What to Know About Medical Cannabis for Arthritic Pain!
Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Management and Preventative
Consult a medical professional or an addiction counselor about your choices if you’re serious about giving up smoking. Even if you feel confident making the choice on your own, it’s still smart to run it by someone else just in case.
Take these self-help measures to ease the discomfort of the first 24–72 hours of withdrawal when you’re ready to quit.
- Maintain a healthy fluid intake. Keep your body hydrated and steer clear of sugary, caffeinated drinks.
- Maintain a nutritious diet. Get plenty of fresh produce and lean protein to keep your energy up. Fast food and other processed foods will only make you feel sluggish and irritable.
- Regular physical activity is recommended. Do some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day. The natural increase in serotonin levels and the detoxification effects of perspiration make this a win-win.
- Get some help. In order to get through the withdrawal process with as little discomfort as possible, it’s a good idea to surround oneself with supportive people.