Marijuana, also referred to as cannabis, is one of the most widely used recreational drugs. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 1 out of every 10 people who use it develop a substance use disorder (SUD), also known as addiction.
If you develop a marijuana addiction, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms once you stop using it.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms, including sleep disturbances, irritability, and anxiety, can last for around two weeks. Some people may experience lingering symptoms for several months.
Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant and contains a mind-altering substance called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Whether you smoke or consume marijuana another way, THC activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Cannabinoid receptors are involved with several functions, including mood, memory, and pain sensation. It also stimulates the production of dopamine, a chemical in the brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Increased levels of dopamine can encourage continued drug use, which may lead to cannabis withdrawal syndrome.
Marijuana dependence occurs when your body adapts to how the drug interacts with the brain. If you stop using it, you may experience a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
After you stop using marijuana, the levels of THC in your brain will start to decrease. Within the first 24-72 hours of stopping, you may start to experience the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may peak anywhere between two to six days after last use and continue for up to 14 days.
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms may include:
- depressed mood
- decreased appetite
- abdominal pain
- sleep difficulties
- vivid dreams
- weight loss
The longer you use marijuana, the more likely you are to experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop.
Although many of these symptoms may disappear after a week or two, some symptoms may persist for several months. Depression, anxiety, and mood swings are among the most common symptoms associated with long-term withdrawal.
What Factors Can Affect Marijuana Withdrawal?
Although there is a general outline of what to expect from marijuana withdrawal, the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can vary.
According to the National Library of Medicine, gender may play a role in the intensity of symptoms. Females were found to experience stronger physical symptoms, including nausea and stomach pain.
Additional factors that can influence marijuana withdrawal include:
- how long you’ve used marijuana
- frequency of marijuana use
- physical health conditions
- co-occurring mental health disorders
Is Medical Marijuana Addictive?
Although marijuana is still an illicit drug, it has become legalized in several states across the country. In addition, the use of medical marijuana is legal in 36 states. Medical marijuana is used to treat a wide range of physical and psychological ailments, including pain, nausea, and anxiety.
However, medical marijuana, like recreational marijuana, is a controlled substance and poses a risk of abuse and dependence. Even if you use marijuana under a healthcare provider’s care, there is still a risk of developing marijuana addiction.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) identifies cannabis use disorder (or marijuana use disorder) as a diagnosable condition. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse issues, a professional addiction treatment center can help you recover.
Depending on the severity of your addiction, your treatment provider may recommend the following services:
Marijuana withdrawal is not life-threatening and mild compared to other substances, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. However, severe symptoms can interfere with daily life and make it difficult to stay stopped.
An inpatient detoxification program can help you cope with withdrawal symptoms in a safe environment.
Inpatient Rehab Programs
If you have used marijuana for a long-time or have a co-occurring mental health disorder, you may benefit from inpatient rehab, also known as residential treatment.
Inpatient rehabilitation offers a variety of intensive treatment options, including behavioral therapy, 12-step facilitation, and support groups.
Outpatient Rehab Programs
If you have a mild addiction, an outpatient rehab program may be suitable for you. During outpatient treatment, you will receive a wide range of therapeutic services.
Behavioral therapy, family therapy, and individual counseling can help you learn healthy coping skills and how to manage cravings.
If you would like to learn more about outpatient services available at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center, please contact us today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.