I Think I’m Going Through Marijuana Withdrawal

Discover the truth about marijuana withdrawal symptoms and effective management strategies. Get the support you need.

Understanding Marijuana Withdrawal

Before delving into the symptoms, duration, and management of marijuana withdrawal, it's important to gain a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon. This section will explore the prevalence of cannabis withdrawal and the factors that can influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Prevalence of Cannabis Withdrawal

Cannabis withdrawal is a well-characterized phenomenon that occurs in approximately half of regular and dependent cannabis users after abrupt cessation or significant reductions in cannabis use containing Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) [1]. A meta-analysis estimated that 47% of individuals reported cannabis withdrawal when measured by standardized scales.

The prevalence of cannabis withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the sample population. In community samples, the prevalence is around 17%, which increases to 54% in outpatient samples and 87% in inpatient samples. These findings highlight that the severity and occurrence of withdrawal symptoms may be influenced by various factors, including the frequency and intensity of cannabis use.

It's worth noting that individuals with a history of daily cannabis use, concurrent cannabis and tobacco use, and other substance use disorders are more likely to experience higher prevalence rates of cannabis withdrawal symptoms [1].

Factors Influencing Withdrawal Severity

Several factors can influence the severity of marijuana withdrawal symptoms. The amount of cannabis consumed before cessation plays a significant role in determining the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. Heavy cannabis users may experience withdrawal symptoms that last for up to 2-3 weeks or longer.

Other factors that can influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms include individual differences, such as genetic factors and the presence of comorbid mental health disorders. Concurrent mental health disorders and polysubstance use can contribute to complicated withdrawal scenarios, which may require specialized treatment and management.

Understanding the prevalence and factors that influence the severity of marijuana withdrawal can provide valuable insights for individuals experiencing these symptoms and healthcare professionals involved in their care. By recognizing these factors, appropriate support and management strategies can be implemented to help individuals navigate through this challenging period.

Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal

When an individual stops using marijuana after regular and prolonged use, they may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary in intensity and duration from person to person. In this section, we will explore the common psychological symptoms and less common physical symptoms associated with marijuana withdrawal.

Common Psychological Symptoms

Withdrawal from marijuana use can lead to various psychological symptoms. These symptoms typically occur within a few days after discontinuing marijuana use and may last for up to several weeks, according to some studies. The most common psychological symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings for marijuana

It is important to note that the severity and duration of these symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the frequency and duration of marijuana use, individual metabolism, and overall physical and mental health.

Less Common Physical Symptoms

While psychological symptoms are more prevalent during marijuana withdrawal, some individuals may also experience less common physical symptoms. These physical symptoms are generally milder and may include:

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Tremors or shakiness
  • Stomach discomfort or nausea
  • Increased heart rate

These physical symptoms are typically short-lived and tend to subside within a few days of marijuana cessation. It is worth mentioning that the presence and severity of physical symptoms can vary among individuals, and some may not experience them at all.

Understanding the symptoms associated with marijuana withdrawal is an important step in recognizing and managing the challenges that may arise when discontinuing marijuana use. It's essential to remember that these symptoms are temporary and will gradually subside over time. Seeking support from healthcare professionals or support groups can provide valuable guidance and assistance throughout the withdrawal process.

Duration and Management

When experiencing marijuana withdrawal, understanding the duration of symptoms and implementing effective management strategies is essential for a smoother transition. In this section, we will explore the onset and peak of symptoms, as well as some management strategies for coping with marijuana withdrawal.

Onset and Peak of Symptoms

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms typically begin to emerge within 24 to 48 hours after cessation, with most symptoms peaking between days 2 and 6 [1]. It's important to note that the duration and intensity of symptoms can vary depending on several factors, such as the frequency and duration of marijuana use. Heavy cannabis users may experience symptoms for up to 3 weeks or even longer.

Certain psychological symptoms, such as mood shifts, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, may persist for up to 5 weeks after quitting marijuana use. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and vivid dreams, can also last for 30 to 45 days after stopping marijuana use, which may contribute to the risk of relapse.

Management Strategies

Managing marijuana withdrawal symptoms effectively can help individuals navigate this challenging period. Here are some strategies that may be helpful:

  1. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can provide understanding and encouragement during this time. Supportive counseling can play a crucial role in managing withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as regular exercise, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness techniques. These practices can help reduce stress and improve overall mood.
  3. Establish a Routine: Creating a structured daily routine can provide a sense of stability and purpose. Prioritize healthy habits, such as maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help flush out toxins and promote overall well-being. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining physical and mental health.
  5. Address Sleep Disturbances: If experiencing difficulties with sleep, establish a calming bedtime routine, limit caffeine and electronic device use before bed, and create a comfortable sleep environment. If necessary, consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.
  6. Practice Stress Management: Explore stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies or activities that help you relax and unwind. Managing stress can alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Remember, everyone's experience with marijuana withdrawal may vary, and it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance. They can provide further support and recommend potential treatment options if necessary. By implementing these management strategies and seeking the appropriate support, individuals can navigate marijuana withdrawal with greater ease and increase their chances of long-term success in overcoming dependency.

Risk Factors and Complications

When it comes to marijuana withdrawal, certain risk factors and complications can influence the severity and duration of symptoms. Understanding these factors is essential for gaining insights into the potential challenges individuals may face during their withdrawal journey.

Impact of Comorbid Disorders

Individuals with pre-existing mental health disorders, such as mood, anxiety, and personality disorders, as well as those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms compared to those without these comorbid conditions. The presence of these disorders can complicate the withdrawal process, making it more challenging for individuals to manage their symptoms effectively.

Complicated Withdrawal Scenarios

While cannabis withdrawal generally does not carry a high risk of severe adverse outcomes, the presence of comorbid mental health and polysubstance use disorders may lead to more severe complications and symptoms of withdrawal. In such cases, additional management strategies and support may be necessary to ensure the individual's well-being.

Complicated withdrawal scenarios can occur when individuals have concurrent mental health disorders and polysubstance use. The combination of these factors may further exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and increase the risk of relapse. It is crucial for individuals in these situations to seek appropriate professional help to address their unique needs and challenges during the withdrawal process.

By recognizing the impact of comorbid disorders and the potential for complicated withdrawal scenarios, individuals and healthcare professionals can develop more comprehensive management plans tailored to the specific needs of each individual. This holistic approach can enhance the chances of successful withdrawal and long-term recovery. It is important to remember that seeking professional guidance and support is crucial for navigating the potential challenges associated with marijuana withdrawal and ensuring the best possible outcomes.

Treatment Options

When it comes to managing marijuana withdrawal, it's important to note that there are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of marijuana use disorder or for the prevention of relapse. However, studies suggest that psychosocial behavioral interventions can be effective in treating marijuana use disorder and in preventing relapse.

Lack of FDA-Approved Medications

Despite the absence of FDA-approved medications for marijuana withdrawal, certain short-term symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, and nausea can be managed with medications. However, it's worth noting that the positive findings for pharmacological agents have not been consistently replicated in studies.

In cases where patients have significant comorbid mental health disorders and polysubstance use, inpatient admission for medically assisted withdrawal (MAW) may be clinically indicated to avoid severe complications.

Role of Psychosocial Interventions

Despite the lack of pharmacological options, psychosocial behavioral interventions have shown promise in the management of marijuana withdrawal. Supportive counseling and psychoeducation are considered first-line approaches in the treatment of cannabis withdrawal. These interventions aim to provide individuals with the necessary tools and support to cope with withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse [1].

Supportive counseling involves providing guidance, empathy, and encouragement to individuals going through withdrawal. It helps individuals understand their withdrawal symptoms, develop coping strategies, and address any underlying issues that may contribute to substance use.

Psychoeducation is another important aspect of treatment. It involves providing individuals with information about marijuana withdrawal, its effects on the body and mind, and strategies for managing cravings and preventing relapse. Psychoeducation empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their recovery journey.

In combination with supportive counseling and psychoeducation, other psychosocial interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management have shown effectiveness in treating marijuana use disorder. These interventions focus on identifying and modifying maladaptive thoughts and behaviors related to marijuana use, as well as providing incentives for abstinence.

It's important for individuals seeking treatment for marijuana withdrawal to consult with healthcare professionals or addiction specialists who can tailor a treatment plan based on their specific needs. The combination of psychosocial interventions and personalized support can significantly enhance the chances of successful withdrawal management and sustained recovery.

Resources and Support

If you find yourself experiencing marijuana withdrawal symptoms and need support, there are resources available to help you through this process. Supportive counseling and accessing assistance can provide valuable guidance and assistance during this challenging time.

Supportive Counseling

Supportive counseling can be a crucial component of the recovery journey for individuals experiencing marijuana withdrawal. Counseling sessions offer a safe and non-judgmental space to explore and address the psychological and emotional challenges associated with withdrawal. A trained counselor or therapist can help you develop coping strategies, navigate cravings, and manage any underlying issues that may have contributed to your marijuana use.

Counseling sessions may involve various therapeutic modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing. These approaches can help you identify and change negative thought patterns, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and set goals for a drug-free future. Additionally, counselors can provide education about marijuana withdrawal, relapse prevention strategies, and support in rebuilding your life without marijuana.

Accessing Assistance

When seeking assistance for marijuana withdrawal, it's essential to reach out to reputable and reliable sources. In Canada, a range of resources and support services are available for individuals needing help with substance use, including marijuana withdrawal. The Government of Canada's website provides information and resources without direct links to private clinics or for-profit organizations.

Canada-wide services offer various contact options, such as phone numbers, text messaging, online chat, and email support services. These services can provide guidance, answer questions, and connect individuals with appropriate local resources for support.

For Indigenous peoples, specific culturally sensitive resources are accessible, including the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program and the National Youth Solvent Abuse Program. A list of treatment centers is also available to provide specialized support.

Additionally, organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association offer valuable information and support. They provide resources such as the Naloxone 101 Toolkit, which educates individuals on how, why, and when to use a naloxone kit. The toolkit also provides information on where to obtain a naloxone kit for free, which can be crucial for individuals seeking support during a marijuana withdrawal journey [5].

If you're looking for immediate assistance, consider contacting St. John Ambulance or visiting local pharmacies, health centers, or nursing stations. These organizations can provide additional information and support tailored to your specific needs.

Remember, seeking help and support is a sign of strength and can greatly assist you as you navigate through marijuana withdrawal. Reach out to these resources to find the support you need on your journey toward recovery.


[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9110555/
[2]: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/weed-marijuana
[3]: https://www.healthline.com/health/marijuana-withdrawaal
[4]: https://windwardway.com/substance-abuse/marijuana/withdrawal/
[5]: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/get-help-with-substance-use.html