Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Identifying The Signs and Symptoms Related To Cannabis Use

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With many states legalizing marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes, it’s become socially acceptable to use marijuana regularly.[1] But regardless of the benefits of marijuana, heavy or frequent use can lead to marijuana use disorder (MUD) and withdrawal symptoms that make it more difficult to cut back or stop.

What Is Marijuana Withdrawal Like?

People who use marijuana often do so to experience euphoria, relaxation, and enhanced sensory perception. Using marijuana regularly can create physiological dependency, so when users stop or try to cut back, they experience withdrawal.

According to studies, 47% of people who use marijuana regularly experienced cannabis withdrawal symptoms when they stopped.[2]

Though cannabis withdrawal syndrome doesn’t carry the same life-threatening effects as heroin withdrawal or alcohol withdrawal, unpleasant symptoms can lead to relapse to alleviate the effects.

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Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), cannabis withdrawal syndrome may be experienced by people who stop using cannabis after heavy, long-term use.[3] The symptoms may include:

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Anger, irritability, and aggression
  • Decreased weight or appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Experiencing strange or unsettling dreams
  • Headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and abdominal pain
  • Tremors

Cannabis withdrawal syndrome is diagnosed when an individual experiences three or more symptoms within one week of reducing or stopping marijuana use.

Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline

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If you’re trying to significantly reduce your marijuana use or stop completely after heavy, regular use, acute withdrawal symptoms may begin shortly after.[4]

  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms typically begins within one to two days
  • These symptoms peak in severity within two to six days
  • Most symptoms resolve within three weeks

Some psychological symptoms may persist for up to five weeks after quitting marijuana.

For many, insomnia and sleep disturbances are the most challenging symptoms within the first few days after quitting marijuana, often causing relapse. These symptoms may persist for 30 to 45 days.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome for Marijuana

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Withdrawal symptoms usually start shortly after stopping the use of a substance, peaking in a few days or a few weeks. With post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), the withdrawal symptoms improve and then return or may persist for longer periods.[5]

PAWS may include more emotional and psychological symptoms as well, such as:

  • Difficulty with learning
  • Memory problems
  • Poor coordination
  • Hostility and irritability
  • Panic or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Severe mood swings
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Apathy

PAWS is more common with alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines, but it can occur with other substances like marijuana. Though they persist and range in severity, PAWS symptoms eventually stop.

Types of Withdrawal Treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from marijuana addiction or another substance use disorder, help is available. At Alpas Wellness, we offer a range of treatments and levels of care to address addiction and its underlying causes.

Marijuana addiction treatment levels may include:

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01

Medical Detox

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Medical detox is the first step for treating many substance disorders. Detox allows you to safely and comfortably detox from the drug with the aid of medication and support staff.

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02

Residential Treatment

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Inpatient or residential treatment gives you 24/7 care, security, and support from medical staff while you undergo treatment for marijuana addiction and withdrawal.

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03

Therapy Interventions

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Therapeutic interventions help patients understand themselves on a deeper level while addressing their substance use disorder or process addiction. Through therapy, patients are equipped with practical coping skills to circumvent their habits safely.

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Aftercare

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After completing an inpatient or outpatient program, aftercare gives you the skills and support to transition back to your everyday life with a renewed commitment to recovery.

How Marijuana Withdrawal Treatment Works

Cannabis withdrawal is not life-threatening and may be manageable without intervention, but medical detox can help with withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring disorders.

A detox program may be necessary if you misuse multiple substances alongside marijuana, such as alcohol or opioids, because the withdrawal from these substances can be dangerous or possibly life-threatening.

After detox – or without detox – you may have the option to enter a residential program, an outpatient program, or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Though the setting varies, these programs often include a combination of individual and group therapy to address the addiction and its underlying causes. Some of the therapies offered may include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps identify the behaviors that contribute to marijuana use. Through CBT, you can recognize unhelpful patterns of thought and behavior and learn how to cope with them more effectively.

Motivational enhancement therapy and motivational interviewing are therapeutic interventions that rely on internal resources for healing and engagement to motivate change.

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What’s the Best Way to Find Marijuana Withdrawal Treatment?

Marijuana withdrawal doesn’t require detox, but if that’s the first step you’d like to try, you can speak directly with your physician or therapist about your options. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and a drug addiction helpline also offer resources for drug detox facilities near you.

If you’re ready to take the next step, contact our compassionate staff at Alpas Wellness to start the process. We’re available 24/7 to assist you.

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Cost of Marijuana Withdrawal Treatment

The cost of marijuana withdrawal treatment can vary depending on your circumstances and the treatment plan that’s best for you. Many health insurance providers assist with substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, however.

Contact us today to see if your insurance is an in-network provider.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Withdrawal Treatment

01

Can Marijuana Withdrawal Make You Feel Sick?

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Some people get stomach pain and nausea with marijuana withdrawal, but they usually subside within a few days or weeks.

02

Can Marijuana Withdrawal Cause Psychosis?

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Cannabis withdrawal syndrome may include irritability, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms, but psychosis induced by cannabis withdrawal is rare.[7]

03

What Is Considered “Heavy” Marijuana Use?

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Heavy use varies but generally refers to daily or more frequent use, which is an indication of dependence and a cannabis use disorder.

Sources
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[01]

L. Roditis, M., Delucchi, K., Chang, A., Hapern-Felsher, B. (2016, October 14). Perceptions of social norms and exposure to pro-marijuana messages are associated with adolescent marijuana use. Preventive Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091743516303152?via%3Dihub on 2023, June 19.

[02]

Connor, J. P., Stjepanović, D., Budney, A. J., Le Foll, B., & Hall, W. D. (2022, July). Clinical management of cannabis withdrawal. Addiction (Abingdon, England). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9110555/ on 2023, June 19.

[03]

DSM-5 cannabis withdrawal syndrome: Demographic and clinical correlates … (n.d.-b). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6359953/ on 2023, June 19.

[04]

Clinical management of cannabis withdrawal – wiley online library. (n.d.-a). Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.15743 on 2023, June 19.

[05]

Ferguson, S. (2022, October 19). How to Recognize and Manage the Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/post-acute-withdrawal-symptoms on 2024, June 6.

[06]

Clinical management of cannabis withdrawal – wiley online library. (n.d.-a). Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.15743 on 2023, June 19.

[07]

Ramos B;Santos Martins AF;Lima Osório ES; (n.d.). Psychotic cannabis withdrawal: A clinical case. Cureus. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36523702/# on 2023, June 19.

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