If you have used marijuana extensively for a long period of time, you are going to experience some withdrawal symptoms. For some individuals the withdrawals are more severe than for others. It depends on body chemistry, degree of abuse, and other factors like whether you were using the drug to cover up some other problem. For people that use it to make themselves more comfortable in social situations, they may experience extreme discomfort and anxiety coming off the drug. Similarly individuals that used it for other reasons like appetite boost or to help with insomnia generally will experience some sort of a crash while their physiology changes to adapt to life without the drug.
Factors that influence marijuana withdrawal include:
1. Time Span
Did you smoke marijuana for a week? A few months? A year? 5 years? 10 years?
How often did you smoke marijuana? Was it daily? Twice a day? Thrice a day? All day everyday?
If you smoked marijuana heavily for the past decade and used it at a high frequency (i.e. 3x per day), chances are that your withdrawal symptoms are going to be more severe than someone who has only used this substance for a few months a couple times per week. In fact the person who only used the drug a couple times a week may not experience any withdrawal whatsoever, while the individual that was addicted for 10 years may not be able to cope without the drug.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Anxiety – You may feel more anxious in social situations and develop some sort of generalized anxiety. This is the exact opposite of how relaxed you felt while using the drug – your brain is trying to compensate for the chemicals it received while you used marijuana.
- Appetite changes – If marijuana helped boost your appetite, you may not feel hungry at all while coming off of the drug. In some cases, people actually feel hungrier coming off marijuana – it totally depends on the case.
- Cramps – Some people notice stomach cramps and digestion problems. Others may feel achy.
- Cravings (for marijuana) – At some point in time, most people will experience a craving to use marijuana again. This is because you stimulated your brains pleasure center and kept feeding it chemicals to make you feel good. It wants its fix, and knows marijuana makes you feel good, so you will likely crave the drug.
- Depersonalization – You may feel like you are not the same person or are going crazy. This is usually a result of intense anxiety. You may have never felt this way before; your brain chemistry has been thrown out of whack.
- Depression – Many people experience some sort of depressive symptoms when coming off of the drug. You may feel sad and as though you have lost all zest for life.
- Dizziness – Some individuals report feeling dizzy. Try not to lose your cool if this is happening, just accept it as a symptom.
- Headaches – Another common withdrawal symptom is that of headaches.
- Insomnia – Not being able to sleep at night is a problem, but one that you need to tackle head on. Try learning some relaxation techniques or getting more exercise during the day to help tire yourself out at night.
- Irritability – You may experience anger or frustration with the world when coming off of the drug. No one wants to get mad at little things, but this will eventually pass with enough time.
- Mood swings – Some people experience extreme changes in mood when trying to quit this drug. You may feel alright one minute and then raging mad or depressed the next.
- Nausea – Feeling nauseated, especially before, during, or after eating is common.
- Sleep disturbances – You may experience crazy vivid dreams or have disrupted sleep where you wake up in the middle of the night.
- Sweating – Some people end up sweating more than they normally would during withdrawal.
Note: It is known that marijuana stays in your system along with cannabinoid metabolites for between 4 to 21 days after your final ingestion. Some speculate that once the THC and cannabinoids are fully excreted, discontinuation symptoms become more prominent.
When will the marijuana withdrawal symptoms subside?
Depending on the length of time and frequency that you used marijuana, time period for withdrawal varies from person to person. Most people will notice that they are completely symptom free after 90 days. It also depends if you tapered off slowly or just quit one day randomly in “cold turkey” fashion. I think cold turkey is the best way to quit, but probably the toughest for your body and brain to re-adjust to normalcy.
Don’t freak out if you don’t return to normal after 3 months of withdrawal. Keep pushing forward and accept all of the symptoms that you experience without freaking out. Engaging in healthy activities like socializing, exercising, eating healthy foods, and staying busy will help you make it through this difficult time.
Fortunately marijuana withdrawal is easier than many other drugs – so consider yourself lucky. If you aren’t able to withdraw on your own or deal with symptoms, you should consider consulting a professional. If symptoms are still too extreme to manage, you may want to look into a rehab facility. Most people can quit with the help of family and a good social network.