How long do withdrawal symptoms last from smoking weed
As the content manager at Advanced Recovery Systems, Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing
Attitudes have changed toward marijuana in recent years. Many states have legalized the use of both medicinal and recreational marijuana, and more states may in the future. Because of this, the misconception that marijuana is not addictive continues to spread. The truth is marijuana can be addictive, and if you stop using it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.
This is perfectly normal. Just like all drugs, cannabis contains addictive properties which can cause physical and emotional dependence. And when you stop taking the drug, it causes withdrawal symptoms as your body has become used to the high.
This will explain everything you need to know about cannabis withdrawal, including psychological and physical side effects, alleviating symptoms, and detox. According to reports, cannabis is the most widely abused substance in the UK. It affects the senses by producing euphoric feelings, which can cause short-term impairment.
The substance is mainly consumed recreationally, but its main ingredient — Tetrahydrocannabinol THC — is often used for medical purposes to treat symptoms of neurological disorders, like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Cannabis has a high potential for abuse, despite it being a relatively less addictive substance. Using this drug over long periods can lead to tolerance, dependence and eventually, addiction.
What to know about marijuana withdrawal
Amongst addicts, one of the most difficult barriers to breaking free from cannabis addiction is the onset of withdrawal symptoms, which manifest when attempting to quit. However, with adequate medical assistance, you can safely negotiate detox and manage any withdrawal symptoms accordingly. Over time, if you abuse cannabis in large quantities, your body will become used to elevated levels of THC in the bloodstream.
This will cause your brain and body to adapt and adjust its normal function, coming to depend on the presence of the drug. When you stop use or reduce your intake ificantly, withdrawal symptoms will surface, which could cause you to use cannabis again. Over the years, experts have debated whether quitting cannabis brings about withdrawal symptoms or not.
However, inthe American Psychiatric Association came to a consensus that cannabis withdrawal should be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal vary from person to person. The onset, severity and duration of withdrawal will also depend on certain factors, such as the amount of cannabis consumed; for how long the drug was consumed; whether it was consumed alongside other illicit drugs ; and the presence of any pre-existing health issues. Withdrawal symptoms can include the opposite effects of the drug, as well as enhanced symptoms of any pre-existing health issues — especially mental health conditions.
Symptoms typically affect the physical and psychological state of the addict, while they can serve as formidable deterrents whenever a person makes the decision to quit cannabis. Cannabis is a psychoactive substance, which causes alterations in brain function.
Cannabis: detox and withdrawal timeline
The main active ingredient responsible for these alterations is THC. When you smoke cannabis, THC travels through the bloodstream to the brain, after being absorbed from the lungs. In the brain, it acts on cannabinoid receptors, setting off a series of reactions that lead to the sensations of pleasure, relaxation and euphoria associated with the drug. When you continue to consume cannabis repeatedly, your brain will become used to it and before long, will become reliant on the drug to maintain normal function.
When you choose to cease usage altogether — or at least cut-down your consumption — this will initiate withdrawal symptoms. Due to the reactions in the brain caused by THC, many neurological functions are altered. THC typically reacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain; these are mainly concentrated in the regions of the brain that deal with time and sensory perception, thoughts, pleasure, memory, and concentration.
This explains the psychological effects experienced by cannabis users.
These psychological effects include:. If you or a loved one abuse cannabis over a period of time and attempt to abruptly quit, there are also physical withdrawal symptoms that occur alongside the psychological effects of withdrawal. While these symptoms are rarely fatal or severe, they can cause ificant discomfort that could result in a relapse. Physical difficulties you could experience during withdrawal include:.
Certain medications have been clinically trialled to determine which are more effective in reducing the impact of withdrawal; these include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-seizure drugs, sleep aids, THC replacements, and mood stabilisers. The most promising amongst these were the anti-anxiety prescription drug, Buspirone; the sleep aid medication, Zolpidem Ambien ; and the anticonvulsant, Gabapentin.
Detox is the process that involves the body flushing out all remnants of cannabis metabolites from your system. This occurs after a period of abstinence but is accompanied by a of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms — the reason for which is your body letting go of a substance it has grown used to and become dependent on for normal function. In fact, there are numerous techniques and activities you can undergo to aid this process. Cannabis addiction interferes with your mental state, as well as your physical health; this is why the problem should be tackled on both fronts.
While common knowledge tends to reserve psychological for treatment in rehabpsychotherapy can also play a valuable role during detox.
What to expect from marijuana withdrawal
Although toxic remnants of THC will still present in your body several days after taking cannabis, the psychological effects of the drug might also linger, especially in people who are severely addicted; for instance, negative thought patterns that accompany drug use will also need to be evicted from your psyche. A psychologist can help you with this form of detox. This is because your body cannot return to a state of normalcy if traces of the drug are still present in your system.
This explains why your body has to dispel these foreign substances to regain its chemical balance.
Detox is even more difficult for those who have smoked cannabis for a long time or abused it in conjunction with alcohol or other harmful substances. The first few hours to a couple of days can be the most turbulent of the detox phase, as this is when the withdrawal symptoms are at their peak. After several days, the effects will begin to wane, but psychological withdrawal symptoms like cravings and depression may still be present.
However, for people with mild cases of addiction, withdrawal may not be severe and might last only a day or two. Medically assisted detox and withdrawal involves help from addiction therapists to fast-track the detox process and manage your withdrawal symptoms, so that you can successfully expel all cannabis toxins from your body, in the most bearable manner possible.
Alongside other therapies, medication will be applied to help you through the worst of withdrawal and stay on track. A medically assisted detox programme is known to be the best way to rid cannabis from your system and also set you on the path to recovery. Withdrawal is bound to occur when you decide to quit using an addictive substance like cannabis, following a spell of addiction to the drug.
Marijuana withdrawal & detox
There are no definite methods via which to completely avert withdrawal symptoms when you initiate abstinence. However, with adequate professional help, your symptoms can be ificantly reduced, allowing you to get through this phase fairly comfortably.
If your case of addiction is severe, doctors could choose to gradually taper you off the drug. The duration of detox largely depends on the various factors surrounding your particular case of addiction to cannabis. While this could take a week for some people, it might be longer for others. You can naturally expel cannabis from your system if you stop taking it entirely, work out regularly, hydrate properly, and stay away from certain foods like red meat.
While natural methods can effectively expunge cannabis from your system, they can take a while to complete the detox process. Some known side effects of cannabis detox include:.
There are NHS drug and alcohol services in virtually every county in the UK, via which cannabis detox can be undertaken by residents free of charge. However, these programmes are mostly outpatient based; contact your local GP to locate the relevant services in your community. You can also get a referral if necessary.
The best way to successfully detox is undergoing medical detox under the supervision of an addiction expert — preferably in an inpatient facility. The body metabolises cannabis rapidly, but traces of metabolites can linger. The amount of time it takes to break down cannabis products and other active ingredients depends on the amount consumed and how often the user does so. Though you might experience the effects of cannabis for a while longer, any traces can be detected via the appropriate tests.
Certain THC metabolites can be found in the body after 20 hours, though some can be stored in body fat for as long as 13 days. Blood tests can sometimes be unreliable for detecting the presence of cannabis in the body because the substance leaves the bloodstream very quickly. Most experts have found that cannabis can be detected after 13 days of consumption via a urine test. However, urine tests can only show how recently someone has used the drug, rather than the level of intoxication unlike blood tests. Undergoing medical detox without the guidance of an addiction expert can be harmful, due to the accompanying withdrawal symptoms.
Therefore, always ensure you check in with a medical expert whenever you want to undergo detox.
These methods are mere hoaxes and will leave you disappointed if pinning all your hopes on them. Cranberry Juice: being a diuretic, cranberry juice only makes you urinate more, without having any effect on cannabis residues in your body. Taking vinegar over a long period of time is also risky, as it comes with a of health issues.
It could work for 10 days or more; however, there are many contributing factors that are complex to pinpoint. Detox can be dangerous if you attempt it on your own and if you have a chronic case of addiction. Cannabis is known to be present in the bloodstream for just a short period but can stay in fat cells for 13 days, where it can be detected by a urine test. Exercising can help during your recovery process — especially if you can run and subsequently burn some fat. below and one of our addiction counsellors will call you back shortly. If you successfully complete our day inpatient treatment programme but experience a relapse within 30 days of leavingwe will welcome you back for complimentary 30 days of treatment.
NHS Cannabis Detox.
Causes of Cannabis Withdrawal Cannabis is a psychoactive substance, which causes alterations in brain function. Common Physical Effects of Withdrawal If you or a loved one abuse cannabis over a period of time and attempt to abruptly quit, there are also physical withdrawal symptoms that occur alongside the psychological effects of withdrawal. Cannabis Detox: Is it Necessary? What to Expect During Detoxification? Medically Assisted Detox and Withdrawal Medically assisted detox and withdrawal involves help from addiction therapists to fast-track the detox process and manage your withdrawal symptoms, so that you can successfully expel all cannabis toxins from your body, in the most bearable manner possible.