What if we regularly consume marijuana and decide to take a break or discontinue it completely?
People who consume THC occasionally or in high doses for a short period of time, generally do not experience any withdrawal symptoms. But if you consume marijuana for a long period of time regularly, you will experience the discomfort of marijuana withdrawal.
Marijuana is universally acknowledged as a soft drug, but 1 in 10 users become addicted to it and experience withdrawal effects1.
Like alcohol or cigarettes, long-term use of pot often leads to a situation in which its users encounter problems when they decide to stop their daily ritual. At the very beginning the effects of marijuana withdrawal can make it very difficult to function in everyday life at work, at University and it can have negative impact on relationships with loved ones2.
What causes a regular smoker to undergo marijuana withdrawal? Why do we experience THC withdrawal effects?
Marijuana stimulates dopamine production in the human central nervous system. By regularly consuming pot our brain creates neurological connections, adapts to the new situation and our body and brain get used to a certain level of THC. Not without influence is the fact that cannabis products which are consumed nowadays have a much higher THC level than 10-15 years ago: in 1990- 3.8% and in 2014 already 12.2%. Up to 15% in 2018. In addition, the lack of legal regulations in many countries is conducive to the development of the hidden marijuana trade market of unknown origin or its synthetic counterparts. Cannabis clubs in Spain guarantee quality products, those are government licensed clubs and coffeeshops.
Long-term and regular consumption of cannabis causes deregulation of the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain (CB1).
As a last resort, the central nervous system works „correctly” only when it receives THC and when the THC level decreases or disappears completely, there is a withdrawal effect. In other words, neurons in the brain that were effectively dormant as a result of long-term consumption of marijuana suddenly fall into a state of hyperactivity. Related to this is the term of „homeostasis”- the ability to maintain constant parameters in the body.
A new level of homeostasis after long-term use of marijuana is revealed in4:
– the need to consume the substance
– difficulty breaking with routine
– no interest in other activities
When you consume too much THC, you disturb homeostasis in the body!
Regular use of THC means that when we quit THC suddenly, our body needs time to adapt to a new situation. This causes unpleasant physical and psychological withdrawal effects.
The most common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal5:
– Problems with sleeping
– Stomach pain
– Loss of appetite
– Cold-like symptoms
– Night sweats
– Sweating hands
The THC withdrawal process is quite individual in nature. The withdrawal effects listed above can occur in various combinations.
Regular cannabis users note the desire to consume marijuana that is returning during the withdrawal period. This feeling of wanting to smoke can appear and disappear at any time during the process of detoxifying the body from THC.6
Feeling irritated and nervous. Depression. Fears.
Feeling irritated and constantly nervous is a completely normal reaction to quitting marijuana. Depression – a constant feeling of gloom and a lack of interest in anything is also typical for cannabis withdrawal. If the situation does not improve within 1-2 weeks, and significantly hinders your daily functioning, you can seek help from a specialist.
Problems with sleeping
Marijuana is known for making it easier to fall asleep and extending sleep. However, it reduces REMS sleep in favor of NREM III. After quitting regular use of cnnabis, long-term users may have intense dreams. The REMS phase then increases significantly.
There are countless anecdotes about how good it is to sleep after marijuana, but is that true? The answer is not clear…
Sleep experts don’t give a positive assessment of the role of THC in falling asleep. One theory is that the REM sleep phase helps to organize your thoughts and its absence will make it difficult to make decisions8.
What does science have to say about discontinuing regular consumption of THC products? Are there reliable scientific studies?
As of today, we already have extensive research into the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. In a study conducted by the Duke University on 496 regular cannabis smokers, 95.5% of the subjects showed at least one of the cannabis withdrawal effects listed above, 43.1% of the subjects had more than one marijuana withdrawal symptom. The intensity of marijuana withdrawal effects is directly correlated with the frequency of cannabis use and the consumed amount. Researchers also point out that the increased marijuana withdrawal effects also result from high THC levels. The fact of simultaneous consumption of tobacco is not without significance.
Previous studies conducted in 2013 by Columbia University shown that 76% of respondents experienced feelings of anxiety and complained of irritability, 68% reported sleep problems and 59% felt depressed.
If you decide to quit weed after a period of regular use, there is a good chance that you will experience withdrawal effects. Depending on how long, how often and in what quantity you smoke weed, the withdrawal effects can be stronger or weaker.
Before we get into how to deal with withdrawal effects, it’s worth pointing out here that you don’t have to go through it alone. There are a number of support groups that will help you cope with the unpleasant effects of THC withdrawal.
A word from spainweedguide.com: Remember, withdrawal effects will pass. Be patient. Making changes in life is always a big challenge.
How long do the withdrawal effects last?
No matter how you do detox: at home or in the rehabilitation center, withdrawal effects will occur. Usually the body gets rid of THC completely within 30 days. This does not mean that the withdrawal effects will last for so long9.
– withdrawal symptoms appear in the first week
– symptoms reach their maximum within 10 days of withdrawal
– after the so-called maximum symptoms, they gradually begin to subside over the next 10-20 days. The feeling of discomfort reaches its maximum within a week and subsides within 2 weeks.
Other sources say that on day 3, withdrawal side effects are most intense. By day 4, most physical symptoms will begin to subside, but withdrawal effects may intensify. Feeling depressed is very typical and may persist for the first week of marijuana quitting. After 2 weeks, most people feel well. For some, the symptoms may persist for several months.
What do you need to be prepared for?12
Day 1. Irritability, anxiety and insomnia.
Day 2 – 3. Peak of withdrawal symptoms. There occurs sweating, chills, abdominal pain.
Day 4 – 14. Over the next few weeks, your symptoms will improve. Depression may appear.
Day 15+ Most, if not all symptoms should disappear by week 3. People with serious psychological addictions may feel depressed or anxious for several months after they stop using cannabis.
If these symptoms do not go away you should use the help of professionals or join a support groups.
Are there any methods for pharmacological support during marijuana withdrawal?
Among the medicines that can help us in this difficult time are, for example, antidepressants.
Canadian researchers tested a medicine called Sativex on cannabis users.
The use of pharmaceuticals to alleviate the effects of cannabis withdrawal cannot be done without consulting a specialist.
We advise you on how to handle stopping Marijuana
During the withdrawal period, we should take particular care of our body and mind15:
– enter a proper diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Set aside any sweets and junk food.
– drink plenty of water (1-2 liters a day). Limit caffeine.
– get enough sleep
– include physical activity in your routine
If you undertake a detox, it means that you want to change your habits and routine and at the same time you need to persevere.
Before you start taking the marijuana out of your routine, plan it well.
Sources: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2219745-cannabis-extract-may-work-as-a-treatment-for-cannabis-addiction/  https://www.livescience.com/23494-cannabis-withdrawal-symptoms.html  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324301#timeline  https://www.recoveryfirst.org/blog/marijuana-withdrawal-is-it-for-real/  https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2017193  https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S109576  https://herb.co/learn/smoking-weed-before-bed/  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323425#Withdrawal-linked-with-psychiatric-disorders  https://americanaddictioncenters.org/marijuana-rehab/withdrawal  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324301  https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/marijuana/withdrawal-detox/  https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-withdrawal-syndrome-ease-symptoms  https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-withdrawal-syndrome-ease-symptoms  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324301#outlook