There’s a lot of controversy about the medical and recreational use of marijuana, with evidence and support on both sides. One of the controversial issues is marijuana withdrawal, and whether it’s a legitimate issue that users should consider before regularly using marijuana.
A lot of disagreement remains about this issue, with many people arguing that marijuana has only positive effects and is non-addictive. However, some studies contradict this belief. Quitting marijuana can be difficult. This is particularly true for chronic users, so if you experience problems you should look for professional assistance and expert advice.
Keep reading to learn about the symptoms and problems you may experience when you’re trying to quit marijuana. Also find out how you can manage your symptoms of withdrawal.
Is Marijuana Withdrawal Real?
Despite arguments on the opposing side, research suggests that marijuana withdrawal is real. Recent studies show that long term users of cannabis are likely to experience a range of mood and behavioral symptoms of varying intensity when they try to quit.
These weed withdrawal symptoms are typically milder than with other types of legal and illegal drugs. They can last up to four weeks or until the cannabinoid receptors return to normal functioning. Because the symptoms aren’t as severe as with other drugs, they’re usually managed without being admitted to medical care.
Despite the fact that marijuana withdrawal symptoms are considered to be fairly mild to moderate by the medical community, marijuana withdrawal can still be a problem for chronic users. In fact, about 30% of people who try to quit marijuana will start using again because of the symptoms of withdrawal.
As this issue has become more common, there are now more health resources available for cannabis users to get help dealing with the negative effects associated with quitting marijuana.
Confusion remains in the marijuana circle about the differences in weed and other cannabis byproducts, such as CBD oil. CBD or cannabidiol is a compound that’s found in marijuana and hemp plants. However, it doesn’t contain very much THC, the chemical that causes the high that marijuana is known for. Because of this, it’s used for medical purposes only and doesn’t appear to be addictive or cause withdrawal symptoms when people stop using it.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between CBD and THC, check out this article.
Weed also has a number of medical uses. It can help alleviate the symptoms of cancer and other chronic or acute diseases such as pain, nausea, and fatigue. It’s also used to help fight psychological issues such as stress and anxiety, and can help treat some of the symptoms of depression.
But because of the high you get from it, weed is also an attractive product for recreational use.The substance can create feelings of pleasure and happiness in users, lower stress levels, and heighten the senses. These positive effects are often the cause of problems, because people enjoy using marijuana and use it too often.
When the use becomes chronic, people can find themselves unable to quit without suffering from the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal.
Symptoms of Weed Withdrawal
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are different for each user. This is probably because of differences in body chemistry and different degrees of use. It’s only recently that the medical establishment has acknowledged the existence of cannabis withdrawal as a legitimate mental health concern, so research into the issue is incomplete. Unfortunately, this means that there is very few effective medical treatments for this kind of withdrawal, though this may change in the near future.
To be diagnosed with medical cannabis withdrawal, the individual must have used marijuana regularly for several months before quitting and exhibit at least three symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. These symptoms include:
- Decreased appetite
- Bad dreams
- Anger or aggression
- Stomach pain
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal typically aren’t as physically dangerous as they can be with other drugs. Mostly, the symptoms are psychological rather than physical, though this can create other dangers or concerns for users or for the people around them.
Depression in particular can be a concern. People who have depression often use drugs such as marijuana to mask their symptoms. Quitting can heighten the symptoms of depression and cause relapse or even more serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important that people get expert advice and treatment during the withdrawal process so that other issues can be dealt with at the same time.
Marijuana Withdrawal Treatments
Typically, the treatment for marijuana withdrawal involves a combination of therapies and medications that depend on the individual experience of withdrawal. These treatments can include the following:
- Medications that treat the symptoms such as anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, or sleep aids
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which addresses the negative or destructive thought patterns that cause troubling behaviors
- Psychotherapy, which is also known as talk therapy and has been found to be useful in some cases
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy, which is meant to increase the individual’s motivation to quit marijuana by encouraging them to set recovery goals and plan how to achieve them
- Contingency management. This also addresses the problem of motivation many marijuana users experience by offering rewards for continued abstinence
- Social support is very important during this process. People who use marijuana need the support of their friends and family as well as more structured support such as groups dedicated to marijuana abuse recovery
Marijuana is a legitimate treatment for problems such as chronic pain, anxiety and depression, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely free of negative effects. In fact, long term users often find that marijuana withdrawal symptoms make it very difficult to quit the drug, which can lead to ongoing use and problems.
If you find that your marijuana use has become a problem, there are a number of treatment options that can help you overcome the symptoms of weed withdrawal and let you take back control of your life again.