Author: Charles Frank

Marijuana Weed Withdrawal: Symptoms & Timeline

symptoms of marijuana detox

Despite the wide use of these approaches in clinical practice, few empirical studies have been conducted. The provision of increased on‐line and digital approaches to assist patients in managing cannabis withdrawal may improve accessibility and reduce costs, compared to face‐to‐face health services. We know little about interactions between the effects of cannabis and other drugs [28], but polysubstance use may increase the severity of withdrawal. Cannabinoid receptors are major targets, directly or indirectly, for many drugs of abuse including prescription analgesics, but interactions between these drugs are poorly understood.

Cannabis is commonly used with tobacco [70], and in treatment‐seeking cannabis users approximately two‐thirds also use tobacco [71]. Tobacco withdrawal symptoms overlap with cannabis withdrawal and may have a similar intensity and time‐course [72, 73]. Table 4 outlines the withdrawal features observed in this complex case and possible management. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) may be considered during the withdrawal period and post‐detoxification if the patient desires to quit nicotine. The onset of cannabis withdrawal symptoms typically occurs 24–48 hours after cessation of use. The early phase of withdrawal is usually characterized by insomnia, irritability, decreased appetite, shakiness and, less often, sweating and chills.

How to treat or prevent cannabis withdrawal

No pharmacological approaches have been approved to prevent risk of relapse to CUD during or after MAW [77]. The two most effective stand‐alone behavioural interventions are cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET). There is some evidence that combined CBT and MET produces better outcomes than either approach alone [77, 81]. Affirmations are positive statements a person says about themselves that promote a positive mindset and outlook.

  1. You may not need special instructions, but it’s always a good idea to consult someone about your decision.
  2. Over time, those who had started off in the mild withdrawal symptom group were likely to stay there, but some did progress to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
  3. This team of people is trained to evaluate your substance use disorder and guide you toward the program that will give you the best chance at remaining free from marijuana and other addictive drugs in your future.
  4. In contrast, tapering consists of gradually lowering a marijuana dosage over time to make withdrawal symptoms more bearable.
  5. At baseline, 41% of the study participants fell into the mild symptoms group, 34% were in the moderate group and 25% were classed as severe.

You can try out behavioral therapy with a licensed clinical psychologist. Common treatment modalities include cognitive behavioral therapy, for example. If you’re ready to quit, talk with a doctor or a substance use disorder specialist about your options. You may not need special instructions, but it’s always a good idea to consult someone about your decision. If nothing else, this person can be a good source of inspiration and accountability.

This is perhaps a good indication that the definition doesn’t fit the disease. In addition, According to a 2020 study of more than 23,000 participants, the prevalence of cannabis withdrawal syndrome is about 47%. Withdrawing from regular cannabis use can lead to symptoms that include trouble sleeping, shifts in mood, and sleep disturbances. Using cannabis edibles or tinctures, as well as vaping, daily and in high amounts is more likely to cause at least mild withdrawal symptoms if you stop abruptly. He attended with his partner, who reports that they can monitor him closely over the next 5 days. The patient consented to attending primary care appointments daily over the next week.

Intensive outpatient programs

If you do choose to detox on your own, please be aware of the risks and limits of what you can do at home. Ensure that you have a loved one who can monitor you for any adverse symptoms, and consult with a doctor before tackling any major medical milestones. Previous research has shown that the more symptoms and greater severity of symptoms a person has, the less likely they are to be able to reduce their use of cannabis, quit using it or stay away from it once they quit.

symptoms of marijuana detox

Cannabis withdrawal symptoms may not be as severe as withdrawal symptoms from other substances. Opioids, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin can produce severe, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms. Meta‐analyses demonstrate that psychosocial treatments for polysubstance use have weak efficacy compared to single‐substance psychosocial treatments [86]. There are insufficient studies to recommend either treating multiple substances sequentially or concurrently. However, a recent meta‐analysis found that combined tobacco and/or cannabis interventions had a modest effect on reducing cannabis but not tobacco. These combined interventions did not increase tobacco or cannabis cessation rates [87].

If you use cannabis, do it safely

Withdrawal from other substance use that may increase risk of adverse outcomes (e.g. alcohol other CNS depressants, opioids) is not present. The patient denies suicidal thoughts, but reports dysthymic mood that is typical for him. He states that his cannabis use is heavier at night in an attempt to improve his sleep, and ceasing use has impaired sleep quality. He reports that his partner of 15 years is highly supportive of his cessation attempt and committed to a substance‐free relationship. There are no medications approved to manage the cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Research on MAW has increased during the past 15 years, but remains less developed than for other drugs of abuse.

In some medically supervised detox settings, like at Footprints to Recovery, working on co-occurring disorders is possible. Perhaps depression or anxiety is the reason you use marijuana in the first place. If that’s true, addressing depression and/or anxiety is key to overcoming your marijuana addiction. During detox, you can also participate in one-on-one counseling and group therapy sessions.

What to Expect During Medically Supervised Marijuana Detox

The clinical significance of cannabis withdrawal is that its symptoms may precipitate relapse to cannabis use. Complicated withdrawal may occur in people with concurrent mental health and polysubstance use. When you undergo the detox process at a medically supervised facility, you are monitored around the clock by doctors and nurses who specialize in marijuana withdrawal. These medical staff members can quickly address any side effects that arise, which eases the withdrawal process and gives you a more comfortable path to sobriety. Withdrawal can feel like an illness, so it’s important to go through it with the right help.

How do you know if your cannabis use is a problem?

Because of the high prevalence of comorbid substance use and dependence, it is important to know if the patient only wants to cease cannabis use, or some or all of the substances that they use. In outpatient settings the patient may prefer to continue to use other substances. There are insufficient studies to decide whether it is better to withdraw from multiple substances sequentially or concurrently. In an inpatient setting, all non‐prescribed substances are usually stopped.

For individuals who experience anxiety or panic as a result of cannabis withdrawal, prescription anti-anxiety medications can be given in a controlled treatment setting to ease weed withdrawal symptoms. Getting professional treatment that includes evidence-based addiction therapies, can help someone not only get sober but remain in long-term recovery. The mainstay of cannabis withdrawal management has been psychosocial education, supportive counselling and behavioural therapies.

Now leading experts at Harvard Medical School are here to help you separate fact from frightening fiction about medical cannabis so you can make informed decisions. And, while there is a lot of positive talk about cannabis, there are risks—especially if you’re over 55. A 2021 study also found that nearly one-third of female cannabis users ages 50–64 and one-fifth of those ages over 65 are using it nearly daily. Among male users, more than one-third of people in all age groups reported using it nearly daily, and more than 40% of those over 65. Smoking cannabis a handful of times may not be enough to cause withdrawal symptoms when you no longer use it.