Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms And Timeline

Long-term marijuana use can result in individuals experiencing cannabis withdrawal syndrome (CWS). However, the severity of CWS can vary depending on: the amount of marijuana used before quitting, gender, the type of cannabis, and environmental factors like the individual's ability to metabolize marijuana.

Marijuana Timeline

Marijuana withdrawal is not life-threatening. The severity of someone’s withdrawal symptoms directly depends on their tolerance to the drug. Most commonly, withdrawing from marijuana consist of mood and behavioral symptoms.

The possible physical side effects of cannabis withdrawal can include:

  • weakness and fatigue
  • anger and irritability
  • sweating
  • restlessness
  • dysphoria (a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life)
  • sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • anxiety
  • marijuana cravings

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug which, over time, can cause changes to the chemical structure of the brain. These changes to the brain can create a physical dependence on the drug. However, whether or not marijuana is addictive, is still widely debated.

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Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline

Everyone will experience marijuana withdrawal a bit differently, but the most commonly reported timeline for marijuana withdrawal is the following:

  • The first withdrawal symptoms from marijuana are felt 1 to 3 days after the last use.
  • Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are usually most severe during the first week of abstinence.
  • After one to two weeks, marijuana withdrawal symptoms typically resolve.

Depending on how long someone has taken marijuana, their symptoms can range from mild to severe. Those who have taken marijuana for multiple years will have more severe withdrawal, which can make the drug difficult to quit.

Finding Treatment For A Cannabis Use Disorder

Withdrawing from marijuana may be considered safer than opioid or alcohol withdrawal, but, in some cases, cannabis withdrawal can be severe enough that it makes it difficult to stop. Some individuals may benefit from a formal medical detox from marijuana, especially if they also struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression.

While individuals can elect to go through marijuana withdrawal on an outpatient basis, individuals who participate in a supervised detox are more likely to be successful in their attempt to stop using the drug. Inpatient treatment can also reduce the likelihood of relapsing.

Journal of Abnormal Psychology - https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f562/e837d3d5d74a529cd26e58d1a82722afd13c.pdf

National Center for Biotechnological Information, PubMed - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15514394

Substance Abuse Rehabilitation - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5414724/

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