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Managing Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms: Recognizing and Finding Help

Publish on Dec 20, 2023 by allenharper

Whether you use marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, you can develop withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and cravings.

Managing Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms Recognizing and Finding Help

New research published in JAMA on the Prevalence of Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms Among People With Regular or Dependent Use of Cannabinoids highlights the problems of cannabis withdrawal. The study states that cannabis withdrawal syndrome appears to be usual among regular users of cannabis, particularly those in outpatient and inpatient settings.

What is Cannabis Withdrawal?

When you stop using cannabis after being consistent, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis contains a psychoactive substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC affects the brain’s functioning, and if you suddenly cut off the supply, you may experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal is not as severe as in the case of opioid withdrawal. Seeking support from healthcare professionals or counselors can aid in managing these symptoms and navigating through the process of quitting cannabis use.

How Common Is Cannabis Withdrawal?

According to a recent analysis published in JAMA, 47% of 23 518 participants experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms. While not everyone faces cannabis withdrawal symptoms, a significant number of participants struggle with withdrawal challenges when discontinuing cannabis use. In addition, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on marijuana addiction, about 3 in 10 cannabis users develop a substance use disorder. The number looks low, but it’s enough to recognize and address the potential risks associated with prolonged or heavy cannabis use.

What Are The Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal

The most common features of withdrawal from cannabis are
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Anger or aggression
  • Disturbed sleep/dreaming
  • Depressed mood
  • Restlessness
  • Low appetite
  • Loss of appetite
Less common physical symptoms include
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Physical tension
  • Sweating
  • Stomach pain

What Are The Common Stages Or Phases In The Weed Withdrawal Timeline?

Onset of Symptoms: Usually begins within 24–48 hours after discontinuation of cannabis use. Peak Symptoms: Most symptoms peak between days 2 and 6 after cessation. Duration: Some symptoms may persist for up to 3 weeks or more, particularly in individuals with heavy or prolonged cannabis use.

Can Cannabis Withdrawal Be Dangerous?

Withdrawal from Cannabis, in most cases, is not considered life-threatening or dangerous. It’s characterized more by discomfort and psychological symptoms rather than severe physical complications. However, it’s crucial to address the potential challenges associated with withdrawal. It’s essential to note that seeking professional guidance and support can mitigate potential risks associated with withdrawal from weed. Healthcare professionals or counselors can provide strategies and support to manage severe symptoms and ensure a safe and more comfortable withdrawal process.

What Are The Causes of Marijuana Withdrawal?

The causes of marijuana withdrawal are the body’s adjustment to the absence of cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis, after regular and prolonged use. When you stop using marijuana, especially after prolonged use, your body and brain change as it readjust to functioning without the presence of cannabis. Additionally, the body maintains a state of balance or homeostasis. Chronic use of marijuana disrupts this balance. When cannabis use stops, the body works to restore its equilibrium, leading to withdrawal symptoms as it readjusts to functioning without the drug.

Are There Medications To Ease Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms?

Currently, no medications have specific approval for treating cannabis withdrawal symptoms. However, some medications are occasionally used off-label to manage certain short-term symptoms associated with cannabis withdrawal. Several pharmacological agents have been explored in controlled trials. These trials were often underpowered, and positive findings weren’t consistently replicated. As of now, there are no medications specifically approved for alleviating cannabis withdrawal symptoms.

What Can I Do To Manage Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms?

You can also follow self-help strategies to manage cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Here are some ways to cope with cannabis withdrawal: Exercise every day: Perform at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. It provides a natural mood boost and can help remove toxins as you sweat. Gradual Reduction: Consider tapering cannabis use gradually instead of quitting abruptly. Gradual reduction can ease the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated. Eating nutritious foods and staying hydrated can support overall health and help alleviate some physical discomfort. Avoid processed foods, which can make you feel sluggish<> and irritable. Establish a Routine: Create a daily routine for regular sleep patterns and productive activities to provide structure and distract from withdrawal symptoms.

Can Psychiatric Therapies Help With Cannabis Withdrawal?

CBT, CM, and MET are psychiatric therapies that may help with cannabis withdrawal. These therapeutic approaches can effectively manage withdrawal symptoms. The choice of therapy can be tailored to your needs and preferences. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): It helps you recognize triggers, develop coping skills, and manage cravings. Contingency management (CM): CM involves rewarding positive behaviors such as abstinence from cannabis. It uses incentives to encourage and reinforce abstinence and adherence to treatment plans. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET): MET focuses on strengthening your motivation and commitment to change. It helps explore and resolve ambivalence about quitting cannabis and fosters a strong internal motivation for change.


While the symptoms of cannabis withdrawal may not be as severe, it’s good to handle it with a positive approach. You can use therapy and self-care to handle the side effects of quitting weed.


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