Marijuana withdrawal was once believed to be a myth. This is because the symptoms are not as severe as other drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Today, it is widely accepted that marijuana withdrawal is real.
Withdrawal forms as a result of dependence on marijuana and its abuse. Marijuana withdrawal (weed or pot withdrawal) has been found to include mild psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when compared to other drugs.
These symptoms are more pronounced in heavy smokers. It is believed that withdrawal symptoms set in between 2- 14 days after the last exposure to the drug. However, the symptoms are most unbearable 3 days into abstinence.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
Marijuana withdrawal varies across individuals, but its typical symptoms include:
- Anger, hostility, irritability
- Anxiety, restiveness, nerviness, paranoia
- Reduced appetite, weight loss
Withdrawing From Marijuana Use
There are 4 major ways to withdraw from Marijuana:
- Weaning yourself off the drug
This is only for mild users. If you are an acute user, it would take more professional intervention. When weaning off marijuana, give yourself a few weeks to a month. As the D-day approaches, start reducing your consumption progressively until you stop abruptly. It may not be as easy, and if you can’t, resort to the succeeding ways.
- Seek advice from a professional
This is usually the best way to curb any form of addiction. A professional can advise you on how to stop it yourself or refer you to a detox facility. Their role is to identify the underlying cause of your addiction and treat it psychologically. It could be an addiction psychologist, counsellor or an intervention specialist.
Most addiction counsellors treat patients following a detox program, in order to help them start life in sobriety. By discovering the root cause of their addiction, the counsellors help them heal psychologically.
- See an Addiction Psychiatrist
An addiction counsellor will most likely introduce you to an addiction psychiatrist- a medical doctor specializing in drug-related physical and mental ailments. The next step is a detox program that lasts for 30 to 60 days- or more. During this period, you will be weaned off marijuana. The advantage of detoxing in a controlled environment is the presence of medical supervision. Health risks are reduced and the doctor can alleviate discomfort using special medication.
- Seek help from support groups
This is mainly as a complementary after-care practice. After detoxing, a recovering patient must be in contact with support groups to stay strong and motivated. Temptations occur every day, and discussing your issues regularly with support groups gives you the strength to forge on.
Addiction often leaves you vulnerable and the sight of certain objects can trigger a craving. Here are additional things to do to prevent a relapse.
- Get rid of all marijuana paraphernalia– weed stash, secret sash, bongs, lighters- don’t just toss them in the bin, burn them all!
- Beware of your group of friends– If they are also users, don’t stay with them when they light up. Make new friends with non-smokers.
- Avoid staying alone for long periods– if your cravings become unbearable, visit your addiction counsellor immediately.