We’ve established that consuming a lethal dose of weed is highly unlikely, but an abrupt stop of marijuana use doesn’t come without some unsavoury side effects, namely, weed withdrawal.
You’re likely thinking to yourself, weed withdrawal? What could that possibly mean? Is going cold turkey a bad idea?
Every stoner knows that taking a T-break (tolerance break) or detox every once in a while is a commonly used method for lowering their tolerance. However, what you might not know is that, during this time, you will likely experience some weed withdrawal symptoms.
While not life-threatening, they can be uncomfortable and last for a few days. But don’t worry! While it may temporarily suck, we are here to help you through it.
If you’ve ever been curious about what happens when frequent stoners stop toking and what might happen, wonder no more!
Today, we’re talking about weed withdrawal, signs to look out for and how to make the process easier.
Booboo, we’ve got you. So, let’s get started!
Is Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome Real?
While you may think that withdrawal symptoms are reserved for stronger substances, Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome (CWS) is very real.
It doesn’t necessarily require the same dedication of resources or treatment that withdrawal from other harder drugs, like cocaine or heroin, would in terms of rehab etc. But pot smokers should take it seriously nonetheless.
Let’s break down how and why CWS happens in the first place.
As you likely already know, the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, is a psychoactive substance. It produces its effects by entering your body’s endocannabinoid system and binding to the CB1 receptors in your brain.
If you ingest THC frequently enough – like if you smoke weed everyday – it will prompt a reduction in these receptors. In other words, the more weed you smoke or cannabis concentrates and edibles you consume, the less intense the effects will be over time.
This desensitization means that you’ll have to take more and more THC to produce the same results. This fact is the reason why many tokers are inspired to take tolerance breaks to allow time for these receptors to build back up again.
That said, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the break-time necessary for your cannabinoid receptors to return to normal. In some cases, reversing desensitization begins in as little as two days.
Most commonly, two weeks to a month of going cold turkey should do the trick.
Despite not being formally recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, one study outlines the following criteria for diagnosing Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome:
- A sudden stop in heavy and prolonged substance use (in this case, weed)
- After ceasing use, the user experiences 3 or more of the 7 physical withdrawal symptoms.
- The withdrawal symptoms directly impact social, occupational, or other areas of the user’s overall ability to function.
- The identified symptoms are not due to pre-existing medical conditions or mental disorders.
To be more specific, the 7 physical withdrawal symptoms discussed above are:
- Decreased appetite/weight loss
- Physical discomfort (i.e. nausea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, sweating, chills and tremors)
We will outline these symptoms in greater detail below.
There has been a noticeable increase in the number of cannabis use disorder cases in recent years, but not only because it has gained further recognition as a legitimate condition. The increased number of more potent cannabis products on the market, such as cannabis concentrates, also plays a substantial role.
Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms – What are They?
If you’ve quit weed cold turkey after prolonged use, you’ll likely experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms within the first 24 hours of stopping. Nearly half of cannabis users will develop CWS.
Unsurprisingly, these symptoms are more pronounced with chronic users and those who develop a dependence on using marijuana.
Below are some of the most common cannabis withdrawal symptoms.
Note that the symptoms of weed withdrawal will vary among individual users along with their severity.
One of the most common symptoms of weed withdrawal is difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Some users have reported an increase in vivid dreams, along with night sweats, nightmares, chills, and other factors that affect overall sleep quality.
While marijuana is used widely in the medical community to treat symptoms of anxiety, going cold turkey can intensify and aggravate this mental health disorder, leading to restlessness.
In rare cases, it can cause paranoia, hallucinations, and even delusions.
Increased Marijuana Craving
Many tokers will say that it’s impossible to get a weed addiction.
However, we all likely have that one friend who relies a little too heavily on their dope that we’re curious what would happen if they quit altogether.
During weed withdrawal, it’s common for users to experience an increased desire to use it, which sometimes makes quitting it outright even more difficult.
Mood swings are very common for people who stop using weed cold turkey, and annoyance can quickly turn into anger or aggression, depending on the individual user’s particular temperament.
Those with pre-existing depression disorders are at increased risk of experiencing symptoms of depression after they quit smoking weed.
However, even those with no signs of previous conditions may also experience symptoms after stopping use.
Decreased Appetite/Weight Loss
For those who use marijuana to overcome nausea or side effects of other medications that decrease appetite, quitting weed can lead to appetite and weight loss changes.
This symptom can present in either gaining weight or losing appetite.
Aches and mild pains are possible during weed withdrawal, along with flu-like symptoms such as an increase in sweating, fevers, shakes, and tremors, and ataxia.
Ataxia is a condition that typically presents as slurred speech, lack of coordination or disorientation for those who may not know.
Some users may be more likely to experience these symptoms in a more intense way, including younger users, those with pre-existing mental health disorders, and tobacco smokers.
Women are also more sensitive to CWS and are more likely to experience mood changes and nausea after stopping marijuana use.
How Long do Weed Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Luckily, weed withdrawal symptoms don’t typically last that long and should peak in just a couple of days.
Of course, as we said, the severity of these symptoms will differ based on the individual user, including factors such as frequency of use, weight, and gender, genetics, and age.
The weed withdrawal symptoms should disappear after a week or two of abstinence but may be present for up to a month for more frequent marijuana users.
What Helps With Weed Withdrawal?
Currently, there’s no real medical treatment for weed withdrawal. However, don’t freak out just yet!
As seasoned tokers ourselves, we have developed a list of helpful advice to help you through this rocky experience and come out better for it on the other side.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Establishing a healthy diet is one of the best ways to regain control and fuel your body with vital vitamins and nutrients. In other words, replace your green with other greens, like fresh veggies!
But don’t forget to include other healthy treats like fresh fruit and lean proteins. We would advise avoiding junk food as much as possible. We know. It’s easy and delicious, but it won’t help the physical symptoms, like irritability and sluggishness in the slightest.
Since childhood, it’s been instilled in us that eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise is the key to a long and healthy life. Even though it may make us sound like a broken record to repeat it, it’s true!
Squeezing in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day is one of the best methods for naturally-producing endorphins, boosting your mood and helping remove toxins as you sweat.
While treating weed withdrawal with weed may seem counterproductive, hear us out. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. In other words, it won’t get you high.
Nausea and appetite loss are common symptoms, as well, so finding a quick, tasty and efficient method of ingesting CBD is a must. If you’re looking for ideas, we would highly recommend 300mg CBD Variety Pack Gummies from Sugar Jack’s.
Created with all-natural ingredients, including cane sugar and Manuka honey, and infused with premium CBD extract, each gummy is precisely dosed and offers users a discreet and convenient way to medicate.
Weed Withdrawal – It’s Only Temporary
There’s no way to sugarcoat that going through the trials and tribulations of weed withdrawal is a far from fun experience. However, sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
Whether you’re doing so to get your tolerance level back to a more suitable place or taking a step to reflect on your weed habits as a whole, while it may suck, there are methods to soften the blow of the various weed withdrawal symptoms.
We hope this guide provides some helpful tips to make the process easier for you. If you know someone currently experiencing weed withdrawal or planning to take a tolerance break or quit cold turkey, be sure to send them this article to spread the wealth and knowledge.
After all, knowledge is power, and it’s always good to lend a helping hand.
Good luck and happy healing!