First of all, we can say that prolonged use of cannabis or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can cause a dependency whose withdrawal syndrome will appear when its use is interrupted. This syndrome affects the brain system in conjunction with the amotivational syndrome, typical of continuous abuse or high doses of cannabis. Next, we will analyze what marijuana withdrawal syndrome is like and 5 of its main symptoms.
However, the withdrawal syndrome manifests itself with a series of symptoms that are different depending on the frequency and intensity with which the person consumed the weed. The symptoms that appear can be physical, emotional, and psychological. Marijuana is a drug that causes alterations in the brain. That is why when consumption is stopped, a physiological response is created that is known as withdrawal syndrome.
This response will vary in intensity depending on the person’s level of dependency and will present itself through physical and psychological withdrawal syndromes. Not everyone who stops using marijuana will have to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, its symptoms are much more likely to appear the longer this drug has been smoked. If we compare it with other substances such as alcohol or cocaine, the severity of the symptoms of cannabis is not great. In the same way, the intensity of these will be different between people. Someone with a very low dependence on marijuana may have no symptoms or they may be so mild that they can manage them on their own.
It is good to know what symptoms users experience when they suffer withdrawal syndrome which is why we are going to give you a guide so that you can distinguish the main symptoms.
Headache: Headache can last for 1 or 2 weeks, manifesting itself as a symptom of cannabis withdrawal. Headaches start 3-4 days after stopping marijuana use.
Anxiety and depression: Some people can feel a great lack of motivation when they stop consuming ganja and even phases of sadness and paranoia. This can be combated with techniques such as meditation.
Flu symptoms: Some users feel chills and body sweating and even fever when they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Sleeping problems: Some users who stop using cannabis all at once present symptoms of insomnia and sleep disorders. Also, sweating in bed and extreme nightmares are present in these cases.
Irritability: At the beginning of withdrawal, one of the first symptoms that stands out is irritability or anger which can start in a mild way and then end with more intense effects of fury.
The situation of withdrawal syndrome
Recently, one of the published studies indicated that there is a universe of 47% of cannabis consumers who suffer from withdrawal syndrome, depending on the type of cannabinoids they have consumed. It is good to make it clear that many people are unaware of the phenomenon of withdrawal, therefore, they may suffer from this syndrome without knowing that they suffer from it, according to what the directors of this research postulate. This means that many people who may use cannabis for medicinal use ultimately end up in a loop of self-medication, dependence, and pot withdrawal.
However, the results of this study are not conclusive because it is a meta-analysis, that is, it includes many studies that are considered similar enough to draw strong conclusions despite including studies dating back to the mid-1990s, a time when cannabis was illegal in the US, had a different potency, and there was no choice or control over strains or cannabinoid compositions like there is now.
Other effects can also appear during withdrawal syndrome such as the “amotivational syndrome” which consists of the difficulty to feel pleasure beyond the consumption of marijuana. This affects memory and attention span as well as emotions and motivation in general. This feeling of general apathy will be greater the longer the weed consumption time has been. In addition, amotivational syndrome is associated with a series of symptoms that affect both emotions and executive functions.
Some symptoms of amotivational syndrome can be summarized as follows:
1- Difficulty making decisions.
2- Trouble setting goals.
3- Lack of motivation to do things.
4- Losing interest in work or school.
5- Not assigning importance to people or things. Showing passivity.
6- Difficulty finishing tasks.
7- Not paying attention to the consequences of the actions that are carried out. Showing indifference.
8- Lack of interest in what requires effort. Neglect towards oneself.
9- Problems with concentration and attention.
10- Lack of interest.
11- Not being aware of the state one is in. Inability to be introspective.
Management of withdrawal syndrome
Below, we present the main steps to better manage abstinence and also to prevent it.
1– Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages like sodas. The objective providing your with a good dose of water.
2- Eat healthy food: Take advantage of eating fruits and vegetables in large quantities. Lower your consumption of red meat and fried foods. Avoid junk food like French fries, hamburgers, pizzas, among others because they can make you feel sluggish and irritable.
3- Exercise: At least 30 minutes of exercise every day is necessary. Being physically active helps improve your mood and helps eliminate toxins as you sweat.
4- Create a circle of support: Between your family, friends, and people who know you and can give you a hand. A close circle of help is one of the main supports among cannabis users when they feel withdrawal symptoms.
Duration of withdrawal syndrome
The duration of the different phases of the withdrawal syndrome depend on each person which is why it is good to have a chronological reference in this regard. The worst effects are said to pass during the first two weeks after stopping regular weed use.
In this first week, you can visualize and experience symptoms such as physical and mental fatigue. People often get irritated and then anxiety attacks and trouble sleeping begins.
During this week, the withdrawal symptoms are at their peak. Here, people will start experiencing headaches and flu-like symptoms.
In this week, the person with these symptoms feels relief. This happens because the discomfort begins to disappear, although you must be careful because the symptoms can return.
Sure you won’t feel it at first, but the cannabinoid receptors in your brain will be relieved.
Physical effects of withdrawal syndrome
When we talk about the physical symptoms of marijuana withdrawal, it should be clear that they are less intense and peak earlier and disappear more quickly than the psychological symptoms associated with quitting smoking. Also, these effects will depend on the amount of marijuana that was consumed before quitting.
– Stomach ache
– Changes in appetite
– Weight loss or gain
– Flu-like symptoms such as headache, sweating, shaking, fever, and chills
Psychosis effect of withdrawal symptoms
A 2017 study says long-term marijuana use can produce “mild to moderate” withdrawal symptoms which affect a person’s mood and behavior. Also, In the worst case, outpatient medical care may be needed, but that’s about it. Furthermore, there is no evidence to confirm that cannabis causes such mental disorders. In reality, the only time someone might need hospital care due to marijuana use or withdrawal would be if that person had a pre-existing mental disorder. Even then, in some cases, comprehensive outpatient care would suffice.
For cannabis withdrawal to go away completely, you will need to refrain from using marijuana and virtually any other stimulant substance. So, for example, if you replace cannabis use with tobacco and alcohol, it is very likely that your situation will worsen and you will probably end up using marijuana at the same rate as before.
You already know everything you need to know about abstinence. In case you need extra help, do not hesitate to consult a specialist who will guide you in your abstinence process. Remember that it is always good to use cannabis and any type of substance responsibly. Therefore, if you have problems with withdrawal or abuse of consumption, it is better that you change your habits.