Weed Withdrawal Symptoms Explained

Quitting cannabis, also known informally as ‘weed’, is a significant step towards reclaiming your health and well-being, but it isn’t without its challenges.

The transition from the pleasant effects of recreational cannabis use to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can be very daunting. You may experience a spectrum of symptoms, from mood swings to sleep disturbances, that can test your resolve.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms are a normal part of the quitting process, and understanding them is the first step towards managing them effectively. Here we’ll explore why these symptoms occur and how you can navigate them, setting the stage for a successful recovery.

Reach out to Smarmore Castle today and let us help you navigate through these symptoms. Together, we’ll explore why they occur and develop strategies to overcome them. Your journey towards recovery starts with a single step, and we’re here to walk that path with you. You are not alone – reach out and take the first step towards a brighter, healthier future.

Key Takeaways

  1. Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, depression, anorexia, and insomnia.
  2. Symptoms typically start within 24-72 hours of quitting and peak at a week.
  3. Factors like frequency of use and physical health impact the duration of withdrawal.
  4. To ease symptoms, doctors recommend a balanced diet, physical activity, and emotional support.
  5. Struggling with cannabis dependence may require specialist treatment.

Why Do People Experience Withdrawal Symptoms from Cannabis?

Like any detoxification, marijuana detox requires your body to readjust to the absence of a substance it has grown used to. In the case of cannabis, that substance is the psychoactive compound THS.

When you regularly use cannabis, your body becomes accustomed to the presence of THC. This adaptation leads to both physical and psychological dependence. Once you decide to reduce or cease consumption, your body must readjust to functioning without THC, triggering withdrawal symptoms. This is sometimes referred to as Cannabis withdrawal syndrome.

In recent years, there has been an increase in THC potency in cannabis products due to changes in cultivation techniques and a growing demand for stronger weed. This has made the withdrawal symptoms after quitting the drug more intense for some users.

Your body’s physical dependence on the substance can lead to a variety of withdrawal symptoms, while psychological dependence can cause persistent psychological cravings long after the physical symptoms have subsided. This dual challenge is at the heart of what makes quitting weed difficult for many.

Understanding how cannabis abuse causes withdrawal symptoms is the first step in preparing for and managing the quitting process. Recognising the role of both physical and psychological dependence in these symptoms can help you approach your journey with the right mindset and support, making the transition smoother and more manageable.

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What Are The Common Symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal?

If you’ve decided to quit cannabis after a prolonged period of use, you’re likely to face a range of withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, and depression. These can be particularly tough, as they impact your mood and can make everyday tasks feel more challenging. You may also experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like insomnia and disturbing dreams, which affect your sleep patterns and overall well-being.

Physical symptoms, although not life-threatening, can be uncomfortable. Significant loss of appetite, is a common physical symptom that can lead to weight loss and decreased nutrition. Stomach pain is also a recurring symptom of cannabis withdrawal syndrome.

If you have a pre-existing mental health condition and/or struggle with a severe cannabis use disorder, withdrawal symptoms and cravings may be more challenging, which can make it difficult to quit. In some cases, inpatient treatment may be recommended.

It’s essential to approach this period with compassion for yourself and an understanding that cannabis withdrawal is a real and challenging experience. Knowing what to expect can prepare you to cope with these symptoms more effectively. Seeking support from professionals or support groups can make a significant difference in managing these symptoms.

How Long Do Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Generally, symptoms kick in within 24-72 hours, peaking about a week later. Most tend to ease off over the next two weeks, though insomnia and strange dreams can linger longer.

This prolonged phase, often referred to as cannabis withdrawal syndrome, marks the beginning of your body’s adjustment to the absence of THC.

Cannabis cravings, which are often a tell-tale sign of a substance use disorder, can last for many weeks after your last use.

This might sound overwhelming, but remember that you are not alone in this experience. Support programmes, including our treatment plans here at Smarmore Castle, are available to help you manage withdrawal effectively.

What Factors Impact the Length of Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms?

The length of marijuana withdrawal depends on various personal factors, including frequency of use, overall health, and individual metabolism. Long-term or heavy users often face a more prolonged withdrawal period compared to those who indulge occasionally. Individual body chemistry also comes into play, influencing how your system processes and eliminates the substance.

Your mental health also affects your experience of marijuana withdrawal. Existing mental health issues may exacerbate withdrawal symptoms, making the journey more challenging. Similarly, substance use disorders, when present alongside weed dependency, can complicate and lengthen the withdrawal process. Age, weight, and even hydration levels can also impact the duration and intensity of cannabis withdrawal symptoms.

The path to overcoming marijuana withdrawal is deeply personal, and it is a good idea to seek out professional guidance tailored to your unique situation. Remember, you’re not alone in this, and support is available to help you navigate through the challenges of withdrawal.

What Measures Can You Take to Reduce Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms?

Research suggests that there are ways to mitigate cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Adopting a balanced diet and drinking enough water is key to reducing the physical effects. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps combat decreased appetite and supports your body in managing abdominal pain, a common discomfort during this period. Staying hydrated not only alleviates some withdrawal discomfort but also supports overall well-being.

Keep active with regular physical activity, such as walking, yoga, or light exercises. This can help soothe psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression. It will also promote better sleep patterns, addressing sleep problems, which are one of the more persistent withdrawal symptoms. Try establishing a consistent bedtime routine and avoiding caffeine closer to bedtime to improve your sleep quality.

Seeking emotional support from friends, family, or a therapist is also essential during this time. Your network can offer the encouragement and understanding needed to keep you motivated during your withdrawal. Such support can significantly lessen the psychological symptoms, providing a sense of companionship and understanding that’s invaluable during your journey towards recovery.

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Professional Help for Cannabis Withdrawal and Cravings

Professional help for weed withdrawal symptoms may make your journey to recovery a lot easier and more effective. Addiction therapists can offer personalised support and strategies tailored to your needs. When you’re struggling with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, or insomnia, consulting addiction specialists provides a solid foundation for long-term abstinence. They can assess your specific situation and guide you towards the most effective treatment options.

Therapy sessions can help you understand the underlying issues fuelling your weed use. They provide a safe space to explore personal triggers and develop coping strategies for managing cravings. At Smarmore Castle, our therapeutic sessions are offered on an inpatient basis, away from any triggers or stressors of the home environment.

Aftercare planning is another crucial aspect of our treatment at Smarmore. It focuses on helping you to maintain sobriety long-term and reinforcing the positive coping mechanisms you’ve acquired in treatment. This ongoing support is vital for preventing relapse and ensuring that you have the resources and strategies to manage cravings effectively, even after the initial withdrawal period has passed.

We also offer support groups which connect you with people who are navigating similar challenges. This sense of community encourages understanding and encouragement. You’re surrounded by others who genuinely understand what you’re going through, reminding you that you are not alone and that recovery is possible.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.15743
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08897077.2015.1023484
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987131/

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