Health Care

Marijuana Withdrawal, Symptoms and How Long it Takes12 min read

Marijuana Withdrawal
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Everyone has a way to escape the sufferings, troubles and hardships of this life; however, not every way can be good for both the individual and his life.

For instance, on one hand, there is the positive: there are people who escape through art; that is a great way!

On the other hand, there is the negative: there are other people who escape through things which most likely harm rather heal them such as drinking Alcohol and smoking weed (Marijuana).

In our article, we are going to talk about Marijuana Withdrawal, its symptoms, how long it stays in one’s system and its pros and cons.

What is Marijuana Withdrawal?

Cannabis withdrawal syndrome may occur when someone who has used marijuana heavily for a protracted period of time; then stops using it out of sudden.

The symptoms typically appear within a week of cessation and include a range of unpleasant effects.

Withdrawal symptoms develop as a consequence of physical dependence on the drug.

Plus, when someone uses marijuana systematically for an extended time, the body adapts to the presence of the substance and may become senseless to certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which contain its own naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid).

What are the Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal?

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety and depression

Weed has the reputation of being a largely harmless and non-addictive drug for some users who do not even consider marijuana as a real drug. In fact, the potency of the marijuana on the market today is much stronger than the potency of the weed of decades past.

However, the anxiety and depression, which many newly quit cannabis users experience is due simply to the physical withdrawal process; it is more of a biological thing with which the body must struggle since it is a natural process.

Therefore, you may feel more anxious in social situations and develop some sort of generalized anxiety.

This is the exact opposite of how relaxed you felt while using the drug; as a result, your brain is trying to compensate for the chemicals it received while you used marijuana.

  • Mood appetite changes and Cramps

Marijuana helped improve your appetite that you might not feel hungry at all after using the drug.

Consequently, newly quit people might actually feel hungrier, yet still, it totally depends on the case.

Moreover, there are some people who notice stomach cramps and experience digestion problems, and others may feel achy.

  • Cravings

At some point in time, most people will go through a craving to use marijuana again.

This is because you stimulated your brain’s pleasure center and kept providing it with chemicals which make you feel good.

Therefore, the body wants to be fixed, revived and refreshed and since it knows that marijuana gives you the pleasure you want, so you will most likely be craving the drug.

  • Depersonalization

You may feel like you are not the same person or it seems you are going crazy.

It usually happens as a result of intense anxiety.

Plus, you may feel like you have never experienced such a thing ever before; that is due to your brain chemistry which has been left in an out-of-order state.

You might act oddly, differently and even weirdly; however, that is because of the lack which your mind is trying to fulfill any other way, yet finding it very hard.

  • Headaches and dizziness

Marijuana Withdrawal

Since your brain depends on something in order to gain focus and attention, then it is more likely to feel lost, ached and dizzy!

It got accustomed to taking marijuana in order to fulfill the need to be alert and concentrated.

  • Insomnia

Not being able to sleep at night is a big problem which one needs to tackle with.

It is possible that learning some relaxation techniques or getting more exercises during the day would be of great help to exhaust oneself in order to sleep at night.

  • Irritability

You might feel great anger or deep frustration with dealing with the world when coming off of the drug.

There are little things which might make us go crazy and mad, but these will eventually pass with enough time.

  • Mood swings

Some people experience extreme changes in mood when trying to quit this drug.

You may feel okay one minute and then raging mad or being depressed the next.

You would be tangling with shaky feelings; for instance, you might feel some emotions of the past or feel other emotions out of future expectations!

  • Nausea

Feeling nauseated, especially before, during, or after eating is common.

You can cope with it through 2 options

  • Ginger is one of the most commonly mentioned natural nausea remedies, and it is pretty multilateral, too.

  • Aromatherapy is another viable nausea relief option.

If interested in aromatherapy, sprinkling chamomile, aniseed and sweet fennel on a handkerchief and on your pillow is a very good way to make sure that your remedy is nearby whenever you need it.

  • Sleep disturbances and sweating

You may experience crazy vivid dreams- maybe good or only bad, or they would have disrupted sleep where you wake up in the middle of the night. Some people end up sweating heavily more than they normally would during withdrawal either at day or night, or even both.

How long does it stay in the system?

How long does it stay in the system

It is well-known that marijuana stays in your system along with cannabinoid metabolites for between 4 to 21 days after your final ingestion.

However, there are some who speculate that once the THC and cannabinoids are fully secreted, discontinuation symptoms become more prominent.

Still, there are others who maintain that the more cannabis you consume, the longer it will take to leave your system.

Therefore, fortunately, those who smoke the occasional joint or only partake in the herb at a rare event do not have much to worry about.

Drug Court research from 2005 suggests that most cannabis consumers will pass a urine test in about 10 days.

Heavy consumers may take up to 21 days.

however, the authors say, “Recent scientific literature indicates that it is uncommon for occasional marijuana smokers to test positive for cannabinoids in urine for longer than seven days using standard cutoff concentrations.Following smoking cessation, chronic smokers would not be expected to remain positive for longer than 21 days, even when using the 20-ng/mL cannabinoid cutoff.”

Older studies claim that chronic consumers can test positive for cannabis in a urine test over two months after their last taste of the herb. One study in 1985-with similar results- found out that chronic consumers could test positive up to 77 days after leaving cannabis behind.

What are the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Withdrawal?

  • Physician Perspectives on Marijuana’s Medical Use

Pros

“There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country… Marijuana is a medicine that should be studied and treated like any other medicine.”–Sanjay Gupta, MD.

 

Cons

“[T]here really is no such thing as medical marijuana… The dangers and risks of marijuana use are well-known by the scientific community, even if they are downplayed by corporate interests wishing to get rich off of legalization. Apathy, lost productivity, addictive disease, deterioration in intellectual function, motor vehicle accidents, and psychosis are all among the negative outcomes. All from a product that has no demonstrated benefit. For nearly all conditions for which marijuana has purported benefits, we already have existing medications – safe medications – demonstrated to have value.”–Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA.

  • Medical Organizations’ Opinions on Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Pros

ACP urges review of marijuana’s status as a schedule I controlled substance and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions… ACP strongly supports exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning, such as loss of licensure or credentialing, for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, ACP strongly urges protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.”

Cons

The American Academy of Ophthalmology – the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – is reminding the public that it does not recommend marijuana or other cannabis products for the treatment of glaucoma. Based on analysis by the National Eye Institute and the Institute of Medicine, the Academy finds no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective long-term treatment for glaucoma, particularly when compared to the wide variety of prescription medication and surgical treatments available. Ophthalmologists also caution that marijuana has side effects which could further endanger the user’s eye health.”

  • US Government Officials’ Views on Medical Marijuana

Pros

“I’m on record saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be.”

Barack Obama, JD
44th President of the United States
WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution, CNN
Apr 20, 2015

Cons

“[T]here is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana…”

  • Health Risks of Smoked Marijuana

Pros

“[T]here is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk. Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana. I suspect that a day’s breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day’s dose — which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint — of marijuana.” –Lester Grinspoon, MD, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “Puffing Is the Best Medicine, Los Angeles Times May 5, 2006”.

Cons

According to NIDA, “Marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, is an irritant to the throat and lungs and can cause a heavy cough during use. It also contains toxic gases and particles that can damage the lungs. Marijuana smoking is associated with large airway inflammation, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation, and regular marijuana smokers report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than nonsmokers. Smoking marijuana may also reduce the respiratory system’s immune response, increasing the likelihood of the user acquiring respiratory infections, including pneumonia. One study found that frequent marijuana smokers used more sick days that other people often because of respiratory illnesses.”

  • Marijuana and Pain

How long does it stay in the system 2

Pros

“Further [r]esearch documents the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain. Cannabis has no known lethal dose, minimal drug interactions, is easily dosed via orally ingestion, vaporization, or topical absorption, thereby avoiding the potential risks associated with smoking completely… Natural cannabis contains 5-15% THC but also includes multiple other therapeutic cannabinoids, all working in concert to produce analgesia…”

Gregory T. Carter, MD
Co-director, MDA/ALS Center,
University of Washington Medical Center
“The Argument for Medical Marijuana for the Treatment of Chronic Pain,” Pain Medicine
May 2013erapeutic cannabinoids, all working in concert to produce analgesia…”

Cons

“There is no scientific evidence that the effect of marijuana in diminishing pain is related to any specifically identified analgesic effect. That it unequivocally does produce short-term CNS [central nervous system] euphoria, which alleviates some pain centrally, best explains its mechanism for both reducing pain short-term during the period of influence as well as causing the euphoria associated with addictive drugs of abuse. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence that long-term use of medicinal marijuana is either effective or safe for the treatment of chronic pain… [T]here are many analgesic medications available to patients and physicians that have been proven and established in the practice of medicine, through sound scientific clinical research, to be more effective and safer for the treatment of chronic pain than medical marijuana.”—Gregory Bunt, MD “Marijuana Is Not Good Medicine,” Pain Medicine, May 2013.

  • Addictiveness of Marijuana

Pros and Cons of Marijuana Withdrawal

Pros

“For some users, perhaps as many as 10 per cent, cannabis leads to psychological dependence, but there is scant evidence that it carries a risk of true addiction. Unlike cigarette smokers, most users do not take the drug on a daily basis, and usually abandon it in their twenties or thirties. Unlike for nicotine, alcohol and hard drugs, there is no clearly defined withdrawal syndrome, the hallmark of true addiction, when use is stopped.”

Colin Blakemore, PhD
Chair, Dept. of Physiology, University of Oxford (U.K.), and
Leslie Iversen, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford University
Editorial, The Times (U.K.)
Aug. 6, 2001

Cons

“the evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted (according to the criteria for dependence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition [DSM-IV]. The number goes up to about 1 in 6 among those who start using marijuana as teenagers and to 25 to 50% among those who smoke marijuana daily. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 2.7 million people 12 years of age and older met the DSM-IV criteria for dependence on marijuana… There is also recognition of a bona fide cannabis withdrawal syndrome (with symptoms that include irritability, sleeping difficulties, dysphoria, craving, and anxiety), which makes cessation difficult and contributes to relapse… early and regular marijuana use predicts an increased risk of marijuana addiction, which in turn predicts an increased risk of the use of other illicit drugs. As compared with persons who begin to use marijuana in adulthood, those who begin in adolescence are approximately 2 to 4 times as likely to have symptoms of cannabis dependence within the 2 years after first use.”

Nora D. Volkow, MD
Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health
“Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use,”
New England Journal of Medicine
June 5, 2014.

 

To conclude, as we mentioned earlier

“The People who become dependent on Marijuana are dependent on an escape, that makes the unreal seem beautiful, and the reality of life seem unnecessary!”― J.Chetty.

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