A lot of people seem to think marijuana is different from other drugs in that it can’t be addictive, and that may appear true, but under the right circumstances a person can become dependent on many seemingly innocent things; food, sex, a relationship. They may develop a compulsive attachment to marijuana allowing it to get in the way of the important things in their life. That’s really what addiction is. The inability, or unwillingness to cut back on marijuana use even if it is causing problems with school, a job, or relationships.
But breaking a dependence is only one reason a marijuana user may choose to quit the stuff. They may be trying to get pregnant, they are experiencing health consequences related to smoking, they want to regain their tolerance, they’re taking on a new job or competing in a sport that requires drug testing, or the cannabis just isn’t doing it for them any longer. All valid reasons and not one of them shameful.
Unlike other drugs, including alcohol, marijuana’s compounds are stored in fat cells and therefore takes longer to flush from the body than water-soluble drugs. The typical period for releasing all of the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids is somewhere between two weeks and one month. And if you experience some weight loss during the withdrawal period you can bet those chemicals will end up back in your bloodstream.
The main mental symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include the following:
- Trouble sleeping, leading to lack of energy during the day
- Low appetite
- Intense dreams
The lesser-experienced physical symptoms may come as any combination of these, and maybe not at all.
- Stomach pain
The lucky marijuana users—usually the infrequent ones—will not realize a single symptom, others will feel the irritability for a few days. One of the more profound symptoms is insomnia, so you may want to be prepared with alternative remedies and a solid plan for sleep hygiene that will increase your chances of falling asleep without the aid of marijuana. You may find that some vigorous exercise followed by a hot bath induces an even better night’s rest than Hindu Kush ever could.
Be prepared to be in a lousy mood for a little while—maybe warn the people who need to put up with you—but remember that this too will pass and you’ll be on the other side in no time. Good luck and don’t give up or you’ll just have to start the whole process over.