The withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana dependence are not life-threatening, but they can become extremely irritating. In many cases, these symptoms cause a relapse back to drug abuse because they are frustrating, painful, and lengthy. It is important to understand the marijuana withdrawal symptoms you could experience before you begin your detox process.
Irritability or grouchiness is likely to be experienced by those going through marijuana withdrawal for many reasons. It often persists for the entire withdrawal syndrome as well, which can sometimes “last from 1 to 3 weeks, although significant individual differences occur in withdrawal expression” (NCBI). This can be very difficult on those caring for the individual, especially if they are friends and family members and not professional clinicians.
“Decreased quality and quantity of sleep” is one of the most difficult and frustrating withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping marijuana abuse (NCBI). Because of this issue, irritability can become more intense, and the entire syndrome itself is much more difficult on the individual. According to the NIDA, “Because sleep problems feature prominently in marijuana withdrawal, some studies are examining the effectiveness of medications that aid in sleep.” Ambien, BuSpar, Horizant, and Neurontin have all been studied as potential medications to treat this particular symptom.
Anxiety can also be an intense result of this withdrawal syndrome. Many individuals feel they should be using the drug which causes them to feel anxious. In addition, marijuana has a calming effect which these individuals are no longer receiving. This can also cause feelings of nervousness and discomfort to occur.
A decrease in appetite can be a problem as well. This occurs because marijuana often causes appetite increase, and individuals who stop smoking will not want to eat as much. It can be dangerous and lead to malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss which is why those going through withdrawal should be prompted to eat when necessary.
Craving for Marijuana
The drug also causes cravings which can be fairly intense. Certain users are not able to fight these and may start smoking again, something that is common with other drug addiction syndromes. This intense need for the drug and being unable to get it will also be a cause of the individual’s irritability.
Depression is common with any withdrawal syndrome. Those who stop abusing marijuana will seem listless and feel that nothing excites or interests them. It can be hard for them to engage in activities at this point because they will be fatigued and irritated from the other symptoms. If the depression worsens to the point of suicidal thoughts, the individual must be treated professionally.
The common marijuana withdrawal symptoms are all listed above and often make it extremely difficult for individuals to continue abstaining from the drug. Opioid withdrawal usually only lasts a week or so while marijuana symptoms can last much longer. It may be necessary for an individual to check into a detox clinic; some medications can be given to minimize withdrawal symptoms and patients often benefit from the help of professional clinicians who know how best to treat these symptoms.