Is there such a thing as weed withdrawal?
As the budding marijuana industry in the United States pushes forward with its campaign to promote the health benefits of medical cannabis, they have painted a picture of marijuana as a safe drug with minimal side effects. As a result, many people are not aware that marijuana addiction and marijuana dependence can be a real problem.
This is not to say that cannabis users cannot benefit from cannabis use as recommended by health professionals, but we should also be aware of the dangers of this drug for some users. Cannabis dependence can occur for some cannabis users, leading to marijuana abuse and addiction.
Is there a cannabis withdrawal syndrome?
It is definitely possible to experience withdrawal from marijuana. Some cannabis withdrawal symptoms may include restlessness, anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Marijuana cravings are also possible.
While marijuana is not considered to be a highly addictive substance, like drugs such as crack cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, it still does have a significant addictive potential. Addiction is identified when a person continues use in spite of self-harm.
Have you ever known a person who had trouble quitting marijuana? After their significant other or close circle of friends have quit and moved on with their lives, they persist in buying bags of weed every week, smoking day after day.
Marijuana has detrimental effects on a person’s physical and mental health.
Heavy, regular use can lead to apathy, short-term memory loss, depression, and anxiety. If you notice that someone close who smokes marijuana is experiencing mood swings and mental health issues, it could be due to marijuana addiction. A cannabis use disorder is characterized by a person who obsesses over cannabis and has the compulsion to keep using cannabis persistently.
Fortunately, marijuana addiction treatment is often successful, because marijuana addiction tends not to be as difficult to treat as other substance use disorders. However, when a person quits, they will be confronted with marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
What does the marijuana withdrawal timeline look like?
Marijuana withdrawal is subtle, unlike the very well-defined, severe withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. A person who quits marijuana use, will initially experience some cravings and a low mood.
What are marijuana cravings like? Cravings are simply thoughts and plans that pop into the marijuana user’s head about how nice it would be to obtain more cannabis and use it. Intense emotions accompany these craving thoughts, with positive feelings associated with getting more pot and negative feelings going with thoughts of resisting the cravings.
Additionally, weed withdrawal insomnia will also set in, making the plan to quit smoking weed even more difficult. Laying awake in bed at night, the THC addict ponders the wisdom of quitting pot and wonders if they should just go buy more at the dispensary or local pot dealer.
Does marijuana withdrawal cause insomnia?
Fortunately, most dispensaries, and even street marijuana dealers tend to not sell cannabis around the clock. While heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine (and alcohol) dealers may keep their lucrative drug dealing enterprises open 24/7, it is often not as easy to score a baggie of weed in the middle of the night.
While not as bad as nicotine withdrawal, marijuana detox can be uncomfortable. Like any other ongoing substance abuse habit, the weed habit becomes deeply ingrained.
The user may question themselves over and over: “I don’t know why I stopped smoking weed.” They justify that it is a safe drug and no one should have a problem with it.
What is the best marijuana detox plan?
It is possible to check into rehab for a marijuana addiction. Many major rehab programs, such as American Addiction Centers provide addiction treatment for cannabis dependence.
A quality rehab program should provide psychological therapy and counseling for issues that may have led to the pot addiction. For example, childhood emotional trauma often leads to early cannabis use, which can lead to cannabis addiction.
Private drug rehab centers can provide treatment, such as withdrawal supplements and comfort medications. In addiction to medical THC detoxification and counseling, rehab also provides a safe space away from access to marijuana.
What does the American Psychiatric Association (APA) think about the benefits of quitting weed?
Not surprisingly, you will not get a recommendation from the APA on the best weed for insomnia and anxiety, or the best cannabis strain for depression. The APA is firmly against the use of cannabis as medicine.
The APA considers marijuana to be a cause of mental disorders, not a cure or treatment. According to their statements, marijuana use is drug abuse and a serious public health issue, not medical therapy.
Interestingly, the APA has issues a similar statement about psilocybin, which has been legalized in Oregon. Yet, the statement is somewhat different, because psilocybin is being treated differently, going through more official channels of medical research, with the intent of full FDA approval.
Is medical marijuana a good idea?
Marijuana has skipped federal legalization and FDA approval, yet states often require a doctor’s approval for a patient to indulge in “medical” marijuana. The issue of drug legalization or decriminalization is different from the push to have drugs approved for medical use.
States may legalize a drug in order to provide a safe supply to users, so they are not in danger of toxicities and contaminations that can be dangerous, or even deadly. Legal marijuana makes sense to protect users from fentanyl contamination or pesticide toxicity.
On the other hand, it does not really make sense to involve doctors in the dispensing of marijuana. Weed is not FDA approved, and there is no way to know how many milligrams of THC a person is smoking or ingesting.
What are synthetic cannabinoids?
One argument in favor of legal recreational marijuana use is the risk of exposure to dangerous synthetic cannabinoids. These designer drugs may interact with the same cannabinoid receptors in the human central nervous system, but they are not plant derived, and they may be highly toxic.
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal may be even worse with synthetic marijuana. Synthetic weed was once readily available in gas stations and convenience stores.
In order to protect themselves, manufacturers would label the packages with a warning: “Not for human consumption.” Though, this warning was clearly placed with a wink of the eye, with the full intention that purchasers would be consuming it as if it were real marijuana.
What is synthetic weed withdrawal like?
Withdrawal from marijuana synthetics may be similar to natural weed withdrawal, yet the withdrawal syndrome will likely be more intense, with more anxiety, depression, insomnia, and physical discomfort.
While there have always been many reasons to stop smoking weed, the existence of contaminants and synthetics make it even more imperative to stop smoking weed. Even natural marijuana buds sold by the local dealer in a ziplock bag may not be what it appears to be.
Plant material that looks like crumbled marijuana flowers, or buds, such as the spice, oregano, could be treated with synthetic analogs, such as fentanyl, carfentanil, or synthetic marijuana, such as K2 or spice. These drugs are sprayed on the plant material, which is then sold on the streets as marijuana.
Since street marijuana may contain the potent opioid, fentanyl, we must also include opioid withdrawal as a marijuana withdrawal symptom. What does it mean that the quitting weed side effects may include opiate withdrawal side effects?
Is marijuana an opiate?
Imagine that you quit marijuana and then get intense cramps, chills, aches, spasms, nausea, depression, and anxiety? If the withdrawal is from opioids sprayed on either real, or fake marijuana, how would you know how to overcome the withdrawal symptoms?
If you were to go to a hospital ER or inpatient detox for weed, they would do drug toxicology testing and determine that you have opioids in your system. However, many drug users will decide to self-treat, using more fentanyl-tainted weed as the detox for weed withdrawal.
Of course, the serious issue with fentanyl-tainted cannabis, or fentanyl-sprayed oregano, is that a marijuana smoker who is opioid naive may overdose. Marijuana proponents believe that marijuana overdose is impossible. However, when fentanyl enters the mix, cannabis overdose is a very real possibility.
Do you know how to stop smoking cannabis?
If you want to know how to stop smoking marijuana, the best place to start is by discussing the issue with your doctor. Your family doctor should be able to discuss the benefits of quitting smoking weed as well as helping you through the withdrawal from marijuana.
Even though cannabis withdrawal is typically mild, it can help to get guidance from your doctor and medical treatment if needed. When you are ready, and want to know how to quit smoking weed, your doctor can show you how to quit smoking weed and how to remain cannabis free.
If you are concerned about how to sleep after quitting weed, there is likely medical treatment available. There are a variety of sleep aids that are not addictive that your doctor may recommend for short-term use.
In addition to insomnia, the effects of quitting weed may also include anxiety, and possibly depression. Frequent cannabis users who want to stop smoking weed must learn how to address their anxiety without the use of cannabis.
Over time, withdrawal from marijuana subsides, and the cannabis user learns to live a cannabis-free lifestyle. They learn that there are many benefits of not smoking weed anymore.
How can private drug rehab centers and outpatient addiction treatment help?
Can a concierge addiction doctor who sees patients via telemedicine help you through the withdrawal from marijuana? Yes, a private doctor who specializes in treating drug addiction can certainly help.
If you are unable to discuss how to stop smoking weed with your family doctor, you may want to find a doctor who specializes or focuses on addiction treatment issues. Do not be concerned that the doctor will not know anything about how to detox from weed.
Addiction doctors are familiar with cannabis withdrawal symptom issues and how to address withdrawal from the drug. The benefit to seeing a doctor over telemedicine is that you can see the doctor from the comfort of your own home for detox.
Should I see a doctor about cannabis dependence?
While residential rehab may be beneficial in some cases, many people will be able to learn how to stop weed without checking into rehab. In many cases, stopping marijuana is simply a matter of recognizing that there is a problem.
While there are withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting weed, and there are addiction-related cravings, it is often possible to overcome marijuana withdrawal and cravings with support from a private doctor, and from friends in recovery.
Going to recovery meetings can certainly be helpful, in order to meet new friends and people who are dedicated to living a drug-free life. There are a variety of groups that provide regularly scheduled support meetings.
Are there cannabis support meetings?
For example, there is LifeRing, Smart Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. There is also Celebrate Recovery for people looking for a Christian recovery program.
Having medical support as well as peer support, counseling and therapy will give a marijuana-dependent person the best chance of recovery. Therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or drug counselor is helpful to discuss issues related to why the patient decided to start smoking pot in the first place.
How should we prepare for full legalization of marijuana?
While marijuana is now legal in many states and is readily accessible, we must remain vigilant, being aware that some people will become addicted to THC products. While cannabis may not be as addictive and dangerous as other drugs of abuse, it certainly has the potential for abuse.
At this point, it is unlikely that legal marijuana will go away anytime soon. While marijuana supporters continue to promote the drug as being safe, non-addictive, non-lethal, and not a gateway drug, we should be realistic about the fact that it is still a mind-altering substance.
Any intoxicating substance has the potential to be addictive and to be a gateway to other drugs. We must continue to educate the public on drug safety and we must be prepared to help people who do become addicted to cannabis and need help to overcome their addiction.