Many people who abuse marijuana don’t believe that it is addictive. While the occurrence of marijuana addiction is less frequent and severe than that of other addictions, many people who abuse marijuana long-term will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking. How long withdrawals last and what the marijuana withdrawal timeline looks like varies greatly from one person to the next depending on how much they smoke, how often, and for how long.
Even though detox is a natural process that the body must go through to adjust to living without THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – detox isn’t always easy. Whether you’re looking to quit smoking weed cold-turkey or you’d like to try a tapering method, an Indiana drug detox center can help you get started on your recovery.
Marijuana Dependence and Addiction
Marijuana (cannabis) is the most widely used substance in the United States. While the drug is considered less dangerous than other substances like opioids and benzodiazepines because it won’t cause an overdose, heavy weed smokers may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the substance.
In a study conducted by Duke University, they found that 95.5% of adult marijuana smokers experienced at least one withdrawal symptom upon discontinuation. 43.1% of participants experienced more than one symptom.
Some factors that determine how intense someone’s withdrawal symptoms will be and how long their marijuana withdrawal timeline will last include:
- How often the person smokes weed
- How much weed the person smokes on a regular basis
- The length of time the person has been using weed
- The potency of the weed they smoke
- The person’s individual metabolism and body chemistry
- How old the person was when they started smoking marijuana (people who begin smoking marijuana in adolescence may be more likely to become addicted)
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of weed withdrawal are not life-threatening and can usually be managed at home or through an outpatient program. Symptoms may include:
- Chills and/or cold sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Clammy skin
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feelings of general malaise
Even though marijuana withdrawal syndrome is typically not harmful, it can be difficult to cope with if a person does not have the right tools and support. Perhaps the most dangerous symptom of marijuana detox is potential dehydration from sweating and not eating. This symptom can easily be combatted by drinking plenty of water.
Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline
THC is stored in fat cells. As a result, it takes quite a bit of time for built-up THC to leave the body. Being such a long-lasting substance, withdrawal can last quite a long time, as well.
Here is a general timeline of what can be expected during marijuana withdrawal.
- Day 1: Most people will begin experiencing symptoms of anxiety, irritability, and difficulty sleeping on the first day upon stopping their marijuana use.
- Days 2-3: Symptoms such as drug cravings, sweating, chills, and restlessness may set in during days 2 and 3. These symptoms may last for 5-7 days. During this time, cannabinoid receptors in the brain will begin to re-set themselves.
- Days 3-7: The previously-listed symptoms will continue. Some people may see an improvement in their symptoms. Depression may set in at this time.
- After 1 week: Symptoms should begin to improve after one week. Some people will feel completely better after 7 days while others will take up to a month to begin feeling normal again.
Marijuana Detox Options
People who find themselves addicted to marijuana with the desire to quit may choose to attend a drug detox program or try to manage their withdrawal symptoms at home. If someone decides to go to a detox program, they should be prepared to stay in the program for at least one week.
The two primary ways to detox from marijuana are by tapering slowly or detoxing cold-turkey.
The cold-turkey method refers to abruptly quitting marijuana use. Rather than gradually reducing their use, someone who detoxes cold-turkey will stop using their substance of choice all at once.
This method usually results in the worst withdrawal symptoms because the body has no time to adjust to having smaller amounts of the substance available. While the symptoms produced by this method can be quite severe, cold-turkey detox can shorten the marijuana withdrawal timeline.
The Tapering Method
Another way to detox from marijuana is to gradually reduce the amount consumed until the person is no longer dependent on the substance. Tapering can be difficult to do without the help of a medical professional or another person because the individual tapering must be able to control the amount of marijuana they use.
The only downside to tapering is that it may cause the withdrawal timeline to be extended. However, some people who taper won’t experience any symptoms at all – making this a highly attractive method to many weed smokers.
Find Treatment for Marijuana Dependence Today
If you are have been a daily weed smoker for some time now, you may find it more difficult than you thought to quit smoking. You may even find it impossible.
If you are ready to get sober, get healthy, and put down the drugs for good, give us a call. Our comprehensive treatment program can help you detox, get back on your feet, and return to society free of your addiction. Contact us today to learn more.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.