Who Experiences Withdrawal from Marijuana?
Those who experience withdrawal from marijuana are those who become dependent on the drug. Like most other drugs, use of marijuana over time can cause dependence, as well as many other problems.
What is Marijuana Dependence?
Individuals who become dependent on the drug experience withdrawal from marijuana. The NIDA defines dependence as “a state in which an organism functions normally only in the presence of a drug.” This issue is “manifested as a physical [and psychological] disturbance when the drug is removed,” called withdrawal. Someone who becomes dependent on marijuana will:
- Only feel normal after smoking marijuana
- Need to smoke marijuana every day or very often
- Feel like they need marijuana to get them through the day or a very difficult problem, meeting, work situation, etc.
- Need to smoke in order to get out of bed in the morning or to fall asleep at night
- Smoke marijuana just to avoid uncomfortable physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms
Those who have become dependent on the drug are the ones who will experience marijuana withdrawal.
Who Experiences Marijuana Withdrawal?
There are two main factors for those individuals who become addicted to and dependent on marijuana and therefore experience withdrawal symptoms. They are, according to the NLM:
- “If they use marijuana every day”
- If “they began using it when they were teenagers”
These are the two strongest factors that perpetuate marijuana dependence. Chronic users abuse the drug every day or nearly as often. As a result, more changes are made to the way their brains work, and dependence on the drug can set in, causing withdrawal. The NCPIC states that “if someone uses marijuana everyday, then they have a 50/50 chance of becoming dependent.” Any kind of heavy, long term use of a drug can end in dependence.
Young people who abuse marijuana are also more likely to become dependent on it. Those who start smoking marijuana at a young age have a higher risk of becoming addicted and dependent than those who start later in life, about 17 percent to the average 9 percent (NIDA). When the drug is “used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent.” This is why younger people are so at risk when they begin smoking marijuana.
Will I Experience Marijuana Dependence/Withdrawal?
Consider the following to know whether or not you are at risk for experiencing marijuana dependence and withdrawal. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I smoke marijuana every day?
- Do I spend time only with those who also smoke marijuana?
- Am I a teenager, or did I start smoking heavily when I was a teenager?
- Do I feel like I am more myself when I am smoking marijuana?
- Have I been smoking marijuana regularly for a long time (several months or years)?
- Do I ever become upset, angry, or nervous if I believe I won’t be able to smoke when I want to?
- Have I ever considered quitting marijuana but found it too difficult?
If you answer yes the above questions, it is likely that you are already dependent, and possible addicted, to marijuana. If you suddenly stop smoking, you will experience withdrawal symptoms from the drug.