Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal
People who abuse marijuana chronically often become dependent on the drug. When this happens, they will exhibit certain symptoms which make up the withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal, like the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, are uncomfortable and can make someone relapse just to not feel them anymore. However, they are not life-threatening.
A person who is going through withdrawal from marijuana will be physically uncomfortable, unhappy, and constantly thinking about marijuana, “all of which can make it difficult to abstain” (NIDA). But knowing the symptoms ahead of time can help you prepare for marijuana withdrawal.
Physical Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal
Marijuana does cause both physical and psychological dependence which means that the symptoms of withdrawal cover both areas. The physical symptoms are uncomfortable but not usually as painful as other withdrawal syndromes.
The physical symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are:
- Having “trouble sleeping” or insomnia (NIH)
- “Muscle pain” (NCBI)
- Decrease in appetite
These are the most common symptoms. Many people feel uncomfortable, generally achy, and tired because of the lack of sleep. People can also lose weight if they are not careful as a result of the decrease in appetite.
Psychological Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal
Marijuana withdrawal is an unpleasant time, and a person’s mood and actions will reflect that. If you are dealing with marijuana withdrawal, be prepared to be unhappy and irritable for a few days. Make sure the people who are helping to care for you understand this and that you try to remember that you should not take things out on them during this time.
The psychological symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are:
- Mood swings
- Vivid dreams or nightmares
- Generally “be[ing] in a bad mood” (NIH)
Depression is an especially difficult symptom to deal with. Some people who go through the marijuana withdrawal syndrome do not realize how hard the depression might hit them. People who are dealing with this should be monitored and not left alone, just as a precaution. While marijuana withdrawal is not life-threatening the way alcohol withdrawal can be, it is still important to understand that it is a difficult and volatile time.
Marijuana withdrawal usually comes with cravings, as those who experience it are more often than not addicted as well as dependent on the drug. Cravings can be very intense and someone who is not prepared for them may not realize how much they will want to start smoking again.
While cravings can be very difficult to ignore, SAMHSA states that “the only way to interrupt cravings is to break the chain of responding to them.” This means that a person should try to focus on other things when marijuana cravings hit, something else distracting and positive will do. Because marijuana addicts experience intense cravings, they are usually part of the withdrawal process and even tend to linger afterward.
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are not easy to weather, but you can get through them, especially when you know what to expect. While you are going through this process, just remind yourself that many of the things you are feeling are products of your withdrawal and that your pain and discomfort will soon subside.