How To Ease Cannabis Withdrawal
Symptoms and Anxiety
You might come across a situation where you trying solemnly to get rid from cannabis forever. Without a doubt, one of the toughest problems we face today is the continuing existence of cannabis use. Hopefully, you already started the journey to become free from it. But there might some unpleasant physical effects stumbling blocks in the way of ending, called cannabis withdrawal symptom's.
New research shows that one of the biggest hurdles standing in the way of ending marijuana use is withdrawals. If you’ve tried to quit before, you know that how crucial is this to achieve recovery. But you may not know that the feelings that's why you relapsed previously, do not last forever.
"The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure."
― Stephen Richards
You might be benefited and can enrich your knowledge to maintain healthy weed free life. Our findings about researches, physical & mental symptoms -- forgetfulness, confusion, anxiety, depression... can make you understand better about how to overcome each and every one of them by using willpower along with sharp knowledge.
“Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with IN-SIGHT and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accolated along the way."
― Allan Rufus
However, you've come this far by faith...you can challenge with cannabis withdrawal symptoms to defeat them and remain weed free forever.
let's go for a magnificent view about what happening with you by cannabis withdrawal symptoms and ways that might helps you to beat them easily & perfectly.
A state in which a person functions normally only in the presence of a drug. There is tendency to increase the dose, both physical and psychic dependence present here. If you with drug dependence & stops taking that drug suddenly, you will experience predictable and measurable symptoms, collectively known as a withdrawal syndrome. Chronic dependency leads to addiction.
Detoxing means freeing of an object from toxic substances--accumulates within it following long term exposure. You can detoxify your home (by cleaning) and your body from harmful substances. After termination of further accumulation of toxins-- natural detox, healthy diets and life style modification can helps for detoxing your body completely.
Withdrawal symptoms are nothing but the effects of accumulated toxins in your body. Accumulation of drugs or toxins occurs usually within fat cells, brain, muscles, liver, bone etc. From the accumulated sites, they release slowly into blood to exert withdrawal effects. Finally they excrete to exterior from blood by several routes--urination, breathing, defecation and body secretions (sweating, salivation). Elemination time for a toxin or drug always calculate by its Half Life. Time required to decrease its concentration in the blood into half is called half life of that drugs.
In most cases, doctors will use a tapering dose method helps you to overcome withdrawal symptoms. This method involves reducing the amount and frequency of weed used over a period of time. Tapering of the marijuana allows your brain to slowly adjust to lower levels of THC, resulting in alleviation of withdrawal symptoms.
While some are trying to detox marijuana on their own usually by "Cold Turkey", doctors are able to prescribe medications that helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms. For example, drugs like Domperidon and/or Ondansetron can help with nausea and vomiting. Headaches can be treated with Paracetamol or Tolfenamic acid and muscle spasm can be treated with Tolperisone hydrochloride. It is better to consult with a doctor about how to treat the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal.
"NCPIC" Published cannabis withdrawal scale asks about symptoms experienced over the last 24 hours, and can be administered by an interviewer OR by self report.
The following statements describe how you have felt over the last 24 hours. Please circle the number that most closely represents your personal experiences for each statement. For each statement, please rate its negative impact on normal daily activities on the same scale (0 = Not at all to 10 = Extremely), writing the number in the right hand column.
Score by summing each items value to a maximum withdrawal score of 190 (you can derive two scores from the scale: one for withdrawal intensity and one for the negative impact of withdrawal – each separate score has a theoretical maximum of 190).
How Long Does Marijuana Take To Get Out Of Your Systems?
Due to presence of several factors it's become very hard to say that what exact time you needed to become THC free after quitting weed. But Armentano cites a study says that-
"THC can stay in your body up to 100 days afterward- depending on presence of it in urine, blood and hair."
Excretion time that means half life of a toxin (THC) depends on several factors. That's why time required for complete excretion or detoxification vary in person to person.
Excretion of THC varies at different ages. Human excretory organs--Liver & Kidneys doesn't able to work perfectly in extreme ages due to underdevelopment or ageing process. If you are young, you can excrete any toxins very quickly due to having full functioning excretory organs. It becomes easier for you to attain THC free body and overcome cannabis withdrawals smoothly.
Female usually have more fatty tissues comparing with male. That's why they can store more THC and after quitting weed excretion takes long time than male.
THC get stored by our body in different parts. The more height and weight, more storing of THC depending on frequency and duration of consumption.
Predominantly, THC accumulates in the fat cells of brain,liver & kidney. Persons with more body fat needs more pot to gain desire effect. At the same time, they accumulate more THC comparing with lean persons. That's why time required for excretion after quitting usually shorter in lean persons.
The main site of metabolism is Liver. The metabolic capacity of liver was determined by individual genetics. If you have faster metabolic rate then you will get quicker excretion of toxins from your body.
If you use cannabis every other day then it gets harder to remove THC quickly from your body and withdrawal's persist for long time. However, occasional and less frequent user experience less of both.
Diet containing antioxidants, essential minerals & Vitamins may helps you to attain healthy state by removing THC where it accumulates. Vitamin E, C, A--are called antioxidant vitamins that can keep you evergreen by averting aging process. Green leafy vegetables has great role in removing stored THC from intestinal muscles. It also decrease absorption of THC when you take marijuana orally (THC containing beer) and relieve constipation quickly.
60% of your total body weight is water (the universal solvent). Everyday body fluid gets cleaned from harmful substances by blood circulation through your kidneys and excrete them by production of urine. Water is a universal detox that helps to clean your systems quickly if you intake it more.
You may know that THC can decrease your capacity of preventing diseases by lowering immunity. Non excretable stored THC are cleared by immunocompetent cells - Macrophages, WBC, NK-cells. You can re-establish your immunity by daily exercise and balanced diets. Exercise, healthy diets and maintaining own hygiene increases the number of immunocompetent cells that helps you to remove more stored THC. So, intact immunity is essential to achieve a THC free body with little cannabis withdrawal symptoms.
Pot users with compromised kidney and/or liver function (CKD or CLD), metabolic rate become decreased and excretion rate of THC also reduced. Liver has capacity to convert toxic and fat soluble THC into non-toxic and water soluble THC-COOH for elimination from the body. If you smoke pot in spite of having concurrent diseases, you will develop toxicity after taking a small dose. Withdrawal symptoms also persist for longer duration due to inability of your body to excrete it. It requires very long time to gain THC free body when you smoke pot despite of having severe kidney or liver disease.
Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and taking too much caffeine may reduce your excretory organs capacity to excrete THC after quitting weed. THC remains more in your system when excretion reduced. Tissues containing THC release it slowly into your blood stream and produce long lasting withdrawal symptoms.
When you're pregnant, you are the owner of two lives in spite of one person. You may know that THC is harmful for both you and your upcoming little one.
Surprisingly, less withdrawals may develop despite of decrease excretion of THC when you become pregnant and quit smoking weed. Probably due to presence of pregnancy related hormones--HCG, Estrogen, Prolactin. But still it may affects development of fetus. Pregnancy related complications may occur in lesser extent in contrast with non-smoker. Stored THC slowly released in the blood stream aren't strong enough to cause pre-term birth and development of child attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is very little chance comparing with active weed smoking pregnant mother. You might be benefited from our ways to quit weed during pregnany.
After termination of pregnancy, THC excretion rate is high and withdrawals resolve quickly. This period also harmful for your baby because THC can also excrete trough your breast milk. With little chance, this also may leads to child ADHD comparing with active weed smoking lactating mother. So it's better for you to quit weed before getting conceived.
"Marijuana has the longest detection time compared to other drugs, may upto months, because the detectable chemicals stay in the body’s fat cells"- explained by Nicolas Rossetti, manager of clinical services of "Mobile Health", an health center that conducts with about 200,000 drug tests in New York City every year.
According to "The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)", To identify you as either occasional or regular cannabis user, Blood concentration of THC-COOH usually measured.
Below 50 ng/mL is upper cutoff value for THC in the United States. But 20 ng/mL, lower cutoff value are also frequently used.
Cannabis test would be positive in blood sample-
Presence of THC-COOH in the urine sample depends on frequency and duration of your weed smoking. Urinalysis is the most common method that used to screen marijuana use.
Probably, you may undergo to a urine test for screening while going for a job. You can get more accurate result about your urine test from online by drug test calculator, without any charge.
According to "NCBI"- a study about THC-COOH excretion pattern in urine of 86 chronic marijuana users after their last use shows that - (Method of detection: colorimetric modified Jaffé reaction on a SYVA 30R biochemical analyzer)
For occasional users, It may varies from 5 to 27 days depending on several factors.
But "canorml.org" described it from another point of view. According to them -
Frequency of use
Marijuana - Single Use
(0 -24 hours?)
Marijuana - Regular Use
Now-a-days cut-off value commonly used in USA: 20 ng/ml. More then it- test is positive, while less-test is negative.
So, it is not surprising that - THC pollution can occurs when you will swam in a swimming pool.
In saliva THC persist for very short duration. It may appear in your salivary secretions usually after 1 hour of using and can persist upto 12 hours. This test commonly used by highway police to identify the weed addicted drivers for prevention of RTA.
Incorporation of THC/THC-COOH with hair follicle and melanin is very low due to very less blood supply. THC can be found in hair (having no blood supply) following contamination during use and may found in passive weed smoker. So, there is more chance of false positive result. It is unwise to use hair for screening test.
The metabolized form, THC-COOH can found in hair follicles (having little blood supply) if you are a heavy and very long term marijuana user. It can persist your hair follicles in very much little amount may upto 100 days or something more after quitting weed. Interestingly that amount is not enough strong to produce withdrawals symptoms.
What Happens When You Quit Smoking Weed?
If someone smokes today’s high-potency marijuana daily, what happens if they stop? Almost 50-95% will suffer withdrawal symptoms that's are real.
The symptoms of withdrawal from marijuana vary between each user. Most all of these symptoms fade to normal emotions by three months. Some people with mild marijuana dependencies may able to stop on their own. However, chronic and heavy users who have built up a tolerance might need more help to kick their habit.
Many symptoms can appear when you are in withdrawal phase. Not every person will necessary experience all the same symptoms as others.
Symptom starts to appear immediately after the metabolism of active molecules (THC) from last use. Your body will deserve another dose, having learned to rely on a regular supply of cannabis. Disrupted chemical balance of your body start to restore body functions.
The first symptom you need to kick-out usually develops after several hours or the following day from the last cannabis use.
You will begin to realize:
The period of peak withdrawal symptoms occurs between 48 and 72 hours after the last cannabis use. This is the early stage of detoxing procedure.
At this point, You will face with some unpleasant physical consequences:
You already passed the most crucial period of withdrawal symptoms. Now its time to fade-out of symptoms. Symptoms start to fade gradually but still you may feel some mental distress.
According to National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) -
"Withdrawal symptoms should disappear after 2 weeks in almost all cases, but still some users can feel withdrawal symptoms without having it. If your brain hooked by THC for long time, it take some more times to adapt & re-establish your healthy neuro-chemical balance of brain."
However, some cannabis users commonly long term and heavy categories, continue some symptoms for several months until they fully dissipate. They may persist-
So, in the long run you need to fight against anxiety and depression. The person who do not take marijuana for once in whole life, he/she also fights with anxiety and depression all time. In this state, hopefully you become a normal person without using weed completely. Now, it's time to enjoy weed free life forever.
Heavy and long term marijuana users will experience withdrawal symptoms usually after quitting but not by all. For those that do, marijuana withdrawal symptoms can include
What criteria's you should fulfilled for a medical diagnosis of cannabis withdrawal?
The American Psychiatric Association included cannabis withdrawal in its latest diagnostic manual, the DSM-5. You must need to meet the following APA’s diagnostic criteria.
1. Do you just quit using marijuana after a period of heavy and chronic use.
2. Within 1st week of quitting, you should experience 3 or more of the following symptoms -
3. Your withdrawal symptoms must cause you significant distress or interfere with normal social or occupation functioning.
4. Your symptoms must not be better explained by another physical or mental health disorder or from intoxication or withdrawal from another substance.
Are You Worried About Cannabis Withdrawal's After Quitting?
The authors of “Psychology and the Challenges of Life” (2016) write-
“Damaging of Brain tissues, reduced learning ability and memory impairment can be resulted from marijuana use.”
They also said that marijuana is an strong addictive drug because of its extensive withdrawal's and anxiety that result when smokers quit. Perhaps you may be suffered from these withdrawal symptoms. You must need to solve these problems without recapitulating them.
If you realize that above questions are very much close to you--No doubt, you are suffering from cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Be with us to know how to ease these withdrawals. Always be confident that you can overcome these withdrawals because you are not alone.
Cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance in the United States. Women report greater positive subjective effects of cannabis, and greater cannabis withdrawal compared to men.
The proportion of patients reporting cannabis withdrawal in recent treatment studies has ranged from 50-95% (Budney & Hughes, 2006). Commonly experienced symptoms include sleep difficulty, decreased appetite and weight loss, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, and increased anger & aggression.
According to WebMD.com, a study of nearly 500 marijuana smokers shows that-
"About one third of marijuana user exhibit anxiety and depression as withdrawal symptoms who tried to kick the habit and resumed the use of of marijuana again to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms."
Another study was done by David Allsop, researcher of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) at the University of New South Wales. The study shows that-
"Habitual pot users who were asked to abstain for two weeks experienced anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties and other symptoms that affected their ability to work and their relationships with other people."
However, it is proved that- Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are real when people try to quit smoking pot, that can affect their daily lives. So, withdrawal symptoms are real- where you are at now. Be more confident to overcome withdrawals- we are always on your back. You can share your problems or experiences with us any time.
According to NCBI-
"Sleep was frequently interrupted during cannabis withdrawal, although the specific mechanisms of disruption remain unclear. It can persist from weeks to months or even upto years in some individuals."
The function of sleep is unknown but it is required for good health. Sleep is controlled by the reticular activating
system in the upper brainstem and diencephalon. It is composed of different stages that can be visualised on electroencephalography (EEG).
As drowsiness occurs, normal EEG background alpha rhythm disappears and activity becomes dominated by deepening slow-wave activity. As sleep deepens and dreaming begins, the limbs become flaccid, movements are ‘blocked’ and EEG signs of rapid eye movements (REM) are superimposed on the slow wave. REM sleep persists for a short spell before another slow-wave spell starts, the cycle repeating several times throughout the night.
REM periods become longer as the sleep period progresses. It seems to be the most important part of the sleep cycle for refreshing cognitive processes, and REM sleep deprivation causes tiredness, irritability and impaired judgement. Most probably THC interferes with your REM sleep. It is important to remember that any process affecting brain function will have some effect on mood and affection.
Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at midnight, but good sleep is under control of you more than you can imagine. You can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber following healthy sleep habit. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits that can support you to get better sleep even if you suffered from insomnia, jet lag, or shift work—known as “sleep hygiene".
You Can Try following Techniques To Relax Your Body Just Before Sleep -
Deep breathing exercise technique: Lie down in your bed and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and slowly release it. Repeatedly do this and try to make each breath deeper than the previous one.
Gradual muscle relaxation: Start from your toes, tense all the muscles of your body tightly as you can, then slowly relax. Work your way from the toes up to the top of your head.
Imagine a place: Close your eyes and try to imagine a place that can make you peaceful and calm. Concentrate on that how relaxed this place makes you feel.
According to National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), Physical symptoms arise during withdrawal periods are -
According to NCBI,
"The combined influence of residual/offset drug effects, withdrawal, and craving was observed in chronic cannabis smokers during withdrawal period. Physical symptoms were more intense in the initial phase, implying importance of early intervention in cannabis quit attempts."
The symptoms typically are not of severe enough to require medical attention. But medication or behavioral strategies may help to ease symptoms and improve prognosis in those who trying to quit using cannabis. Medications are not necessary to control physical effects except headache (described). But Nabiximols can be use as an agonist replacement therapy during cannabis withdrawal to control withdrawal effects. Gabapentin may also be effective to control physical effects-still under trial.
A case study report of 19-year-old woman with cannabis withdrawal syndrome treated with cannabidiol (CBD) for 10 days. Daily symptom assessments demonstrated the absence of remarkable withdrawal, anxiety and dissociative symptoms during the treatment.
Psychosis is a group of mental disorders characterized by individual functional impairment with psychotic features - delusion and hallucination.
According to Cochrane library, "cannabis in high doses may produce mental illness or psychosis."
A study was done by Kings college of london,2015 revealed that,
"24% of new psychosis cases are linked with cannabis use and the risk of psychosis is three times higher for users of potent "skunk-like" cannabis than for non-users."
Clinical evidence suggests that overall outcome is worse in people who have schizophrenia and use cannabis. However, it was claimed by some schizophrenic patient that, using cannabis is helpful to relieve symptoms and reduces side effects of anti-psychotic medications. But, current evidences are insufficient to show cannabidiol has an antipsychotic effect or not.
Heavy and regular cannabis user with psychosis need consultation as early as possible with a psychiatrist. Anti-psychotic medications - Olanzapine and Risperidone may be helpful to treat psychosis associated with cannabis withdrawals.
Some persons usually heavy & long term weed users may experienced obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is a psychiatric disorder characterised by obsessive thoughts, which are recurrent, unwanted and usually anxiety-provoking, but recognized as one’s own; and by compulsions, which are repeated acts performed to relieve the anxiety. An example is, repeated hand-washing related to thoughts of contamination.
Unlike other anxiety disorders, which are more common in women, OCD is equally common in men and women. OCD usually responds to some degree to antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) and to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps patients expose themselves to the feared thought or situation without performing the anxiety-relieving compulsions. However, relapses are common and the condition often becomes chronic.
Swinging mood up and down is a characteristic feature of bipolar mood disorder. Mood swing can occur every moment of time in a normal person who don't take pot once. When mood swing produces psychotic feature with marked functional impairment of you then it goes to mental illness.
Medication usually not needed when you are in withdrawal, because in this period- mood swing is not enough strong to produce psychotic feature. But some degree of your functional impairment may occur. You can take consultation with your physician for this matter. Hope you will recover it within short period of time.
Lithium salt & Sodium valproate may be useful to stabilize your mood when down. On the other hand, atypical neuroleptic drugs (Olanzapine, Ziprasidone) can be useful to control your mood when up.
Anxiety disorders characterised by the emotion of anxiety, worrisome thoughts, avoidance behaviour and the somatic symptoms of autonomic arousal (palpitation, chest pain, sweating, dizziness, trembling, shortness of breath and fear of dying).
Among the withdrawal's- anxiety is more crucial, because it can be both challenging and stressful for you. You can get some intense panic attacks and generalised anxiety when you stop. Anxiety develops when your brain is trying to compensate for the THC, received while you used marijuana. Brain will accommodate it within 7 days in most of the cases. So, Withdrawal's are not endless. You just need to wait with patience.
How can you overcome anxiety during withdrawal period?
To relieve anxiety you must try to keep your body busy in the day time. Get out and exercise! Ride your bike, jog, lift weights, anything that gets your body working. It also helps you to get sleep easily without anxiety.
Medications and psychotherapy also helpful to alleviate your symptoms.
Medications for Anxiety -
Repeated attacks of severe anxiety leads to development of panic disorder, which are not restricted to any circumstances or particular situation. Somatic symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations and paraesthesiae in lips and fingers are common. The symptoms are in part due to involuntary over-breathing (hyperventilation). Person with panic attacks often fear that they are suffering from a serious illness such as a heart attack or stroke, and seek emergency medical attention. These episodes can occur at any time, even when you sleep.
Panic attacks usually lasts for less than 10 minutes. Although some of the symptoms may persist for a long period of time. People who have had one panic attack are at greater risk for having subsequent panic attacks than those who have never experienced. There is worries about having more episodes when the attack occurs repeatedly.
The cause of panic attack is unknown, for this its treatment vary person to person. Medications are used to prevent or alleviate immediate symptoms of panic attack. You can control it without medications by psychotherapy (CBT), relaxation and/or meditations, that make you relax and relieve your anxiety.
Medications commonly used to treat or prevent panic attack includes -
According to WHO,
Major depressive disorder has a prevalence of 5% in the general population and approximately 10–20% in chronically ill medical outpatients. It is a major cause of disability and suicide. If comorbid with a medical condition, depression magnifies disability, diminishes adherence to medical treatment and rehabilitation, and may even shorten life expectancy.
There is a genetic predisposition to depression, especially when of early onset. The number and identity of the genes are largely unknown but the serotonin transporter gene is a candidate. Adversity and emotional deprivation early in life also predispose to depression. Depressive episodes are often, but not always, triggered by stressful life events (especially those that involve loss), including medical illnesses. Associated biological factors include hypofunction of monoamine neurotransmitter systems (serotonin and noradrenaline).
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D says in "Mayoclinic" that,
"It doesn't appear that marijuana directly causes depression. It's likely that the genetic, environmental or other factors that trigger depression and depression leads to marijuana use. On the other hand, some people with depression may use marijuana to relieve their depressive symptoms. Heavy users may appear depressed as a result of the dulling effects of the drug on feelings and emotions."
Depression is one of the most common cause of suicide world-widely. Not only addicted person, a good number of mentally stable persons can suffers from it. It can hamper your daily life badly. You should try best to overcome this. Following tips may be helpful for you.
When you’re depressed, grow tendency to isolate. It become tough to reaching out to close family members and friends also. Feelings of shame and the guilt you may feel at neglecting your relationships. But social and familial support is essential to recover your depression. Staying connected with other peoples and building new friendships can change your mood and outlook.
Ways to staying connected -
Give priority to your hobbies like gardening, reading, writing, traveling. Try Yoga, exercise deep breathing, meditation and/or progressive muscle relaxation. That may alleviate your symptoms of depression, reduce stress and boost your feelings of joy and well-being.
Try to take meal regularly at a fixed time. Meal must be included your favorite dishes. Avoid or reduce intake of substances that affect your brain and mind like cigarettes,alcohol, fats and food containing excessive preservatives. Eat more fresh vegetables, fruits and drink water. Vitamin B12 deficiency can trigger your depression. So, try to eat more Vitamin B12 containing foods-milk, beans, chicken etc. Vitamin E containing foods like sunflower oil, almonds oil make your skin shiny and decrease hair-fall.
Always think positively. Depression impacts way you see yourself and your expectations for the future. To overcome depression you need to change your way of thinking.
Depression is now totally curable condition due to availability of expert health professionals and good drugs against depression. At the end of the day, consultation with Psychiatrist will make you success to defeat depression.
Commonly prescribed anti-depressants :
Other less common or non-aggressive symptoms can not impact on your daily live activities. Decreased appetite or weight loss, aggression, irritability, nervousness, restlessness, chills, stomach pain, shakiness and sweating are disappear subsequently when you try to control described withdrawal symptoms.
You might get worried about appetite and weight loss. If you are able to establish a rhythm in your life - all symptoms disappear and you will be owner of a addiction free life. Try to eat more green leafy vegetables, citrous foods, avoid fatty foods and drink more water. Make your everyday harder then previous one. Then enjoy your life.
Taking Domperidon tablet 10mg, 3 times daily before meal for 15 days can increase your appetite and nausea. You can keep your mood stable during day time also by taking Flupenthixol+Melitracin combination tablet, once daily in the morning for 1 month.
At the some point of life you fall down and you feel like you don't have the strength to get back up. But life is interesting, life's a journey. I found that, with weed addiction one of the most important thing's you could realize is that you're not alone, you're not the first to go through it.
If you need some support while quitting, you can get information about drug abuse treatment programs at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
"Gorelick" tells WebMD that,
"Heavy pot users should be aware that they may experience a withdrawal syndrome that will make them uncomfortable when they try to quit,"
How can You reduce discomfort?
For some of the milder detoxing symptoms, a few home remedies have proven to be useful:
"Conference Approved Literature, ©1992 Marijuana Anonymous, P-04, 6/96"
References: (And also welcome for further informations)