Marijuana Withdrawal – It’s Real
Many people believe that marijuana withdrawal is a myth, fabricated to prevent them from reaping the positive benefits of the drug. The truth is, this is not the case. Like alcohol, as well as other illicit drugs, marijuana can be addictive – especially if used in excess for a long period of time. Although withdrawal from marijuana is less dangerous when compared to cocaine, meth, heroin, and other illicit drugs; chronic users may experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, ranging mood changes and depression to stomach pains and nausea.
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Coping with these symptoms without professional assistance can be challenging and tough; with symptoms varying from user to user. Long-term users are likely to experience severe symptoms of marijuana withdrawal.
The Statistics Behind Marijuana Usage
In a targeted study that involved approximately 500 users of marijuana is was found that an average of 30% of those who tried to stop using it eventually relapsed as a result of the withdrawal symptoms being too intense for them. These findings directly support the notion that marijuana addiction is a valid issue that cannot and should not be ignored.
In addition to this, the American Psychiatric Association lists the diagnostic criteria that are related to cannabis use disorder, and one of the main diagnostic criteria is signs of marijuana withdrawal.
Of the previously mentioned approximately 500 individuals who were studied, it was subsequently found that heavy users accounted for about 25% of them. This meant that they claimed to have cumulatively used marijuana well over 10,000 times in their lifetime. A staggering 42% of those heavy users were reported to have dealt with one or more marijuana withdrawal symptoms when they tried to give up the drug. Subsequently, over 78% of the heavy marijuana users admitted that they had started using the drug again as a means of alleviating the onset withdrawal symptoms.
Data from these users wans used to find that the most common withdrawal symptoms were: irritability, sleeping issues, boredom, and increased cravings.
The title holder for the most commonly used illicit substance in the US is marijuana. In fact, it has been reported that well over 9% of Americans have used the drug. Marijuana dependence is an issue that approximately 7.5% of 18 to 29 year-olds deal with and approximately 3.4% of 12 to 17 year olds deal with.
When it comes to rehabilitation from marijuana addiction, studies have shown that people who addiction treatment for the drug have used the drug for an average of 10 years in terms of daily usage. In addition to this, the average number of attempts to stop using the drug is high; with six attempts being the average. As stated before, it is observed that this high rate of relapse is largely due to the withdrawal effects of the drug.
Over a third of frequent users of the drug have stated that they have experienced withdrawal symptoms. On this same topic, between 50% and 95% of the marijuana users in treatment facilities have at some time or the other dealt with withdrawal symptoms.
The quantity of marijuana used as well as the frequency at which it is used have been cited as two of the main factors that affect the intensity of marijuana withdrawal symptoms.
The Side Effects Of Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana has been reported to have beneficial medicinal purposes; however, this does not mean that it is not dangerous when it is abused. Just like how even prescription medication can inflict serious side effects on people who choose to abuse them, marijuana can have detrimental side effects when it is abused.
Pro-marijuana activists commonly tout the notions that marijuana not only has no real addictive properties but also that is entirely safe.
This is not true. In fact, frequent marijuana usage and abuse can lead to negative effects, such as:
- Memory loss.
- Distorted perception.
- Learning problems.
- Trouble with concentration and problem-solving.
Cannabis withdrawal syndrome and cannabis use disorder are officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Targeted research has found that over 30% of individuals who are classified as marijuana users actually fit the criteria for marijuana dependence and/or cannabis use disorder. The surprising part of this is that individuals who actually start to use the drug when they are adolescents end up becoming as much as seven times more likely to become an addict compared to people who start using the drug when they are an adult.
When an individual uses the drug heavily for a lengthy period of time and then suddenly ceases to use the drug, then they are extremely prone to developing cannabis withdrawal syndrome.
The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal usually manifest during the first week of stopping.
Symptoms Of Marijuana Withdrawal
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms that marijuana users experience are as follows:
- Excessive sweating
- Irritability, anger, increased aggression
- Strong headaches
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Flu-like symptoms
- Stomach pains
- Restlessness, difficulty sleeping, insomnia
Treatment Options for Coping With Marijuana Withdrawal And Addiction
Marijuana withdrawal and its symptoms will usually become apparent within the first week of abandoning the drug.
These symptoms can last two weeks or even more, with sleep related issues being commonly recorded as lasting for a month or even more.
There is not one quick fix for marijuana withdrawal. Instead, a medley of various treatment strategies should be used with each other.
Some of the common ones include:
- Social support: Simply having a positive drug free environment and a support system of friends and family can help when dealing with withdrawal symptoms.
- Psychotherapy: Several types of psychotherapy have been found to help when treating marijuana addiction.
- Medication: There are not any officially targeted medications that are approved by the FDA to treat marijuana withdrawal or marijuana addiction. However, some of the serious health issues that withdrawal causes can be treated with prescription medication. Two of the most common examples of this is the use of antidepressants and sleep aids.
- Contingency management: This refers to using a reward system as motivation and encouragement to abstain from using the drug.
- Motivational enhancement therapy: This practice targets the uncertainty and doubt that oftentimes come with marijuana withdrawal. This therapy aims to boost confidence related to rehab and recovery.
BLVD Treatment Center – The Safest Way to Cope With Marijuana Withdrawal
Dealing with marijuana withdrawal without professional medical care can be a traumatic experience for chronic users – as you learnt earlier. For this reason it’s in your best interest that you seek the services of a specialized rehab facility to help you on your journey to sobriety.
BLVD Treatment Center specializes in helping addicts regain their lives from drug or alcohol abuse. Here are some of the perks that our patients enjoy:
- Luxury facility: At Blvd Treatment Centers we deliver treatment in settings that are resort-like. In addition to the high quality treatment services we offer residents also have access to luxury amenities as well; such as, spas, gourmet meals, yoga, swimming pools, and massage therapy.
- Intensive outpatient treatment: While outpatient treatment might not be suitable for people who have severe marijuana addiction or marijuana withdrawal; for individuals who have a relatively mild addiction it could be beneficial. Our outpatient treatment program allows recovering addict to fit their treatment into their regular schedule. This allows them to to take care of their other responsibilities, such as their home life, work, or school, while still getting the treatment that they need.
- Certified staff members: If you are going to put your health and your future in someone’s hands then it is far more beneficial to you if they are certified. The staff as Blvd Treatment Centers is made up of some of the most qualified professionals in the industry – on both a national and global scale.
- Personalized treatment options: The same general treatment program might work with most people who suffer from marijuana withdrawal; however, if you want the best results possible then having a personalized treatment plan is the way to go. At Blvd Treatment Centers we take your physical, mental, and behavioural medical history into account when we start to formulate your very own personalized treatment plan.
Don’t Let Marijuana Withdrawal Stop You From Kicking Your Addiction
Yes, marijuana withdrawal can be a hard burden to bear; however, the good news is that you never have to bear this burden on your own. At Blvd Treatment Centers our doors are always open to addicts who want to make a change in their life for the better.
Don’t wait any longer, contact us today and let your journey to a healthier you begin today.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.
- Budney, A., Roffman, R., Stephens, R., and Walker, D. (2007). “Marijuana Dependence and Its Treatment.” Addiction Science & Clinical Practice. 1.
- gov. (2016). “Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders.”
- gov. (2016). “Is Marijuana Addictive?”
- National Library of Medicine. (2015).”Prevalence of Marijuana Use Among U.S. Adults Doubles Over Past Decade.”
- Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2016).”Marijuana Myths & Facts.”