Cannabis has a different effect on every person. Some people can smoke cannabis for decades and one day, they decide to walk away from it and they can easily do it without any withdrawal. On the contrary, some people cannot simply walk away from their addiction and have to face some serious mental and psychological issues. A Harvard study mentioned a person who decided to quit smoking cannabis. He said ‘I smoked weed every day for 30 years and then just walked away from it without any problems. It’s not addictive.’ But for some people, withdrawal symptoms can include aggression, anger, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, anorexia, depression, restlessness, headaches, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
What Causes Withdrawal Symptoms
Because during recent years, cannabis got legalized in so many countries, the number of people who use it recreationally increased significantly. However, a lot of them are trying to quit it. But, like with any other addiction, this process is not so simple. Although marijuana withdrawal symptoms are not so severe as withdrawal symptoms from heroin, cocaine, or even alcohol, they are still physically and psychologically draining.
What causes these symptoms? When consuming cannabis, our body gets used to regular supplies of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient. Our body and especially our brain, develop a high tolerance to THC, and the more you consume it, the more our brain gets used to it. When suddenly our brain stops getting supplies of THC, it develops withdrawal symptoms that can be so severe that some people begin smoking again, just to relieve them.
These symptoms are not really dangerous. They are more often of purely psychological nature, which is why it is especially risky to try and withdraw on your own, without professional help. Marijuana withdrawal can last much longer than the process of quitting alcohol or any other drugs because THC can stay in our body for weeks. extending the process of withdrawal to several weeks or even months. That is why heavy users have higher chances of a relapse.
How to Manage Cannabis Withdrawal
If you have not smoked regularly, but just occasionally, you have higher chances to quit it on your own and experience more mild symptoms. On the contrary, those who consumed it regularly should consult a substance abuse specialist to come up with a plan of successful withdrawal. There is no quick getaway from this, so deciding to stop smoking from tomorrow is not a solution that will help you in the long run. You should reduce the use slowly and follow these tips in the meanwhile:
Drinking loads of water and staying hydrated is a must, but you should avoid beverages that contain caffeine and sugar.
Eating healthy and regularly will also help your body overcome this period. Eat loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid carbs and sugary food.
Exercising regularly will help you stay motivated and focused on your journey, and it will also boost your mood.
Organize your support system. Let your friends and family know what you’re going through.
Are There Any Proven Treatments for Successful Cannabis Withdrawal?
People who cannot quit smoking on their own often tend to try different cognitive behavior therapies and even medications, but none of them is provenly effective. Some researchers claim that even CBD can be helpful treatment, but no one has still conducted a study to prove it. When it comes to medications, it is essential to mention that you should take them only if your doctor approves because usually, they tend to cause side effects.
Currently, there are no medications officially approved by FDA or US drugs to treat cannabis dependence particularly. While waiting for results of various trails that are testing the effects of different drugs, many doctors prescribe some of the alternative solutions that could help and relieve the symptoms. Some of the most common ones are:
- Dronabinol – a synthetic THC
- Nabiximols – a mucosal spray that contains cannabis
- Gabapentin – for reliving the anxiety
- Zolpidem – for relieving sleep disturbances
The growing number of detoxifying centers for marijuana abusers tells us that people are not afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Having the assistance of professionals who help people stay safe and comfortable during the process reduces the chances of a relapse.
How to When Is the Time to Stop?
No one can precisely determine at what point something becomes a habit that you just cannot control and when you get addicted. Simply said, it can be described as the moment when you are aware that you are doing something harmful, but you still continue doing it. When you notice it is jeopardizing not just your health, but your job and relationships with other people, you are already in the enchanted circle. The only way to get out of it is to keep your expectations realistic and know that there is a long way ahead of you.
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