Much like any other substance on this Earth, having too much weed can be bad for your health. The use of marijuana has always been linked to tolerance and dependence. While it is still being scrutinized by the government through many different scientific studies, long-term cannabis users who take a break from consumption can experience weed withdrawal symptoms. Abruptly halting the use of marijuana can be very detrimental to your overall health.
What is Weed Withdrawal?
If you have been smoking weed for quite some time regularly, you can experience weed withdrawal if you suddenly stop using it. In a study concerning withdrawal symptoms, it is discovered that 95.5% of those who abruptly stopped using weed experienced at least one symptom, while more than 40% experience two or more symptoms. With this case, what is weed withdrawal, and how does it affect regular cannabis users?
Weed withdrawal is identifiable as a set of signs and symptoms experienced by a long term regular cannabis user who suddenly stops using due to many different reasons. These reasons could be that the user travels to an area where weed is illegal or for medical or athletic purposes. Users can experience some life-threatening symptoms if they are not guided directly by medical professionals.
While marijuana withdrawal lasts for around 1 to 2 weeks, some users can experience it for several weeks to months. This can depend on the kind of user, the potency being used, the frequency, and many other variables. One user’s withdrawal experience may be different from the next hence these factors must be studied and consulted with a medical professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms can be subjective and are heavily affected by a person’s relationship with marijuana. The severity of the condition can be attributed to many different factors. These signs and symptoms also occur depending on the individual, but it usually manifests itself within 24 to 72 hours after stopping.
The symptoms of weed withdrawal include:
- Extreme irritability
- Lack of appetite
- Pain in the abdomen
These physical symptoms greatly affect the quality of life of the person undergoing withdrawal such that it can also affect or have negative responses to their personal life and relationships to work, family, and other significant connections. The symptoms usually peak a week after quitting, and it can last up to 2 or more weeks, depending on the factors. It is also suggested that women tend to experience a greater number of symptoms with higher intensity than men.
Why Does Weed Cause Withdrawal?
Marijuana contains compounds known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system. One very popular cannabinoid is called THC. THC is the reason why we get high when we smoke weed. THC is a very potent cannabinoid that interacts with the pleasure center in our brain. The more we interact with weed and the pleasure center, the more our brain becomes dependent on the need for its interaction, thereby causing a steady dependence on the compound.
At first, it will increase the person’s tolerance and later on develop into cravings and dependence. It is at this point that users will need to seek medical help to control their cravings and prevent further escalation of the issue.
But how does it cause withdrawal? As soon as the brain and body begin to be dependent on the compounds, it can only be satisfied by supplying it with more. Users who suddenly stop satisfying these cravings begin to develop feedback from the brain, causing all the withdrawal symptoms to arise. All the symptoms mentioned above all point to the brain telling you that you need more weed in the system to reach that high.
How to Cope With Weed Withdrawal
Coping with withdrawal symptoms takes time and persistence to the individual. It all starts with your decision to quit smoking weed, but before you do so, you will need to prepare yourself. Once you are ready to quit, talk to your doctor or a specialist with regards to your options. Talk to people who have undergone such conditions first before you make your first move.
Those who smoke weed regularly should start by diminishing the amount being used first before abruptly ending all connection to weed. This way, you allow your body to adapt to the changes that will happen. The resolution for weed withdrawal does not happen overnight. It takes weeks of preparation, and sometimes, it can take years to find the ultimate resolution.
Once you are ready, here are some tips on how you can cope with the initial phases of weed withdrawal.
- Keep yourself frequently hydrated. Water and other fluids will help keep the normal pace of your body. Avoid drinking sugar-filled and caffeinated beverages as they induce anxiety and increase your chances of developing harsher symptoms.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. Supply your body with great amounts of vitamins and minerals by eating fruits and vegetables. These are good sources of compounds that help counteract the effects of withdrawal. Avoid eating junk food as it will make you feel sluggish and even more irritable.
- Exercise is another key element in helping you cope with withdrawal symptoms. Exercise boosts your mood and helps eliminate toxins from your body. Exercise keeps the proper pacing of your body as well. Try to exercise a few minutes every day to keep the blood pumping.
- The most important part of coping with withdrawal symptoms is to seek help and support. Acknowledging your condition and its serious implications is a good way of addressing that you need help. Seeking help and support is easier when you are ready to accept your decision. Check your local pages and see if any support groups are available for you. Family and friends are great support systems that you can rely on.
- Consult your doctor. Part of the support system, apart from your family and groups, talking to your doctor about withdrawal symptoms and how it can be resolved, is key to coping. Knowing is part of the coping process and it should be acquired from someone who knows how to deal with it.
When it comes to weed withdrawal, one of the worst things that can happen is relapse. A lot of people might seemingly have a victorious battle against withdrawal but tend to fall on relapse after a few months. The decision to stop smoking weed is a constant process. It needs constant action; hence coping is needed for users. Learning the different ways of coping from withdrawal symptoms can lead to lesser chances of relapse and better chances of high quality of life.