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Marijuana Withdrawal & Detox

Posted in Marijuana Addiction Treatment on November 1, 2016
Last modified on May 11th, 2019

Marijuana detox is fairly straightforward if a person is only being treated for cannabis abuse and depends on how long the person has abused marijuana and the extent of abuse. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are similar to what people experience with nicotine withdrawal. Irritability, insomnia, anxiety and cravings generally reach a peak a few days after regular marijuana use has stopped. The discomfort associated with marijuana withdrawal symptoms lead to frequent relapse after a short period of abstinence.1

Other Mental and Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweatiness
  • Shakiness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache

Detox and withdrawal are more complicated if  co-occurring mental health disorders exist. Research shows that treatment-seeking people who use marijuana with other substances have higher levels of depression, anxiety, manic excitement and more psychiatric symptoms than marijuana users who use no other illicit substances.2 One survey reported that an estimated 72% of adolescent marijuana users had two or more psychiatric disorders when starting treatment.3

Marijuana Withdrawal in Teens

A 2014 study followed 127 teens (ages 14 to 19) after being treated at an outpatient substance abuse clinic, of which 90 were marijuana users. Of the marijuana users, 84% met the criteria for marijuana dependence, including increased tolerance and unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop using the drug. About 36 of the 90 teens experienced symptoms of withdrawal when they stopped using marijuana, a sign of drug dependence. Teens who exhibited withdrawal symptoms were more likely to experience negative consequences including trouble at school or on the job, as well as financial or relationship problems.4

THC Detox

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary ingredient in marijuana, impacts several neurological and biological systems that interact with the endocrine system. Past research shows gender variations in marijuana’s influence on brain structure, reward processing, attention, motor coordination and sensitivity to withdrawal symptoms. The exact mechanisms that cause this are unknown, but researchers speculate that hormonal differences in males and females play a role in THC’s impact on withdrawal. Although research is in its infancy, gender differences could have important future implications in the development of prevention, detox and treatment strategies.5

Get Help Now

If you suspect your teen is using marijuana, The Right Step offers treatment for marijuana addiction in Texas tailored to youth ages 13 to 18. We offer medical detox in a safe, comfortable environment. Your child will be monitored around the clock by our compassionate medical team and we’ll attend to any discomfort immediately with research-backed medications as appropriate. Don’t wait another day to get your teen the help they need to get better. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation: 844-877-1781

  1. Want to Know More? Some FAQs about Marijuana. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/want-to-know-more-some-faqs-about-marijuana Updated May 2015. Accessed October 5, 2016.
  2. Preppy Killer to Use Drug-Psychiatric Defense. Gothamist website. http://gothamist.com/2008/03/12/preppy_killer_t.php Published March 12, 2008. Accessed October 5, 2016.
  3. Chan YF, Dennis ML, Funk RR. Prevalence and comorbidity of major internalizing and externalizing problems among adolescents and adults presenting to substance abuse treatment. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Jan; 34(1): 14–24. Published online 2007 Jun 15. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2006.12.031.
  4. ‘Pot Addiction’ May Be Real, Study Suggests. HealthDay website. https://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/drug-abuse-news-210/pot-addiction-may-be-real-study-suggests-691346.html Published September 2, 2014. Accessed October 5, 2016.
  5. Ketcherside A, Baine J, Filbey F. Sex Effects of Marijuana on Brain Structure and Function. Curr Addiction Rep. 2016;3:323-331. doi:10.1007/s40429-016-0114-y.
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