cannabis withdrawal
cannabis withdrawal

Cannabis Withdrawal - How Bad is It Really?

Is marijuana withdrawal a real thing and how bad can it get?

Posted by:
Lemon Knowles on Saturday Nov 7, 2020

Cannabis Withdrawal; How Bad is it Really?

cannabis withdrawal

When the majority of people hear of cannabis withdrawal, they easily think the worst and this is understandable. With the withdrawal issues of substances like benzodiazepines, heroin, etc as case studies who can blame them? Also, the different unreasonable and extreme claims that are out there about cannabis withdrawal doesn't do the situation any good.

Sadly, what most people don't know is that cannabis withdrawal is worlds apart from that of substances like heroin. The information littered all over the Internet has leveraged the fear of cannabis users to sell them bogus doom stories that aren't supported by facts or science.

This is why I'll be pointing out the necessary truths about cannabis withdrawal in this article. I'll be stating facts to counter the numerous myths flying around.

What is Cannabis Withdrawal?

Cannabis withdrawal is the onset of specific negative symptoms. It occurs when an individual stops using cannabis after a prolonged period of use. The negative symptoms that characterize cannabis withdrawal are usually physical, emotional, or behavioral. Cannabis withdrawal often depends on the length and severity of cannabis usage by the user. This is because it does not manifest in every cannabis user who stops using cannabis but only in those who seem to have developed dependence over time.    

Much has been said concerning cannabis and the concept of addiction, dependence, and withdrawal. Many cannabis enthusiasts go as far as saying because cannabis is a natural product, it has no risk of addiction, dependence, or withdrawal. This is unfortunately not true. Cannabis is a psychoactive drug and contains cannabinoids that affect the central nervous system through the endocannabinoid system. The impact of this effect on the central nervous system results in interference with psychomotor behavior, appetite, and short-term memory. Long term effect of the influence of cannabinoids on cannabinoid receptors results in a change in the receptors. This change will take time to correct when cannabis use is suddenly halted by the user thereby causing cannabis withdrawal. 

Cannabis withdrawal is quite different from withdrawal that occurs with common substances of abuse such as alcohol, heroin, and benzodiazepines. Even though it is a natural psychoactive drug, cannabis withdrawal will not require cannabis users to go to a rehab clinic as seen with heroin addicts.

Many people have been led to believe that once a person suffers from cannabis withdrawal, the only solution is to end up in a rehab clinic. This is quite far from the truth as the symptoms and problems of cannabis withdrawal can be dealt with easily with the right information.

Why do people suddenly quit using cannabis?

Top on the list of reasons why cannabis users suddenly put a stop to cannabis use is because of work-related issues like drug tests, etc. Some cannabis users might have other reasons for quitting like lifestyle changes, religion, etc. Cannabis withdrawal occurs when the stop is done abruptly after prolonged heavy use.

It should  be noted that if a cannabis user who has been exposed to heavy use for a prolonged period of time wishes to stop and avoid cannabis withdrawal, the stop should be tapered and not done abruptly.  

The American Psychiatric Association clearly states that cannabis withdrawal is caused by heavy and prolonged use of cannabis. This means that there is a reduced risk of cannabis withdrawal in users of medical marijuana. Most medical marijuana users have their dosage worked out by specialists; meaning that they are rarely exposed to heavy use. The major risk that medical marijuana users have if they suddenly halt the use of cannabis is a return of the ailment being treated.

What are the Symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal?

The symptoms that occur with cannabis withdrawal are classified as physical, emotional, and psychological. These symptoms often develop shortly after the use of cannabis is stopped. The length and severity of the symptoms depend on the frequency and quantity of cannabis use by the individual. The symptoms include;

Headaches, nausea, and sweating

Depressed moods


Change in appetite

Night sweats and day jitters




The expression of two or more of these symptoms after a sudden halt of cannabis use indicate cannabis withdrawal and it is best addressed quickly. Delay in attending to the symptoms only leads to the onset of other symptoms which can affect the general wellness of the body.

Management and Prevention of cannabis withdrawal

The most important thing for every cannabis user when it comes to cannabis withdrawal is to try as best as possible to avoid it. Prevention of cannabis withdrawal starts with ensuring that before you quit, you talk to a doctor or specialist. This is important to ensure that you have all relevant information on the best way to taper the stoppage.

Tapering cannabis use will involve reducing the quantity and dosage of cannabis gradually over time. This will ensure that when the user eventually stops, he/she will no longer be at risk of cannabis withdrawal.

It is also important for cannabis users to get their body systems used to operating without cannabis. It is advisable to avoid heavy use over a prolonged period. This is to reduce the risk of the dependence of the body on cannabis. Over dependence leads to addiction which ultimately causes withdrawal problems.

Management of cannabis withdrawal is a steady process and with the right steps, the symptoms will be gone in no time. Below are a couple of helpful tips

A healthy diet must be maintained while dealing with cannabis withdrawal symptoms to improve the chances of the user getting over them in time.

Exercise has also proven to be very useful in dealing with cannabis withdrawal. It helps to keep the body in optimum shape.

The symptoms can also be dealt with individually to speed up the recovery process. Melatonin can be used before bedtime to help with sleep-related problems. 

Bottom line

Cannabis withdrawal is not as devastating as many make it out to be. However, it is a reality that many cannabis users should come to terms with. With the right routine and approach, no cannabis user should have to deal with cannabis withdrawal even upon stoppage. The right routine will spare users the unwanted negative symptoms and trouble that comes with cannabis withdrawal. Cannabis is a beneficial natural product that should be enjoyed wisely!











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