Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a widely-used drug derived from the cannabis plant. It contains a psychoactive compound called THC, which can cause a variety of effects on the body and mind, such as relaxation, altered perception, and increased appetite. While many people use cannabis for its purported medical benefits and recreational purposes, it can also lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Definition of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal

Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal or Cannabis Use Disorder is a diagnosable condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It refers to a set of physical and psychological symptoms that occur when a person abruptly stops or significantly reduces their cannabis consumption after using the drug regularly for a prolonged period.

According to the DSM-5 criteria, Cannabis Use Disorder is classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number and severity of symptoms present. Mild Cannabis Use Disorder is diagnosed when a person exhibits two to three symptoms within a year, while moderate Cannabis Use Disorder is diagnosed when a person shows four to five symptoms within a year. Severe Cannabis Use Disorder is diagnosed when a person exhibits six or more symptoms within a year.

Symptoms of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms of Cannabis Marijuana usually begin within one to three days after stopping use, can last up to ten days, and may vary in severity from person to person. Common symptoms include:

  • Irritability, anxiety, and restlessness
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Tremors and sweating
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Cravings and obsession with using cannabis

While these withdrawal symptoms are generally not life-threatening, they can be uncomfortable and distressing enough to interfere with a person’s daily activities, work performance, and relationships.

Causes of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal

The causes of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal are mainly related to changes that THC and other active compounds in cannabis make to the brain’s chemical balance. Repeated cannabis use can affect the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are responsible for regulating mood, pleasure, and motivation. When a person stops using cannabis suddenly, the brain has to readjust to the absence of the substances, which can cause an imbalance in neurotransmitters that lead to withdrawal symptoms.

The risk factors for developing Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal include:

  • Long-term and heavy use of cannabis
  • Young age of onset of cannabis use
  • History of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Genetic predisposition to addiction

Treatment for Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal

The treatment for Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal is aimed at easing the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal and helping the individual to gain long-term abstinence from cannabis use. Some of the most common treatment options include:

  • Detoxification: This is the process of eliminating cannabis from the body under the supervision of medical professionals. Detoxification can help to manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal and ensure the individual’s safety during the process.
  • Medication-assisted therapy: Certain medications such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants may be used to reduce the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms that often accompany Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal.
  • Behavioral therapy: This involves counseling and psychotherapy sessions that aim to address the underlying psychological and social issues that contribute to a person’s cannabis use. Therapeutic interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) have been effective in reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms and improving treatment outcomes.
  • Support groups: Joining support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can help individuals to share experiences with others who are going through the same situation and to learn coping skills that can help them to avoid relapse.

Prevention of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal

The best way to prevent Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal is by avoiding or reducing cannabis use. Some practical tips for preventing Cannabis Use Disorder include:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical exercise, nutritious eating, and adequate sleep
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms for managing stress and anxiety, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga
  • Seek help from a mental health professional if struggling with mental health concerns that may contribute to cannabis use
  • Be aware of the risks associated with cannabis use, such as addiction, impaired driving, and mental health problems
  • Consider alternative treatments for medical conditions that cannabis may be prescribed or used for, such as chronic pain or cancer-related symptoms.


Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal can be a debilitating and uncomfortable experience that can affect a person’s ability to function in their daily life. While the withdrawal symptoms typically improve within a few days to weeks, the risk of relapse is high, and preventative measures should be taken to reduce the likelihood of developing Cannabis Use Disorder. Treatment options such as detoxification, medication-assisted therapy, behavioral therapy, and support groups can help individuals to overcome their cannabis addiction and achieve long-term abstinence. It is essential to seek professional help from healthcare experts trained in addiction and mental health management for an adequate and effective treatment plan.


FAQs about Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal

What are the symptoms of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal?

Common symptoms of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal include irritability, anxiety, depression, decreased appetite, insomnia, and physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and sweating.

Can Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal be treated?

Yes, Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal can be treated with supportive therapies such as counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing. Additionally, medication can be provided to manage the symptoms of withdrawal.

How long does Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal last?

The duration of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal can vary from person to person, but typically lasts between 1-2 weeks. However, some symptoms such as cravings and irritability can persist for up to several months. It is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing symptoms of Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal.


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