Usage of marijuana alters the structure and function of brain in such a way that it fails to work normally in the absence of drug. So when an addict stops taking the drug, the brain demands it to be supplied that results into unpleasant and painful symptoms referred to as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can appear at complete discontinuation of drug as well as on decreasing the amount taken. Withdrawal symptoms only appear when the user has developed the dependence for the substance.
The first step towards recovery is quitting the drug and after that, the body starts to remove toxins from the system that have accumulated from the years of usage. This results into withdrawal symptoms. In case of marijuana, the withdrawal symptoms are not as severe but still they can be highly uncomfortable. Symptoms can vary from one user to the other depending upon the dose and period of time the drug was used for. The symptoms produced from withdrawal are also dubbed as marijuana withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms include:
Though marijuana withdrawal symptoms are not as severe but they can last for much longer as compared to other drugs. The reason is that the key chemical present in marijuana, THC, has an ability to last in the system for several weeks. These symptoms make the process of quitting much more difficult and that is the reason most addicts prefer to go back to using the drug rather than bearing the pain.
Time period for which withdrawal symptoms last may vary from one user to the other. Light users usually experience less severe withdrawal symptoms for small periods of time while the opposite is true for heavy users. The symptoms also start to appear earlier for heavy users and may peak within 48 hours of taking the last dose. The other factors that affect withdrawal symptoms include:
These symptoms appear because chemicals present in the drug alter the structure of brain in such a way that it starts thinking it needs the foreign chemical coming from the drug for its functioning so when the chemical is not supplied, withdrawal symptoms are produced that force the addict to take more drug.
Although physical symptoms are completely gone, depression and anxiety can last for years even after the drug has been quit.
So far, FDA has not approved any medications to treat marijuana addiction. There are medications available to ease the withdrawal symptoms produced from heroin, cocaine etc but unfortunately, no similar drugs are available for marijuana. But a number of strategies can be adopted to make the pain bearable:
A number of simple activities have also been found to be helpful such as:
Although marijuana detoxification process can be completed at home but seeking professional help is highly recommended. The patients stay under constant supervision that reduces the risk of relapsing. The professionals can guide the patient in a much better way, helping them make the process less difficult. Detoxification is not all that is needed for the recovery but in fact, it is first step towards recovery. Since there are no drugs approved by FDA to be used to deal with withdrawal symptoms, certain therapies can help.
It has been found that patients who seek help are more likely to recover than the ones who try to do it on their own. Also, they are at a lesser risk of relapsing.
Very rarely, detoxification process can be fatal because of the severe reaction produced by the body. The excessive vomiting and sweating leaves the body undernourished and dehydrated that can result into death. But death is extremely rare in the case of marijuana addiction.