How Long Does Marijuana Withdrawal Last?
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Contrary to what many people believe, marijuana can become addictive. Statistics show that 30% of people who use marijuana may have some type of marijuana use disorder.[1] When people become dependent on using marijuana and then decide to stop, they can experience withdrawal symptoms just as with any other drug. Marijuana withdrawal can produce physical and emotional reactions that can be uncomfortable. As we explore marijuana addiction, we’re going to take a closer look at the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal, how long they can last, and how you can tell that your teen may have a marijuana addiction.

Marijuana’s Effects on the Body

When people smoke or inhale marijuana, THC enters the bloodstream and travels directly to the brain. This impacts the way brain receptors communicate with the body. This can happen within minutes, leading to delayed reactions, reflexes, as well as feelings of euphoria.

Other methods of marijuana use include ingestion of food, candy, or drinks that contain cannabis. When someone ingests something containing THC, they generally don’t feel the effects as quickly as if they were to smoke it. But they can have the same effects on the brain and body as inhaled marijuana.

The use of marijuana, whether through smoking it or ingesting it, can lead to poor choices, especially if a teen gets behind the wheel after using marijuana. Marijuana users may feel as though they can drive, but they are certainly not fit to get behind the wheel. Delayed reflexes can lead to serious accidents on the road, making driving under the influence of marijuana extremely dangerous.

Marijuana use can also impact a person’s mental health. It can make anxiety or depression worse as well as increase the user’s risk of becoming addicted to another substance.

The effects of THC in marijuana are short-lived. So, users may feel like they need to use more to maintain their feelings. This is what can lead to marijuana addiction. Over time, repeated use of marijuana can permanently damage the brain. Since a teenager’s brain is still developing, the impact of marijuana use on teens can become even more dangerous.

Young people are at risk for developing a marijuana dependency because they quickly adjust to the euphoric feeling that the drug produces. In some cases, this can lead to a cannabis use disorder. This type of disorder can lead to psychological, physical, and emotional effects.

Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal

When someone decides to stop using marijuana, they can go through a marijuana withdrawal. This is a natural reaction when the body learns to adapt again to functioning without marijuana in the bloodstream.

The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can include[2]:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Stomach Pains

Studies show that people who use multiple substances, such as tobacco and alcohol, may be more likely to have withdrawal symptoms.[2]

The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can be unpleasant and difficult to deal with. For some, it can be severe and dangerous, requiring medical supervision. Some people can benefit from a medically supervised detoxification if they have additional physical health problems, have a severe cannabis use disorder, or suffer from co-occurring marijuana use and mental health disorders.

How Long Can a Marijuana Withdrawal Last?

While the length of marijuana withdrawal will differ from person to person, people who stop completely after using marijuana regularly can typically expect this timeline[3]:

  • The onset of most withdrawal symptoms occurs within 1-2 days.
  • Symptoms peak in severity within 2-6 days.
  • Most acute symptoms resolve within 3 weeks.

Some psychological symptoms can last for up to 5 weeks after quitting marijuana use. Sleep problems can also be prevalent. Insomnia, sleep disturbances, and strange dreams are also common for up to 45 days after someone stops using the drug. Remember, withdrawal symptom length will differ from person to person. Some symptoms may last longer in people, while others may experience shorter symptom times.

Residual marijuana can remain in a person’s system for as long as three months if someone was a heavy user. If marijuana remains in the body, it can encourage cravings, but the withdrawal symptoms should not last that long.

Signs Your Teen May Have a Marijuana Addiction

Teen marijuana use is prevalent, with statistics showing that more than 30 percent of high school students admitting to using the drug.[4] Your teen may have a marijuana addiction and may not even be aware. Here are some signs to look out for that may signal that your teen has a problem:

  • Struggling to maintain relationships
  • Neglecting activities and responsibilities
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Mood swings
  • Laziness
  • Paranoia
  • Experiencing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms after stopping to use the drug
  • Discovering drug paraphernalia in their room

A marijuana addiction can also inhibit your child’s ability to focus at school. This can lead to poor grades and performance in school. When this happens, it could be a red flag that their marijuana use has grown into an addiction that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

If you notice these signs in your teen, your teen may have a marijuana addiction. It’s important to get them help sooner rather than later so that they can learn how to live without being dependent on the drug. The earlier teens start using substances, the greater the risk that they will continue and develop substance use problems as they get older.

Getting Help for a Marijuana Addiction at Ember Recovery

At Ember Recovery, we can help your teen deal with their marijuana addiction and the marijuana withdrawal symptoms that can occur. We offer a variety of programs to specifically help teenagers when it comes to drug use. We tailor each treatment plan to fit each of our patients since everyone’s addiction is different.

Since many teens use drugs at home or parties, our residential youth program can help teens deal with their drug use in a supportive environment 24/7. We also help teens to develop an after-care program so that they can learn how to function when temptations are present.

Call us today or reach out online to learn more about how we can help your teen start on their road to recovery.