What causes Marijuana withdrawal?

Marijuana’s withdrawal signs and symptoms are associated with the way the body stores the THC molecules (the active chemicals in marijuana). THC is stored in the fat cells and therefore it takes a longer to fully cleanse the body of THC, unlike other common drugs. This means that some parts of the body still retain THC even after a couple of months, rather than just the couple of days or weeks for water soluble drugs. In other words, as long as the drug is still stored in the body, the addict starts craving for the drug.

Symptoms of Marijuana withdrawal

Marijuana abuse can lead to dependence and withdrawal upon cessation of use. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression

Duration of marijuana withdrawal

People who use marijuana frequently often report signs and symptoms of irritability, mood swings, sleep difficulties, depression, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and different forms of physical discomfort. These symptoms usually appear within 24 hours after the addict quit taking the drug and they generally peak in intensity after 1 to 2 weeks.

Getting treatment in a rehab facility can help the user cope with this stage. After this stage is over, the withdrawal symptoms start to fade and the addict can go back to his normal life.


Marijuana withdrawal timeline

The most common symptom of withdrawal is considered insomnia. This symptom can last for a few nights, up to a few months. The next most common symptom is depression, and next are nightmares and vivid dreams. Marijuana use tends to dampen the dreaming mechanism, so that when you do get clean the dreams come back with a crash. They can be highly emotional dreams or nightmares. Some patients even wake up and then they come back to the same dream at night. They last for about a month at most and then taper off. “Using” dreams (dreams involving the use of marijuana) are very common. They are not as vivid or emotional as at first, but they can last for years and are just considered a normal part of recovery.

The fourth most common symptom is considered the violent behavior. This can range from a slow burning rage to constant irritability to sudden bursts of anger when least expected: anger at the world, anger at loved ones, anger at oneself, anger at being an addict and having to get clean. Emotional jags are very common, with emotions bouncing back and forth between depression, anger, and euphoria.