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What Happens During Marijuana Withdrawal?

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Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

The effects of being without marijuana when marijuana addiction is in effect causes a variety of in marijuana withdrawal symptoms depending on how much and how often you smoke. Frequent users will begin to notice some symptoms within the first eight hours and may continue to experience symptoms anywhere from 10 to 45 days. Uncontrollable cravings for the drug coupled with difficulty in managing behavior and emotions are the basic indicators of a marijuana detox.

Marijuana users may experience a few or all of the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stomach pain, nausea, physical tension
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bizarre dreams
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shakes, mild sweats or chills

Individuals with co-occurring mental illnesses or behavioral issues are prone to more intense symptoms during withdrawal and are more likely to relapse in a frantic attempt to self-medicate.

The Causes of Withdrawal

The one thing nearly all addictive substances have in common is the ability to produce an exaggerated sense of euphoria by acting on dopamine neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. In other words, it’s easy to get hooked on these drugs because they make you feel good. The problem is, once an external stimulus has been introduced, it replaces the body’s natural manufacturing, which eventually shuts down altogether. Sudden absence of the drug in the same quantity or frequency results in exaggerated dysphoria-the exact opposite of what happens when the drug is present in the body-also known as withdrawal symptoms.


While there are ongoing studies to determine whether medications can successfully contribute to treating marijuana addiction, no conclusive evidence has yet to be submitted. The tried and true methods for stopping the cycle of addiction include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Multi-systemic Therapy (MST)
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Support groups

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seeks to examine assumptions, thoughts, and feelings that affect personal beliefs and lead to unhealthy reactions. Clients might be asked to journal responses to specific events, analyze personal belief systems, practice new methods of interaction, and increase exposure to previously fearful activities.

Multi-systemic Therapy focuses primarily on adolescents exhibiting antisocial and disruptive behaviors and involves family, friends, teachers, and community in order to craft an environment both sympathetic and supportive of the individual in need.

Individual counseling addresses core issues essential to understanding the root cause for an individual’s addiction. Examples might include stress management, low self-esteem, difficulty with relationships, and past or current abuse.

Group counseling encourages feedback from other participants along with social bonding through shared storytelling, role playing, support, guidance, and observation. It’s also a great opportunity to practice new skills and behaviors before bringing them out into the world.

Support groups provide a platform for individuals to share past and present experiences with an understanding audience and a chance to form supportive social networks outside of drug rehab.

Treatment at The Michael’s House Treatment Center

Michael’s House has a strong, clinically based marijuana addiction treatment program addressing all aspects of an individual’s chemical dependency, psychiatric and emotional needs. Upon admission, each client is assessed by an internist, addictionologist and a psychiatrist, and then monitored throughout their stay in treatment.

Michael’s House’s approach to healing for individuals is a balanced approach that addresses chemical dependency and mental health issues, provides individual and group therapy, promotes immersion in 12-step recovery work and self help support groups, and provides introduction to a variety of mindfulness and spiritual philosophies and practices to enhance personal spiritual connection and personal growth.

If you’re ready to try out a new way of life without marijuana, call us at Michael’s House today.