Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms – Common Signs of Detox

Many regular and heavy pot smokers go through withdrawal when they first quit weed. The detox period tends to last between 10 days to a month, and is worst in the beginning. Quitting marijuana can produce both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.  The most common symptoms are discussed in detail below.

Anxiety and Restlessness – All dressed up and nowhere to smoke!

Anxiety is one of the biggest hurdles in the first couple weeks of quitting. The anxiety that is felt during quitting is usually minor relative to a full blown panic attack – but it is constant! You need to be prepared to deal with emotional and mental state you will be in for the first couple of weeks when you quit smoking. Some of you will know what I am talking about. I have searched through couch cushions, the garbage, and all of the other places just to find a roach or a little nugget to feel at peace. I describe it as missing something, and needing to get back to a stoned state so that you can relax again. You may notice you are holding a lot of tension and not breathing well in the first week. Keeping yourself busy will help some, but it won’t make this feeling go away.

Insomnia and Racing Thoughts

Insomnia is a big deal in the first couple days of not smoking cannabis. There have been times where I have not slept for a couple of days. This always passes. If smoking weed makes you relaxed and tired, not smoking can make you stress out and your mind race.  It can take a while for your sleeping patterns to get back to normal. Usually within a month you will have more regular sleep patterns and get a full nights sleep. It is important to keep a regular sleep / wake schedule when going through marijuana withdrawal.

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Vivid Dreams and Nightmares

As any pothead knows, marijuana seems to interfere with the dreaming mechanism of consciousness and either keeps you from dreaming, or keeps you from remembering them. When you give your body a break from marijuana, the dreams come back – and sometimes with a vengeance. If you haven’t dreamed in a weeks, months, or maybe even years, this aspect of marijuana withdrawal is very strange. Memories from years ago may resurface in dream form. I remember having a dream of classmates from high school that I hadn’t seen in over 10 years!

Nightmares are common when you go through marijuana withdrawal. These can be incredibly vivid and involve people and places you know. I have had several dreams where I thought the world was about to end and I have woken up in a sweat before.

Some people dream about marijuana, and some smoke marijuana in their dreams. This is completely normal and part of the detox process.

Loss of Appetite

One of the most common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal is a lack of appetite. This usually lasts for 3 to 4 days after the last time you smoke. You can almost think of it as the opposite of the munchies. Fast food doesn’t taste the same with Mary Jane!

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Don’t be surprised if your appetite shrinks, or that you aren’t interested in food for a couple days. You may even lose some weight when you go through cannabis withdrawal. The lack of appetite can be a part of a more general feeling of sickness that has been described as low-level flu like symptoms. Very few people report diarrhea or nausea, but it does exist for some of us.

When I quit smoking weed, my diet improved. I have experienced the loss of appetite, and even the runs during the first week of quitting.

The Sweats – Did someone turn up the heat?

This is one that I have experience only a couple of times after not having weed for few days. I think it caused from the stress, tension and anxiety of not smoking weed. I do know that after smoking (succumbing to temptation) the sweats disappear immediately. One trick when dealing with this, is to think of it as cleansing and that your body is cooking out the THC and your are speeding up your recovery. If you are going to get hot, might as well enjoy it!


by John A Mckee