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Marijuana Withdrawal Question

  • Matthew Jackson Asks ...
    Matthew Jackson

    I’ve been smoking weed for 10 years now and I cant seem to give this shit up. Man I’ve so lectured so many people over the years about weeds non addictiveness that I cant believe I’m admitting to this now but after the last few weeks I’ve had I have to accept that I’m addicted.

    My girlfriends been nagging me to quit forever and I have to admit that smoking bowls all day and into the night has kept me kind of stuck in a crap job that sucks so badly that the only way I can face it everyday is with a little wake and bake to get me in the truck. Anyway finally got sick of always being broke after smoking up the paycheck and to be honest weed wasn’t doing what it used to for me anyway so I decided to just give it up.

    The first day wasn’t too bad but by after work I was starting to feel really grumpy and kind of sick to my stomach and that night my mind was just spinning like crazy and I got zero sleep. By next morning on the way to work I was flipping out and kind of panicking at the thought of walking through the doors and facing all those asshats and if I don’t smoke before I get on site I have no chance to do it for hours so I said screw it and fired up.

    Anyway I’ve tried twice more since then and I’ve never made it past like 48 hours. I feel like crap, anxious, kind of nauseous and most of all CANT SLEEP AT ALL. Also I’m pretty nasty to be around as I get kind of mean and I cant seem to stop myself from being a jerk!

    I’ve always considered myself a tough guy but this has got me beat and I have to work like 6 days a week and I cant work while I’m feeling like this. How can I quit using if it makes me feel so bad? Are there any medications or anything like that that can help me quit?

  • Dr. David Sack Says ...
    Dr. David Sack

    When people use marijuana chronically it is stored in the fat cells in the body and is released slowly over and extended period of time. Most people do not experience the withdrawal symptoms as quickly as you do – it may take 7 days to 2 weeks for the full withdrawal pattern to emerge. Common symptoms are the ones you described: insomnia irritability, restlessness, loss of appetitive, poor concentration, and intense urges to get high on marijuana again. There are no specific medications that have been studied for marijuana withdrawal. However, many people benefit from supportive therapy, which may include sleeping medication, meditation, and group therapy during the withdrawal and early treatment period.

    The other thing that becomes clear is that many people who start abusing marijuana at an early age don’t realize they are using it to mask other psychological problems. As they withdraw these problems become more obvious, and they confuse the withdrawal symptoms with these other psychological issues. It may take more than 30 days to fully clear marijuana from the body in people who’ve been using it chronically. At that point you can be assessed by a physician or psychiatrist to determine if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

    We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people admitting to rehab for marijuana rather than other drugs. This is due to the increase in active cannabinoids that have been cultivated by growers specifically to make marijuana more powerful. The active drug content in marijuana today is about five times greater than in the 1970s.  The discomfort you experience during withdrawal can be managed in a residential treatment environment, or in an outpatient setting if you have a strong support system to help you resist the impulsive urges to use marijuana to ameliorate withdrawal symptoms.