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Marijuana Withdrawal and Treatment

Public attitudes about marijuana use are growing more favorable, but many people still don’t understand the risks associated with the drug. For some people, marijuana is addictive and for many others dependence on the drug causes withdrawal symptoms and problems meeting responsibilities.

In fact, people commonly receive treatment for marijuana use – behind alcohol it is the second most common substance leading people to treatment. Possibly because marijuana use seems less serious to some, the majority of marijuana admissions come from court and legal referrals. Courts often refer teens and young adults caught using the drug to treatment as a way to educate them about the drug and encourage different behavior.[1]

People addicted or dependent on marijuana benefit from treatment for a variety of reasons. For someone addicted to the drug, treatment offers alternatives: skills training to find other ways to fight stress and anxiety and psychological therapies that offer methods to fight boredom and create meaning.[2]

Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal

When people use marijuana on a regular basis, even if for recreational purposes, they build a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance develops when a person’s body adjusts to a substance and it takes more and more of it for the person to feel the same effects or achieve the same high. Someone dependent on marijuana in this way commonly experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop the drug. Symptoms include irritability, trouble sleeping, difficulty controlling emotions, lower appetite, drug cravings and restlessness. For most people symptoms are at their worst in the first week and last up to two weeks. Addiction treatment programs give people in withdrawal strong support and psychological therapies to move through the withdrawal period without reverting back to drug use.[3]

The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies according to the amount of marijuana a person usually takes and the length of time he used the drug. Patients who do experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may receive medication to ease symptoms. For most, marijuana detox shouldn’t last longer than a week.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

After patients complete marijuana detox and overcome most withdrawal symptoms, they begin treatment. Finishing detox first allows patients to more completely focus on therapy. Active treatment includes a variety of therapies and support groups to help patients manage the psychological, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of marijuana addiction. It also offers relapse prevention techniques that help patients maintain sobriety when they leave treatment.

Fortunately, marijuana addictions are less severe than other types of addictions. For people addicted to multiple substances, such as marijuana along with alcohol or cocaine, patients may need a longer-term treatment. It’s also common for marijuana users to suffer with a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. Treating a patient’s mental health and addiction issues at the same time offers better results. Many patients respond well to medications that treat mental health problems and find their cravings for marijuana are reduced.[4] Research links marijuana use to a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, although it is unclear if marijuana use brings on the condition or people use the drug because of a mental health issue.[5]

Importance of Support

Many try to quit using marijuana on their own; some succeed, and some don’t. One sign that a person needs treatment is when he attempts to quit using the drug and fails. In general, it’s not wise to quit using any drug without medical supervision, especially people who are addicted to more than one drug or people who have co-occurring medical or psychological disorders.

Treatment at The Canyon

The Canyon offers an all-inclusive marijuana rehab for men and women struggling with marijuana addiction. If you or someone you love could benefit from marijuana addiction treatment, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.


[1] Hughes, Arthur; Lipari, Rachel N.; & Williams, Matthew R. (2016). Marijuana Use and Perceived Risk of Harm from Marijuana Use Varies Within and Across States. The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality Report: National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2404/ShortReport-2404.html.

[2] Barclay, R. Sam. (2016). Marijuana Addiction Is Rare, but Very Real. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from http://www.healthline.com/health-news/marijuana-addiction-rare-but-real-072014#1.

[3] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Is marijuana addictive? Marijuana: Research Report Series. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive.

[4] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders. Marijuana: Research Report Series. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/available-treatments-marijuana-use-disorders.

[5] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders? Disorders. Marijuana: Research Report Series. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders.

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