Some people like to think that there are no side effects when stopping to smoke weed. However, like many other drugs, cannabis withdrawals do convey a fair amount of uncomfortable symptoms. 

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the amazingness of the cannabis plant. In fact, weed has so many benefits and soothing sensations to offer. Casual users usually do not encounter any significant side effects when they don’t smoke weed however, regular smokers usually do. 

Even though physiological and mental symptoms tend to be stronger in the withdrawal from opioids and alcohol, sensations that arise from quitting weed are quite notable. 

You see, the body gets used to anything you do or consume regularly. Taking it away suddenly will affect one’s physical, emotional and behavioural well-being. In fact, cannabis withdrawal syndrome, however not life-threatening, is classified as a mental disorder.

But what causes cannabis withdrawal? As time passes, your brain develops a stronger tolerance to THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. At that point, to a certain extent, your body is dependent on the THC to function. This process can be described as the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system (specifically the endocannabinoids system) becoming desensitized after repeated interactions with the same substance.

However, the same can’t be said with cannabidiol also known as CBD. It has no psychotropic effects, unlike THC, and doesn’t directly interact with the endocannabinoid receptors, either. Daily usage of CBD won’t therefore create discomfort when you stop using it. 

The most commons symptoms of withdrawal are: 

  • irritability : from mild annoyance to irrational aggression 
  • sleep troubles: insomnia, nightmares and night sweats 
  • headaches: usually three days after stopping quitting 
  • flu-like symptoms: profuse sweating 
  • anxiety and/or depression: loss of interest, paranoia, sadness 

The length of withdrawal can vary from one person to another. The first two weeks are usually the worst then symptoms start to decline until they disappear usually around week 4 for heavy smokers. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to alleviate the discomfort. 

  • Water : keep yourself hydrated 
  • Work out : sweat the toxins accumulated from cannabis out for about 30 minutes a day. 
  • Eat healthy : you will most likely want to compensate for the lack of weed by eating sugary and fatty food. This type of diet will only worsen the symptoms of withdrawal. Try to substitute your cravings with fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Mindfulness exercises : cope with your anxiety with healthy techniques like yoga, meditation, relaxation or breathing exercises. 
  • Sleep rituals: try to sleep around the same time every night. This will help normalize your body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Ask for help: don’t hesitate to ask for help from people around you whether they are friends, family, therapists or doctors. 

Coping with cannabis withdrawal symptoms isn’t easy but it definitely is manageable. Even though we advocate for cannabis, we hope those tips will help your journey towards a life without it! 

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