Drugs & Health Blog

Marijuana Withdrawal Is Real

The NIDA Blog Team

On this blog, we often get comments from people claiming that marijuana isn’t addictive. A lot of people seem to think marijuana is different from other drugs. Unfortunately, it’s not the case: Just like with other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), you can get addicted to marijuana—especially if you use it during your teen years.

Dependence vs. Addiction

Drug "dependence" means needing a drug to feel physically okay. If a person is dependent on a drug, having enough of a supply is always important to them. However, being dependent doesn’t necessarily mean they’re addicted. For example, many people can be dependent on a medication prescribed by their doctor without being addicted to it.

The difference is that people who are addicted start to think about the drug all the time and make it a larger priority than other things in their life. They often make bad decisions that work against their health and their overall well-being. In the case of a medication, they may start to abuse it (use it differently than how the doctor prescribed): taking more of it, or crushing it and injecting it. Or in the case of a drug like marijuana, they'll be unable to stop using it even though it's causing problems with school, a job, or relationships. People with an addiction are often unable to see—or admit—that this is happening.

That Bad Feeling …

… is called withdrawal. A person with drug dependence will experience withdrawal if they completely stop using the drug all at once. Withdrawal is what leads a lot of people who are addicted to a drug to relapse—meaning, they've tried to quit, but they start taking the drug again.

A new study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine shows that teens who use marijuana heavily can experience withdrawal when they stop using it. In a study of teens receiving drug abuse treatment at an outpatient clinic, nearly half of them (40 percent) experienced symptoms of withdrawal when they stopped using marijuana.

Not Just a Crummy Day

From portrayals in movies and on TV of people addicted to heroin, people have an image of drug withdrawal as sweating, shaking, and being curled up in bed with unbearable pain. Marijuana withdrawal is a lot more subtle, but every bit as real.

The main mental symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:

  • Being irritable
  • Feeling anxious or worried
  • Feeling depressed
  • Being restless
  • Having trouble sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day
  • Having low appetite or losing weight

Some people having marijuana withdrawal might not realize it. Some of the symptoms just contribute to being in a lousy mood, and it’s often easy to blame that feeling on other people annoying you or just having a bad day. You can also have physical symptoms like:

  • Stomach pain
  • Sweatiness
  • Shakiness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache

More Use = More Problems

The longer a person uses marijuana, the more likely they are to have withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t using it. In the Journal of Addiction Medicine study, teens who had marijuana withdrawal symptoms were more likely than other marijuana users to have problems like difficulties at school or at work or trouble with relationships or money. They were also more likely to have other signs of marijuana dependence and mood disorders like depression.

And teen users who suffer marijuana withdrawal are more likely to experience marijuana addiction than adults. One in six teens who try marijuana will get addicted to it, and that goes up to as many as one-half of teens who use it every day. 

If you’re worried you may have a problem with marijuana or any other drug, this page may help answer your questions and let you know what to do to get help.

Tell us in the comments: Do you know any regular marijuana users who stop using marijuana and experience the withdrawal symptoms described in this post?

To learn more about marijuana, check out the blog posts “Secondhand Marijuana Smoke?” and “What’s Wrong With ‘Medical Marijuana’?”

Categories: 
Marijuana
Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

Comments

No, you just need some herb.
You need help not him he has a very good point
no, you need help. there was no good point made.
You need education.
this is so sad
You're literally reinforcing what this guy just said. If you want to help someone, or feel that what they are doing is wrong, then present your argument, but when you use vague and passive-aggressive terms like "you need help," all you do is push people away and reject any possible reason from other viewpoints. While in the same way I cannot tell you to live your life in the way that you cannot tell this person to live his, just know that you are passing up on the opportunity to learn from the point of view of someone with a different mindset and set of experiences from your own. That's how we learn and grow.
Yea i cant sleep
It's RUDE AS HELL,to start out with "HA"!!! And no one person is the same!! Mary is all I've ever had and got myself into some bs so called trouble, and now I have to give it up!! It's been 3 days and I've had sweats,mood changes,app issues. O how can I forget this one "NOT A SOUL THAT TAKES ME SERIOUSLY"!!! BECAUSE IT'S MARY!! I'VE BEEN USING MY CHILDREN AND THINKING OF WAT MAY HAPPEN TO "THEM" IF I POP DIRTY TO GET THRU THIS!! & AGAIN IT'S ONLY BEEN 3DAYS!! SO BE MINDFUL OF OTHERS ON THIS SITE AND WAT THEY MAY BE GOING THRU!! & LIKE THIS PERSON THAT SAID YOU NEED HELP!! YOU DO OR YOU DON'T! U BE THE JUDGE!!
It's clear. There is no help for you. God gave man all seed bearing plants on earth to use. You must b lost.
No, you need help.
You need to realise it's their life, not yours, you need help to not be so judgey
you need help
He doesn't need help. Just like he said, your one of them brainwashed people. Reefer madness! Watch out
so do you
I have smoked for 26 years i have never had any detox symptoms you people are crazy....even in the bible states that man has dominion over all seed bearing herbs and fruit bearing trees..see Gen.19
lol, I see what you are trying to say but you have to consider that everyone will be affected differently when trying to detox from marijuana. Right now I am detoxing after smoking for 9 years and let me tell you, I am definitely experiencing some uncomfortable feelings. I smoked every single day and I've been sweating constantly, headaches, stomach ache and no significant appetite at all. It's been two days. I never feel like this, so in this case I will definitely say that withdrawal symptoms are realer than many people think.
Shut your booty up anonymous i dont care if you're joking or not!
She doesn't need help. She is absolutely right. You are just ignorant.
I agree.
Every day for 26 years. Withdrawals are minor to none existent. I quit 3 weeks ago, just to see if I could. Reefer Madness continues. Simple minds...
I think you need help to help others from needing your "help"
Turn your finger around and put it up your nose :)
The man is right pharmaceutical companies and alcohol companies as well as prison unions and police unions are paying top dollar to make sure Marijuana is illegal. Everything is a lie on marijuana fed propoganda that scares people from it i know this personally because i almost died from allergic reactions to my shlew of prescription drugs i was prescribed as a kid and marijuana is the only natural substance that does help with my anxiety and adhd. Marijuana is not Crack. There is no addiction but only a mindset. It's no longer taboo people need to get over it and accept it the green is on the rise. Legalize
Do you ever think that these "withdrawal symptoms" might be medical issues that people are using marijuana to treat, knowingly or not, and after stopping smoking, these issues simply resurface? Loss of appetite (the reason I smoke) will obviously occur if you've been increasing your appetite with cannabis and then suddenly stop, and this applies to all of the other "symptoms". It seems to me that anyone belonging to this goverment-funded organization might find it very helpful to smoke a blunt to calm down then quit and see how hard it is.
hahaha love it
I've quit weed many times in the last 30 years... periods from a few days to many years. Weed has its place in my life, a permanent place, but not a daily ongoing place. I've had insomnia that has lasted 2 nights, and that's as bad as it's got. Beware the narc bashers that can't differentiate between herb and heroin... or indeed maybe the haters could just stop those horrible smokes, coffees, beers and sugars. Having given them all up over the decades, caffeine is the toughest, followed by nicotine... that pesticide, those solvents... lol. Just don't believe the hype.
No you need help. Be more open to perspective
I don't think this is a website for people to call out people and tell them "you need help", you are not in position to do so. Everyone is affected by marijuana very differently and it also really depends on the kind of person using it. If you're someone who uses marijuana regularly and are able to maintain the balance of your everyday life including, school, work, social activities, family etc., then I really do not see an issue with using it. Whereas, if it is damaging your health, then maybe think about stopping. This decision is really up to the person.

NIDA is concerned about marijuana use among teens, whose brains are still developing. There is clear research on this issue. A growing body of evidence shows that using marijuana can cause cognitive, memory, and learning issues—especially for people who begin using it at a young age. Research suggests that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains. A study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed a profound deficit in connections between the brain areas responsible for learning and memory.
Learn more about how the brain works and what happens when a person uses drugs, at this link: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction. And check out how the brain responds to marijuana at this link: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana#how-does-marijuana-affe....

When a loved one of mine was in rehab, we were told it takes approximately three months for marajuana to completely leave your system.
This wld vary based on the amount you smoke, how often you smoke, how long you've been smoking at this rate, and how much fluids and diuretics you drink on average
weed makes you dumb lazy and tired
that's funny because I just graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and have been smoking weed daily for the past 3 years while maintaining 2 different jobs on top of being an athletic trainer at my school and still having a social life. so no it does not make you dumb or lazy. you get tired yes, that's just one of the effects that naturally comes with smoking certain types of weed.
If you quit smoking you'll achieve even more in life. You have to be ready though. Forced quitting doesn't work. I smoked for 12 years, college grad, decent 50k a year job. I thought I was the example of how smoking pot doesn't impact your life. Now that I'm cleared headed my relations w/ women are more fulfilling, my friendships feel more real, and I'm studying to become a dentist. Hope you join normal society one day, if you can do that well with weed you'll be a huge asset once you're sober!! --Brandon P
You mean undergrad? I would assume so with a 50k job
U said it all. Smoking reduces d quality of ur life. I've turned to Jesus. I heard he is a much better option.
Yes He is!
Shame he ain't real
Actually since I started smoking weed I become atheist
We are all created with a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only Jesus can fill. Happy for you that you're on a better path!!
AMEN .IM FIGHTING A BATTLE MYSELF.I MADE A DECISION TO QUIT TWO DAYS NOW,,AND ITS HARD MY MOOD IS SO IN MY WAY...MY WIFE FEELS I DONT WANT TO BE WITH HER...WHY! I CANT EAT LIKE I USED TO.. I FEEL TIRED SLEEPY ECT I NEED TO CHANGE MY LIFE .. THE REASON OF ME STOPING IS TO BETTER MYSELF AND BE A BETTER HUSBAND TO MY WIFE ..BUT LIKE I SAID IT HAS GOTTEN WORST SINCE I STOP..WHAT IS A MAN TO DO
ANTHONY I am a wife I got on here because I needed a answer of what was going on with my husband. I TRULY ADORE HIM WITH ALL MY HEART AND FEEL HE IS NOT WANTING ME ANYMORE!!! I BEEN WATCHING HIS PATTERN AND HE DOESNT HAVE ANY OR EITHER HE IS TRYING TO SLOW DOWN.. HE WAS VERY ATTENTIVE TO ME AND LOVED BEING ALIVE AND FOR US TO GO PLACES AND LAUGH TOGETHER NOW IM ALONE HE IN ONE ROOM AND ME IN ANOTHER HE SLEEPS ALL DAY BECAUSE OF THE DEPRESSION AND PAIN ALL OVER HIS BODY,,,PLEASE CHANGE FOR YOU AND YOUR WIFE ITS SO WORTH IT...GOD CAN DO ANYHING YOU ASK...
AMEN!!!! MINISER GIGI
That's amazing!
Ok and
I did even better than you at school and uni and i passed cpa on first attempt .. but later in life i had pannic attacks and my memory became very bad and i had depreesion, anxiety, social phobia .. marijuana was the main cause
I'm sorry to tell ya but high school is not really something to base difficulty or competency on. I graduated with honors at my high school 3.8 gpa and an athlete and worked 25 hours a week since sophomore year of high school. I went into college thinking that I could smoke and do all the daily tasks of being an adult and a full time student but I was sadly mistaken. The more and longer you use marijuana especially before the age of 18 the more likely you are to have significant cognitive decline by 30(And it's been proven heavily recently) I quit smoking a week ago today because I start my next semester at college, but it isn't easy and I'm a very strong individual who has a lot of control over herself but the addiction was real and I didn't realize exactly the severity till I felt a decline and grogginess to me I had developed sometime my first semester. I'm also a psych major and with an intended focus on substance abuse in young adults... . Don't believe all the mumbojumbo some marijuana advocating websites(cheech and Chong/stoner cookbook) say about weed and its long term effects.
Be careful though. I also graduated high school and college in the top 10 percent of my class while smoking weed every day. I agree that it doesn't make you dumb, and as long as you have responsibilities and stay active physically the laziness/low energy won't being too much of a factor. But as you get older you'll see that the weed doesn't help as much as it used to and when you need to kick it for a job or something, it will be a humbling experience. I know you were just commenting on a fairly ridiculous statement, but I've own others with similar stories (including myself) think that they can maintain a super active lifestyle while smoking every day, and they eventually had to face their addiction in uncomfortable ways.
Carry on smoking it for another 15years and you will change your tune! Your obviously quite bright from what you said of your achievements but you lack any life knowledge as you are to young and have not been smoking it long enough Quit while you can, I quit heroin 13years ago and the strain on my mind was less than it is with weed!!! It's green smack!!! That's what it is!
Weed makes you dumb lazy and tired ? Or is that just you?

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