Does Cannabis Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?
If you’ve been consuming cannabis and you want to stop for some reason (either permanently or just to take a temporary break) you might be wondering if there are withdrawal symptoms you’ll have to contend with. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question, as everyone experiences a cannabis cut-off differently and the reported effects are wide-ranging.
Widespread anecdotal accounts tell of cannabis users quitting cold turkey and experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms for several days or even weeks. However, these stories in no way mirror the kind of painful, sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that people detoxing their bodies of alcohol, cocaine, or other hard drugs experience.
As scientific interest in cannabis expands, we’re learning more about how much is true in regards to any withdrawal symptoms we can suffer after we stop smoking marijuana. For example, a 2014 study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that 40% of their teenage subjects experienced withdrawal symptoms after they stopped using cannabis. The researchers said the teenagers who had marijuana withdrawal symptoms were more likely to have trouble concentrating, interacting with others, and experience drastic mood swings.
In light of such findings, physicians and researchers now generally agree that possible symptoms of cannabis withdrawal include:
Shakiness or twitching
Increased or decreased sex drive
Tremors or muscle spasms
Insomnia at night
Tiredness during the day
Headaches or migraines
Being irritable, angry, or aggressive
Feeling anxious, nervous, or worried
Restless mind or trouble concentrating
Keep in mind that whether you experience withdrawal symptoms also depends on how long, the frequency, and reasons why you were consuming cannabis in the first place. People who only use cannabis occasionally for recreation experience a reduction in their marijuana use differently than those who have to use it daily for a medical condition. So if you’re about to stop smoking cannabis, there is a definite chance you’ll experience some uncomfortable (though not debilitating or harmful) withdrawal symptoms.