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  • Take the First Step in Las Vegas

    Desert Hope is a beautiful oasis with modern charm located in Las Vegas, Nevada. We provide all levels of care from detox, in-patient, outpatient and sober living.

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  • A New Life Awaits

    Start your recovery at our spa-like facility in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Holistic therapies, chef-prepared meals, and LGBTQ+ support are among the many features of our premier drug and alcohol treatment program.

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  • The Best Place to Recover in Orange County

    Laguna Treatment Hospital is located in Orange County, CA. The first Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital in the OC, we offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.

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  • Start Recovery at Our Southern Resort

    Take a step back from your life and get the help you need at our premier drug and alcohol addiction center. Nestled in the countryside 1.5 hours from Memphis, Oxford gives you the support you need in a calm and beautiful setting.

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  • Recovery Forecast includes Tropical Weather

    Your recovery can start at either of two premier drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the Greater Miami area - Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, FL. Our specialties include treatment for veterans and first responders.

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    Retreat to the sunny climate of Tampa, Florida for a stay at the gold standard of treatment facilities. We offer customized care plans to help you on your recovery journey.

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  • Helping New Englanders Find Recovery for Over 30 years

    Escape to the countryside to recovery in New Jersey’s premier drug rehab & treatment center. Located only an hour from New York City.

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Marijuana Detox & Withdrawal

marijuana_jointAs laws on marijuana use become increasingly relaxed, so do society’s attitudes on use of the drug. In 2017 alone, 15 million Americans used marijuana, including nearly 36% of all high school seniors.1

Many people assume that the drug has little to no addictive potential and may be unaware of the distinct risk of withdrawal when use stops.  However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 30% of people who use marijuana show signs of addiction, and the drug is indeed associated with the potential for physical dependence.1

Does Quitting Marijuana Cause Withdrawal?

One of the cornerstone features of physical dependence is the emergence of withdrawal symptoms when use ends or is drastically reduced. As significant marijuana dependence may develop with consistent use, people can, in fact, experience withdrawal symptoms while detoxing from it.

Marijuana withdrawal is more likely to occur after a period of use that is both heavy and prolonged (e.g., several months of near daily to daily use).2

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:3,4

  • Anxiety.
  • Depressed mood.
  • Irritability
  • Anger and/or aggressive behavior.
  • Insomnia.
  • Bad/strange dreams.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Headache.
  • Fever, chills, and sweating.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Tremor.

Though, in general, the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal may not be as severe as those associated with other substances such as opioids, alcohol, and sedatives, some health risks may arise. Withdrawal from synthetic cannabinoids (Spice/K2) may and include relatively more severe symptoms such as rapid heart rate and seizures.5

How Long Does It Take to Detox?

The timeline for marijuana withdrawal is likely to vary from person to person. 3 In general, withdrawal symptoms may present within approximately 24 hours of the last use and peak around the 3-day mark.3  Many symptoms will diminish significantly within 2 weeks.2   Others, such as sleep problems, may persist for months after use ends.6

Those with preexisting conditions that detoxing could aggravate, such as depression or severe anxiety, may be most at-risk and may see their symptoms worsen with withdrawal.4 These people may benefit from getting some form of professional help as they detox from marijuana.

Is Medical Detox Necessary?

Medical detox involves professional medical support throughout the withdrawal process to ensure the individual’s safety and comfort. Substance detox may take place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting.7

Inpatient or residential detox is often recommended for people at risk of serious or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. While withdrawal management for marijuana may not always necessitate medical detox interventions, if people have been abusing marijuana in combination with other substances (like alcohol, opioids, or cocaine) or if they suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders, they may benefit from the extra support from more intensive services.7

During inpatient detox, the person lives at the center for the duration of treatment to support recovery, keep the patient comfortable, and have access to medical care should any complications arise.7

Outpatient detoxes, on the other hand, may involve the person presenting for scheduled appointments to receive supervision and guidance from a treatment team.7 These options are more appropriate for people detoxing from drugs associated with less severe withdrawal syndromes who have no co-occurring disorders.

If you or someone you love is unsure which type of detox is appropriate, a doctor or addiction specialist can help you map out your treatment plan.

Are Medications Used?

Detoxes often use medicines along with therapy to aid the process, but there are no current medications designed to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal from cannabis; however, medical professionals may prescribe other medications to relieve specific withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety.2

Not all people require medication to cope with withdrawal symptoms, but some level support is a huge benefit for anyone going through withdrawal. Professional help, be it inpatient or outpatient, can help you stay on track, provide encouragement, and help you transition into a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

Myth: Marijuana Isn’t Addictive

There is a prevailing societal perception that marijuana is not addictive, but addiction to weed may be a reality for some people as they struggle to manage their use even when they find themselves suffering from negative consequences, such as declining health, job loss, etc., as a result.

Rather than using the term “addiction,” many experts refer to unmanageable marijuana use as a cannabis use disorder. Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed 4 million Americans met criteria for a cannabis use disorder (CUD) in 2015 with 15 million people using the substance in the last year.1 People who begin using in their youth (teenage years or earlier) are 4 to 7 times more likely than adults to develop a cannabis use disorder.1 Signs include:3

  • Using more marijuana over the longer period than planned.
  • Not handling major life responsibilities like going to work, caring for the family, and maintaining a home because of your marijuana use.
  • Continuing to use marijuana, even when it leads to conflict with your loved ones, physical health issues, and mental health problems.

Someone regularly using marijuana does not necessarily have a cannabis use disorder. Watch for signs that their marijuana use is hurting them (e.g., causing legal problems, professional issues, and relationship conflict.) If they continue to have problems caused by their drug use but don’t cut back or quit, they may have a problem that requires treatment.3

For someone suffering from an addiction to any substance, detox is only the first step in a longer journey of getting sober. Marijuana detox should be followed by therapy in an inpatient or outpatient program, as well as participation in some form of recovery group. At Desert Hope, we offer all levels of care from detox to sober living. If you’re ready to find treatment for a loved one or yourself, we can help.

References:

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Marijuana.
  2. Patel J, Marwaha R. Cannabis Use Disorder. [Updated 2019 Jun 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  4. Bonnet, U., & Preuss, U. W. (2017). The cannabis withdrawal syndrome: current insights. Substance abuse and rehabilitation8, 9–37. 
  5. Cooper Z. D. (2016). Adverse Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids: Management of Acute Toxicity and Withdrawal. Current psychiatry reports18(5), 52.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Protracted Withdrawal.
  7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment.