36.7% of people (aged 16 to 59) who use cannabis say that they are frequent users. This number has dropped over the years, although there has been some fluctuation. According to a government survey, 46% of people who reported having used cannabis in the last month said that they used it less than once a week, whereas 25% reported using it daily or almost daily. Many people believe that while cannabis can be psychologically addictive, it is not physically addictive. However, experts say that this is a myth and that marijuana is both physically and psychologically addictive.
People who regularly use cannabis and may be wanting to stop using it should be aware that they can experience issues with cannabis withdrawal. Weed withdrawal can cause a number of different issues, including anxiety, irritability, a low mood, impaired social functioning, and a loss of appetite. Addictive behaviour relating to cannabis use can take longer to begin compared to the use of other addictive substances, which is why some people believe that it is not physically addictive. However, it’s important to recognise that marijuana withdrawal symptoms are real and can have real consequences. The symptoms might not be as severe as with some other types of drug withdrawal, but they should still be taken seriously.
What Is Cannabis Withdrawal?
Cannabis withdrawal occurs when someone who has been a frequent user of cannabis stops using it. Withdrawal is the process that the body and mind experiences after someone stops taking an addictive substance. In the case of cannabis, this is how the body is reacting to no longer having higher levels of THC in the bloodstream. Removing the cannabis means that the body has to adjust, causing withdrawal symptoms. There has been debate over whether quitting cannabis leads to withdrawal symptoms, but experts have concluded that it should be recognised. There is recognition of cannabis withdrawal symptoms in the UK and options for treatment for both addiction and withdrawal.
Weed Withdrawal Symptoms
There are various weed withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced by someone who is no longer taking cannabis. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms can include both psychological and physical effects.
Some of the symptoms that you might find on a marijuana withdrawal checklist include:
- Marijuana withdrawal nausea
- Moodiness and irritability
- Lack of appetite or finding it hard to eat
- Sweating and shaking
Some people also wonder about the risk of cannabis withdrawal psychosis. Psychosis is something that can occur with alcohol withdrawal, and there is also an increased risk of experienced symptoms of psychosis while using marijuana. Research has found a link between the use of cannabis and schizophrenia or psychosis. Psychosis involves experiencing or believing things that others don’t and is one symptom of schizophrenia, but experiencing psychosis doesn’t necessarily mean that you have schizophrenia. It can also be a symptom of other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, or it might not indicate a particular mental illness.
As well as cannabis use being linked to psychosis, there have been cases of marijuana withdrawal psychosis. As with other withdrawal symptoms, this is an issue that may only last a short while after quitting cannabis, but it is still a serious symptom. In 2018, there were more than 30,000 A+E admissions relating to mental or behavioural disorders linked to cannabis in England. This represents a 50% increase in the previous five years.
Another issue that needs to be considered when it comes to cannabis and its withdrawal, in addition to cannabis withdrawal and psychosis, is that people may be using stronger strains of marijuana, and may be smoking it mixed with other drugs. Some people smoke cannabis together with tobacco, which means that they can also become dependent on nicotine, while others may use cannabis laced with stronger substances.
What Is the Cannabis Withdrawal Scale?
The cannabis withdrawal scale is a way of measuring dependence and withdrawal related to cannabis use. There are different versions of this available, but it is essentially a marijuana withdrawal checklist that assesses people’s symptoms. This includes asking about cravings, physical symptoms and psychological symptoms that people quitting cannabis might experience. The scale is used by health professionals to assess people when they have stopped taking weed to measure their cannabis withdrawal in the UK and elsewhere.
THC Withdrawal Treatment
Treatment for addiction to cannabis can also deal with the symptoms of withdrawal and make them easier to manage. Assistance with marijuana addiction includes THC withdrawal treatment so that people can improve their chances of success. Weed withdrawal symptoms in the UK can make it difficult for people to successfully stop using drugs. It’s difficult to maintain willpower against cravings and both physical and psychological symptoms, which can push people to change their mind and go back to using cannabis. Almost 55,000 people in England were receiving support for cannabis use, about 20% of people by the drug used.
Receiving treatment for cannabis addiction and cannabis withdrawal syndrome in the UK can be difficult when relying on NHS services. Residential addiction services in England have been cut by a third over six years. However, there are addiction services available to help people who are struggling with cannabis addiction and with managing the symptoms of withdrawal.
When hash withdrawal symptoms are a risk, as with any type of withdrawal, it’s best to seek the right treatment. Being able to experience withdrawal with the right support and in the right environment ensures that patients can begin addiction recovery in the best place. The detox period when someone first stops using a substance can be the most critical, so having professional support can make a significant difference to their success. Accessing addiction treatment and rehab services gives people the support that they need.
If you or a friend or relative is struggling to stop using cannabis, in-patient treatment could help. Professional treatment combines different types of therapy and counselling to help address the addiction, withdrawal and any underlying causes or codependent health conditions that might be present.