Cannabis Marijuana Withdrawal
with Natural Remedies
© www.PeterSmithUK.com (updated 25 Feb. 14)
On this Page:
- Natural Remedies to Help Cannabis Withdrawal
- Insomnia & Sleeping Well without Cannabis
- Depression without Cannabis
- Stress, Irritability & Anger without Cannabis
- Withdrawal Headaches
- Passing a Cannabis Drug Test
- Getting High without Cannabis
- Is Cannabis Addictive
- Cannabis and Health | Harmful or Healthy?
- Does Cannabis Cause Mental Health Problems?
- Does Cannabis Damage Your Memory?
- Cannabis Can Damage the Teenage Brain
- Cannabis for Pain Medication
- Does Cannabis Cause or Cure Cancer?
- Should Cannabis Be Legal?
Natural Remedies to Help Cannabis Withdrawal
How to Sleeping Well without Cannabis
Cannabis has quite a profound effect on our sleep, it increases deep sleep but inhibits dreaming sleep, when you withdrawal cannabis.
Probably the most common withdrawal effect is insomnia, both difficulty with falling asleep and feeling unrested from excessive dreaming. In the first half of the night we go through waves of what is called deep sleep, during this phase of sleep it is believed we are principally rejuvenating our physical body; in the second half of the night we go through waves of what is called REM sleep, it is during this phase of sleep that we dream. In REM sleep our brain is in a very active and light form of sleep, during REM sleep our brain is integrating and updating things we have learnt and new experiences from the day into our existing memory banks, it has been observed that if you interrupt the dreaming sleep of rats that have just learned how to successfully navigate a maze they are unable to remember how to navigate the maze the following day; so good quality REM or dreaming sleep is important for learning new things both studying and becoming wiser from the experiences of daily life.
Cannabis deepens our overall sleep, so it may help us get off to sleep and encourages the deep sleep we need to rejuvenate our bodies in the first half of the night but unfortunately it tends to inhibit our brains ability to enter the light REM or dreaming sleep we do in the second half of the night, this is why people often notice that they no longer dream when they use cannabis.
Sleeping pills and alcohol help us fall asleep by sedating the brain but the way they do this interferes with the brains ability to enter into deep restful sleep so despite falling asleep we often don’t feel fully refreshed in the morning. Cannabis on the other hand helps us fall asleep and encourages deep refreshing sleep but it inhibits REM or dreaming sleep which is essential for learning and developing ourselves psychologically.
For many people the primarily reason they habitually use cannabis is because they have problems sleeping and it remedies this problem way better than Nytol herbal tea with the pleasant side effect of getting high feeling:-) I think if you can get mellow (high CBD low THC) cannabis it‘s a healthier and superior alternative to sleeping pills, but it’s not the best solution to sleeping better because like all drug approaches to sleep problems it interferes with the normal pattern of brains-waves that should occur when we sleep. If you think about it logically and intuitively it should be pretty obvious that there’s nothing cannabis will do to you to permanently cure the underlying causes of a sleep problem and however well it artificially tides you over unfortunately when you stop using not only will you find your original sleep problems haven’t gone away but your sleep physiology has habituated now habituated to the presence of cannabis and you cannot sleep without it. Even for people that did not have any sleep problems in the first place daily cannabis use can create a dependency and they experience insomnia when they stop. Long term chronic insomnia lasting years is often precipitated or set up by a bout of short term insomnia, this horrible consequence is a real risk for anyone giving up habitual cannabis use so go to town on re-establishing healthy natural sleep. You can do this by assisting the physiological processes that send us to sleep and replacing negative sleep blocking psychology with positive sleep promoting psychology.
In 2013 I published a book called Sleep Better with Natural Therapies in which I discuss how you can change all the important aspects of your sleep physiology and sleep psychology. We now know enough about all the key physiological changes that need to occur to make us sleep and with a few simple techniques we can influence and assist these processes to not only make us sleep better but even overcome stubborn insomnia.
Firstly there’s our internal biological clock, a tiny brain structure that orchestrates the timing daily sleep cycles. The biological clock sends out signals to our adrenal glands to coordinate a surge of the hormone cortisol that wakes us up and gives us energy in the morning and then steadily produce less cortisol as the day goes on allowing us to feel tired, sleepy and rest our system in the evening and while we sleep. The biological clock also sends signals to the pineal gland in the evening a couple of hours before we sleep to start to produce our natural sleep hormone melatonin. It’s actually believed that the primary biological signal that tells our brain it’s time to sleep is the subtle but significant drop in our internal core body temperature that occurs a couple of hours before we go to sleep, the signal to lower our core temperature also originates from the biological clock.
So one of the central things you want to do to take control of and enhance your sleep physiology set the time of your biological clock so that it sends out the signals that change your body into sleep mode at the right time in the evening to fit in with your work/day schedule. Surprising as it may sound it’s incredibly easy to alter the timing of your biological clock to any time that suits you because the biological clock resets its time according to the time in the morning when our eyes are first exposed to bright light. We now know that there are specific cells in the eyes that inform the biological clock when it’s light and dark outside and the cells can only seem blue/cyan coloured light, so by using one of the modern blue/cyan LED bright light therapy devices in the morning we can precisely set the time of our biological clock run a 24-hour sleep wake cycle that fits in with our life style. The enzymes that run the mechanism inside our biological clock are dependent on adequate supplies of the mineral lithium and to enable the bright light therapy to quickly and reliably reset the timing of your biological clock I recommend preloading supplementing lithium for one week before starting the bright light therapy. You only need an infinitesimally small doses of lithium to improve the functioning of the biological clock, I typically recommend from 50 to 150 µg of chelated lithium this is over 1000 times lessthan the notoriously toxic dosage of lithium used in psychiatric medicine to treat bipolar mania and some scientific evidence that at these low doses lithium may actually slow down the ageing process, extend life and have positive effects on some aspect of mental health.
Ok, so now you’ve got your biological clock sending out signals at the right time to initiate your sleep physiology, the next thing to do is make sure you are not doing anything that overrides these signals and switches of your natural sleep physiology. For example the biological clock informs the adrenal glands to produce less cortisol in the evening so that our system can wind down and relax but we can completely override this by producing stress responses. Stress responses are produced automatically by our subconscious brain even when the stress response serves no useful protective function, simply by thinking about worrying and stressful scenarios in our mind we can trigger an inappropriate fight or flight stress response that releases sufficient stimulating cortisol to prevent us from sleeping. Over millennia our self-protective stress responses evolved to be switched on with the slightest provocation, better to have a sleepless night and stay alive than take a chance and get eaten in our sleep, better to be safe than sorry. We only become aware of the release of cortisol and adrenalin when they are released in very large quantities at times of extreme panic and can easily release enough to arrest our sleep physiology without actually being able to feel it. Stress responses are triggered whether we want them or not, we could be sitting at home in a safe room and simply by thinking about stressful, worrying or anxious thoughts we can elevate our cortisol and adrenalin.
TEXT BELOW IS UNDER CONSTUCTION
1/ Maximising your own natural melatonin production; melatonin to your body’s natural sleep hormone and its production is dependent on the timing of our biological clock and presence of blue light in the evening. When you expose your eyes to bright light especially from the new tablets and smart-phones invented in recent years it prevents melatonin release, even a short exposure to blue light will shut down melatonin production for several hours. In my book I explain how to use amber coloured eyewear to create a kind of virtual darkness before bed so you can switch on your melatonin production and carry on using all your modern electronics; not only does this help sleep but melatonin also fights cancer, repairs and restores the brain, the digestive system many other parts of the body.
2/ Eliminate elevated levels of stress hormones preventing sleep, even if you do not feel particularly stressed your nervous system can automatically produce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol levels should surge in the morning and make us feel wide awake and alert, then decline steadily throughout the day to a low level in the evening, when we produce unnecessary stress responses and maintain elevated levels of cortisol into the evening it prevents us from sleeping. One of the most common things that people use cannabis for is to calm their mind and relax the nervous system in the evening, if you need help relaxing your nervous system in order to sleep there is a superior way to achieve this. The conventional scientific and medical view is that we have no control over what is called the autonomic nervous system that automatically switches on and off our stress responses, but this is emphatically incorrect; with 25 minutes training the day for three months you can teach your own nervous system how to switch off stress responses and eliminate elevated evening cortisol interfering with your ability to fall asleep. There’s no denying that 25 minutes a day for three months is a big undertaking, but once you’ve completed it the new ability becomes permanently hardwired into your brain; there is absolutely no drug, supplement or herbal remedy replaced training and hardwire a new ability into your brain, unfortunately we don’t live in The Matrix and we can’t just call Tank and have him install a new program into our brain, in the real world we have to actually perform about 40 hours of training, if you don’t understand what I’m talking about The Matrix is a movie! If you will learn how to do this technique see http://www.petersmithuk.com/stresssolution.html
Reinforce natural sleep triggers including our core body temperature and sleep psychology,
Control the timing of our internal body clock.
Depression without CannabisTryptophan
Stress, Irritability & Anger without Cannabis
Relaxation Response Training
Stabilising Blood Sugar
Acupuncture & Self Acupressure
Passing a Cannabis Drug Test
First body fat flush the fatten up!
Getting High without CannabisKundalini yoga
Marijuana (active ingredient THC) is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs in the country. While most people do not believe in the addictive properties of marijuana, THC can be psychologically addictive. And not surprisingly, many people develop physical dependence on marijuana every year. Learn more about marijuana withdrawal and how to beat it here. Then, share your questions about marijuana withdrawal and its symptoms at the end.
The second most common symptom reported by those who have tried to quit smoking marijuana is mood swings. Former users report emotional swings from depression, anger and euphoria and back again. Irritability and anger are common symptoms for anyone who is giving up a drug of choice, especially if they are forced by circumstances to quit.
More than half (50.1%) of those who try to quit marijuana report mood swings, irritability or anxiety. Others report aggression, nervousness, restlessness and a loss of concentration. Typically, these symptoms begin to diminish after two to three weeks, but can linger in some up to three months.
Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of drug withdrawal, whether the drug is marijuana, alcohol or prescription pain killers. Just as someone who is alcohol-dependent or someone who has been addicted to opiates experiences difficulty trying to sleep after they quit, marijuana smokers also find falling to sleep difficult.
Insomnia symptoms after you stop smoking weed can last a few days or a couple of weeks. Some smokers find that they can experience occasional sleeplessness for a few months after quitting.
But insomnia is not the only sleep disruption problem associated with marijuana withdrawal. Some people who have stopped smoking pot report having nightmares and very vivid dreams that also disrupt their sleep. These frequent, vivid dreams typically begin about a week after quitting and can last for about a month before tapering off. An estimated 46.9% of former smokers report sleep disruption problems.
Others who have quit smoking report having "using dreams" in which they dream they smoke marijuana. Some former smokers have reported having these types of dreams years after they stopped using marijuana.
HeadachesOne of the most common physical symptoms reported by those who stop smoking are headaches. Not everyone who stops smoking marijuana experiences headaches, but for those who do, the headaches can be very intense, especially during the first few days after quitting.
Headaches associated with marijuana withdrawal can last for a few weeks up to a couple of months. Headaches, like most other symptoms of withdrawing from marijuana use, will usually begin 1-3 days after quitting and will peak 2 to 6 days after stopping. Symptoms usually fade after two weeks, but some former smokers report continued symptoms for several weeks or even months later.
Other SymptomsOther symptoms reported by researchers include appetite change, weight loss, weight gain, digestion problems, cramps or nausea after eating. Others have reported night sweats, loss of the sense of humor, decreased sex drive, or increased sex drive. Some former users have reported shaking and dizziness.
Physical symptoms of marijuana withdrawal tend to be less intense, peak sooner and fade more quickly than the psychological symptoms associated with quitting. The frequency and amount of marijuana the smoker used prior to stopping affects the severity and length of the withdrawals.
Do you experience withdrawals when you quit smoking weed? Take the Marijuana Withdrawal Symptom Quiz.
Why do marijuana withdrawal symptoms occur?
Minds and bodies without drugs are in a delicate balance known as homeostasis, and they don’t like to deviate from this balance. Once a person uses a drug like marijuana regularly, however, they can become physically dependent on it. In addition to building a tolerance to THC, some people even need it in their system in order to function normally.
Because of the psychoactive effects of marijuana on the central nervous system, the body must alter its functions slightly when you stop smoking. In effect, you have to create a new homeostasis when you’ve become dependent on THC after daily use. When a person who is physically dependent on marijuana stops using it, the body is still trying to function at this altered homeostasis, which results in withdrawal symptoms.
What are symptoms of marijuana withdrawal?
An intense craving for marijuana is one of the most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Irritability, anxiety, and restlessness may also occur during marijuana withdrawal, as can headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and a decrease in appetite. The severity of these withdrawal symptoms will usually depend on how long a person has been dependent on the drug as well as the severity of the dependency. Some people may not even have any marijuana withdrawal symptoms when they quit using it.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms: How long do they last?
Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can begin in as little as a day after last use, but some individuals may not experience them until up to three days after last use. Once they begin, they can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Marijuana withdrawal symptom treatment
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms, while not dangerous, can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. The hardest symptom to deal with is usually the intense cravings for the drug, which can lead to a relapse. Staying busy with activities that do not involve marijuana use can help keep your mind off of using the drug. This can include activities such as going to a movie, working out in the gym, or hanging out with friends or family members that don’t use marijuana.
Other marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Ibuprofen for headaches and stomach medicine, peppermint or ginger for nausea can be helpful. Relaxation exercises and some herbal teas can also help relieve the intense anxiety that some individuals may experience. Physicians, mental health professionals, and addiction specialists are also an excellent resource when dealing with marijuana withdrawal and addiction.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms questions
Do you have any questions about marijuana withdrawal symptoms? Are you or a loved one going through marijuana withdrawal? Leave us a message below to get your questions answered or even just to share your own experience about the subject.
YES. Marijuana can be addictive, although less than 10% of smokers go on to develop an addiction.
So how exactly do people become addicted to marijuana – is it based on how marijuana works in the brain? How do you know if you have a marijuana addiction is it possible to stop smoking weed without withdrawal? We’ll review these questions here. And at the end, we invite your questions about the addictive potential of marijuana or about general marijuana use. We try to answer all questions personally and promptly.
Is Cannabis Addictive?
ALTERNATIVE SHORT VERSION
Is cannabis addictive? Well yes and no. Cannabis is not physically addictive in the same way that heroin, tranquillises and heavy alcohol use can be because it does not produce strong significant physical effects when one discontinues its use, but then nor does nicotine which is renowned for being a highly addictive substance.Psychologically however the mood swings, irritability, insomnia and headaches some people experience when they give up using cannabis are severe enough to compel them to use again despite wanting to give up.
Medically addiction is considered to be a disease and diseases have negative health consequences but for many people cannabis use has no proven negative health consequences so compared to more harmful substances (heroin, alcohol, cocaine etc.) it seems wrong or misleading to think of cannabis as being addictive. Despite this it’s a mistake to think that cannabis is not an addictive substance, even though it does not produce significant physical withdrawal and the psychological effects of withdrawal may not be as severe as withdrawing from tranquillises it’s estimated that about 9% that’s practically 1 in 10 of people that habitually use cannabis become dependent on its effects and have considerable difficulty giving it up. I’ve worked with people that have been trying to give up using cannabis for years and could never go more than a few weeks or sometimes even months before the absence of the calming effect of cannabis on the nerves, the increased feelings of stress, irritability and insomnia would make them start using again; for these people the popular belief that cannabis is not addictive is not useful and perhaps a little confusing. Perhaps it’s more useful to say that cannabis can form a strong and potentially problematic dependency rather than a classic addiction.
Addiction is defined a as being dependant on the effects of the substance, and having difficulty giving it updespite it harming and interfering with your life in some significant ways.
One of the things I think is important to consider is the question of harm; as I’ll discuss later there are very few proven harmful effects from using cannabis and quite a few potential medical benefits, so if for example you have chronic pain, MS or cancer and find that the right dose of cannabis effectively controls the pain of your condition without making you dopey and incapacitated, even though you may be dependent on the effects and have difficulty giving it up its effects on your life are more beneficial than harmful, it’s a treatment rather than an addiction or disease that needs to be treated.
The cause of the pain of MS and cancer may be untreatable so using a natural painkiller with low toxicity and the most significant side-effect of giving you a pleasant feeling of being high makes sense, but if on the other hand you are using cannabis to tranquillises and suppress uncomfortable and stressful emotions that it would be healthier to face and deal with in therapy and counselling…
use cannabis occasionally and recreationally, or frequently in moderation and the amount or frequency you use is not increasing and it
It is estimated that 9% of people that use cannabis become dependent on its effects and have difficulty
Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction; that is, people have difficulty controlling their drug use and cannot stop even though it interferes with many aspects of their lives. It is estimated that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it.10 The number goes up to about 1 in 6 in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25-50 percent among daily users.11,12 Moreover, a study of over 300 fraternal and identical twin pairs found that the twin who had used marijuana before the age of 17 had elevated rates of other drug use and drug problems later on, compared with their twin who did not use before age 17.13
10 Anthony, J.; Warner, L.A.; and Kessler, R.C. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2:244–268, 1994.
11 Hall, W.; and Degenhardt, L. Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet 374:1383–1391, 2009.
11 Hall, W. The adverse health effects of cannabis use: What are they, and what are their implications for policy? Int J of Drug Policy 20:458–466, 2009
12 Lynskey, M.T.; Heath, A.C.; Bucholz, K.K.; Slutske, W.S.; Madden, P.A.; Nelson, E.C.; Statham, D.J.; and Martin, N.G. Escalation of drug use in early-onset cannabis users vs. co-twin controls. JAMA 289(4):427–433, 2003.
Cannabis Healthy or Harmful ?
There are two primary psycho active compounds in marijuana: CBD and THC. CBD produces a calming, mellowing effect and is being researched by the pharmaceutical industry to develop new anti-anxiety medicines. THC on the other hand stimulates and speeds up the brain, it gets you very high and stoned (compared to CBD) but it’s also what causes the paranoid unpleasant feelings you sometimes get. The different types of highs (mellow or rush) you from different products are mainly due to different ratios of CBD to THC. Over recent years growers have selectively bread plants to have a higher and higher THC content because this is what gets you the most high for your buck. This has produced the common modern day skunk and it’s a really bad development from a mental health point of view.
It may not be a problem for everyone but for people with a pre-existing vulnerability to psychosis frequently smoking cannabis with a high THC content significantly increases you risk of psychosis, perhaps as much as six fold. The worst thing is smoking cannabis when you are young and the brain I still developing, anything less than the age of 16 is especially harmful. When people start high THC cannabis smoking in their teens and smoke continuously for a several years 5% will have a psychotic event in their 20s. Sometimes people recover from this psychotic episode sometimes not.
Can J Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;51(9):556-65.
Is cannabis use a contributory cause of psychosis?
Degenhardt L1, Hall W.
To assess whether cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood is a contributory cause of schizophreniform psychosis in that it may precipitate psychosis in vulnerable individuals.
We reviewed longitudinal studies of adolescents and young adults that examined the relations between self-reported cannabis use and the risk of diagnosis with a psychosis or of reporting psychotic symptoms. We also reviewed studies that controlled for potential confounders, such as other forms of drug use and personal characteristics that predict an increased risk of psychosis. We assessed evidence for the biological plausibility of a contributory causal relation.
Evidence from 6 longitudinal studies in 5 countries shows that regular cannabis use predicts an increased risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis or of reporting symptoms of psychosis. These relations persisted after controlling for confounding variables, such as personal characteristics and other drug use. The relation did not seem to be a result of cannabis use to self-medicate symptoms of psychosis. A contributory causal relation is biologically plausible because psychotic disorders involve disturbances in the dopamine neurotransmitter systems with which the cannabinoid system interacts, as demonstrated by animal studies and one human provocation study.
It is most plausible that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia in individuals who are vulnerable because of a personal or family history of schizophrenia
An enduring question in the field is whether individuals who quit marijuana, even after long-term, heavy use, can recover some of their cognitive abilities. One study reports that the ability of long-term heavy marijuana users to recall words from a list was still impaired 1 week after they quit using, but returned to normal by 4 weeks. However, another study found that marijuana's effects on the brain can build up and deteriorate critical life skills over time. Such effects may be worse in those with other mental disorders, or simply by virtue of the normal aging process.
4. Drug Czar claims medical marijuana makes more young people smoke pot, despite fewer teens smoking pot
A popular refrain of the Drug Czar is that by calling marijuana "medicine", we lead young people to think it is less dangerous, and therefore, use goes up.
"Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use," said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "In light of what we know regarding the serious harm of illegal drug use, I urge every family - but particularly those in states targeted by pro-drug political campaigns - to redouble their efforts to shield young people from serious harm by educating them about the real health and safety consequences caused by illegal drug use."
Except that medical marijuana's been around on the West Coast for over a dozen years. Between 2003 and 2009, as more states have adopted medical marijuana, nationally the rate of monthly teen use is on the decline.
In fact, eleven of the thirteen states that had medical marijuana as of 2009 saw declines in teen marijuana use, and the five that added it after 2003 saw double-digit declines.
From 2003 to 2009 in California, monthly teen use is up only 0.26%. In Colorado, teen use is up 3.77% in that time frame. Yet Wyoming, a state without medical marijuana, saw the greatest increase of 5.18%. Furthermore, looking back before 2003, to 1996 and 1998 when the West Coast legalized medical marijuana, teen use is lower now than then.
Cannabis has well documented benefits as a pain medication for people with chronic pain. My advice is you are going to use cannabis go online and find high CBD containing seeds and grow your own.
Desprez and McAllister first published a paper about the finding in 2007. Since then, their team has found that CBD works both in the lab and in animals. And now, they've found even more good news.
"We started by researching breast cancer," said Desprez. "But now we've found that Cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers--brain, prostate--any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present."
Desprez hopes that clinical trials will begin immediately.
"We've found no toxicity in the animals we've tested, and Cannabidiol is already used in humans for a variety of other ailments," he said. Indeed, the compound is used to relieve anxiety and nausea, and, since it is non-psychoactive, does not cause the "high" associated with THC.
While marijuana advocates will surely praise the discovery, Desprez explained that it's not so easy as just lighting up.
"We used injections in the animal testing and are also testing pills," he said. "But you could never get enough Cannabidiol for it to be effective just from smoking."
Furthermore, the team has started synthesizing the compound in the lab instead of using the plant in an effort to make it more potent.
"It's a common practice," explained Desprez. "But hopefully it will also keep us clear of any obstacles while seeking approval."
Insomnia: It is not uncommon for someone to go several days without sleeping, with some cases of insomnia lasting several months.
Vivid dreams: These dreams can be very colorful or emotional. They may last for several weeks and be replaced with dreams of the person using marijuana.
Depression: The lack of a “high” can make a user depressed.
Anger/irritability: Users may have a lot of pent-up anger at friends, family and themselves drug use, especially if they are being forced to stop using marijuana and get clean.
Concentration/memory problems: These can last for a month and can affect one’s ability to learn new things.
In addition, marijuana has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens—up to 70 percent more than tobacco smoke. It also induces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their cancer-causing form, which could accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells. And since marijuana smokers generally inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers, the lungs are exposed longer to carcinogenic smoke. However, while several lines of evidence have suggested that marijuana use may lead to lung cancer, the supporting evidence is inconclusive.8 The presence of an unidentified active ingredient in cannabis smoke having protective properties—if corroborated and properly characterized—could help explain the inconsistencies and modest findings.
What is marijuana used for?
Marijuana is used in a few states as a medicinal treatment for various chronic conditions, including depression and nausea from chemotherapy. In these jurisdictions, marijuana is treated similarly to prescription drugs, legal only to use under a doctor’s supervision. However, as a substance, marijuana us still illegal on the federal level and considered a Schedule I drug – illegal to own or use.
What is marijuana made of?
Marijuana is a naturally-growing plant. Typically, the stems, seeds, leaves, or buds of the plant are shredded and then smoked. Marijuana is also sometimes ingested cooked into food, or brewed into a tea. The chemical THC is contained in the plant, and it’s what causes psychoactive effects of euphoria when marijuana is used.
How do you get addicted to marijuana?
You’re more likely to develop an addiction if you use marijuana every day. Over time, chronic use becomes addiction. Plus, if you use marijuana just to get high and not for medicinal purposes, you’re more likely to become an addict. Finally, you’re more likely to become addicted to marijuana if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Some ways that people misuse and abuse marijuana are:smoking marijuana
cooking marijuana into food
taking marijuana frequently
taking high doses of marijuanaSigns of marijuana addiction
Marijuana addiction involves both a psychological and physical dependence on the drug. Marijuana withdrawal can cause irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. Other signs of marijuana addiction include:Continued marijuana abuse despite negative consequences
Craving marijuana and using it compulsively
Seeking marijuana in order to stimulate the “reward center” of the brainMarijuana addiction potential questions
Do you still have questions about marijuana addiction potential? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.
Is marijuana habit forming? You bet.
Even though marijuana addictive potential is lower and THC produces physical dependence less readily than other illicit drugs, dependence on marijuana/THC still exists. Only around 9% of those who use marijuana develop dependence, however. But because so many people use marijuana, cannabis dependence is twice as prevalent as dependence on any other illicit psychoactive substance.
Drug dependence and drug addiction are terms often used interchangeably, which can cause confusion among professionals and marijuana users and contributes to misunderstanding the underlying causes of substance use. Here, we will discuss the difference between drug dependence and addiction, what to look out for and where you can find more information. Then, we invite your questions about marijuana dependence at the end.
Marijuana dependence versus addiction
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there is a distinction between marijuana dependence versus addiction. In fact, not everyone who becomes dependent on marijuana or who starts developing tolerance to marijuana will become addicted to it. How is marijuana dependence different than addiction to marijuana? Addiction can be present without dependence and vice versa. The main diagnostic distinction between the two is the motivation of the individual.
Dependence refers to a state during which a person is dependent upon a drug for normal physiological functioning. Abstinence from the marijuana produces withdrawal reactions that constitute the only evidence for dependence. On the other hand, addiction refers to a behavioral syndrome where the user of marijuana becomes preoccupied to the point of obsession about obtaining more marijuana.
Dependence on marijuana symptoms
Dependence on marijuana is usually NOT associated with symptoms of physical withdrawal. However, some symptoms can involve disturbances in general bodily function such as:headache
sweatingHowever, more commonly marijuana dependence involves disturbances in psychological functioning, such asdepression
inability to concentrate
increased anxietyMarijuana dependence time: How long does it take to become dependent on marijuana?
How long it takes to become dependent on marijuana is unclear. Some studies have shown that prolonged and frequent use of marijuana could lead to dependence, however this appears to be linked to the marijuana being used in conjunction with tobacco. Studies have also revealed that marijuana smokers are more likely to develop a psychological dependence rather than a physical dependence due to the social nature of marijuana use. More research is needed to understand the impacts of marijuana use to determine marijuana dependence time.
Marijuana dependence withdrawal
Although marijuana dependence withdrawal is not as difficult as withdrawal from heroin or methamphetamine, it has been known to cause psychological disruptions. Marijuana dependence withdrawal symptoms can include:anxiety attacks
insomniaThese withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person and can last anywhere from 2 days up to 2 weeks depending on the persons use patterns and if they have mixed their marijuana with tobacco or other drugs.
Marijuana dependence questions
If you still have questions about marijuana dependence, addiction or treatment options please contact us or explore other articles on this site for more information. We try to respond to all legitimate comments with a personal and prompt response.
Tolerance to marijuana is said to develop when the response to the same dose of marijuana decreases with repeated use. How marijuana works in the body to provoke increased tolerance is now really understood. You can develop tolerance simply by using marijuana over a length of time or by having a natural tendency to tolerate marijuana in the system. However, building up tolerance to marijuana does not mean that you are addicted to THC (Is THC addictive substance? Yes).
In this article, we discuss the difference between tolerance, dependence and addiction. And then we invite your questions about marijuana at the end.
Developing tolerance to marijuana
Tolerance is characterized by a need for a larger dose of a medication to maintain the original effect. While doctors still don’t understand WHY tolerance occurs, developing tolerance to marijuana can involve both psychological and physiological factors. So, what DO we know?
Tolerance to the behavioral and psychological effects of THC has been demonstrated in adolescent humans and animals in a number of studies conducted in the last 15 years. Gross tolerance to the major effects of marijuana does not ordinarily occur in people with moderate or intermittent use and if tolerance does occur, it is to certain aspects of the physiological responses to marijuana. The mechanisms that create this tolerance to THC are thought to involve changes in cannabinoid receptor function.
You may be concerned that as you start to develop a tolerance to marijuana, this means they are becoming addicted. This isn’t the case. To be clear, tolerance to marijuana does not necessarily mean that addiction or dependence will develop. Physical dependence is defined as development of withdrawalsymptoms when marijuana use is discontinued abruptly. Like tolerance, this is a normal physiologic response (expected after 2-4 weeks of continuous and frequent use daily). And drug addiction is the compulsive use of a substance, despite its negative or dangerous effects. Tolerance simply means that your body has adapted to the presence of marijuana in your system and does not react to its chemical cues.
Marijuana tolerance symptoms
Characteristics of marijuana tolerance include reversibility, differential development by person and differential rate of occurrence, depending on the particular drug, dosage and frequency of use. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association defines drug tolerance as having either or both of the following characteristics:
1. A need for markedly increased amounts of marijuana or THC to achieve intoxication or the desired effect
2. A markedly diminished effect on the user with continued use of the same amount of marijuana or THC
If you find that these marijuana tolerance symptoms apply to you, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you are addicted to marijuana. Instead, these are only indicators that the effects of marijuana no longer work for you. While tolerance, dependence, and addiction can be present simultaneously, each condition is a separate and different entity.
Marijuana tolerance: How long?
Marijuana tolerance is different for everyone. Studies of marijuana tolerance suggest that with continuous, frequent daily use, a person can expect to build up a tolerance to marijuana over a 2-4 week period. However, time periods will vary from person to person. Additionally, individuals diagnosed with depression or anxiety may find that they build marijuana tolerance faster than those who use recreationally or those who use marijuana medicinally. Similarly, those who use marijuana in peer situations may find they build up a tolerance quicker because their use can be more frequent.
High tolerance to marijuana
There is plenty of speculation as to what constitutes ‘high’ tolerance to marijuana. It is suggested that each strain of marijuana has a different ceiling. That is to say, each strain of marijuana will only get you so high. Therefore, high tolerance is strain specific. High tolerance is also dependent on what the individual is hoping to achieve with use and if there are any underlying psychological or physiological conditions, as different people with experience tolerance to different aspects of the high.
While one person can adapt to the physical effects of marijuana use, others will adapt to the psychological effects. More research is needed in this area to better understand how marijuana tolerance is processed by the body and brain. But if you’re looking to stay motivated to stop smoking weed, know that tolerance generally returns after a period of abstinence and that the best way to stop smoking marijuana is to stay stopped.
How to lower tolerance to marijuana
You can lower your tolerance to marijuana but little evidence is available to indicate if you could lower tolerance to your original base level. In other words, there could always be a level of maintained tolerance as long as you are smoking marijuana. If you want to lower tolerance to marijuan, the best way to do so is to cut back on the amount and frequency with which you use marijuana. Other suggestions include:Reduce the amount of marijuana used initially upon waking.
Starting the day with a large dose of marijuana will reduce the effects of any marijuana used throughout the day.
Alternate one week on, one week off to preserve effect. Some call this a “drug holiday”. That is, you stop taking marijuana for a while to give the body time to lower its tolerance.
Incorporate regular exercise and a healthy diet into regular marijuana use. Keeping the body at a peak level allows the body to ‘flush’ the residual marijuana out of the system by lowering the number of fat cells to maintain potency.Building up tolerance to marijuana questions
Do you still have questions about building up tolerance to marijuana? Please send use your questions, comments, and feedback in the comment form below. We try to respond to all questions with a personal and prompt reply. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who does.
Cannabis Rx: Cutting Through the Misinformation
If an American doctor of the late 19th century stepped into a time warp and emerged in 2010, he would be shocked by the multitude of pharmaceuticals that today's physicians use. But as he pondered this array (and wondered, as I do, whether most are really necessary), he would soon notice an equally surprising omission, and exclaim, "Where's my Cannabis indica?"
No wonder -- the poor fellow would feel nearly helpless without it. In his day, labor pains, asthma, nervous disorders and even colicky babies were treated with a fluid extract of Cannabis indica, also known as "Indian hemp." (Cannabis is generally seen as having three species -- sativa, indica and ruderalis -- but crossbreeding is common, especially between sativa and indica.) At least 100 scientific papers published in the 19th century backed up such uses.
Then the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made possession or transfer of Cannabisillegal in the U.S. except for certain medical and industrial uses, which were heavily taxed. The legislation began a long process of making Cannabis use illegal altogether. Many historians have examined this sorry chapter in American legislative history, and the dubious evidence for Cannabis addiction and violent behavior used to secure the bill's passage. "Under the Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs" by Preston Peet makes a persuasive case that the Act's real purpose was to quash the hemp industry, making synthetic fibers more valuable for industrialists who owned the patents.
Meanwhile, as a medical doctor and botanist, my aim has always been to filter out the cultural noise surrounding the genus Cannabis and see it dispassionately: as a plant with bioactivity in human beings that may have therapeutic value. From this perspective, what can it offer us?
As it turns out, a great deal. Research into possible medical uses of Cannabis is enjoying a renaissance. In recent years, studies have shown potential for treating nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, migraines, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, alcohol abuse, collagen-induced arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, depression, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, sickle-cell disease, sleep apnea, Alzheimer's disease and anorexia nervosa.
But perhaps most exciting, cannabinoids (chemical constituents of Cannabis, the best known being tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) may have a primary role in cancer treatment and prevention. A number of studies have shown that these compounds can inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animal models. In part, this is achieved by inhibiting angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need in order to grow. What's more, cannabinoids seem to kill tumor cells without affecting surrounding normal cells. If these findings hold true as research progresses, cannabinoids would demonstrate a huge advantage over conventional chemotherapy agents, which too often destroy normal cells as well as cancer cells.
As long ago as 1975, researchers reported that cannabinoids inhibited the growth of a certain type of lung cancer cell in test tubes and in mice. Since then, laboratory studies have shown that cannabinoids have effects against tumor cells from glioblastoma (a deadly type of brain cancer) as well as those from thyroid cancer¸ leukemia/lymphoma, and skin, uterus, breast, stomach, colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
So far, the only human test of cannabinoids against cancer was performed in Spain, and was designed to determine if treatment was safe, not whether it was effective. (In studies on humans, such "phase one trials," are focused on establishing the safety of a new drug, as well as the right dosage.) In the Spanish study, reported in 2006, the dose was administered intracranially, directly into the tumors of patients with recurrent brain cancer. The investigation established the safety of the dose and showed that the compound used decreased cell proliferation in at least two of nine patients studied.
It is not clear that smoking marijuana achieves blood levels high enough to have these anticancer effects. We need more human research, including well-designed studies to find the best mode of administration.
If you want to learn more about this subject, I recommend an excellent documentary film, "What If Cannabis Cured Cancer," by Len Richmond, which summarizes the remarkable research findings of recent years. Most medical doctors are not aware of this information and its implications for cancer prevention and treatment. The film presents compelling evidence that our current policy on Cannabis is counterproductive.
Another reliable source of information is the chapter on cannabinoids and cancer in "Integrative Oncology" (Oxford University Press, 2009), a textbook I edited with integrative oncologist Donald I. Abrams, M.D. (Learn more about integrative cancer treatment from Dr. Abrams.)
After more than 70 years of misinformation about this botanical remedy, I am delighted that we are finally gaining a mature understanding of its immense therapeutic potential.
Heavy Marijuana Use Alters Teenage Brain Structure
Daily marijuana use changes teenage brain structure and impairs memory function.
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have found that the developing teenagebrain may be particularly vulnerable to excessive marijuana use. In a new study—published on December 16, 2013—scientists report that teens who smoked marijuana daily for about three years had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks.
It is common sense that being a heavy cannabis user might make someone more spaced-out and less likely to perform well on memory tasks. Excessive chronic use of any type of drug is going to have detrimental mental and physical side effects.
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Marijuana Use: We Need a “Higher” Age LimitAlarmingly, the brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals' early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana. The researchers found that memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, reflecting a possible decrease in neuron volume. These findings could indicate long-term detriments of chronic marijuana use as a teenager.
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