Cannabis Withdrawal: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

In recent years, people have begun to explore the potential of medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for various conditions. Weed withdrawal, however, is a real issue for those who have become dependent on the substance and can cause unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms. 

Cannabis is a drug, and like any other drug, it can create an addiction if used excessively. Cannabis withdrawal is a set of symptoms experienced by those who have become dependent on the substance and then suddenly stop using it.

Weed withdrawal can be an uncomfortable experience for those trying to quit using marijuana. Thankfully, there is plenty of support and information about the symptoms, prevention methods, and treatments for cannabis withdrawal. 

Shot of dried marijuana and a rolled joint

It’s all about taking steps forward toward quitting cannabis use and developing healthier lifestyle habits. With the right resources and a focused mindset, anyone can make meaningful progress toward reducing cannabis dependence. 

This blog post will provide an overview of weed withdrawal so that you can better understand what to expect and how to take the right steps toward recovery.

Symptoms Of Weed Withdrawal

Lonely sad woman deep in thoughts sitting daydreaming or waiting for someone in the living room with a serious expression, she is pensive and suffering from insomnia sitting on couch

According to the CDC and other health organizations, 1 in 10 Americans who use cannabis develop a dependence on the drug. [1]

People who have developed a tolerance to marijuana often suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. These can include:

1. Diminished Appetite

It’s no secret that those of us who use (or used to use) cannabis tend to have hearty appetites, but did you know that when seeking treatment for cannabis withdrawal, your appetite may be notably different? While not every user will experience this type of symptom. It is common due to the plant’s profound effects on our endocannabinoid systems. 

Those who report an increased desire for steak and potatoes may feel less hungry or nauseous. It certainly appears that these effects do not inhibit us from having a good time, however; cannabis withdrawal and weed munchies are different, but a few symptoms are the same.

2. Mood Changes

Many of us can relate to how difficult it is to go through mood changes while not using cannabis. During the weed withdrawal process, it is common to experience irritability, depression, and even anxiety. 

For those who are used to having a relatively steady mental landscape, especially if their usage is quite frequent, these sudden shifts in mood can cause great distress.

3. Sleep Disturbance

Desperate girl suffering insomnia trying to sleep. Young woman distressed. One woman trying to sleep covering her ears to avoid neighbour noise at home or hotel during the day.

Insomnia is one of the most prevalent symptoms experienced during cannabis withdrawal. The feeling that one can’t get enough sleep is often a sign that the body is trying to adjust to its new lack of cannabinoids. 

Everyone has a different experience, but some have reported that their sleep patterns can take several weeks to return to normal. Additionally, a decrease in energy and motivation is often associated with cannabis withdrawal.

4. Sweating And Chills

It’s not uncommon for those going through cannabis withdrawal to experience sweating and chills. Not only does this symptom cause discomfort, but it can also be embarrassing in a public setting. 

Sweating and chills can occur during the night or day; however, they are usually worse in the evening. Cannabis withdrawal and weed hangovers are closely linked, as both can cause intense physical and emotional fatigue. [2]

5. Stomach Problems

Cannabis withdrawal can cause several gastrointestinal issues. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the most common symptoms reported. Other stomach problems such as cramps, bloating, and gas may also be experienced.

6. Increased Feeling Of Depression

In addition to mood changes, withdrawal can also cause an increase in the feeling of depression. This can be especially difficult for those already struggling with this condition. The key is to remember that these feelings are usually only temporary and will pass as one adjusts to life without cannabis.

Preventing Cannabis Withdrawal

The best way to prevent cannabis withdrawal is to reduce the usage of the drug before it can become a habit. However, this isn’t always easy. Here are some tips that can help:

1. Reduce Your Consumption Gradually

If you’re used to smoking several joints a day, try cutting back by one or two and then slowly decrease. This will help your body adjust to the lack of cannabinoids before you completely stop using them.

2. Try Different Forms Of Cannabis

Vaping, edibles, tinctures, and topicals are all alternatives to smoking marijuana. Try switching to one of these methods and gradually reduce your consumption until you’re comfortable with stopping. 

Cannabis is also very beneficial when taken in low doses, so it can still be used for its therapeutic benefits without risking addiction.

3. Set Goals

It’s important to have realistic goals regarding reducing your cannabis consumption. Set achievable short-term goals and focus on reaching them one day at a time. It might also be helpful to write down your goals and track your progress.

4. Go For A Walk

Young men walking together side by side along treelined footpath outdoors in the nature. Talking with each other, walking to their waiting friends. Moody late afternoon sunset light.

We all know exercise is great for physical and mental health, so why not use it to help manage cannabis withdrawal? Going for a walk can effectively reduce stress, clear your mind, and give you space from any cravings.

5. Get Support

Having a family and friends support system is a great way to stay motivated when trying to cut back on your cannabis use. Reach out for help, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you need professional help, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional.

6. Don’t Take The ‘Cold Turkey’ Approach

Going cold turkey can be difficult and even dangerous in some cases. While it’s possible to quit cannabis this way, it’s usually not the best option. If you decide to go cold turkey, make sure to have a plan that includes getting support from family and friends and seeking professional help if necessary.

Withdrawing from weed is possible, but it takes time and effort. Don’t try to take alcohol as a substitute, as this can be very damaging to your body and mind. Be patient and take it day by day to successfully stop smoking cannabis and improve your overall health.  

Treatment Of Cannabis Withdrawal

Tableau of drugs- pills, coke, marijuana, and alcohol.

Treating cannabis withdrawal is a process that should be done with the help of a professional. Treatment usually involves counseling and medication to help reduce symptoms. Common medications used in treatment can include:

  • Antidepressants help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. [3]
  • Stimulants increase energy levels.
  • Opiates or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Sedatives to help improve sleep.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapy technique that can help individuals think and act differently to manage their symptoms better. CBT teaches individuals how to identify, challenge, and replace unhelpful thoughts or behaviors with healthier ones. 

It also provides tools for managing stress and navigating difficult situations without marijuana use. If you are considering using CBT to cope with cannabis withdrawal symptoms, talk to your doctor or therapist about the benefits and risks of this type of treatment.

2. Counseling

Sometimes, talking through your withdrawal symptoms with a counselor can be beneficial. Counseling can help you to find ways to cope with difficult emotions and manage stress without using marijuana. 

It can also provide support and guidance during the process of quitting cannabis. The medical professionals at your local treatment center can help you find a counselor who is experienced in helping individuals manage cannabis withdrawal symptoms.

3. Relaxation Techniques

Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation. They can be useful for reducing anxiety and stress during cannabis withdrawal. 

Regular breaks to practice these techniques can help you stay focused and calm. Additionally, being mindful of your body’s needs is essential; get plenty of rest and nutritious meals to give yourself the energy you need to stay on track with your withdrawal process.


1. Why do I need to know about cannabis withdrawal?

Cannabis withdrawal is a common problem among those who have been using the drug regularly for a long period. Knowing the symptoms and how to prevent and treat them can help you manage your use and stay healthy in the long run.

2. Can I take medications for cannabis withdrawal?

Yes, there are medications available to help with cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what would work best for you. They can also provide other treatments, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, to help you cope with the cravings and associated issues.

3. What if I don’t want to take medications for weed withdrawal?

If you would rather not take medications for cannabis withdrawal, plenty of options are still available. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to help people deal with cravings and related issues. Exercise can also help by releasing endorphins that reduce the desire to use cannabis.