According to SAMHSA, 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. While this amount may be low in relative to some other drugs, statistics mean nothing to a person who has developed this problem. And while marijuana’s potential for chemical dependence may be under debate, there’s no question that chronic users can encounter withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.
For this reason, many people who have become addicted to marijuana can benefit from undergoing a medical detox. During this process, they will be cared for in a clinical environment, where they can be monitored by medical staff and prevented from relapsing.
Benefits of Marijuana Detox
Marijuana detox may be needed for those struggling with marijuana abuse wanting to eliminate THC from their system. People seeking employment who use marijuana may be disqualified from a job if they fail to pass a drug test. Above all, people using marijuana with other substances like heroin, cocaine, or alcohol can benefit from Marijuana detox, because polydrug abuse leads to the most significant risks.
Is Marijuana Detox Really Needed?
While many believe that marijuana is not an addictive drug, studies have found that withdrawal symptoms may occur as a result of heavy marijuana use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that 1 in 10 people will become addicted to marijuana and that 30% of marijuana users suffer from a marijuana use disorder.
Perhaps due in part to the legalization of medical marijuana, there was a 2.3 million increase in people who use marijuana between 2006-2012. In fact, 18% of those entering rehab in 2009 were seeking treatment at least partially for an addiction to marijuana.
Marijuana has the potential for abuse because the drug affects levels of dopamine in the brain. If a person smoking marijuana cannot attend to daily responsibilities such as school or work because they are high, this may indicate a substance use disorder. Likewise, the same would be true for those who are combining marijuana with other drugs, having legal problems surrounding drug use, and engaging in compulsive drug-seeking despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.
When a person develops a dependence or addiction to marijuana, they will most likely encounter withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. While some people who use cannabis can wean themselves off of it, heavy users will probably experience some discomfort.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Decreased appetite
- Vivid dreams and nightmares
- Mood swings
Marijuana Timeline for Withdrawal
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms typically develop in 2-3 days following last use. They may persist for 2 to 3 weeks. People can expect to feel irritable and have drug cravings with the first few days. It is during this time that many people relapse.
By day 4, there is usually some improvement, and this trend continues for up to two weeks. After this time, if a person continues to have symptoms, they will be mild at most.
Benefits of a Medical Detox
Undergoing a medical detox for marijuana can prevent the following:
- Panic attacks
- Extreme feelings of hunger
- Poor focus and memory
- Poor decision-making
- Bloodshot eyes
- Impaired coordination
- Slowed reaction time
- Weight gain
- Lung infections
Marijuana detox will undoubtedly benefit anyone who is suffering from abuse of this drug. However, the process can be particularly helpful for those who also have:
- Mental health disorders
- A high marijuana tolerance
- Polysubstance abuse disorders
- A history of substance abuse
- Genetic predisposition to substance abuse
- Medical problems related to marijuana use
- Pending legal or custody matters
- A need to find new employment
Detox can also help pregnant women who need to rid their body of marijuana so it cannot adversely affect their unborn child. Indeed, marijuana abuse can endanger a fetus and increase the risk that he or she will have developmental problems. These include low birth weight and learning disabilities.
Even after the baby is born, chemicals are released into the bloodstream and can be passed to the baby through breastfeeding. Also, marijuana’s active ingredient, THC is stored in the body fat, and slowly released over time. So, a mother who smoked at any point shortly before or during pregnancy may still be passing THC on to her unborn child.
Getting Help for Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana detox is rarely dangerous, but undergoing detox for heavy marijuana use could be challenging—it is more uncomfortable and more likely to result in relapse. If someone’s use is severe and problematic, a medically-assisted detox is usually the best option—this is especially true if the abuse of other substances is involved.
Midwood Addiction Treatment offers state-of-the-art detox services, which are usually closely followed by treatment in one of our comprehensive programs. We employ highly-skilled addiction specialists who deliver evidence-based therapies, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and more.
If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana abuse or addiction, contact us today! Discover how we help people overcome drug use and begin to reclaim the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!