Lakewood Medical Clinic is Permanently Closed

Cannabis Withdrawal: What You Need to Know

August 27, 2020 • • Medical Marijuana

While medical marijuana is generally considered safe, there’s evidence that cannabis withdrawal syndrome could affect more people than initially thought.

  Research has consistently found that medical cannabis has a low addiction rate — typically below 10 percent, though some studies have found it to be less than half that. Yet a recent meta-analysis of studies on medical cannabis has found that as many as 47 percent of users have experienced what’s known as cannabis withdrawal syndrome. This is noteworthy because it may indicate that withdrawal symptoms are more common than previously thought.

While cannabis withdrawal syndrome is not particularly harmful, it can be an uncomfortable experience. Here’s what patients need to know.

What Are the Symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal?

The body’s endocannabinoid system naturally produces chemical compounds like THC and CBD, which are responsible for the psychoactive effects typically associated with marijuana. Endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body use THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to help regulate a number of systems, including appetite, mood, and hunger. When you’re using marijuana regularly, the body becomes accustomed to having a regular source of cannabinoids, and it can take some time to adjust when that source is removed.

Someone who is going through cannabis withdrawal may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Digestive issues
  • Inability to focus
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Mood shifts
  • Reduced appetite

The symptoms associated with cannabis withdrawal are often mild, though they can vary by person. Typically, the longer someone has used cannabis, the more heightened their withdrawal symptoms will be. These symptoms are generally more uncomfortable than dangerous, but if you think you are having a severe reaction, seek medical attention.

How Can I Manage My Withdrawal Symptoms?

If you’re looking to wean yourself off cannabis, the first step is to consult with your medical cannabis provider to discuss available options. Not only are they likely to be a good source of information and tips, being accountable to someone can be incredibly useful when attempting to change habitual behavior.

There are a few things that patients can do — especially when beginning the process — to ensure that their withdrawal symptoms are kept minimal. These include:

    • Drinking enough water: Avoiding beverages high in caffeine and sugar can also help.

    Paying attention to your diet: Fresh produce and lean proteins can help mitigate the effects of withdrawal, while junk food can contribute to feeling moody or sluggish.

    Exercising frequently: Try to exercise 30 minutes or more each day. Not only will it help boost your mood, but it will help your body release toxins through sweating.

    Having people who can support you: Ask friends, family members, or other individuals you trust to help you during the process.

    Patients who use cannabis regularly may benefit from tapering off their marijuana intake to minimize withdrawal symptoms, while those who use less often may be able to stop without intermediate steps.

    The general consensus among researchers is that medical cannabis is safe for most people to use, especially when taken with medical supervision. Ultimately, every type of medication has side effects, and even though cannabis has a very low rate of addiction and no
    life-threatening side effects, addiction and withdrawal are still possible and should therefore be kept in mind.

    Discover Approachable Cannabis-based Care in Ohio

    At Lakewood Medical Clinic, we believe in making medical marijuana accessible to those who need it. There are currently
    21 qualifying conditions that may be treated with medical cannabis in Ohio — if you have questions about whether you qualify, contact us today. Our expertly-trained healthcare providers are ready and able to help you find the solution that best fits your needs and lifestyle.