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Marijuana, derived from the hemp plant known as Cannabis sativa, is a leafy green substance that causes mind-altering effects. Although marijuana contains many different chemicals, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is mainly responsible for marijuana’s psychological and euphoric effects. According to NIDA, THC attaches to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, causing impaired memory, pleasure, lack of coordination and concentration, and enhanced sensory perception.

Despite New Law Changes, Marijuana Abuse Causes Concern

While some states allow marijuana to be used medicinally to treat pain, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy, it is still the most widely abused illicit drug among teenagers and young adults, according to NIDA. The drug isn’t as addictive as other street drugs, such as crack or heroin, but it still causes withdrawal when prolonged use comes to a halt.

Although some states, such as California, Colorado, and Washington, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, there have been concerns about alternative ways to get high from THC, such as dabbing, a method where THC is extracted and evaporated into a sticky wax so it can be smoked; and K2 Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid. Other street names for marijuana are weed, ganja, dope, pot, reefer, Mary Jane, and kush.


Heroin Signs

How THC Affects the Brain

When ingested, THC gets to the brain rapidly and attaches to the cannabinoid receptors, disrupting the central nervous system. Impairing the function of how cells receive, send, and process information, THC slows down the communication within brain cells. As a result, someone who is high on marijuana will begin to feel two or more of these responses:

  • Euphoric “high” feeling
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Red eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Some people may brew or bake cannabis in popular foods, such as tea and brownies. Usually, the baked goods containing cannabis have a higher concentration of the drug. When ingested, someone may not feel the effects as immediately when it’s smoked, but this can lead to someone ingesting more of the drug than their bodies can tolerate, which resulted in the 2014 death of a 19-year-old college student in Colorado. According to Forbes, consuming edibles may have a delayed effect of one to two hours, whereas smoking can be felt in as little as 10 minutes.

Alternative ways that marijuana can be ingested are:

  • Vaporizing (bongs, water pipes)
  • Topical (lotions, creams)
  • Pill capsules
  • Sativex (oral consumption for medical purposes)

Complete List of Signs and Symptoms

An avid user of marijuana may notice withdrawal signs when they stop excessive use. Some of these initial signs can range from physiological to psychological, with insomnia and headaches being the most common symptom. Although cannabis detox and withdrawal doesn’t pose much of a threat as other illicit drug withdrawals, you should seek medical attention if you suspect you’re in withdrawal.

  • Mood swings
  • Abnormal eating
  • Loss of concentration
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Vivid dreams
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Anger
  • Hand sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive coughing
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hormone imbalance

According to the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, marijuana abuse has been linked to infertility issues in men and women. In women who smoke marijuana excessively, the cannabis may disrupt their menstrual cycles, making it difficult to become pregnant. Men who smoke frequently have less seminal fluids, fewer sperm count, and abnormal sperm cells.


Heroin Timeline

Since marijuana isn’t quite as addictive as other drugs, its timeline varies from person to person. Depending on the length of use, tolerance, and frequency of use, the symptoms of withdrawal can be felt within 24 to 48 hours after the last use. Although these symptoms are mild to moderate and are not life-threatening, some people may still experience severe withdrawal that can last for months. If you suspect you are experiencing severe withdrawal, you should seek medical intervention immediately.

If you are suffering from a marijuana addiction, it is not recommended that you detox from the substance cold turkey, or suddenly. This could actually cause withdrawal symptoms to worsen, leading to a relapse. Instead, many people will taper off their use of cannabis or detox under medical supervision.

Below is a general outline of the withdrawal timeline:

The most common symptoms felt during the first 24 to 72 hours of withdrawal are headaches and sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or chronic fatigue. An addict may also notice they will start to feel physically uncomfortable as their brains readjust to its state of equilibrium. The first three days are when symptoms peak and are at their worse. Typically, someone in this phase of marijuana detox may also notice a change in their eating habits and experience weight loss.

Since marijuana withdrawal lasts for only two weeks, after the third day, an addict will start to notice less severe symptoms. But they may still experience mild symptoms, such as dizziness, sweats, and mood swings. If the symptoms are still severe, an addict may begin to have vivid dreams or nightmares.

These products use several methods to avoid oversight from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are only legal because they are deceptively marketed. Frequently, the manufacturers falsely claim the drugs are household products and not meant for human consumption. They are also sold at small outlets under variety of different names. When a particular brand gets a bad reputation or negative coverage from the news media, the manufacturers can change the name and the chemical makeup of the product and reintroduce it to stores.


Heroin Treatment

When treating a marijuana addiction, therapists may use behavioral and holistic therapy approaches for their clients. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT allows clients to channel their depression or negative thoughts by giving them alternative ways to channel their stress and anxiety. Therapists will use this form of therapy to teach clients how to deal with any psychological or mental disorders without turning to drugs or alcohol. Since marijuana is mostly a psychologically addictive substance, someone who chronically abuses marijuana will benefit from CBT if they are self-medicating their depression or anxiety with cannabis.

According to NIDA, there is currently no medication treatment for marijuana withdrawal, but research indicates that sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication can help with the sleep disturbance and insomnia during withdrawal. Some of these medications include:

  • Ambien
  • BuSpar
  • Horizant
  • Neurontin

Holistic therapy treats substance abuse from the relaxation and acceptance approach. This method will utilize the benefits of yoga, and spirituality to help the client have a better balance of their mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual states.


Heroin FAQ

It is not recommended that you detox cold turkey from severe withdrawal. However, here are some healthy activities that you can implement into your lifestyle to help with discomfort even after detox:

  • Exercise
  • Eating a “clean” diet consisting of fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Eliminate caffeine and fats from diet until digestion is better
  • Hot, relaxing baths

You will be able to tell within the first three days after use. The main indicators of withdrawal will become prominent if you begin to suffer from headaches, insomnia, or vivid dreams. If you are already experiencing these symptoms, seek help immediately.

Yes. Depending on the longevity of use, frequency of use, and tolerance, some people may not be as addicted to the substance as others, experiencing little to no withdrawal after they’ve stopped using. But it is still advised to use this substance for medicinal purposes and not abuse it recreationally. Although it is widely accepted among young adults and teenagers, it is still an addictive drug.

Research shows that marijuana can be beneficial to treat pain or other symptoms for cancer, epilepsy, and muscle spasms. But it’s important to note that medicinal marijuana comes from legal marijuana dispensaries where the cannabis is grown in a controlled, safety regulated environment. Street marijuana that’s used illicitly may be laced with chemicals or other illicit drugs, which may cause a potential overdose.

Synthetic cannabinoids, such as Black Mamba, Spice, or K2, are produced in labs to reproduce the effects of THC. These drugs contain many chemicals that are manmade and produces a more powerful effect than marijuana. Although not completely illegal, they are sold with signs that warn against human consumption. Yet, they continue to be the second most popular drug among high-school teenagers, according to NIDA.

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions

Street or illicit marijuana may be laced with PCP, cocaine, or MDMA. When purchasing marijuana from a street dealer, people may not be aware of where the marijuana was grown or if it’s organic. The dangers of smoking laced weed are a potential overdose, and a psychotic “trip” or high. As stated above, medicinal marijuana is grown in a legal dispensary, where growers have to abide by state regulations. Also, users have to be prescribed the marijuana, and it’s often administered through a vaporizer or edibles.



At a drug rehab center, you can start your recovery with a healthy support group of trained clinical staff, other like-minded recovering addicts, and addiction counselors that only want you to succeed.


Addiction treatment programs will vary by individual and substance, depending on the severity of their addiction and whether other treatment methods need to be included, such as dual-diagnosis or holistic therapies.


Marijuana users who seek to end their dependence on the substance can enter undergo a medically supervised detox. A licensed healthcare professional can recommend whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is needed and options for ongoing recovery.


For those wondering about the difference between inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment, the breakdown is quite simple. Inpatient treatment at a residential rehab facility are longer term programs (30 days to 60 days) for people with a severe addiction.

Clients who choose residential rehab are sent to detox and then to treatment, where they are isolated from any enabling people or factors in their lives. Although these types of programs are beneficial for chronic drug and alcohol abuse, they are more expensive. Check with your private health insurance plans to see if they provide coverage for treatment. Also, many centers accept Medicaid, Medicare and offer clients a sliding-scale payment plan, depending on their household income.

Outpatient treatment is best for those whose addictions are not severe. People dealing with relapse or a shorter addiction may choose an outpatient center or partial hospitalization for detox and treatment. These programs are shorter (30 days) and allow clients to balance their work or home lives with treatment and therapy. Another benefit of outpatient treatment is that it’s cost-effective and is most likely covered by insurance plans.



The percentage of high-school seniors who do not view regular marijuana as harmful.


In 2014, 78% of the 2.4 million people who began using in the past year were between the ages of 12 and 20 (National Institute on Drug Abuse).


In 2015, nearly 6 percent of high school seniors reported that they used marijuana daily.