Written by: Dale Conlon
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: January 10th, 2023
If you want to remove cannabis addiction from your life so you can nurse your body and mind back to health, you need to start with a cannabis detox. This page will answer questions surrounding the cannabis detox process and go through symptoms you may experience whilst going through withdrawal. You will also find useful and helpful advice, including the availability of detox programmes and what to expect and prepare for throughout the process.
What is cannabis detox?
Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that alters the brain’s function. When your body adapts to the constant presence of cannabis, physical changes occur to both your brain and body. When you stop using it, your body has to go through a period of adapting back to its normal state before the use of drugs. This is known as cannabis detox.
What is cannabis withdrawal?
This stage of withdrawal is where your body attempts to readjust to its normal function. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, with some symptoms persisting long after you have stopped using. Cannabis withdrawal can last longer with more severe symptoms than other drug withdrawals as the main active chemical is stored in the body’s fat cells, which means it can take longer to remove from your system.
What causes cannabis withdrawal?
Withdrawal is caused by Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main chemical in cannabis. This is the chemical that is responsible for altering brain function. When smoking cannabis, THC is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to the brain, where it acts on cannabinoid receptors.
The highest density of these receptors is in the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, sensory perception, and coordination. This is where feelings of euphoria (known as ‘highs’) and relaxation are commonly experienced by users. When your body goes through detox, your brain has to respond to the sudden low level of THC in the bloodstream, resulting in withdrawal symptoms.
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal from cannabis can have different effects for everyone and can depend on a number of factors such as:
- The general state of your health.
- How long you have been using cannabis.
- The amount of cannabis you have been using.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and it can be particularly dangerous to go ‘cold turkey’ (without medical supervision and therapy), as you never know how you will be affected.
It is not uncommon to experience hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and even convulsions. Here are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms experienced with cannabis detox:
- Abdominal cramps
- Insomnia and vivid nightmares
- Feeling tired throughout the day
- Night and hand sweats
- Feelings of anxiety or worry
- Lack of appetite, leading to weight loss
- Shakiness (similar to when the body is dehydrated)
- Irritability (including sudden or intense changes in emotional state)
These symptoms usually last for a few weeks but can persist longer and, in some cases, become chronic. The safest way to go through withdrawal is to undergo a supervised medical detox in a private facility with 24/7 supervision.
Timeline of cannabis withdrawal process
The withdrawal process can be explained in the following format:
Users can experience anxiety, restlessness, tremors, lack of focus, irritability, headaches, or insomnia.
At this stage, users can experience the following symptoms of cravings, chills, sweating, nausea, abdominal cramps, lack of appetite or weight loss.
This final stage may come with irritability, mood swings, mild depression, cravings, aggression, insomnia, lack of focus or lack of appetite.
Some users have been known to experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), where symptoms persist longer than a month.
These can include:
- Sleep difficulties
- Strange dreams
- Issues with memory
- Lack of motivation
At Primrose Lodge, we offer a personalised cannabis rehab treatment including detox tailored towards your specific withdrawal symptoms, as well as a range of support to ensure you get through withdrawal with minimal discomfort.
Dangers of home cannabis detox
The idea of detoxing from cannabis at home, surrounded by home comforts, may seem appealing. However, this is not a recommended option as there is no medical supervision when it comes to dealing with withdrawal symptoms that may arise.
Detoxing at home could also mean having access to the drug, which is more likely to cause a relapse or overdose.
In addition to this, if you have been addicted to cannabis for a long time, your withdrawal symptoms could be particularly severe or uncomfortable. This can be difficult to manage alone; detox at Primrose Lodge means you will be in a comfortable and supportive environment.
Benefits of private cannabis detox
There are many benefits of having a private cannabis detox, the main one being in a residential detox space. As well as being away from your familiar environment with no access to cannabis or risk of relapse, there is 24/7 monitoring and support from medical staff.
You’ll receive expert support with the aim of all your needs being met throughout your detox programme.
Private detox is tailored to suit your individual needs. You will be supported throughout your treatment and taught techniques to help you prevent relapsing.
If you have multiple addictions, you may also undergo medical detox, where your withdrawal symptoms will be monitored and medication administered (if required) to help ease the severity of your symptoms.
Some of the other benefits of residential detox include:
- A safe, nurturing environment where all your needs are met
- Assistance with diet and nutrition to help restore your health
- Improved sleep patterns
- 12 months of complimentary aftercare support
- A personalised treatment programme
- Therapy and counselling to overcome the root causes of your addiction
- The ability to learn techniques to overcome your cravings and prevent relapse in future
If you or your loved one are suffering from addiction to cannabis or any other substance, it is never too late to seek help. We can offer advice and an initial assessment to work out the best tailor-made treatment programme for you.
Our treatment facilities come with an experienced staff offering personalised care as well as excellent facilities, including an on-site chef and access to a gym.
To find out more about the treatment we offer and how we can help you or your loved one live a happy, fulfilling life free from the influence of cannabis, contact us today.