Benefits of Detoxing from Marijuana with Medical Support
Marijuana is a controversial topic that has been on the news lately. Even though there has been a significant push to legalize marijuana, particularly for medical use, it remains a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1975. This means that the federal government considers it to have no medicinal value, and no purpose in research. This opinion is gradually changing but it does not change the fact that many heavy users still report symptoms of withdrawal. Perhaps the best answer for these sufferers is detoxing from marijuana.
Additionally, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction treatment with medical support is far more successful, and dramatically reduces the rate of relapse. When considering the options it is important to understand marijuana addiction, its timeline, its symptoms, and the medications available to help with the detox procedures.
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Many proponents of marijuana are fond of saying that marijuana is not dangerous, because it is not addictive. This is not true. Though not as destructively addictive as heroin or crack cocaine, marijuana is, nonetheless, addictive. Marijuana addiction is almost as prevalent as alcohol addiction. Most people who are addicted are not knowingly so.
Marijuana is not known to be physically addictive but each person is different. Marijuana withdrawal is very similar to sedative withdrawal without the dangers of seizures and other neurological effects. There are two sides to the psychical addiction debate, some studies say that there are aspects of physical addiction present when someone is addicted to marijuana and other studies say there is only a psychological addiction present.
Despite the controversy and arguing over whether there is a physical side to marijuana withdrawal, many heavy users report physical symptoms. Most of these symptoms are relatively mild and are often described as merely inconvenient. Psychological Addiction Many doctors and psychologists agree that marijuana is psychologically addictive. Most people who stop marijuana suddenly experience serious psychological symptoms. Although each person is different, the psychological symptoms follow a certain pattern with most people. The psychological addiction to marijuana is extremely powerful for most addicts and may cause serious complications.
Marijuana Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms
Although many people will attempt to say differently, marijuana withdrawal is a very real thing. According to the CNS Drugs article, “Pharmacotherapy for Cannabis Dependence: How Close are We?” the psychological symptoms of marijuana addiction are:
- mood disorders
- difficulty sleeping
- vivid or unpleasant dreams
These symptoms are not the only ones. Despite protestations that there are no physical withdrawal symptoms, most patients suffer from:
- night sweats
- excessive sweating
- stomach pain and cramping
- general physical discomfort
Although some people claim these symptoms are psycho somatic, many say they are actual physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Marijuana Withdrawal Timeline
The marijuana withdrawal timeline depends on a variety of factors. These factors are:
- length of use
- amount of use
- if you used daily or sporadically
- your body weight
- your overall health
Depending on the frequency of use, withdrawal starts a few hours after the last time you used it. The cravings are usually relatively intense at first. Acute withdrawal usually lasts between 24 and 72 hours, although it can last longer with heavier use. If you are experiencing physical symptoms they normally last around the same amount of time or less.
The more intense psychological symptoms such as mood swings and aggression usually peak between three and four days after last use. These symptoms often last for between seven and ten days. Many of the symptoms can last longer before gradually tapering off. These symptoms will subside.
For particularly heavy users there is a danger of post acute withdrawal. This is a pattern of intense cravings, irritability, mood swings, and other psychological symptoms that appear on and off throughout the next few months. These episodes will gradually become less frequent as time goes on.
Medical Detox from Marijuana
Medical detox from marijuana saves you from any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that might cause relapse. Doctors in a medical detox setting prescribe a variety of medications to help you through the withdrawal symptoms. They prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and other prescriptions to help with the withdrawal.
According to Current Pharmaceutical Design, doctors are currently experimenting with several medications to ease withdrawal. They have had some success. These medications are:
- bupropion, an antidepressant
- divalproex, a mood stabilizer
- nefazodone, a medication that increases the GABA concentrations in the central nervous system
- lofexidine, a medication for opiate withdrawal
- dronabinol, a partial cannabinoid agonist
They have the most success with dronabinol. This drug closely resembles the effects of marijuana and proves promising for helping patients get over marijuana addiction much the same way that Suboxone helps with opiate withdrawal. The dosage of dronabinol is then reduced to achieve complete sobriety. This treatment is still in its infancy and only time will tell whether or not it is safe and effective.
Many people agree that medical detox is the way to stop using marijuana if you are a long term addict. You do not have to suffer through withdrawal alone. We can help, call 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) for more information about detoxing from marijuana with medical support.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment?
- CNS Drugs. (2009). Pharmacotherapy for Cannabis Dependence: How Close Are We?
- Current Pharmaceutical Design. (2011). Pharmacological Treatment of Cannabis Dependence.