What Is Marijuana Detox?
In the past (prior to the 1970s), public intoxication was a law that was taken very seriously and people who were caught visibly drunk or drugged in public were taken to jail and forced into detox because they could not access their drink or drug of choice. Time has shown that this cold turkey approach to detoxification was cruel. Instead, a variety of detoxification models became the norm. But what is marijuana detox, and how does it work?
If you are struggling with marijuana addiction or dependence, you may not be getting the help that you need because you are having a difficult time getting people to understand the severity of your problem and getting yourself to stop using pot. Detoxification in a professional, supportive environment addresses both of those concerns as well as many others that are necessary to attaining a fully safe, drug-free state.
If you need help stopping using marijuana and you would like help, you should contact Detox.com at 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) and speak to a knowledgeable individual who can connect you with the resources you need to succeed in detox and later treatment.
What is Detoxification?
At its simplest, detox is a group of interventions that attempt to manage both serious intoxication and withdrawal that happens when you transition to full sobriety. It is the process by which drugs and/or alcohol are cleared completely from your system.
It is also the first stage of many that are necessary for full recovery. Although detoxification enables you to eliminate drugs and/or alcohol from your body, it doesn’t mean that maintaining that state will be easy. You will need to continue through a rehabilitation program that works for your requirements.
Most commonly, a medical model of detox is used and it involves using doctors, nurses, and medication to help you through withdrawal. On the other hand, there is also a social model that relies on a supportive environment, rather than a hospital setting and medication, to help you through the process.
What Are the Stages of Detox?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identifies three components of detoxification: evaluation, stabilization, and fostering patient readiness for and entry into treatment.
During evaluation, you will be tested for the presence of drugs and/or alcohol in your system. The concentration of each will be measured. You will also be screened for any other medical of psychological condition you may be dealing with in addition to the substance abuse. Be prepared to undergo an assessment of your medical and psychological circumstances, as well as your social situation.
Stabilization is characterized by assisting you through your acute intoxication and withdrawal into a substance-free state. This process will be medically stable and fully supported by clinicians. Be prepared for this to be both a medical and psychosocial process.
Finally, you will be told about the importance of following through with rehabilitation. Those assisting you with detox will prepare you to enter treatment and will emphasize the importance of your doing so.
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Marijuana and hashish contain THC and when you are detoxing, what you are really eliminating from your system is THC. There has been a large debate about whether or not there are specific symptoms of THC withdrawal and medicine used to be firmly of the opinion that there are not. But, lately, experts have changed their minds and there is recognition of a THC specific withdrawal.
Within 24 hours of stopping using marijuana, you will begin to feel what is known as THC abstinence syndrome, which is a fancy way of saying marijuana withdrawal. Not all users will feel this; it is believed that heavier users will experience more symptoms. SAMHSA identifies the following extremely common symptoms of withdrawal:
- Sleep disturbance
- Change in appetite
Other less common symptoms include:
- Elevated heart rate
- GI disturbances: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Generally, clinicians will not include medication in their treatment of the withdrawal, but there are exceptions. Some doctors recommend buspirone for persistent generalized anxiety. Persistent sleeping problems may be treated with Trazadone. Most patients will need a substance free, supportive setting to maintain sobriety.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment- Overview, Essential Concepts, and Definitions in Detoxification.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment- 4 Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances (Marijuana and Other Drugs Containing THC).