What To Expect From A Marijuana Detox

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Although it’s widely believed that marijuana is harmless, it’s possible to develop an addiction to the drug, which can harm your overall well-being. Some research shows marijuana use can be linked to altered memory, paranoia, short-term memory impairment, delayed brain development, and cognitive decline.

Marijuana detox is a process that involves completely ridding your body of marijuana. This is done by complete abstinence from the drug.

Marijuana detox is the first step a person with marijuana use disorder needs to make to recover from the condition. This article looks at what you can expect from a marijuana detox. What to know before embarking on one, and what comes after you are done with your detox.

What to Know Before a Marijuana Detox 

Before embarking on a marijuana detox, there are some decisions you need to make. The first is whether you want to do it at home or at a treatment facility specially equipped for handling detoxing from substances. This decision is very personal and dependent on what you hope to get from the process.

Detoxing at home gives you more freedom over the process. The downside, however, is that you are more likely to relapse when detoxing yourself. This is because there’s a lack of supervision and accountability from a person of authority.

Detoxing at a treatment facility provides you with structure and support throughout the process. Detoxing at a facility is also highly recommended for long-term users who are likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

What to Expect From a Marijuana Detox 

What to expect from a marijuana detox is highly individual. Your experience with the detox process is dependent on a combination of several factors. Your age, gender, sex, genetics, and how long you’ve been dependent all come into play.

If you’ve been using marijuana for an extended period, you are more likely to go through a more extended detox period and experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. If you are an occasional user of the drug, your detox period is more likely to be much shorter, and you might not even experience any withdrawal symptoms.

A 2020 study on the prevalence of cannabis withdrawal symptoms amongst marijuana users found that up to 47% of the participants experienced this phenomenon. Factors that contributed to the development of the syndrome included using other substances, smoking tobacco, and using marijuana daily.

Unlike other substances like opioids, detoxing from marijuana doesn’t carry any significant risks in the detox process.

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms 

As mentioned, a marijuana detox causes unpleasant symptoms known as withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are temporary and will cease when you are done with your detox. However, the length of time you are likely to experience these symptoms is highly individual. No two people are likely to go through marijuana withdrawal in the same way.

According to the America Psychiatric Association, you are most likely to experience these symptoms if you’ve used marijuana daily or almost daily for months. Common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include: 

  • Craving marijuana 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Stomach aches 
  • Fever
  • Anxiety 
  • Aggression 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Tremors 

You might be confused about what’s happening with your body during a withdrawal. The symptoms you are experiencing result from your brain and body trying to adjust to the absence of marijuana from your system. If you’ve used marijuana for a prolonged period, your body will come to depend on it.

How Long Will a Withdrawal Take? 

Again the detox journey from marijuana varies from individual to individual. In that vein, the amount of time your withdrawal will last vary.

Research suggests that you will likely begin experiencing symptoms about a week after you stop using the drug. Around the ten-day mark, you are most likely to witness a peaking of your withdrawal symptoms, after which you’ll experience a decline in the severity of your symptoms over the following 20 days.

Some people could experience mild withdrawal symptoms that don’t affect their daily functioning for months and even years after they discontinue marijuana use. 

What Happens After a Marijuana Detox 

Working to prevent a relapse after your marijuana detox is very crucial. While you might think that the process ends when you stop experiencing withdrawal symptoms, in reality, it’s a lifelong process, and it’s essential to work hard to prevent a relapse each day from the day you stop. People who have a long history of using marijuana are unfortunately more likely to relapse during a detox. 

A Word from Verywell 

Going through a marijuana detox can be challenging, especially at the peak of your withdrawal symptoms. However, it’s a crucial first step you need to take when recovering from marijuana dependency.

It’s important to realize you don’t have to go through the process alone. You can either detox at home with the help of loved ones or do it at a medical facility equipped to put you through the detox and handle any complications that may arise during the withdrawal period.

Everyone goes through the process in different ways, don’t be deterred if you feel your journey seems to be taking longer than it should. The most crucial step towards achieving your goals is maintaining consistency. 

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. What are marijuana’s long-term effects on the brain? July 2020

  2. Melemis SM. Relapse prevention and the five rules of recovery. Yale J Biol Med. 2015;88(3):325-332.

  3. Harvard Health. If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal. May 26, 2020

  4. Bahji A, Stephenson C, Tyo R, Hawken ER, Seitz DP. Prevalence of cannabis withdrawal symptoms among people with regular or dependent use of cannabinoids: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(4):e202370. doi:10.1001%2Fjamanetworkopen.2020.2370

  5. American Addiction Centers. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms, timeline & treatment. June 24, 2022

  6. Hesse M, Thylstrup B. Time-course of the DSM-5 cannabis withdrawal symptoms in poly-substance abusers. BMC Psychiatry. 2013;13:258. doi:10.1186%2F1471-244X-13-258

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.