Right now, 55 million Americans use marijuana, and in Canada, marijuana dispensaries are popping up everywhere like their Tim Hortons for weed and you in Toronto can even order these whittle THC drinks delivered to your front door from the Canadian government. A recent survey found that 4.3% of Americans have tried to quit marijuana at least six times and failed. Plus, now withdrawal symptoms are being fully understood. So today we are going to explain exactly what happens to your body when you try to quit marijuana.
Day One to Two: The Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms
Day one to two of quitting is when withdrawal symptoms start. A meta-analysis of over 23,000 people found that 47% had at least three of the following withdrawal symptoms, nausea, headaches, depressed mood difficulty getting to sleep, sweating, anger, nervousness, decreased appetite, and strange dreams. Now, the risk of withdrawal symptoms is proportional to the amount of marijuana you’ve been consuming. For example, someone who consumed marijuana three times a week would likely have less withdrawal symptoms than someone who consumed marijuana every day.
Day Three: Peaks of Irritability and Anxiety
Day three of quitting is when irritability and anxiety peak. Thankfully, they begin to dissipate in the coming days. But on the other hand, the strange dreams and difficulty getting to sleep only begin to increase on day three. This information has led to new research suggesting that chronic cannabis users may induce intrinsic sleep problems.
Day Four: Physiological Changes in the Brain
Around day four of quitting, the amazing physiological changes in your brain start to occur. In your brain, natural neurotransmitters called cannabinoids are already present, and marijuana contains molecules that mimic them. At baseline, cannabinoids circulate at lower quantities in your body but when you ingest marijuana you create an influx of cannabinoids into your system. Most specifically, there is an increase in the psychoactive component, THC delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
The THC you’ve consumed while getting stoned resembles the natural neurotransmitter anandamide and creates increased neuronal activity in certain parts of your brain, which causes thoughts imagination, and perception to magnify. The THC binding to your neurons also affects dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the body, leading to euphoria, pain modulation, and anxiety. But the thing is, as you continue to consume weed it becomes harder to quit. You start to create a desensitization and downregulation of your endocannabinoid receptor, specifically the CB1 receptor. Since these receptor modulators are systems of short-term memory, increased cannabis use means a decrease in short-term memory.
On day four of quitting marijuana the CB1 cannabinoid receptors will likely have returned to normal functioning. Essentially, it only takes around four days of quitting marijuana for the neuronal changes in your brain to go back to baseline. Now, this is new research and we think, it is important that we continue to study this, especially as the popularity of weed skyrockets. We need lots of long-term evidence about how this could affect our brains.
We are focusing on how THC affects the systems in someone’s body. How you get that THC into you might involve smoking and the act of smoking could have lasting effects on your lungs. But there is actually a specific way that the THC in your system can have longer impacts on your neurology in your brain. If you consume too much marijuana during development, such as in adolescence, you can create long-term neurophysiological effects.
Days Five to Seven: The Toughest Hurdle
A recent study found most people who tried to quit marijuana would fail on days five to seven. It was hard for people who were dependent on marijuana. Someone who has consumed weed daily for 10 years and attempted to quit numerous times but has not made it past day seven defines marijuana dependence. It can also be defined by the continued use of marijuana despite social, psychological, and physical impairments. It should be noted that although many scientists agree that marijuana dependence does exist. They also agree that dependence on marijuana is less severe than dependence on alcohol, cocaine, or opiates. But for marijuana, days five to seven are important days to focus on when trying to quit as statistically they are the biggest hurdle.
Day 28: Resolution of Withdrawal Symptoms
But finally, if you make it to day 28 of no weed all withdrawal symptoms disappear. Your affected endocannabinoid system and CB1 receptors will return to baseline. Life is hard and education and learning are what allow you to make the best choices for you science shows us that quitting weed isn’t as easy as we might think it is.