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Navigating Marijuana Cravings and How to Handle Them

Marijuana has gotten significantly stronger since the turn of the century, resulting in the average user experiencing much more difficulty stopping its use. In fact, its level of THC was only around 3% a couple of decades ago before quickly increasing to around 25% in 2013.

However, despite it being more challenging to navigate marijuana cravings today, marijuana sobriety can be achieved, and many are successful. That said, it is usually not an easy path, and being prepared for the challenges you will likely face on this road is essential.

How Long Do Weed Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

How long marijuana withdrawal symptoms last depends on a number of factors, generally the most important one being how much of it was consumed and how often it was smoked, eaten, or otherwise used. With that said, weed cravings tend to be especially strong the first week and a half after use has been stopped, usually starting a couple of days into it and reaching its peak later that same week.

However, note that milder symptoms can be experienced for months or even years after you stop smoking weed, so it is important to learn how to navigate marijuana cravings, as they will likely not completely go away for some time. One reason for this is that THC, stored in fat cells, can remain in the body for months.

Common Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

Understandably, many common marijuana withdrawal symptoms are reactions by the body that are opposite to why you may have started using weed. These can include increases in:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • heart rate
  • insomnia
  • hallucinations
  • depressed state
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • weight loss due to a loss of appetite
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Vivid dreams that may possess what some describe as “interesting” content sometimes result as well.

Situations That Can Increase Marijuana Cravings

One of the most important things you can do to reduce weed cravings is to avoid situations that connect marijuana and your use of it in your mind. Most importantly, prevent or, if that is not possible, limit how often you are in situations where you have commonly used marijuana in the past. This can be specific places, while it can also consist of people who trigger those thoughts.

For example, if you have been smoking weed every few days at a friend’s house, you should avoid going over there, mainly when you are early in your journey towards sobriety from weed.

How to Handle Weed Cravings

An important step you can take on your way to sobriety from weed is to expect cravings to happen occasionally. Many people feel they should not be experiencing cravings and feel guilty when they do, but they are normal and expected, even years after you stop using it.

As for handling them when they happen, many find that it helps to imagine them as waves. For example, a craving wave will sometimes head toward you and peak in intensity, but if you are patient and ride it out, it will ultimately move on. In other words, remember that those intense craving symptoms are temporary and that they will ultimately go away.

When you are experiencing a wave, it can help to do your best to focus on something entirely unrelated to weed. For example, talk with friends about something else or watch an unrelated movie.

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Handling Common Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are experiencing high levels of irritation and anxiety, it helps to ground yourself to think of things that you can see, feel, touch, hear, and taste. Also, engage in deep breathing exercises.

Experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep can be helped by reducing caffeine intake and doing things like avoiding screen usage late at night.

If you are experiencing depression, think about non-weed-related activities you enjoyed in the past and revisit those. You may still struggle with depression while doing so, but it should help. It can also be of assistance to discuss those feelings with a psychiatrist or psychologist.

In some cases, medications such as acetylcysteine, baclofen, or mirtazapine have been prescribed to help reduce distressing weed craving symptoms, but their effectiveness is still debated.

Many report that exercising regularly generally helps calm them and improves their sleep quality, although you should avoid doing so in the hours immediately before sleeping.

Getting Help With Your Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

We at Mind Body Wellness specialize in treating many types of addiction and mental health conditions and understanding how co-occurring conditions can affect you. We do so through a holistic approach, looking to heal your entire body as you gain sobriety from weed.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you stop smoking weed, contact us at 615-637-1532, info@mindbody-wellness.com, or by filling out a contact form on our website.