Marijuana Withdrawal: What Happens When You Stop Smoking Weed - International Highlife

Marijuana Withdrawal: What Happens When You Stop Smoking Weed

Recently we read an article from Vice with the title, “Weed Withdrawal Is a Real Thing And It’s Hell.” We usually link articles that we quote, but we don’t want you to waste your time with this one since the title is highly exaggerated. Anyway, we thought that we had to create an article that covers this topic in an honest and real way; no clickbait and no fake news. We will explain if weed withdrawal is a real thing and examine the possible marijuana withdrawal symptoms.

Have you ever considered what would happen if you stopped smoking weed? Most smokers don’t think that weed withdrawal is a thing.

As per the latest numbers, only 2.5 percent of all cannabis consumers have a cannabis use disorder. It’s important to note that almost all individuals already have issues with other substances, behavior issues, or disabilities. Whether it’s a problem for you or not, a weed withdrawal can be real. I should know because I experienced it a few years ago.

I don’t think I was ever considered a huge pothead, even in my early twenties, when I smoked weed nearly every day. After all, I never smoked at school, and I never smoked at work. I tended to only smoke for recreational and social reasons. Everyone was doing it in my social circle, and so was I. Eventually, as many cannabis users experience, the euphoria of smoking weed turned into paranoia. It slowly dawned on me that weed wasn’t as fun as it was anymore.

This realization convinced me that maybe I needed to cut back or take a tolerance break. It was only months later that I thought about the weed withdrawal symptoms I had experienced. My experience was extremely mild in comparison to the stories from other medicinal cannabis users or chronic users. We spoke to many different people about this subject, and it became clear that the more someone consumes, the heavier the symptoms are (by trend).

The Symptoms of Marijuana Withdrawal

Looking back, the first thing I noticed was a difference in sleep patterns. Although I never considered myself an insomniac, I did use cannabis as a sleep aid. When I went cold turkey, suddenly, I was sleeping much more deeply. This was one of the first signs that I was weaning weed out of my system.

The second weed withdrawal symptom I experienced was incredibly vivid dreams. Until this point, I hadn’t realized that I had almost entirely stopped dreaming during my time as a daily pot smoker. It was like I went from dead air to dreaming in technicolor. For me, these were a positive development, but as reported by others – they can develop as nightmares.

Heavier users and those with a legitimate dependency (physical, emotional, psychological) may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. A study of 469 cannabis users trying to quit showed that almost 30 percent relapsed due to the severity of the issues. The most commonly reported issues were boredom, anxiety, irritability, increased cravings, and sleeping problems.

If the withdrawal symptoms are sometimes challenging, you might wonder why anyone would stop using it. We all know that weed comes with many medicinal benefits, but some people also experience the negative side of cannabis. The side effects of weed, when abused, are a decline in concentration, increased anxiety, paranoia, and sometimes problems with learning.

What Do the Experts Have to Say About Weed Withdrawal?

In another study published in 2010, entitled Assessment and management of cannabis use disorders in primary care, withdrawal is a complicated issue. For instance, many smokers regularly combine tobacco with cannabis, rolling spliffs. If they quit cannabis, they also quit smoking tobacco. Understandably, their nicotine withdrawal compounds the cannabis withdrawal symptoms.

Another issue highlighted by one of the authors of the study is caffeine consumption. Many weed smokers tend to consume far more caffeinated beverages than the regular person. Likely this is because they need to combat the sedative effects of THC. The authors of the study note that insomnia from cannabis withdrawal may be from excessive caffeine consumption.

So, some people might experience marijuana withdrawal symptoms because of their dependence on other substances. Other people with an underlying mental illness may have more substantial signs of withdrawal than their peers.

The weed-associated symptoms (vivid dreams, insomnia) should peak around day two or three after no cannabis consumption. After another two to three weeks, all signs should dissipate. I know in my case, my symptoms were considered mild in comparison to what some people experience. I only really understood my symptoms in hindsight, not as they were occurring.

Is There Anything You Can Do To Prevent Marijuana Withdrawal?

Granting some of the most problematic withdrawal signs are linked to caffeine and nicotine consumption, don’t quit them all at once. First, reduce caffeine consumption to a reasonable level. As you are still smoking weed, you’ll feel more drowsy, but that’s so much better than insomnia issues in my books.

Once you are down to two or three cups of coffee a day, it might be time to kick the nicotine habit. In less, of course, you plan to continue smoking cigarettes after quitting weed. Just keep in mind, cigarettes are a proven health risk, and weed has never been linked to severe health issues. Plus, if you quit smoking tobacco, cannabis might help you kick the habit successfully.

Finally, experts recommend slowly reducing your cannabis consumption over a few weeks. Going cold turkey will most likely trigger a rapid onset of powerful symptoms. They also suggest delaying your wake and bake session as long as possible, perhaps aiming later and later each day.

The study’s authors mentioned earlier did have one crucial thing to say to people trying to quit cannabis. They stated that “Our experience is that providing a patient with information about withdrawal symptoms may help them prepare for discomfort. This means, since you already read this article, you are that much closer to managing your withdrawal if you ever have to stop or want to take a tolerance break.

35 responses to “Marijuana Withdrawal: What Happens When You Stop Smoking Weed”

  1. Jonathan Flores says:

    Honestly in my opinion I have tried this method and has not helped me at all I smoked Marijuana for 15 Years once I stopped for a month or more I had violent rage because I wanted to smoke more but also it was for lack of appetite and loss of sleep. After I stopped I couldn’t sleep or eat for the longest time also I don’t smoke cigarettes or drink caffeine products just water. If I could help anyone in anyway about this research I would be more likely to help thank you.

  2. david shaffer says:

    I’m eplitic and if I stop smoking which I tried many times I start getting headaches and have partial seziures would it be a side effect will I ever be able to stop has anyone expericed anything such as this because with I don’t have partial seziures all day following with a headaches and unable to sleep.

    • Jessica McKeil says:

      Hello David, in your case, the cannabis you are using is medicinal. Its probably going to be a bit harder to wean yourself off without also starting a new medication for epilepsy. Have you ever explored the research on less psychoactive cannabinoids for seizure control? Strains like charlottes web have gotten tons of press

    • Sniffing farts says:


      If you’re using it for epileptic seaizures, then I personally wouldn’t recommend quitting. Granted, I am not a Dr. however what you smoke marijuana for is clearly medicinal. This would no different from a Dr. prescribing you medicine to take once a day everyday for the rest of your life. You’re just doing it your own way, but you still have the same results.

    • Nino says:

      Hi David, i am also epileptic and I’ve been attempting to quit, but what i have realized you just can’t. I started having more seizures than usual. But i also learned you don’t need to smoke as much once a week is fine, and it will lower your tolerance and be cheaper.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi David, i am also epileptic and I’ve been attempting to quit, but what i have realized you just can’t. I started having more seizures than usual. But i also learned you don’t need to smoke as much once a week is fine, and it will lower your tolerance and be cheaper.

  3. Kel says:

    I’ve recently had to stop smoking as I’m preparing for chest surgery and will be unable to smoke for at least six weeks post surgical. I also smoke to alleviate both the physical and mental side effects of Major Depression, Major Anxiety (the only thing that stops my attacks is weed), and the plethora of issues that come along with a fibro diagnosis! (my life is a barrel of joys…..-___-)
    It sucks. And I hate it. It’s hell! But being realistic for a second, I know that I would much rather quit smoking weed cold turkey then say….caffeine!
    I get cranky when I can’t get my Chronic. I get downright MEAN when I can’t get my caffeine!!

    • Jimbo Johnson says:

      I’ve had this happen, but nothing too serious. Mostly just lots of sweating and a lack of appetite. I’ve heard exercice helps take your mind elsewhere.

  4. John smith says:

    I’m only 20 but I’ve been smoking weed heavy for a good 3 years and I mean heavy, I don’t smoke during work but every other minute I’m stoned and I never see myself quitting, if I don’t have a j before bed I have the worst dreams there horrible I don’t sleep and just wake up sweating, basically weed has fucked me up

    • Moe says:

      Hey John, i know this feeling! Try meditation and exercising! It really helps and calms you down –Keep in mind that it takes time. I think everything beyond having a J here and there is abuse and is therefore not good for ones health and mind. I’m sober for 57 days after smoking a lot in the last 8-9 years and i can tell it’s not worth it. All the best

  5. JJ says:

    I quit cold turkey after being a daily (light) smoker (one or two hits off a pipe before bedtime)… went fine for 4 days, then I took my BP and found it was 150/90… freaked me out! I found others had experienced this too… probably not dangerous, but has me worried about my next attempt to quit.

    • bc says:

      This is normal its a reaction of your body that is used to be in a relaxed state you will prob sweat have no appetite less sleep but that’s all normal just don’t focus on that keep your self busy and all will be good 😀 quitting cold turkey is the way to go! you will get this symptoms quick and fast so they wont lest long when you don’t quit cold turkey which i think is total bs! It will only make it harder to quit and expand the time to quit which will make you keep smoking eventually…

  6. Linda Osborne says:

    I smoked (at times heavily) for something like 40 years. When they brought in random drug testing in the work place I had to give up unfortunately. I suffered no withdrawal symptoms at all and I still honestly believe there aren’t any except for what’s already in your head. Just my opinion. …

    • Beverly says:

      This is my experience also. 45 years of evening smoke, and everytime I have left the country on vacation for 4 to 5 weeks generally, I have been smoke free and observed no noticable symptoms of withdrawal. Everyone is different I guess.
      I did have terrible withdrawal from nicotine 12 years ago, sweats, tears, rages. That drug terrifies me. Also, did have withdrawal symptoms when I quit coffee.

  7. FTP420 says:

    Im nearly 18 from the uk have been doing buckets (or gravity bongs if you are American) almost everyday Since i was 13 used to take a gravity bong to school in my bag every day lol. My tolerance is ridiculous and when i try to stop due to wanting to have money and stop being a lay around asshole the symtoms i get could easily be compared to nicotine withdrawl i.e irritability, insomnia, wake up drenched in sweat every morning, difficulty eating. Of course this is fully subjective but yes weed withdrawl is real and is definitely hell. Ps i love smoking weed just want to stop until i sort myself out.

  8. Yo says:

    Freaking quacks so freaking fake and pathetic this is total bs the FDA only says things like this to make profit with the big pharma meds

    • Joseph says:

      Damn right.. Nothing more nothing less..its all about profit and pharmaceutical being in business.. I refuse to take modern medicine it just fucks u up

  9. william chalmers says:

    What really pisses me off…medicinal patients cannot take it across any borders/usa…for that matter people with medical cards stating they are eligible for med mj then we should be able to purchase it where available across borders and where medically available

  10. bc says:


    I’m smoking for almost 20 years now and i quit smoking each year for like 2 months sometimes 3.. I can tell from my exp that its true that you lose your appetite and sleep when you quit but that will only take 3 days for me [and yes i smoke a lot in the time i smoke] i also dream a lot in the time i don’t smoke and i think that it is healthy for your mind to catch up with some dreams… when i go stoned to bed i pretty much never dream that i know..Do i sleep better when i quit well no its about the same after 3 days… Some of my friends get really grumpy in those 3 to 5 days but i think that’s all about your mindset i don’t exp that anymore when i quit [i did exp that when i was younger the rage was real haha :D] but now i learned to keep my self busy be creative or go for a walk go sport do anything that keeps you busy and will make you tired even if you are not in the mood which will probably be the case 😀 just push your self to do it and you will see it will help a lot! Its all about a positive mind set when you want to quit smoking its rly not that hard just push your self true the first days and everything will be fine if you give notice to the no sleep and no eating and feeling moody you will only make that feeling stronger which will result in a way harder time to quit then it should be 😀 About Learning problems and memory loss i exp that also when i was younger i did not sleep well eat what ever i want consume a lot of coffee did not read a lot just smoke and chill… when i changed to a healthy lifestyle that all went gone! eat healthy sleep well but not to much and educate your self this will all help aaaa lot!!

  11. Budforlife says:

    Some companies I have worked with drug test. So I quit pretty regular for months at a time. Other than that I smoke 3-4g/day. I have never had any of the side effects listed. Go to bed same time get up same time, dream occasionally both with and without, eat the same 4 meals a day but less snacks when off. Only difference I find is I am bit more focused. I tend to wander from one project to another before finishing when baked all the time. and I have never had any
    Anxiety or paranoia with weed, ever at any time…ever. Cocaine yes, weed…never.

  12. Phelps says:

    I’ve been smoking for the last 8 years. 4 years heavily (like 15 fat joints a day).

    I got a job and I wasn’t allowed to have any contact with weed for like 3 months. This is what I Felt:
    The first day I was so busy moving traveling that I didn’t miss the weed. The second and third day were pretty bad days. I couldn’t sleep very well and I problems forgetting things. After a week I realized I had spent a lot of time smoking everyday that I didn’t have anything to do for hours. So, I decided to start many projects like exercising and studying. I started to be more productive and suddenly life started to go so fast that. I was trying to be busy all the time and I started to get depressed. At the end my contract expired and I returned home. It’s been 4 months since then. I got a new job and I decided to start my master. I smoke like 12 joints a day and I am very, very happy.

  13. Tom waits says:

    You smoked nearly every day and didn’t consider yourself a pothead?? Leave the weed articles to people who have a grasp on reality.

  14. Elle says:

    It’s a bizarre delusion to say that because YOU didn’t experience something, it must not exist. I cannot discern if it is the adoration of pot that makes people so defensive and ignorant, or if they carry this attitude into everyday life.

    I am a MMJ user. This was supposed to help me tolerate the pain of neuropathy. I am withdrawing as I type this, and now that I have a clear head, I think that MMJ has created an anxiety trap for me. I am fine when on it – until it turns on me (3-4 months) by causing nausea and irritability. Then I go through weeks of withdrawal, only to start up again. I am surely not a drama queen.

  15. Sharon says:

    I’ve been a heavy smoker for almost 40 years. If I’m not working or sleeping, I’m smoking. These last few months I seem to be getting NOTHING out of it no matter how much I smoked so I decided to quit. (I have no desire to try anything else). After about 2 days, my hunny practically ran out to buy some for me. If it was possible I’d have left myself!!! I was not nice at all, especially to him and he is the sweetest man there is!! Cranky, irritable, insomnia, just looking to pick a fight. Now in back to smoking, cut down by about 30% but still UGLY😤!! What to do??

  16. obviousname says:

    Lol what is this comment section. Feels kinda keep fake propaganda. I’ve smoked over 15 years heavy. Never had any of these symptoms. I moved out of USA to EU to a place where it is illegal. I took a cold turkey stop for eight years. None of these insane symptoms. I’m back to being, and nothing but good times, relaxation, and body compliment here.
    Your stories trip me out lol.
    I was addicted to world of Warcraft without drugs when younger. I needed real help.
    I also have nightmares if I have a glass of whisky (no weed in loved. As you imagine, in EU all alcoholism), three nights in a row… So in a way I get you guys, but weed just is so complimentary to my body and psyche. I’ve got bachelor degree, learned two languages and travel the world, weed has never hindered that.

  17. Kori says:

    I have smoked weed for 15yrs everyday and i found myself throwing up moody and the dreams are intense in bad and good ways loss of appetite and the urge is unreal i have m.s and thats all i used for fatigue and pain relief i can not wait till i can smoke again

  18. William says:

    I mean, this article only talks abput a few users, i was more of an excessive user, smoking about a 14 a day, i would wake up in the middle of the night with sweats and having heat waves, and id have to go smoke or i couldnt sleep for the rest of the night, and if i waited to long i would litterally throw up, when i quit for the first 3 days i was throwing up and felt like a zombie, didnt want to move and had a hige appetite loss, then after day 4 i started eating again but still didnt have any motivation whatsoever and a huge trouble with sleeping for the next week, but after a week and a half 2 weeks from beginning to end of my withdrawls i started finding myself again amd now i can say ive been clean for 5 months and i dont feel any urge for it at all, thanks to jesus

  19. Judy Rios says:

    Man! I call them “ moment’s “ T-Break!

  20. Pako says:

    I have 21 years smoking weed and i tried to quit smoking 1st thing i will start to loose taste of food hence loss of appetite 2nd thing i started to be moody and quiet hence i being bored and i have noticed irritability on me when I’m bored lastly during bedtime i take much time to sleep and end up dreaming mind u when i have smoked weed i don’t remember dreams which i don’t like anyone to help to overcome this addiction

  21. Eli says:

    When i run out of weed, i dream more often.

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