Cannabis withdrawal and detox

Humans are renowned for sometimes over-indulging in the things we really enjoy and for millions of people in the UK, cannabis is no exception. With over 7% of Brits using cannabis in the UK on a regular basis, it’s clear to see that many may be doing just that. With this in mind, knowing when to take a break or quit completely is key to not forming dependencies. For some, quitting cannabis might be easy; for others, it may not be the case. If you are finding it tough to take a break on your own accord or feel like cannabis is starting to creep into your everyday life, it could be time for a cannabis detox.

Cannabis detox

What is a cannabis detox?

Cannabis detox is the process of abstaining from using cannabis and the subsequent healing of the body to remove cannabis-related toxins. Drug detox can involve many physical and psychological changes, including cravings, difficulty sleeping, mood swings and irritability. A combination of natural detoxing strategies such as exercise, eating healthily and sometimes supplementation to help reduce the discomfort caused by the detoxing process, can help you overcome a cannabis addiction. Detoxing is the first step in preparing you for treatment in Banbury Lodge’s cannabis rehabilitation programme.

When is it time to consider detoxing from cannabis?

When cannabis use starts causing more harm than good, it may be time to consider detoxing from cannabis. Signs that it’s time to consider detoxing include;

  • Feeling like you cannot live without cannabis
  • Spending too much time and money on the drug
  • Engaging in risky behaviours while using cannabis, such as driving under the influence
  • Neglecting other important responsibilities or activities

If you have been using cannabis frequently and have experienced any of these signs, it may be time to consider seeking professional help to begin the process of detoxing.

What are the benefits of detoxing from cannabis?

Detoxing from any drug is considered the best way of abstaining from the drug because it allows the body to gradually rid itself of the accumulated toxins, metabolites and other substances that build up in the body over time. After a full detox is achieved, you may notice some, if not all, of the following benefits;

  • Improved physical health: Cannabis use can lead to increased risks of health conditions such as impaired lung function, weakened immune system, reproductive issues and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Quitting marijuana can help improve physical health by reducing these risks.
  • Improved mental health: Cannabis use has been associated with various mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. By quitting cannabis, a person can experience improved mental health and clarity of mind, allowing them to better manage their emotions and cope with stress.
  • Improved relationships: Cannabis use has been linked to increased relationship problems, both with partners and family members. Quitting cannabis can help a person repair damaged relationships, build trust and create stronger bonds with those around them.
  • Improved sleep: Cannabis use can impair sleep quality, leading to fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Quitting cannabis can help improve sleep by allowing the body to enter a natural sleep cycle without the interference of THC.
  • Improved work performance: Cannabis use has been linked to decreased performance in the workplace due to memory and concentration deficits caused by THC. Quitting cannabis can help a person be more productive and improve job performance.
  • Financial savings: Cannabis is an expensive habit that can put a strain on a person’s finances. Quitting cannabis can result in significant financial savings over time as the cost of cannabis is no longer an issue.

Is it advisable to detox at home?

It is possible to detox from cannabis at home, but it is not advisable unless you have the support of a medical professional. Detoxing from cannabis can be an uncomfortable process, so if you are considering a hallucinogen detox, it is important to first speak to a Banbury Lodge healthcare professional to discuss the safest and most effective way to do so.

What can I expect to happen to my body during cannabis detox?

The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a major role in cannabis detox, regulating various body systems such as mood, appetite, sleep and pain. When THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, is introduced into the body, it binds to cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 and disrupts the body’s ability to function normally. During detox, the ECS works to restore balance and can cause temporary symptoms until it is able to reset and re-establish balance. These temporary symptoms are also known as withdrawal symptoms and can include the following issues;

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • An increase in anger and aggression
  • Decreased concentration
  • Headaches

In addition to physical and psychological symptoms, there can also be cravings during the withdrawal period. Cravings are thought to occur because of the feeling of relief that cannabis use provides, as well as the reinforcement of reward associated with continued use.

Cannabis detox - woman with headache

Cannabis withdrawal timeline

It’s important to note that there isn’t a set timeline for withdrawal; the duration and intensity of symptoms will vary from person to person. Professional help can be beneficial for those struggling with withdrawal, so it is important to seek out support during these difficult times.

Below is a generalised timeline of what you may experience whilst withdrawing from cannabis;

  • One to three days: Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within the first 1-3 days of ceasing cannabis use. Common symptoms include an increased appetite and cravings, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia and restlessness.
  • Four to seven days: During this time period, physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, headaches and muscle aches may appear.
  • Two to four weeks: Many of the initial withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and cravings, will peak during this period. Additionally, feelings of anger and paranoia may also occur.
  • Four weeks plus: At this point in the cannabis withdrawal timeline, many of the physical and psychological symptoms should begin to subside. However, some people may continue to experience anxiety and cravings for several months or longer.

What mindset should I have when I enter detox?

Before entering detox, it is important to understand that cannabis detox can be a difficult process, so having a positive attitude and realistic expectations will help you get through it.

The first step is to recognise that you have a problem and are willing to make changes to address it. This means being honest with yourself about your use of cannabis and how it impacts your life. Understanding the effects of cannabis on your health and well-being can help motivate you to make changes.

It is also important to have the mindset of trying not to achieve goals too quickly. Setting small, achievable goals and making lifestyle changes can help sustain sobriety. Our team at Banbury Lodge can help you with just that.

Tips for a healthy cannabis detox

At Banbury Lodge, we are dedicated to making sure that you achieve sobriety in the best way possible. Below, we have highlighted some highly recommended words of advice that you can follow in order to make the detox process more manageable.

  • Drink lots of fluids: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as excess fluids will help flush out toxins from the body.
  • Exercise: Exercise regularly as it will help to manage cannabis cravings and improve overall wellbeing. Banbury Lodge has numerous ways you can exercise with an in-house gym, swimming pool and personal trainers.
  • Avoid triggers: Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other drugs as they can lead to cravings for cannabis.
  • Healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to maintain energy and manage cortisol levels. Our in-house dieticians are able to provide detailed plans on when and what to eat to achieve this.
  • Try natural supplements: In terms of using pharmaceutical medications for cannabis withdrawals, no single form of medication has yet been proven to be generally and consistently effective. With this being said, it might be beneficial for you to consider trying natural supplements to help ease the withdrawal symptoms. In fact, supplements, such as Magnesium, have been reported to reduce the nasty side effects of drug withdrawal.
  • Sleep: Sleep helps the body heal and recover from cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Manage stress: Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, massage and deep breathing exercises to manage cravings and stress levels. Don’t worry if you’ve never tried these techniques before; Banbury Lodge staff are here to guide you through each step.
  • Supportive network: Remember that the other people around you are going through exactly the same situation as you are now. At Banbury Lodge, we encourage group activities in order to achieve successful abstinence. Try to surround yourself with supportive people who understand your challenge and offer encouragement.
  • Patience: Have patience with yourself and remember that this process can take time so don’t be discouraged if you experience setbacks.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I relapse after cannabis detox?
If you have relapsed, it is important to take some time to reflect on your situation and take a step back. It is essential to identify why you have relapsed if there are any issues that you need to address in order for you to stay on track and work on strategies for preventing future relapse. Additionally, you may consider seeking support from Banbury Lodge’s aftercare support.
Will cannabis withdrawal symptoms last forever?
Although at the time of detoxing you may feel like the withdrawal symptoms will never end, it’s vital that you remember that this is just a temporary stage. Cannabis withdrawal symptoms generally last between one to four weeks.
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