Quitting weed can lead to some short-term side effects, but this is outweighed by the long-term health benefits of stopping the drug.

Weed, also known as cannabis or marijuana, is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. Although it can sometimes be cooked into food or consumed in tea, it is most often smoked in pipes or hand-rolled cigarettes. As an addictive Schedule I controlled substance, weed can be hard to quit. However, success is possible, and you can detox from weed and live a weed-free life.

Article at a Glance:

There are both immediate and long-term health benefits when you stop drinking alcohol.

Your brain functions better and your immune system gets stronger when alcohol isn’t working against you.

Your liver, heart, and digestion improve when you quit drinking alcohol.

Your cancer risk decreases and your memory improves when you get sober.

The Recovery Village can help you achieve your goal of quitting drinking and living a healthier life.

Weed Addiction and Abuse

Although experts debated for years whether or not weed was addictive, they have now come to the conclusion that weed addiction is possible. Anywhere from 9% and 30% of marijuana users will develop a substance use disorder. 

In addition, weed can act as a gateway drug. Although most people who use weed do not take other illicit drugs, those who use other illicit substances often first experiment with alcohol, tobacco or weed. In addition, weed may change the brain in ways that make it easier to become addicted to other drugs.

Side Effects of Smoking Weed

Weed can, unfortunately, cause some side effects that negatively impact your health. Short-term weed side effects include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Increased heart rate 
  • High blood pressure
  • Coughing from lung irritation
  • Increased appetite
  • Distorted perception
  • Coordination problems
  • Sedation
  • Memory and learning problems
  • Difficulty thinking and problem solving

Over the long term, these symptoms can become more severe as a person continues to use weed. Respiratory health is a big concern because chronic, incurable lung conditions like asthma can develop after long-term weed smoking. Mental health can also be impacted, with chronic weed use linked to anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Weed Withdrawal Symptoms

When you use weed heavily, over time, the drug can cause chemical changes in your brain and make you physically dependent on the drug. Physical dependence, which is different from addiction, means that your body has begun to rely on the drug’s presence to function normally. But this also means that when the drug is stopped, the person can have withdrawal symptoms. About 33% of regular weed users have experienced marijuana withdrawal symptoms at some point. These symptoms include:

  • Weed cravings
  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Hunger
  • Feeling mellow
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased sexual arousal
  • Strange or vivid dreams
  • Irritability and anger
  • Restlessness
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety

Benefits of Quitting Weed 

Quitting weed can cause a significant improvement in your health. Some health benefits of stopping weed include improvements in:

  • Breathing
  • Endurance
  • Cough, including bronchitis
  • Amount of phlegm in the throat
  • Memory
  • Cognition
  • Sleep
  • Dreams
  • Anxiety

Weed Detox

Weed detox refers to the process of eliminating weed from your system. When you stop using weed, withdrawal symptoms tend to peak over the first three days before slowly resolving over the next one to two weeks. However, some symptoms like insomnia can last up to a month.

Weed detox helps minimize the risk of becoming addicted to weed. Weed addiction is possible and is an especially high risk for adolescents. If you start using weed before the age of 18, you are up to seven times more likely to develop a weed addiction than adults.

At-Home vs. Professional Treatment Options

A person can choose to detox from weed at home or in a professional, medically supervised setting. 

If you choose an at-home detox, you can do it on your own or under a doctor’s care. However, there are downsides to a home detox, mainly that you will not have medical support when you have withdrawal symptoms. Even if you detox at home while under a doctor’s care, there may be a treatment delay, and withdrawal symptoms may not be treated as quickly as they would under medical detox. For this reason, it’s important that a trusted person be around to help monitor you for any withdrawal symptoms and seek medical advice as needed.

In contrast, if you undergo detox at a medically supervised detox facility, doctors and nurses who specialize in weed withdrawal can monitor you every step of the way. This means withdrawal effects can be treated as they arise, easing the detox process.

Get Help for Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one struggles with weed, you are not alone. A weed addiction can feel overwhelming, and withdrawal effects may seem difficult. But help is here. Our medical detox program at The Recovery Village at Baptist Health can help ease you off weed, and our marijuana rehab options can help keep you off weed for good. We offer a continuum of care, including multiple rehab options like inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient rehab, as well as aftercare planning. Don’t wait: contact us today to learn how we can help.

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.