What is classed as long-term marijuana use varies, but, generally, using weed daily or close to this would fall into the long-term use category. Speaking to Integris Health, Jedidiah Perdue, M.D. stated, “Generally speaking, heavy use refers to daily or near-daily use of cannabis at an amount sufficient to lead to intoxication.”
Among those in this category, a report by Deborah S. Hasin, PhD., and Tulshi D. Saha, Ph.D. and, Bradley T. Kerridge, Ph.D. published by JAMA Psychiatry in 2015 found that three in 10 people developed a marijuana use disorder.
People who fall under the chronic use category may experience unwanted side effects like anxiety, moodiness, and lack of motivation, but those symptoms will generally go away after a few weeks of abstaining. However, in extreme cases, there may be more permanent changes to the brain, per Integris Health.
Marijuana use disorder is when using marijuana becomes addictive to a person and they cannot stop, even if it is having a detrimental effect on their life. A key sign of this disorder is needing stronger marijuana to experience the “high” feeling experienced with weed in comparison to when a person first started using the drug.
If you decide to stop using marijuana as a result of developing a marijuana use disorder, your body is highly likely to face some unpleasant symptoms as it gets used to being without the drug it has been dependent on.
While the majority of marijuana withdrawal symptoms are more unpleasant than dangerous, they can still be difficult to deal with — for example, severe cravings for weed or negative changes to your mental health. People with mental health diagnoses such as PTSD, or personality, anxiety, or mood disorders may have a harder time with withdrawal symptoms, according to American Addiction Centers.
Because of this, it’s advisable to contact an addiction center or a substance use specialist to ensure the withdrawal process is as painless as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable with this type of help, you should at least tell supportive family or friends about your decision so they can monitor your health and help you through the more unpleasant side effects.
Those who stop using marijuana after long-term use or as a result of marijuana use disorder can expect the withdrawal symptoms to kick in one to two days after last using the drug. The next stage occurs within two to six days, in which time the symptoms will grow in severity.
However, the good news is that, in three weeks, the majority of symptoms will disappear — though this will vary from person to person. The even better news is that on the other side of the withdrawal symptoms, people who stop using weed may find they can focus better, their memories are improved, they have more energy and enjoy a more stable mood, and their cardiovascular and respiratory systems become healthier, per Midwest Recovery Centers.