Last updated: 04/2/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
It is very common for people to argue that marijuana addiction isn’t real, but it is. The reality of addiction is that the addict cannot stop using, even when they want to. Daily marijuana smokers are more likely than other groups to be unable to stop, as the habit and the drug’s effects have become the norm for their bodies.
Where there is addiction, there is withdrawal.
- Stomach pain
And, the following psychological symptoms:
- Being irritable
- Feeling anxious or worried
- Feeling depressed
- Being restless
- Having trouble sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day
- Having low appetite or losing weight
If you feel like dismissing your addict’s symptoms, don’t. NIDA notes: “In a study of teens receiving drug abuse treatment at an outpatient clinic, nearly half of them (40 percent) experienced symptoms of withdrawal when they stopped using marijuana.” These numbers can be extrapolated to account for most users.
1. Believe the Addict
The University of Washington reports a daily pot smoker faces a 50/50 chance that the individual will develop a dependence and experience subsequent marijuana withdrawal symptoms when the drug use stops. If your addict claims to be suffering, believe him or her.
2. Be Patient
You may not understand the addiction or the nature of the withdrawal, but you need to let the addict take the time needed to express it to you in the way that works best for them. Often, this can take some time. Try to remain open and don’t be pushed away by negative behaviors.
3. Be an Active Listener
Withdrawal can be hard to face alone and the addict in your life may want to share their experience with you. Be sure to listen closely and actively. Being a passive sounding board might be perfect on certain occasions, but most will call for you to hear the words and understand the message being sent. Acknowledge what you are being told and encourage the addict to share more.
4. Give the Gift of Relaxation
Withdrawal obviously takes a toll physically and emotionally. One way you can make a difference is to provide relaxation outlets for the addict in your life.
Offer to give him or her a massage or pay for a professional masseuse to go to work. Consider gifting herbal, relaxation teas or bath salts. Even offering to sit meditatively with the addict can make them feel supported and calmed.
5. Encourage a Healthy Diet
Marijuana users typically report cravings for junk food. A daily user may be getting the majority of their calories from these sources. When experiencing withdrawal, the addict may also be dealing with a nutritional deficit, which can increase the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
To get you addict healthy, consider accompanying them to the grocery store, offering gift cards to healthy markets, providing recipes and ingredients, or even making a few easy to re-heat, nutritionally-sound dishes.
6. Encourage Activity
If the withdrawal is causing anxiety, take the recovering addict out for a walk. Maybe arrange a regular date for an exercise class and have coffee together afterwards. The more active you can get your addict to be, the less they will feel anxiety and the better they will sleep.
7. Offer Transportation
Support groups, therapy, and outpatient rehab can all be wonderful aids to the addict experiencing marijuana withdrawal, but they can be hampered by a lack of access to transportation. The addict in your life may feel best seeking professional, outside help but may not be able to access it. By simply offering to drive them to appointments and support groups, you are helping your addict to receive the help they need to make it through withdrawal.
Addiction is no joke and even though marijuana is portrayed as a softer, kinder drug by the media, there are those who truly become addicted and will experience withdrawal. Doing all you can to support your addict in treatment helps to fortify their support system and better enables them to make it through recovery and on to sobriety.