This is a not an easy question to answer. Some people quit cold turkey and never look back, others choose to cut down on the amount of weed they use over a period of weeks, or even months, before finally stopping completely. Still, no matter how you quit it could be several weeks before your body is completely free of all traces of the drug. Until that point cravings and withdrawal symptoms can still be a problem, putting users in danger of relapsing. Perhaps the best way to answer the question is to say it mostly depends on the way someone experiences and deals with the withdrawal symptoms experienced. If you are reading about this to help someone else then you may wish to read our support articles on this.
Soon after quitting weed some people will begin to experience things like cravings, depression, anxiety, insomnia, stomach pains, headaches, feelings of irritability, and lack of appetite. Typically, three or more of these things indicate ‘official’ cannabis withdrawal is taking place. (This is important as it may help you get more comprehensive medical or recovery support if needed.) Long established or heavy marijuana users are more likely to experience withdrawal than light or casual weed smokers, but nobody can be sure they will be 100% immune. Statistics vary, but it is though anywhere between 40 – 80% of quitters will experience some form of negative after effect, and around 30% of them report withdrawal symptoms severe enough to make them resume smoking weed simply to make them stop.
The 3 Day Effect
THC, the substance in weed that makes you high, takes around three days to work its way completely out of your body, and that’s after just one smoke. The more you use the longer it takes, as there’s a kind of build up effect. Casual, or even regular users of weed, may not notice any withdrawal symptoms for a few days, if at all, but heavy smokers are likely to feel the effects much faster – often on the same day they quit. The most severe feelings are likely to hit around day two and three, and although they will ease they can still last for many weeks after.
Days 4 – 18 (approx)
Many users will have to put up with extreme tiredness, irrational thoughts, irritability, weepiness and an upset stomach. Generally emotionally stable people and/or casual or light weed smokers should find their anxiety, restlessness and mood swings have pretty much disappeared by they have two clean weeks marked off the calendar. Heavy smokers and/or those with a history of psychiatric issues often report severe depression sets in 2-3 weeks after stopping. This is the point where specialist help should be seriously considered to help lower the risk of taking up weed again.
In most cases major withdrawal symptoms last around two weeks, and after a month they have usually disappeared completely. At that point it is quite honest to say the habit has been kicked.