Most people believe that marijuana detox only takes a day or so to rid your body of toxins from your system. What they may not realize is that the marijuana detox process can take months for the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) to fully leave your system.
Compared to many other detox procedures, marijuana detox takes a much longer time. THC can remain in the body’s fat cells, in hair, and fingernails for several months. The actual time frame can differ between people, based on their metabolism and eating habits, their level of physical activity, and the frequency and amount of marijuana usage.
It’s commonly believed by millions of users around the world that marijuana isn’t addictive. However, research into long-term users shows that it definitely is possible to become psychologically addicted to the substance.
Despite increasing support to try and legalize the drug, the reality is that it remains the single most commonly abused illegal psychoactive drug on the planet. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over-stimulation of the brain’s chemistry caused by marijuana abuse can cause significant changes within the brain that lead to addiction.
The marijuana detox process works by eliminating all of the toxins from the body and begins hours after the last use. The objective is to sustain abstinence over the long-term.
However, detox is only the first stage of addiction treatment. In order to avoid relapsing back into a cycle of drug abuse, ongoing counseling and psychotherapy is required to address the psychological triggers behind addictive behaviors.
Detoxing from many types of drugs can cause potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that require emergency medical attention. By comparison, the withdrawal symptoms of detoxing from cannabis are relatively mild.
However, if the person in detox is still in an environment where drugs are easy to access, the risk of returning to drug abuse is very high. In order to completely quit taking drugs, counseling may be required.
Relapse is the term used when a person returns to a cycle of addictive drug use after a period of abstinence. If the underlying issues that caused addictive behavior in the first place aren’t properly addressed, then the risk of relapse remains high.
Natural detox or “going cold turkey” is perhaps the most common form of withdrawing from marijuana. The person simply decides to stop using cannabis.
Heavy users may experience withdrawal symptoms when usage stops suddenly. It’s important that a recovering marijuana addict has strong support and a safe environment in which to complete the detox process.
A short stay at a residential rehab facility may also make the process easier, as prescription medication can be administered to treat some of the withdrawal symptoms during medical detox. For example, antidepressant medication may be given to help reduce symptoms of depression, or mild sedatives may be given to those experiencing sleeping problems.
The physical symptoms of withdrawing from marijuana are mild in comparison with many other psychoactive drugs. Symptoms include:
One of the primary benefits of seeking professional detox in a residential rehab facility is the availability of medical supervision. Counseling can commence to treat some of the underlying triggers that lead to addictive behaviors. Many people struggling with drug abuse disorders may also have coexisting mental health problems that need to be treated simultaneously.
The people in recovery in a residential rehab center are all going through similar experiences and challenges. Peer support groups can be incredibly helpful for remaining clean and drug-free over the long term. They also provide new social connections that help the person in recovery interact with others outside of their old drug-related social circles, which can lead to a higher treatment success rate overall.
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