Though many of us might hate to say it, sometimes we need to get cannabis out of our system. Whether you’re applying for a new job, in need of a tolerance break, or just want to get back to a substance-free body, there are a few things to know about flushing the herb from your system. Here’s how to detox from cannabis.
What is detoxing?
Marijuana can be a fun plant, but it definitely can change your body chemistry. For medical users, this can be a good thing. For the healthy person, you might find that it makes you a little sluggish or different from your normal self. If for some reason you want to set your body back to base, a detox is in order.
What to expect when you detox from cannabis
Marijuana is not associated with the severe withdrawal symptoms of other substances. Unlike alcohol, you’re not going to be in excruciating pain or feel incredibly ill once you stop using the herb. That being said, your body has gotten used to having cannabinoids provided from an external source rather than by producing a significant amount of endocannabinoids on its own. Endocannabinoids are the compounds similar to THC that the body produces naturally.
So, when you stop using marijuana, you will experience some side effects while your body adjusts back to its pre-cannabis state. The amount and frequency of your marijuana use will drastically influence the amount of time it will take to detox.
Excess THC is stored in fat, so you’ll have to wait for your body to use up those fat cells before you’re completely clear. This can take as long as three months. While you’re detoxing, you may experience these symptoms:
Marijuana is fantastic for those with insomnia. Yet, if you’re used to using the herb as a sleep aid, you might experience some difficulty falling asleep once you stop using the herb.
Marijuana extends the time that you spend in deep sleep and shortens the time you spend in REM sleep. REM sleep is the period closest to waking and is when you dream most vividly. Because marijuana impacts REM sleep, it tends to suppress dreaming. Once you stop smoking/eating cannabis, people tend to experience vivid and intense dreams.
Anxiety, depression, and agitation
Cannabis has a significant impact on the parts of your brain that control mood. It’s not uncommon to feel a little numb, sluggish, experience mental fog, or become a little more on-edge than usual when you cut the plant out of your life. Once your body adjusts to its own endocannabinoids again, your mood returns to normal.
These physical symptoms are also common in those detoxing from marijuana:
- Decreased sex drive
- Digestive issues
- Menstrual irregularities
- Loss of appetite
How to detox from marijuana
Detoxing from cannabis is really quite simple. What’s the first thing you do? Stop using the herb. Once you’ve stopped, there are a few things you can do to help your body along. Here’s what they are:
As mentioned earlier, THC is stored in fat. This makes detoxing a little trickier than with other substances. You’ll need to burn off these fat cells in order to rid the excess THC in your body. Upping your exercise after you stop using will speed up the detoxification process.
As a bonus, your body creates anandamide after exercise. Anandamide is our body’s own THC. You’ll need healthy amounts of this endocannabinoid to help get your body back to normal. Anandamide and the endorphins created by exercise will also lift your mood, help combat the depression and fatigue, and stimulate appetite.
A diet rich in fiber, quality carbohydrates, and lean proteins will replace the THC-containing fat cells with healthy new ones. Incorporating more plant-based foods will also help lift your mood, improve the quality of your sleep, and help your body adjust much more quickly.
During a detox, aim for foods that really nourish you.
Schedule pleasurable activities
One reason why marijuana is so pleasurable is because of its interaction with dopamine. Dopamine is a pleasure molecule. It’s like a little reward for your brain and body. When you feel enjoyment, your brain sends out dopamine as a treat. When you stop using marijuana, you are eliminating a substance that triggers dopamine release. This might make you feel a little down or bored.
Scheduling some time with friends, taking a long walk through nature, or filling up spare time with things that you really enjoy doing will give your brain the dopamine boost that it’s missing.
If you have decided to call it quits because of issues with dependence or addiction, finding support is crucial. Detoxing will not be so easy for you. Not only does connecting with others fill up time and increase dopamine, but those with a strong support network are more successful in staying sober. Finding like-minded people who will support you in your decision is invaluable.
There are a lot of other plants out there that can help mitigate some of the side effects of withdrawal. Here are a couple of medicinal herbs and superfoods to consider:
Ashwagandha is a medicinal root. It’s also known as Indian Ginseng. You can find teas or tinctures at a local health food store. This herb is what’s known as an adaptogen. It helps protect your body from stress-related damage.
The strong anxiety relieving properties of this plant may help you overcome some of the jitters associated with marijuana withdrawal. A recent study found that this plant may work just as well as the prescription anti-anxiety medication Ativan. Rodent models given the root reported the same amount of anxiety relief as those given the benzodiazepine. It has no known harmful side effects and has a long traditional use in Indian Ayurveda medicine.
Seaweed or kelp
If you’re a fan of smoothies, throwing in some seaweed or kelp powder might do you some good. Seaweed is the superfood of the ocean. It contains ample amounts of iodine, antioxidants, and vital nutrients. Seaweed will help clear all of the junk out of your body and support the hormonal balance.
A nice curry or a little turmeric extract can help support your brain during a detox. Turmeric is an extremely powerful healing herb. Since marijuana is a powerful anti-inflammatory, replacing it with another inflammation-fighting herb might do your body some good. Arthritis sufferers and Alzheimer’s patients alike have been shown to benefit from this antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant. Studies have shown that it also helps balance mood by fending off depression.
Mixing turmeric with a little ginger will also help improve digestive function.
No matter what your reasons are for detoxing, you don’t have to suffer through the process. Set up a plan to give yourself some much-needed TLC after you stop using cannabis. Exercise, setting aside time for enjoyment, and eating a healthy diet filled with medicinal herbs will give you the boost you need to overcome the post-marijuana blues. As a bonus, your body will thank you.
Have you ever completed a detox from cannabis? Have any tips? Share them with us on social media or in the comments section below.