THC Detox: What to Expect

May 2024 THC Detox: What to Expect

Contrary to an unfortunately persistent myth, you can become addicted to marijuana. When you then try to stop using the drug, a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can prevent you from doing so. If you find yourself in these circumstances, THC detox may be the ideal place to start your recovery journey.

What is THC?

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis sativa and cannabis indica plants. It is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, edibles, and other products that are made from cannabis.

Cannabis plants actually contain several types of THC. Two of the most well known are delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC. Delta-9 is much more prevalent in the plant, and it is responsible for the effects that we typically associate with a marijuana high.

When a person consumes marijuana, delta-9 THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in various areas of the central nervous system, which can cause:  

  • Altered perception of time
  • Impaired coordination
  • Delayed reactions
  • Relaxation
  • Improved mood
  • Heightened perception of light and sound
  • Increased appetite
  • Short-term memory loss 

Marijuana use also triggers increased levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with learning, motivation, and reinforcement. Experts believe that marijuana’s addictive properties are associated with this dopamine release. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that about 9% of people who use marijuana eventually become addicted to it. Among those who start using marijuana during their teen years, NIDA data indicates that the addiction rate is about 17%.

What to Expect During THC Detox

Withdrawal is one of the classic signs of addiction. When you have been using marijuana or certain other drugs for an extended period, your body can adapt to the presence of the substance. When you try to abruptly end your substance use, or when you are prevented from acquiring and using the drug that you have become dependent upon, your body may respond with a variety of distressing physical and psychological symptoms.

In the case of THC withdrawal, symptoms can include:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Disturbing nightmares
  • Muscle tension
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Headaches

The discomfort of marijuana withdrawal isn’t as intense as what people experience when they’re going through withdrawal from heroin or other opioids. And it’s not life-threatening, as alcohol withdrawal can be in some extreme cases. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Withdrawal symptoms can quickly push a person back into active substance abuse. If you try to get through marijuana withdrawal at home, the knowledge that you can ease your symptoms simply by using the drug again can undermine your efforts.

Thankfully, withdrawing by yourself at home isn’t your only option. As we will discuss in greater detail in the next section, entering a THC detox program can help you get through withdrawal and put you on the path toward a marijuana-free future.

Benefits of Going to a Detox Center to Overcome THC Addiction

Why choose detox for THC? Here are a few of the many reasons why this can be the right choice for you:

  • Drug-free environment: Simply put, you won’t have access to weed or other addictive substances while you’re in THC detox, which eliminates the risk that you will relapse before you’ve completed withdrawal.
  • Professional supervision: While you’re in a THC detox program, you will be under the care and supervision of a team of experienced professionals. In addition to helping you manage your discomfort, these experts will also be prepared to address any contingencies that may arise throughout the withdrawal process. 
  • Therapeutic support: Depending on how you feel and which THC detox you’re enrolled in, you may be able to start therapy while you’re still in the process of ridding your body of marijuana. These therapy sessions can help you process your experiences, manage your withdrawal symptoms, and start developing the skills that will support your successful recovery.
  • Sense of accomplishment: Active addiction can have a profound negative impact on your confidence and self-esteem. Successfully completing THC detox can demonstrate that you are stronger and more capable than you may have previously believed. This realization can serve you well during the rest of your time in treatment and throughout your recovery journey.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from THC?

The length of time that you will need to spend in THC detox can be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Your age, weight, and metabolism
  • How long you have been using marijuana
  • How much you have been using
  • If you have any co-occurring medical or mental health concerns

In general, you can expect to start feeling the first withdrawal symptoms within the first day or two after the last time you used marijuana. Once these symptoms have set in, they will usually intensify over the next four or five days. 

The most severe symptoms will dissipate within about a week, after which you can transition out of THC detox and transfer in to the next phase of treatment. However, it’s not uncommon for cravings and other extended symptoms – such as sleep disruptions — to persist for several weeks or even months. 

What Comes After THC Detox?

Completing a THC detox program can be an important step toward successful, long-term recovery. But it’s not the only step you will need to take.

The post-detox phase of treatment can look very different from one person to the other. There’s no single program or course of treatment that works for everyone. Instead, you will want to find a provider who will work closely with you to develop a plan that aligns with your unique needs and goals.

Depending on a variety of personal factors, your path to recovery after THC detox may include one or more of the following options:

Some people only spend time in one of these programs. Others may need several or all of them. Again, there’s no right way to recover from marijuana addiction – what matters most is finding the programs and services that are right for you.

Contact Phoenix Rising About Our THC Detox in California

Phoenix Rising Recovery is a trusted source of life-affirming treatment for adults who have become addicted to alcohol, marijuana, and other substances. We also serve patients whose struggles with addiction are accompanied by anxiety, depression, and certain other co-occurring mental health concerns.

Starting with detox and continuing through residential treatment and several outpatient options, our full continuum of care means that we can provide you with the focused services you need at the level that is most appropriate for you. Every step of the way, you will benefit from the guidance and support of a team of highly skilled and deeply compassionate treatment professionals.

To learn more about our programs and services, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today. We look forward to answering all your questions and helping you decide if Phoenix Rising is the right place for you.