How to Detox From Marijuana

Embark on a successful marijuana detox with Ethos Wellness. Discover detox timelines, symptom management, and vital support for effective recovery.

What Is Marijuana Detox?

Marijuana detox is a process designed to help individuals eliminate traces of marijuana from their bodies. It involves the elimination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, and its metabolites through various methods.

Around 78 million Americans reported marijuana use at least once in their lives.1 In fact, it was the most frequently used federal illegal drug in 2019.2 Here are some reasons why people may need to undergo a marijuana detox:

marijuana detox

Dependence and Tolerance

Prolonged marijuana use can lead to tolerance. This means that over time, more of the drug is needed to achieve the desired effect. Tolerance often accompanies physical and psychological dependence, making it difficult for an individual to stop using marijuana.

Employment Requirements

Many employers require potential employees to undergo a drug test as part of their hiring process. By undergoing a marijuana detox, individuals increase their chances of passing that test. The detox helps eliminate the metabolites that drug tests often detect, ensuring a clean result.

Life Transitions

Individuals may choose to undergo a marijuana detox during significant life transitions, such as:

  • Starting a family
  • Entering a drug rehabilitation program

During these periods, individuals may prioritize overall health and well-being. This also includes abstaining from marijuana use.

Physical Health

Marijuana use can have adverse effects on physical health, such as:3
  • Respiratory issues
  • Heart problems
  • Compromised immune function

Some individuals go through marijuana detox to improve their overall health and well-being.

Mental Health

Marijuana use can also impact mental health by increasing symptoms of anxiety and depression.4 For individuals struggling with these conditions, a marijuana detox can be beneficial. By eliminating the drug from their bodies, patients can assess the effectiveness of other treatments.

What Are the Common Side Effects Associated With Marijuana Withdrawal?

Withdrawal symptoms affected almost half (47%) of regular marijuana users in a recent study.5 These symptoms can vary in intensity and duration. However, understanding what to expect can help individuals navigate this process effectively.

Common side effects often include:

Anxiety and Irritability

During marijuana withdrawal, individuals may experience anxiety and irritability. This can manifest as:

● Restlessness
● Difficulty concentrating
● Increased agitation

These symptoms typically peak within the first week of detoxification and gradually subside over time.

Sleep Disturbances

Individuals may find it challenging to fall or stay asleep. This can lead to fatigue, drowsiness, and difficulty maintaining focus. Sleep issues may persist for several weeks after quitting marijuana but typically improve with time.

Loss of Appetite

Marijuana detox can also cause a temporary loss of appetite. Weight loss may occur during this period as individuals lose interest in eating. It is also possible to experience reduced pleasure from food.

Mood Swings

Fluctuations in mood are common during marijuana detoxification. Individuals may experience intense mood swings. This can range from feelings of euphoria and contentment to sadness and irritability. These emotional changes can be unpredictable and may last for several weeks or even months.

Physical Discomfort

Some individuals may experience physical discomfort during marijuana withdrawal. This can include headaches, muscle aches, and abdominal pain. These symptoms are typically temporary and subside as the body adjusts to the absence of marijuana.


Marijuana withdrawal often causes cravings for the drug. These cravings can be intense and challenging to resist. It is crucial for individuals to develop coping mechanisms to manage these cravings.

Sweating and Increased Body Temperature

Another side effect of marijuana withdrawal is an increase in body temperature and excessive sweating. These physical symptoms are usually temporary and subside over time.

Are There Different Approaches to Marijuana Detox?

Some of the most common approaches to marijuana detox include:

Tapering Off

Tapering off marijuana involves gradually reducing the dose and frequency of use. This approach can be less intense in terms of withdrawal symptoms but requires strong discipline. The duration of tapering detox depends on the chosen tapering schedule.

Medically Supervised Detox

Medically supervised detox takes place under the care of healthcare professionals. This approach is recommended for individuals with a high level of addiction. It typically involves medication to manage withdrawal symptoms. The duration varies based on individual progress and needs.

Outpatient Detox Programs

Outpatient detox programs allow individuals to detox while living at home. They involve regular visits to a healthcare facility for medical monitoring and support. The duration can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the program.

Inpatient Detox Programs

Inpatient detox programs require individuals to reside at a treatment facility. These programs offer 24/7 medical supervision and support, making them suitable for severe cases. The duration can vary but often ranges from a week to a month.

Support Groups

Support groups, such as Marijuana Anonymous (MA), provide peer support during detox and recovery. While not standalone detox methods, they can be a valuable addition to any detox approach. The duration of involvement in support groups varies based on individual preferences.

Customized Detox Plans

Individuals benefit from customized detox plans created in consultation with healthcare professionals. These plans take into account individual needs, preferences, and medical history. The duration and methods are tailored to the individual’s unique circumstances.

How Do Medical Professionals and Addiction Specialists Assess the Severity of Marijuana Use Disorder?

Medical professionals follow a comprehensive process to customize treatment for each patient. Here is how:

Clinical Interview

Professionals will conduct a clinical interview to gather information about:

  • The patient’s history of marijuana use
  • Patterns of use
  • Reasons for seeking detox

They may also inquire about co-occurring mental health disorders during this interview.

Screening Tools

Professionals may use standardized screening tools to assess the severity of marijuana use. These may include tests such as:

  • Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test (CUDIT)
  • Marijuana Screening Inventory (MSI)

Assessing Withdrawal Symptoms

The assessment also includes evaluating withdrawal symptoms. The severity of these symptoms is considered when determining the appropriate level of care.

Mental Health Evaluation

Because co-occurring mental health conditions are common, a mental health evaluation is crucial. Identifying conditions like anxiety, depression, or trauma can inform treatment decisions.

Physical Examination

A physical examination may be conducted to assess the individual’s overall health. This can help identify any medical complications related to marijuana use and help plan a detox program.

Urinalysis and Toxicology Testing

To confirm recent marijuana use and monitor progress during detox, urine tests may be conducted. These tests can provide valuable information about the presence of THC metabolites.

Medical Supervision

In severe cases, supervised detoxification in a controlled environment might be necessary. This ensures the safety and well-being of the patient throughout the detox process.

How Important Are Support Systems in Helping Individuals Successfully Complete Marijuana Detox?

Successfully completing a marijuana detox program often requires the support of family and friends. A support system can provide:

Emotional Support

Family and friends provide emotional support by being empathetic and understanding. They can listen, offer encouragement, and provide a sense of belonging. This relieves the anxiety and depression that often go with detox.

Stability and Accountability

Having a stable home environment encourages individuals to stay committed to the detox process. Family and friends can help maintain accountability by monitoring progress and addressing any potential risks.

Reducing Isolation

Isolation can worsen withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Social networks help combat isolation by bringing companionship and social engagement.

Distraction and Recreation

Engaging in enjoyable activities can distract individuals from cravings and discomfort. Support systems can participate in recreational activities with the individual in detox.

Conflict Resolution

Relationships may have been strained by marijuana use. Family and friends can help address conflicts and rebuild trust during detox and recovery. This may also be done through family counseling sessions.

Setting Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is essential. Family and friends can learn to balance support with boundaries to avoid enabling destructive behavior.

What Are the Potential Health Risks or Complications Associated With Marijuana Detox?

During marijuana detox, individuals should be aware of the potential physical and mental health risks. Below are some important points to consider in this regard:


Excessive vomiting or diarrhea during detox can lead to dehydration. It’s crucial to stay hydrated by drinking water or electrolyte solutions. Individuals should seek medical attention if severe dehydration occurs.

Relapse Risk

Cravings and the desire to use marijuana again pose a constant relapse risk. Education about relapse prevention strategies can help individuals stay on track.

Lung Health

Individuals who smoke marijuana may have concerns about lung health. If respiratory issues arise during detox, medical evaluation and care may be necessary.

Cardiovascular Effects

In rare cases, marijuana detox can lead to elevated heart rate or blood pressure. Close monitoring and medical intervention can mitigate these effects.6

Gastrointestinal Distress

Nausea, vomiting, or digestive issues may occur. Over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs may help manage these symptoms.

Therapies That Can Ease Withdrawal Symptoms and Cravings During Marijuana Detox

 When someone decides to quit using marijuana, it can be tough because they may experience uncomfortable feelings and strong desires to use it again. However, there are ways to help with these difficulties. These will be detailed below.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of therapy that helps people understand and change their negative thoughts. It’s great for tackling cravings during marijuana detox. This is because it teaches people ways to deal with potential risks that may make them want to use marijuana.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a mix of therapy and mindfulness. It can help with cravings and emotional struggles by teaching people how to manage their feelings and improve their relationships with others.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a friendly way to help people find their own reasons for making a change. When someone is thinking about quitting marijuana but isn’t sure how or why to do it, MI can help them decide and set achievable goals.

PTSD Therapy

Some people use marijuana to cope with scary or traumatic experiences. The following therapies can help individuals address trauma and reduce their reliance on marijuana:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)


Meditation is a calming practice that can make withdrawal symptoms and cravings easier to handle. It helps people relax, lowers stress, and makes them more aware of their feelings.

Sandplay Therapy

This type of therapy helps people express their emotions using sand and toys. While it might not stop cravings, it can help with difficult feelings that could lead to using marijuana.

marijuana detox

How Can Ethos Wellness Help?

Are you or someone you know looking for help with quitting marijuana? Ethos Wellness is here to lend a helping hand on your journey to a marijuana-free life.

Here is what makes us different:

Personalized Detox Plans

At Ethos Wellness, we create tailored detox plans just for you. Our experts take the time to understand your unique needs and challenges. Whether you’ve been using marijuana for a short time or many years, your plan will be designed to fit your situation like a glove.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Detoxing isn’t just about your body; it’s about your mind, too. Ethos Wellness incorporates mindfulness and meditation techniques to help you stay focused and reduce cravings. These practices are easy to learn and can be done anywhere, making them accessible to all.

24/7 Support

We understand that the journey to quitting marijuana can be challenging. That’s why Ethos Wellness provides 24/7 support. Our team is ready to answer your questions, offer encouragement, and provide assistance whenever you need it. You’re never alone in this journey.

Professional Counseling

Marijuana detox can be challenging both physically and mentally. Ethos Wellness provides professional counseling services to support you during detoxification. Trained clinicians offer a safe space to express your feelings and concerns. This makes the marijuana detox journey less daunting.

Contact Us for More Information

At Ethos Wellness, we take a holistic approach to detoxification. We believe that true healing comes from addressing not only the physical aspects but also the emotional and spiritual ones.

Our programs encompass all these facets, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your well-being. Feel free to contact us if you need help with marijuana detox.

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Questions About Treatment?

Reach out to our Ethos Wellness team today for direction and guidance in your recovery journey. We’re here to provide you with the whole-person, personalized support you need for the sustainable wellness you deserve.