What Happens From Sudden Withdrawal Of Daily MMJ Use?

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A week ago or so I wrote about how I’ve been using medical marijuana daily for 5 years, and then I suddenly got the idea in my head to simply stop using it for a solid week and see what happened. Completely cold turkey!

So what happened? Nothing!

OK, I couldn’t sleep through the night for 2 or 3 nights, but insomnia is one of the main reasons I use it so regularly. But no cold sweats or twitchiness or a sudden urge to kill myself or the return of all kinds of aches and pains or going back to my depressive thoughts or feelings or anything negative whatsoever.

I’m guessing at a number of possible reasons for this outcome:

1. The relatively small amounts of cannabis I use are not enough to trigger any of the “withdrawal” responses that some anti-drug people predict happen to “daily users of marijuana”.

2. I’ve managed to build up so much THC in my body fat that after only a week, I still have enough in me that I’ve managed to stave off the “dire effects of withdrawal”. That would explain the experience I had of not feeling different, even though I wasn’t actively vaping.

3. There’s no such thing as withdrawal symptoms for properly dosed medical marijuana in the first place, only for some heavy recreational users.

Unfortunately, without a battery of blood and substance tests and enough subjects to do statistics on, there’s really no way to know scientifically if the true answer is any of these, something in between, or something I haven’t thought of. But this is what happened to me.


Old Hippie is a father of two boys and thankfully living in California where all this kind of thing is legal. He started smoking marijuana in 1967 in high school, experimented with mind-expanding drugs of all kinds, and then straightened out 15 or so years later to become an airplane pilot. After being diagnosed with depression in 2000, he lost his job and most of the following decade to prescription medications (such as antidepressants) which sapped his energy and will. Finally, a chance conversation with a friend led to a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana (MMJ). This changed his entire life, health, and outlook for the better. BeyondChronic.com is his continuing story. It’s also his way to provide experienced advice on using medical marijuana effectively and responsibly, as well as advocacy, activism, and support for others. Old Hippie teaches about safe use of cannabis edibles, Canna Caps, vaporizers, dosing, and even microdosing.


I smoke lots of concentrates for many years. When I go out of the country for a month, I quit cold turkey and do not have any withdrawals. None, the wonder plant is very wonderful.


there are no withdrawal effects from stopping cold turkey. the reason is that it is not a narcotic. also some say stopping for a day pr 2 is good form a recreational standpoint as the next time after stopping can be very nice indeed

Ha, tell that to our legislators! And BTW, less than a week of T-break will do very little because it really does hang around in your body for quite awhile…as you’d know if you ever had to pass a urine test! 🙂

My usage goes up and down with my pain levels. I might go from 2-3 bowls in the vape to 10-12 plus multiple droppers of tincture and an edible from one day to the next and back down again when the pain settles. I’ve also taken several days at a time off with no ill effects other than a bit more insomnia than usual.
I’ve been on everything up to and including fentanyl for pain, and cannabis helped me withdraw from all of it easier than anyone my doctor has seen. It still wasn’t easy, just ask my wife. Two years to withdraw from all of it without any clinical assistance, just weed. Now three more years since going clean and I’m getting healthier every day. Thank you marijuana!
I do believe I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t made that change. That’s how sick I was.

I’m very proud of you, that takes a lot of willpower too! And ashamed of the world’s politicians for making and keeping this plant ILLEGAL and ruining so many lives!

Yep yep I would like to add to that ! I went to italy for over a week no meds (well sum muscle gel from the pharmacy there with no script and deffantly no hassles ! That’s a wonderful thing to get off ALL the pain meds nerve meds hep c meds meds meds meds ! Dammm doc your killing us and just to add I was a medical asstancet for many many yrs I worked in the medical world. But I always smoked and always used my oils and organic foods !!!! Super great life to you ALL !!!!!

I started when I was 22 and am 68 now except for when we couldn’t get any (longest was a year 15 years ago) it is several times a day. so it would take between 1 and 2 months “detox”. I was fortunate the only drug test I was supposed to take was last year and the state I live in makes a company get approved before a test can be given. So the company didn’t bother asking for one. If I had known that I would not have even told them about the part of the test I knew I would fail. the end result was I have been with the company for 18 months. sometimes it pays to be honest and good and what one does. 🙂 I am a consultant

Hello. I am former daily cannabis user (smoked heavily for 8 years straight, sometimes up to 1/8th a day) and did experience withdrawal symptoms when quitting. I was unable to the sleep the first night, and had unrestful sleep for the rest of the week. I was also more irritable the whole week and did feel a bit empty and depressed for the first few days. By the start of week 2 I was 100% baseline. These symptoms were not dramatically major but still there and very real. Thanks, Matt 🙂

Yes, heavy out-of-the-ordinary levels of recreational usage will sometimes cause problems, including when stopping. But remember, those symptoms you’re reporting are still simply what happens when you and your body get used to using something and you stop. And they’re also, in a way, validation of some of the most common reasons people use cannabis medically: for insomnia, depression, and mood. You just stopped taking your medicine!

Hi, Old Hippie and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. I am on medical marijuana in Canada. This past Christmas I had the end of a cold and actually vomited my Marijuana Oil. So….I went off it for a week. I have not been using marijuana for as long as everybody else here so that is probably why my symptoms all came back within a week and I crashed for 2 days. The first symptoms to come back were different degrees of insomnia. I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue several years ago. As an aside, I am going to try the capsules as I really don’t like the taste or texture of the oil. (What a princess…EH?) – Fiona

Hey OH, just throwing in my 2c.

I’m a daily smoker, mostly for fun and to treat anxiety. I have quit several times cold turkey and have experienced a range of effects that lasted as long as 90 days after cessation. Major symptoms being increase in anxiety, depressive thoughts, long and vivid dreams, irritability, difficulty sleeping through the night (I’ll often wake several times) and a reduction in appetite. All of these tend to diminish by the 2 week mark, especially my appetite which bounces back within 4-5 days, the first day or two I will struggle to eat anything.

The anxiety and depressive thoughts are usually gone by 30 days, but I will still catch myself feeling irrationally unhappy on occasion or the odd pang of anxiety. By 90 days though, I’d say I’m more or less back to baseline.

I’m a heavy smoker though (6 pure joints a day), so I’m sure that has an impact on my withdrawal symptoms. But clearly some people are more sensitive to withdrawal than others. It can be really hellish, to be totally honest.

I’m now making the switch to edibles in an effort to reduce my consumption and help my lungs. Thanks for all your information over the years OH, your decarb article was a godsend.

Thanks for the feedback and the details! All the scientific studies say it’s not physically addictive, and yet there are people like you out there that keep reporting symptoms. But I still like to point out that the symptoms are almost invariably the ones that people use medical marijuana to get rid of in the first place. Nugs and hugs!

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