Understanding the Three Phases of Cannabis Withdrawal

From Dependence to Freedom!

After optimal preparation, it’s important to understand the 3 phases of cannabis withdrawal. Preparation is useless if you don’t understand why you feel completely different at the beginning, middle, and end of cannabis withdrawal. Once you understand this, the fear of withdrawal and the new situation will dissipate, and nothing will stand in the way of your new life!

1. What are the 3 phases of cannabis withdrawal?

During the detox phase, which typically lasts around 1 to 5 days, you may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. This phase can be challenging as your body adjusts to the absence of cannabis and begins the process of eliminating toxins.

As you transition into the coping phase, which spans approximately day 5 to 21, you may notice a shift in your psychological state. Emotions may become more intense, and you may find yourself craving the effects of cannabis. This is a critical phase where developing healthy coping mechanisms and finding alternative activities to replace the habit of smoking become essential.

The realization phase, occurring around day 21 to 49, is a period of self-discovery and personal growth. You begin to fully comprehend the benefits of a cannabis-free lifestyle and gain a clearer perspective on your goals and aspirations. It is during this phase that you can solidify your commitment to staying clean and embrace the positive changes that come with it.

woman screaming, laughing and crying at the same time

2. How long do the 3 withdrawal phases last?

The three phases of cannabis withdrawal typically last for about seven weeks on average, depending on factors such as the frequency and duration of your usage, as well as your metabolism and efforts to accelerate THC removal from your system.

The three phases are usually experienced by chronic users who have been consuming cannabis regularly for at least a year, and not by those who have only recently started. By stimulating your metabolism every day, you can shorten the duration of the withdrawal process and return to a balanced state of mind before the seven-week period.

You can easily order and use drug tests online to verify when THC is no longer detectable in your system.

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3. How do the individual withdrawal phases proceed?

Before I explain the 3 phases of withdrawal in more detail, you need to understand the following: Every cannabis user is different, and the following factors play a role:

  • Number of years you have been smoking daily
  • Amount consumed daily
  • Potency (THC content) of the cannabis consumed
  • Contaminants (cutting agents) in the cannabis
  • Metabolism
  • And more

These factors are crucial for the following characteristics that can occur during the 3 phases of withdrawal. Therefore, the characteristics may vary depending on heavy or minimal consumption. From experience, I can tell you that there are hardly any individuals who do not see the 3 phases as an optimal guide during withdrawal.

When I quit smoking after almost 12 years, I could almost set my clock by it. The 3 phases of cannabis withdrawal were my salvation because I finally knew what was happening when. This way, I could prepare myself and finally not relapse. This is usually the reason why many give up during cannabis withdrawal. They don’t know why they feel the way they do and are overwhelmed by the situation.

4. The detoxification phase (Phase 1 | approx. day 1-5)

The detoxification phase starts on the day after you last consumed marijuana. During this phase, many things happen in your mind, but even more in your body. The myth that cannabis cannot create physical dependence is simply incorrect. All of us on the team have experienced it ourselves, and hundreds of members from our community regularly report this to us.

In this phase, the main goal is to stop providing your body with THC, which completely overwhelms your receptors. This leads to temporary withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, your metabolism begins to change and the THC and associated toxins consumed for years are now being flushed out of your body.

Therefore, most former long-term cannabis users experience heavy sweating during the first phase of cannabis withdrawal. At the beginning of the withdrawal, you can expect a mild to strong reaction from your body.

However, you don’t have to worry. It may sound a bit intense, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Physically, you’ll have gotten through the worst of it in an average of 5 days.

man laying on the bed exhausted

5. The Coping Phase (Phase 2 | approximately Day 5-21)

The Coping Phase (Depression Phase) usually starts around the 5th day after the last joint. This phase was the most challenging for me because I had to process a lot of psychological issues that I had suppressed and smoked away for years. Everything suddenly comes up and you feel overwhelmed.

The good news is that the physical withdrawal symptoms begin to decrease, and sweating stops. The second phase is a mix of increasing psychological stress and decreasing physical stress.

Many people give up during this phase of cannabis withdrawal because it can feel too exhausting and unpleasant, but that should not be an option for you.

Once you get through this phase, you’ll feel like a new person. Your self-esteem will skyrocket, as well as your pride in the progress you’ve made.

The secret is to know exactly what can happen so that you won’t be surprised, and the situation won’t overwhelm you. You’ll need to deal not only with the backlog of problems but also with:

  • Restlessness
  • Fear
  • Lonliness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Bad mood
  • Temporary depression
  • And more

These are just some of the possible withdrawal symptoms that may accompany you during the second phase. Perhaps you’ll be lucky and only have a few restless nights and sweat a little. Unfortunately, you won’t know until you start.

If you don’t want to leave it to chance, then do your research early on. Proper preparation and knowledge of every possible withdrawal symptom and characteristic are the keys to successfully quitting smoking weed.

Woman holding her head and wondering

6. The realization phase (Phase 3 | approx. Day 21-49)

The last phase of cannabis withdrawal typically begins around week 3! The realisation phase is definitely the most pleasant of the three phases! Physical withdrawal symptoms are usually no longer present at this point. Now everything is happening in your head. But it’s not just like in phase 2, where you have to deal with psychological withdrawal symptoms. Here, it’s more about sorting out your thoughts and creating perspectives.

You need to restructure and plan your life. It’s pointless to become clean and continue living the way you did before withdrawal. If you don’t make changes, you’ll most likely fall back into old habits sooner or later. Now it’s about reinventing yourself and moving on from your past.

7. Why don't I feel better after the 3 withdrawal phases?

If you still feel bad or depressed after 12 weeks, in most cases it is no longer related to the cannabis withdrawal or THC residues themselves. Long-term use of strong or contaminated marijuana in combination with resulting negative life circumstances can lead to mental illness and must be treated by a specialist. There are likely deeper issues that cannot be resolved by a THC-free body and mind.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Anna and I’ve been part of the AZK team since 2021. I used to smoke weed daily for 8 years, and I hope that my experiences can help you. I’m looking forward to your comment on the post!

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