Weed withdrawal is cited by many chronic users as a cause of reduced productivity. Withdrawal-related losses in productivity are especially frustrating because many users decide to quit in part to improve productivity and job performance! The good news is that research suggests symptoms generally improve a few weeks after quitting.
Like many other marijuana withdrawal symptoms, those taking a break after periods of heavy use may experience varying degrees of decreased productivity and tiredness. A 2014 study which assessed marijuana symptoms 2-30 days after quitting found that most participants reported substantially increased tiredness and fatigue (Lee et al., American Journal of Addiction, 2014).
Several respondents to our marijuana use and withdrawal questionnaire cited a desire to improve productivity and job performance as a key reason for wanting to quit.
- My productivity at work dropped a lot and I couldn’t deal with everyday chores anymore
- I felt it was interfering with my productivity and I felt my life was stagnant and my way of dealing with it was to continue to smoke weed every day
- To increase productivity as well as a planned career change
- For a future job and to heighten my mental capacities
- Wanted to get my sh*t together to put it bluntly – I turned 25 and needed to make a breakthrough.
- I couldn’t function properly without THC in my body which lowered job performance
Decreased productivity may be related to deficits in sleep quality related to marijuana withdrawal. Sleep disturbance is a hallmark of marijuana withdrawal and occurs in about 70% of regular users (Livine, Drug Alc Depend, 2019). Because sleep is a vital physiologic function and time for the brain to recover from the events of the day, disruptions in sleep from marijuana withdrawal can be a source of major distress for people who are on already struggling to keep up.
Researchers do not completely understand the underlying causes of withdrawal-related productivity losses. However, studies have shown that marijuana has numerous effects on the brain’s cognitive decision-making abilities. One animal study in rats who were administered THC showed that long-term marijuana use ‘rewired’ parts of the brain responsible for attempting difficult or demanding tasks, resulting in decreased productivity after cessation of use (Silveira et al., Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience, 2017).
If you were a heavy users, you should begin to feel more yourself after weeks or months have passed. If you are concerned about your withdrawal-related symptoms there are things you can do to help, including seeing your doctor. Your doctor might be able to treat your symptoms with medication or identify other underlying causes of your symptoms.
Weedless.org is a free, web-based resource and community created by a team of healthcare professionals and researchers. We distill the facts about marijuana use and its effects into practical guidance for interested persons or for those who are thinking about or struggling to quit weed. Finding reliable, easy to understand information about marijuana should never be a struggle—that is why our core mission is to provide the most up to date information about marijuana use, abuse, addiction, and withdrawal. While we seek to empower individuals to have control over their use, we are not "anti-weed" and we support efforts to legalize adult marijuana use and study.