If you have been feeling down or depressed since stopping marijuana, just know you are not alone. Depression is a real and serious symptom of marijuana withdrawal affecting over half of regular marijuana users.
The lack of energy and inability to enjoy the things around you may feel dreary—even scary. Some people describe a longing for who they used to be or worry that they may not ever experience the thrills of life again. It can be hard to even think about tomorrow when you are struggling with the emotions of today.
If these are thoughts you are having right now, know this: weed does not make you who you are. This is your brain, fighting to regain control of the circuits that control happiness, pleasure, and reward.
With chronic or heavy marijuana use, CB1 receptors located in areas of the brain that regulate reward become dulled over time. During withdrawal, the removal of the exogenous stimulus (THC) pushes those receptors and their pleasure-producing pathways into a state of hypoactivity. Hence your perceptions that the world is bleak, uninviting, and empty. Hence why you can’t muster the energy to do even the simplest of tasks.
It may sound impossible now, but depression, as with all other symptoms of withdrawal, will eventually go away. Instead of seeing the world through a window blurred by marijuana, imagine being able to take in the beauty of the world with no filters, and no disguises. Take some time to think about what you were really like when you smoked. What was the thing about your life with marijuana that you wanted to change in the first place? Hold on to that—that’s what you have to look forward to with the new day.
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.