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Weed Withdrawal

Abstinence from Heavy Marijuana Use Can Cause Stomach Upset

By August 31, 2020January 8th, 202240 Comments
Line Drawing of Intestines

One of the most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms is GI upset. This can manifest as nausea, loss of appetite, or food aversion, where the thought of food seems unpalatable.

Eating is one of the many joys that makes us human, and enhancement of the subjective experience of eating may have been one of the primary pleasures you derived from using marijuana.

Feeling unable to eat, turned off by the plate before you, or physically uncomfortable during acute marijuana withdrawal can be incredibly vexing and disappointing.

The good news is that, even though GI upset is the commonest physical symptom of marijuana withdrawal, it tends to be of quicker onset, quick peak intensity, and shorter duration than other marijuana withdrawal symptoms.

GI upset is the most common physical symptom of marijuana withdrawal, affecting over 50% of users attempting to abstain, and can manifest itself in a multitude of ways.

It might be nausea, food aversion, or loss of appetite. Others may have upset stomach, or stomach pains. Less frequently, people may suffer from transient episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, and fortunately, these symptoms occur in less than 10% of users.

While up to 29% of people will experience an acute decrease in appetite, both mild weight gain and weight loss are seen, and are the direct result of changes in amount of food intake (Levin, Drug Alcohol Depend, 2010).

Though it may be difficult, the best way to get through this phase is to try and adhere to a normal meal schedule, and not by absence of hunger signals coming from your brain. If you don’t feel hungry, try to eat smaller portions, or otherwise consume healthy snacks throughout the day.

Your body needs food in order to recover and function—even if your brain isn’t passing along the message appropriately. Make sure you give your body the fuel it needs to tackle these hurdles, and rest assured that your appetite will eventually return.

Leah Zuroff, M.D., M.S.

Contributing Author

Dr. Zuroff completed medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine, where she concurrently received a Master of Science in Translational Research.

Would you mind answering a few questions (anonymously)?

Currently, little data exists on stomach / GI upset and marijuana use. Weedless.org is collaborating with researchers to explore this topic and others. We have created a short, anonymous survey which we will use to focus our future research efforts.

Your participation is appreciated and completely anonymous. You may skip any questions that make you feel uncomfortable and you are free to withdraw at any time.

About Weedless.org

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.

40 Comments

  • Michael Burgess says:

    Wondering if my abdominal bloating is related to stopping cannabis

    • Brandon J Smith says:

      Yes I am having lots of discomfort after quitting..
      I used for over 20+ years and have stopped for roughly 54 days now.. my stomach has never been the same..

      • Nathan Pilcher says:

        Don’t sweat, 54 days clean is still early stages. The first time I quit it took around 6 months for all the withdrawal symptoms to pass fully. Keep holding on!

      • rick says:

        I’ve been a heavy toker for 45 years. Thought I’d try to quit- now I can’t sleep or eat and I have stomach pain. I think the weed is too strong now.

  • Ophelia Wells says:

    How long does it take to withdraw

    • Nathan Pilcher says:

      Depends on use, how often, what grade the weed was etc. It also depends on your own body. Anywhere between 1-6 months have been my experiences

  • Anonymous says:

    I hope this ends soon. Today was day 4 without cannabis. Headaches and diarrhea are still occurring

  • Anonymous says:

    Diarrhea and stomach rumbles are the worst im at day 4 no marijuana and I can’t wait to stop feeling nauseous

  • Anonymous says:

    Was easier this time than my first time

  • David says:

    I drank the kool-aid and believed for many years that cannibas is harmless. This drug is a wolf in sheeps clothing. After 50 years of continous use, I’ve seen the light.
    Never again.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was a regular everyday smoker for 6 years, I have now stopped and it’s been a week. Defiantly feeling much better than the beginning my stomach was the worst thing bothering me A LOT and I couldn’t eat anything except salitines. I will say after going through this I will never do it again because it was absolutely awful !

  • Adam says:

    I have been an off and on smoker for 30 years. I have stopped smoking pot in that time with the longest run of 10 years. I am a 43 year old male. I stopped again 4 days ago. It hard for me to get outta bed and go to work. I feel heavy and depressed. I’m so tired all the time and I have stomach pains and no appetite. I feel emotionally and physically drained. I smoke approx 3+ oz a month not including 1g infused joint “firecracker” mainly sativa and hybrids at the end of my work day every day. I hope this subsides soon.

    • Adam says:

      Update: Day 10. Still have loud bubbly stomach & guts. Not in as much pain and I am not as depressed. I went 5 full days with no eating or drinking. On day 6 after loosing 10 lbs I started forcing myself to drink some oat milk which started working on bring my appetite back. I had a slight headache on day 3 – 5 most likely due to dehydrations. Day 7 I could finally eat and not feel nausea. I mainly stuck with oat milk, water and rice with a little soy sauce. I figured it may help me retain water. As many time as I have stopped smoking, this was the first time I had these symptoms. I also never smoked as much as I did prior. I am feeling much better and still on the mend. I hope anyone who is having issues just practice self love and patients. This is never an easy thing to do cold turkey with no support. Be strong and find some compassionate friends that you can talk to without judgement. Also look into the reason why you are using a mind altering drug. You may find an underlining issue as to why you are using. For me I was using it as an antidepressant and not paying attention to the why or side effects. Good luck on your journeys my friends and I will update soon.

      • Barry says:

        I am the exact same way, not to sure if you have but look up CHS “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome” so much to read on it, I was in the emergency room last year hooked up to fluids cause i could not physically eat without puking or gagging and same with water, my organs were starting to shut down but my quick thinking i headed to the hospital at 6am, ever since then i’ve always kept getting episodes and as i’m typing right now my stomach hurts and I feel nauseous butttt it’s like at the point where i’ve had this almost every day since so i’m very used to the pains and discomfort, I did quit for abit and felt amazing but my brain was always so bored and i got hooked back into it.

      • Adam says:

        I am feeling much better now. Still have bubbly stomach. I’m doing more self care than I ever have. I am also finding out I have other addictions as well that I have been dealing with. Quiting smoking weed has helped these problems surface. Luckily I am a vary mindful person and I have a compassionate partner that has helped me get through the steps needed in a positive healthy way. I still feel like smoking every day which sucks. It also does not help working next door to a grow warehouse. I’m almost 7 weeks from smoking and so glad I stopped. Also I am saving a minimum of $400 a month now so it is nice to have extra cash in my pocket.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey Adam, I was wondering how you came up with the thought that you were using weed as an antidepressant and how you fixed it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Jesus Christ been using Cannabis every day for five years now. The two days I tried quitting was the worst days of my life. I easily get angry .I can’t sleep and my tommy hurts as fuck. I don’t think I can quite. The withdrawal symptoms are just so annoying

  • Anonymous says:

    Heavy smoker for 4 years of very potent strains. Been a month since I quit and my stomach is still a mess

  • Is it recommended to ween of of it slowly? I’ve been smoking roughly 8 grams of wax every week for almost 4 years. I quit for 2 days and I feel like my body almost shut down on me

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, weaning off slowly can reduce withdrawal symptoms, but it’s hard because you are still using and can slip right back in to habitual use if you aren’t being pretty meticulous about the weaning process. I sometimes use tinctures to wean off because I just love the whole ritual of smoking too much

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve been smoking weed for the past 7 years. I went strong for the first 4 years, but began using on and off due to Rehabs and substance abuse programs for my addiction to fentanyl and Xanax. Started smoking weed again daily a little while ago, and now I found out I’m pregnant. I let the doctor know I had been smoking before I found out, and she said it was fine as long as I stop now. Withdrawals are killing me. I am vomiting as soon as I wake up and all throughout the day. On top of morning sickness, this shit is kicking my fucking ass. I feel nauseous 24/7, food looks and sounds disgusting to me; but I have to eat. I’ve been trying to consume small meals and snacks throughout the day. I am going diarrhea over 10 times a day. The insomnia and cold/hot sweats are back. Headaches. Irritability and moodiness. I have never been able to quit marijuana on my own, except when I replaced it with hard drugs. Or went into treatment and was given all sorts of anti-nausea medication, sleeping pills, Suboxone, and Ativan to ease the pain. But that is not an option now. I knew this day would come, and God am I regretting choosing to smoke again. Getting off suboxone was hard enough and now this bullshit? Hahah I can’t wait till the day I feel normal again. I had 5 months sober before this and felt fucking great. Then I get out of sober living and find myself faded ALL day EVERY day since. This is for the better though, I can’t keep living like this. I just don’t want to end up in the hospital because my baby isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. Fuck man

  • Anonymous says:

    Reading on the shitter…

  • Natalia says:

    I need help with my stomach it’s killing

  • James Holland says:

    I’ve had all the same shit don’t cold turkey unless u can’t handle it I tried and worked the first time but not so easy now so slowly wing yourself off it so if u smoke 4 blunts a day cut to 2 for a week then next 1 a day then half a blunt once ur on week 3 and week 4 cut it wasn’t nearly as bad cold turkey

  • Nate says:

    On day 13 and my stomach still hurts. Eating sugary stuff makes me feel so nauseous but I’m fine eating salty things. Luckily the headaches and insomnia stopped. I just want my stomach to go back to normal. I would’ve been one month clean but I couldn’t handle the withdrawals the first time around and I think smoking two weeks ago just intensified it. Let’s see if I’ll feel normal after a month. :/

  • Miles says:

    I’m 36 days clean, my digestion is crazy, I’m using magnesium to help me sleep and am dreaming nightly again, and sleeping almost all the way through the night. I’m 50 and was a smoker since I was 22 with a few breaks in those years, once for over a year and some months. I know quitting was going to be hard, but I didn’t realize HOW difficult it would be because I didn’t realize HOW strong they make the stuff today, nor did I really understand how MUCH I was using in the end. I am so glad I’m out of it now, but after a doctor visit it turns out my potassium level was at heart failure high yesterday. It was actually a relief to hear that because at least there was a REASON for all of my stomach pain and diarrhea, now I can adjust my lifestyle to get myself back to a balanced version of myself. Grateful to have found this thread, the hypertension in withdrawal is such a rollercoaster and it helped me feel like I wasn’t alone or off the track completely. I hope this helps someone else out there who’s struggling to make sense of quitting too.

    • Trevor says:

      I have the same potassium problems at the moment and I’m not sure if it because of weed or a different issue and that is what is making me scared. So just a quick question is your potassium being high because of the fact that you smoked weed and you quit. I just quit 2 weeks ago and honestly that is the part atm I’m most scared about I just am hoping it is the fact that I quit and not any underlying health issues.

  • Robert Jones says:

    I’m a 67 year old and I’ve been a heavy user for 35 years and smoked every day. I’m now on day 12 and am experiencing every symptom you have all described. The worst part is my stomach pain, I even had this whilst smoking (I did not think that this was caused by my addiction). The pain was intense but has now started to lessen, with what I’ve read I’m expecting the pain to continue for about 90 days with a bit of luck. I find it hard to cope with every day life at the moment I feel what’s the point.

  • Anonymous says:

    Im struggling as well. 30 female using vapes alllll the time.. 1g carts gone in 2-3 days. Needed to take charge and get control of my life back and now I feel like I don’t have control again. Constantly anxious, sweaty, nervous, diarrhea, waking up 3am can’t fall back asleep. I just cannot wait for this to be over.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m 29 and I have smoked everyday for more than 7 year (between 0,5 and 1 gram per day)..
    First five days were really bad, I had no appetite, feeling nauseous, diarrhea, insomnia and some mild panick attack…
    After the first week I manage to eat normally..
    Now I’m on day 18.. I feel better for sure, but stomach is still very upset and sometimes I still feel anxious.. I started to think that I could be sick and to have some serious stomach problems (when I think about this anxiety increase a lot).. now reading that this is not uncommon gave me some reliefs.

    Do you think I can hope to solve this problem in the next week? I really feel like I’m dying sometimes (but I know that is anxiety speaking.. before reading this I was seriusly thinking to book colonoscopy and gastroscopy).

    Thanks in advance to everybody!

  • Stiv says:

    I’m 29 and I have smoked everyday for more than 7 year (between 0,5 and 1 gram per day)..
    First five days were really bad, I had no appetite, feeling nauseous, diarrhea, insomnia and some mild panick attack…
    After the first week I manage to eat normally..
    Now I’m on day 18.. I feel better for sure, but stomach is still very upset and sometimes I still feel anxious.. I started to think that I could be sick and to have some serious stomach problems (when I think about this anxiety increase a lot).. now reading that this is not uncommon gave me some reliefs.

    Do you think I can hope to solve this problem in the next week? I really feel like I’m dying sometimes (but I know that is anxiety speaking.. before reading this I was seriusly thinking to book colonoscopy and gastroscopy).

    Thanks in advance to everybody!

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