Most people with marijuana withdrawal do not need any prescribed medication for treatment. Physical exercise, mindfulness techniques (like meditation, yoga, or prayer), and other lifestyle modifications can reduce the burden of mild withdrawal symptoms.
In some heavy users, however, withdrawal symptoms might be bothersome enough that they require medical assistance to help stay abstinent.
Examples include falling asleep during the day because you aren’t getting any sleep at night, severe anxiety, or bad GI upset. In these situations, people are often tempted to resume using marijuana in order to make the withdrawal symptoms go away.
If you are worried that this may happen to you, just know that there are pharmacologic strategies which may help reduce withdrawal symptoms, including medications for sleep and cravings.
- Dronabinol (Contains THC): Reduces Withdrawal Intensity (Levin, Drug Alcohol Depend, 2011)
- Nabiximol (Contains THC): Reduces Withdrawal Intensity (Allsop, JAMA Psychiatry, 2014)
- Gabapentin: Reduces Withdrawal Intensity (Mason, Neuropsychopharmacology, 2012)
- Zolpidem: Improves Sleep Duration / Sleep Quality (Vandrey, Drug Alcohol Depend, 2011)
- Nitrazepam: Improves Sleep Duration / Sleep Quality (Allsop, J Clin Sleep Med, 2015)
Some of these drugs, like dronabinol or nabiximol, are similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana—if you choose to take these medications, you will still test positive for cannabinoids in drug tests.
Importantly, there are no medications that are FDA-approved for treatment of marijuana withdrawal. If you require medication for severe withdrawal, make sure to consult with your doctor to determine which drug, if any, is best suited for you.
Because these drugs are not commonly prescribed for marijuana withdrawal (or for cannabis withdrawal syndrome, the more formal designation) your doctor may hesitate to prescribe anything at all.
Research on this subject matter is in its infancy, and it may take a while for the medical establishment to catch up and conduct larger clinical studies, which are needed in order to best establish the safety and efficacy of treatments.
Has your doctor prescribed a medication to you to help with your marijuana withdrawal? If so we’d love to hear from you in the comments, below.
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.