Anxiety and Depression

Symptoms May Persist or Worsen During Marijuana Withdrawal

Although anxiety and depressive symptoms can occur acutely, they can also persist or even worsen over the first month of abstinence. This has a lot to do with the recalibration of neurotransmitter systems in your brain, primarily via diminished activity in the reward center and overactivation of the stress response.

Basically, your reward center becomes desensitized by the chronic ingestion of marijuana, which means that your body isn’t able to react as strongly to life’s everyday pleasures. The lack of energy and inability to enjoy the things around you may feel bleak and maybe even a little scary. Some people describe a longing for who they used to be when they smoked or worry that they may not ever experience the thrill of life again. You may wonder whether you need weed to be you.

The answer to the latter question is a resounding FALSE. This is really just your brain playing tricks on you. 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? The withdrawal period can make you want to look back, to hold onto certain memories without considering the broader implications. We encourage you to look forward to the next, better day. The discomfort of now is only temporary.

Although anxiety and depressive symptoms can occur acutely, they can also persist or even worsen over the first month of abstinence.