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Marijuana withdrawal can be tough, no matter what anyone says. How do you deal with the irritability and headaches many people experience while going through weed detox?

Let's face it: marijuana withdrawal sucks, especially if you've been a regular weed user for quite a while. While weed detox doesn't affect every quitter the same way, you can realistically expect such withdrawal symptoms as insomnia, nausea, sweating, depression, and anxiety. To top it all off, you might find yourself dealing with mean headaches and quite severe irritability as well. [1]

The good news? Marijuana withdrawal symptoms tend to peak at days two to six after your last joint (or however you used to like your cannabis), and they are likely to be completely out of the picture within two weeks or so. [2] The bad news? You've still got to get through that weed detox, and even after the physical part of your withdrawal is over and done with, you can certainly still experience lingering psychological effects. 

How can you manage irritability and headaches during your weed detox? You could try trial and error. Or you can go with these science-backed methods to get you through the worst of your marijuana withdrawal symptoms instead. 

Dealing With Irritability During Weed Withdrawal

Irritability — otherwise known as being moody as hell — occurs in up to 76 percent of cannabis quitters, making it the second most common marijuana withdrawal symptom after experiencing cravings [3]. 

Unfortunately, there's no magic pill to make your marijuana withdrawal-related irritability go away. The next best thing might be oral THC, which is, of course, the main active ingredient in cannabis. Difficult cannabis withdrawal symptoms are one of the main reasons for which people relapse, so no, taking oral THC isn't "cheating" if it helps you get off weed for good. [4]

Therapy is another option at your disposal. Cognitive behavioral therapy adapted for use in people struggling with substance abuse can help you remain motivated to quit, but it can also lessen the impact of withdrawal symptoms. While the irritability many people experience during marijuana withdrawal is certainly partially caused by the physical impact of the body getting used to being without weed, just dealing with the world without the (perceived) stress relief of marijuana might prove to be hard, too. A good therapist skilled in cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best people to help you work through your nasty moods, and come up with effective coping mechanisms. [5]

Don't fancy seeing a medical professional to help you through your marijuana detox? You still have options. 

Breathing exercises — such as pranayama breathing — have been proven to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms nicotine smokers experience. This is relevant to you for a number of reasons: many marijuana smokers use tobacco in their joints, the irritability you experience is at least partially caused by unanswered cravings, and the insomnia new quitters experiences also induces a bad mood. [6] Try these 2 breathing exercises for better sleep and improved mood, and that weed withdrawal may become significantly easier. 

One final life saver for those who are really irritable while going through cannabis withdrawal is exercise. Exercise helps improve your mood in a number of different ways. It boosts your body's levels of feel-good hormones while doing away with stress-related hormones, it increases self-confidence by fostering a sense of accomplishment, and it takes you away from negative stimuli — in this case, thinking about smoking weed that you've told yourself you're not going to use anymore. [7] Rather than taking your frustrations out on your loved ones, why not go for a jog, kick a ball around, or hit the gym? Exercise is also a great way to manage anxiety and depression during weed detox

Marijuana Withdrawal 'Hangovers': How To Beat Those Nasty Post-Weed Headaches

While many people going through marijuana withdrawal report suffering from nasty headaches around the internet, research into this phenomenon is limited — but not non-existent. Indeed, there is evidence to support what many weed quitters already know.

Weed detox can induce migraine-like headaches in some people. The fact that marijuana use leads to a constriction of the blood vessels in the brain and that it also affects serotonin release seems to be behind these headaches. [8]

Unlike irritability, in which psychological factors play a part alongside physical factors, these headaches really should subside on their own within two weeks. In the meantime, you may certainly make use of over the counter painkillers to stop your headaches or at least lessen their impact. 

Research additionally suggests that progressive muscle relaxation, commonly used as a relaxation technique for anxiety, can help stop headaches. Progressive muscle relaxation involves first tensing and then consciously relaxing muscle groups throughout the body, either from the head down or feet up. [9]

You may also like to try upper body and neck massages to reduce the severity of your marijuana withdrawal related headaches [10].

In Conclusion

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms can make it especially hard to stay on track and off weed. Remember that irritability and headaches are temporary, like other symptoms of weed detox. If the stresses of daily life seem particularly overwhelming while you are quitting cannabis, consider taking some time off work or school. Where necessary, do not hesitate to seek medical help for your marijuana addiction. Therapists and doctors are there to help you achieve your goal of quitting weed, and the withdrawal process can be easier with experienced hands on deck.