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Information regarding marijuana

Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the chemical compound which causes the euphoria that users seek when using this drug.

It can lead to impaired motor skills and coordination as well as decreased short term memory impairment. Hallucinations can also occur commonly. Marijuana affects the areas of the brain which are involved with emotions, memory recall and dream production and therefore has a major impact on a person's mental status.

Common withdrawal symptoms when stopping marijuana

The most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms experienced by users when trying to stop consuming marijuana include insomnia, depression and having vivid dreams or nightmares.

The duration of the insomnia can last from a few days of no sleep up to a couple of months with decreased sleep. This issue tends to improve and then resolve over those months.

The reason why this can take so long is because THC is stored in the fat cells of the body. In order for the THC to be removed, these fat cells then need to be utilized. The more marijuana the person uses, then the longer it will unfortunately take for the THC to be completely removed.

What can be done about the insomnia?

There are a few things that can be done at home to help in aiding with sleep. It's very important that one has to stop using marijuana completely otherwise this will be a futile exercise.

  • Sleep hygiene will be a very important aspect to the management of the insomnia and this will include:
  1. Choosing a regular time that you will go to sleep.
  2. Have a drink such as warm milk before going to sleep. Avoid alcohol or caffeine containing drinks such a coffee and tea.
  3. Take a warm bath before heading to bed. 
  4. No reading books or watching T.V. when in bed. 
  5. Try making the room as dark as possible to help the brain produce melatonin which helps with sleep.
  6. Even if you can't fall asleep, stay in bed and avoid getting up to perform other activities.
  • Being physically active and exercising will help the body utilize the fat cells and the THC will then be removed quicker.
  • A healthy diet will aid in reducing fat storage in the body which may speed up the process of removing the THC, therefore an appropriate low G.I. carbohydrate and low fat diet is recommended. Foods such as bananas, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and tomatoes are high in potassium are also recommended.
  • In general, one has to remember to stay well hydrated by consuming an adequate amount of clear fluids daily. Anything around 2 litres is appropriate with slightly more on warmer days. Cranberry juice intake, in moderation, can also help detox the body from THC. 
  • Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, praying and yoga can help reduce stress levels which can also help with promoting sleep.

If these handy hints are still not helpful in aiding with the insomnia, then it is suggested to consult with your primary care doctor to discuss this issues with them. It may then be necessary to have medication prescribed in order to help with sleep.

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