For those struggling with a cannabis addiction, then a cannabis detox is an essential part of your recovery. Contrary to popular belief, cannabis (or marijuana) is a potentially addictive substance and when an individual develops a dependency, it can be very difficult to stop taking it.

There are a wide variety of reasons someone might develop a dependency, there may be underlying mental or emotional issues which have led to cannabis being used as a crutch. Or, it may simply have been a recreational habit which gradually developed into a dependency.

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What is a Cannabis Detox?

A cannabis detox is the gradual process by which you decrease your reliance on cannabis to the point where it’s no longer present in your system. The aim is to help bring you to a point where your body feels normal without the drug while alleviating withdrawal symptoms.

While it doesn’t provide a long-term solution (there may be other factors in your life which affect your cannabis dependency), it helps you complete the vital first stage of cleansing your system of the substance.

At Nova Recovery it’s just one aspect of our treatment programme.


When is it Right to Detox?

Many users find that when they first started taking marijuana it helped reduce anxiety and give them a mild sense of euphoria. However, after that initial stage – and with regular use – it requires a greater quantity of the drug to produce the same effect. Soon, it becomes difficult to stop.

People who take cannabis over a prolonged period may develop mental health issues, difficulties with concentrating, insomnia or an irregular heart rate. As with any addiction it can causes a variety of social problems. For example, it may affect work and family relations.

If left untreated, a cannabis addiction can cause a spiraling set of health and social problems, and lead to use of harder drugs.

In short: if you’re in a stage of dependency and it’s affecting your day-to-day life; it’s best to take action sooner rather than later.

How a Cannabis Detox works

The first stage is an evaluation. This includes an evaluation of:

  • Physical health: a check-up includes whether you have been suffering any health consequences from your use, or any other health issues.
  • Mental health: ascertaining whether you are suffering psychological affects, whether directly related to your use or due to other life factors.
  • Cannabis use: through discussion and blood tests, we establish how dependent you are on the substance.
  • Social issues: we examine other life circumstances impacting on your use

This evaluation helps establish the type of treatment you receive, understand the level of withdrawal symptoms you may experience, create the best detox schedule for your needs, and inform other elements of your rehab programme.

Once the evaluation is complete we design the detox programme which is tailored to the individual. There are a variety of interconnected elements to a detox programme. We understand that a detox can only be successful if all the issues surrounding your dependency are addressed.

A Detox Programme may include the following:

  • A tapering schedule: A tapering schedule may be used to help you gradually withdraw from cannabis use. Day-by-day, the amount of cannabis you use is incrementally reduced, alleviating potentially harmful withdrawal symptoms.
  • Medically assisted detox: A medically assisted detox is provided for those individuals who are long-term or chronic cannabis users. They may require extra supervision for disorders such as psychosis, anxiety and heart irregularities. Medication may be used to help alleviate withdrawal.
  • Food and nutrition: In a residential setting you can be provided with healthy meals to help you regain physical and mental well being.
  • Healthy activities: Such as gentle exercise, mindfulness and other forms of meditation.
  • Professional assistance: Psychologists, therapists, hospital psychiatrists, and mental health professionals can help provide support on your detox journey.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

The longer you’ve been using cannabis, and the greater the quantity an individual takes, then the more severe the withdrawal symptoms – both physical and psychological – are likely to be.

While the symptoms may not be as severe as those encountered for alcohol, cocaine and other substances; they can still be challenging

Physical symptoms of withdrawal include

  • Headaches
  • Heavy sweating
  • Digestive problems, including stomach aches and nausea
  • Fever or chills
  • Shakes
  • Insomnia

Psychological symptoms may include

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss

Some of the psychological symptoms can be explained by a chemical present in cannabis called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC affects the chemical balance in your brain creating feelings of relaxation and happiness. Without the drug, it inevitably leads to a change in the chemical balance causing a real feeling of depression.

Hence, a detox programme requires a gradual step-by-step process, rather than a ‘cold turkey’ approach. A tapered approach offers the best possible chance of success and alleviates the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Meanwhile, other simple changes can help. Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet speeds up the process by which you body expels the toxins related to the drug, which in turn decreases side effects and accelerates the feeling of physical and mental wellbeing

The advantage of a residential setting with Nova Recovery is it provides a safe and secure environment whereby industry leading psychologists and mental health nursing staff  are on hand to give you support during every stage of the detox. It also secludes you from the people or situations that might cause you to relapse.

You’ll also be at an advantageous position as Nova Recovery are a specialist addiction recovery hospital that are NHS registered. This means that we have industry leading psychologists and mental health nursing on hand and that we have to ensure we meet extremely high standards.