Delta-9 Withdrawal: Detox, Addiction & Tolerance

Nikhil Goswami

Consistent delta-9 use makes it easy for your body to build up a tolerance for the substance. This is one drawback of using hemp and cannabis products. The USA’s Center for Disease Control says that at least ten percent of cannabis users will become addicted to the substance at some point. Delta-9 is the principal cannabinoid compound in the cannabis plant that causes users to feel “high.” As views about this psychoactive change, more people are starting to consume delta-9 THC, with millions of Americans saying they consume it daily.

Delta 9 withdrawal often begins a few days after consistent marijuana use. Marijuana withdrawal can lead to severe or mild symptoms. Even though symptoms of marijuana withdrawal may not be as dangerous as opioid and cocaine withdrawal, they can be severe and highly unpleasant. This article explores the facts about delta-9 THC, addiction, and withdrawal.

What Is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol or simply THC) is an abundant cannabinoid compound in the cannabis/marijuana plant. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of compounds and over a hundred cannabinoids. Among these cannabinoids, THC is the most psychoactive. This means that this compound is responsible for the high marijuana users feel.

It is abundant in the cannabis/marijuana plant but a small quantity in the hemp plant. This cannabinoid is illegal federally in the US if it exceeds 0.3 percent of a product’s dry weight. When marijuana enters the bloodstream after consumption, the THC attaches itself to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system. It stimulates the dopamine release in the brain leading to strong euphoric feelings. However, besides pleasant feelings like deep relaxation, THC use can also have some adverse effects, including anxiety, paranoia, chest discomfort, hallucinations, and cold sweat.

This substance has some therapeutic benefits but is also widely used recreationally. THC gummies in Delaware have shown some promise in treating medical issues like glaucoma, anxiety, depression, etc. Some drugs containing synthetic THC have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for treating some medical problems.

However, the substance has the potential also to be addictive. There have been many recorded cases of dependence and tolerance to this substance, despite standard views that it is not addictive. Also, marijuana now has a higher THC value than those in the seventies when marijuana became widespread in the US. Some new THC strains, such as Girl Scout Cookies, can contain nearly 30 percent THC.

People take THC by smoking marijuana rolls (inhalation), eating THC edibles (oral ingestion), or applying it to the skin as a lotion or balm (topical application). They can also be ingested by putting oils under the tongue (sublingual application).

What Causes Addictions?

As humans, we can become several different things. Addictions are often to things that help them solve a problem. If something or some act helps a person temporarily overcome feelings of stress, inadequacy, or pain, they may become addicted to them. For example, people with depression or anxiety might find solace in certain drugs or acts such as sex or gambling and can become addicted.

Addiction is a disease that often affects a person’s normal brain functions. For example, addiction to a drug might begin with experimenting with the recreational drug. If that drug helps you to fight pain or relieves you of some other issue you might be dealing with; you might begin to desire it often when the effects wear off. Frequent indulgence will lead to your body building a tolerance for this substance. When this happens, your body will begin to require higher doses of the substance to feel its effects.

Some studies show that people can also be predisposed to having certain addictions if members of their families have those addictions. This can be a case of genetic predisposition or environmental conditioning. There’s a reason addiction is considered a mental health disorder. It affects biological processes in the brain’s reward pathways, as taking more of the substance changes the brain’s reward circuits over time.

This change in the brain circuitry can take a lot to restore. Addiction begins when using a substance overrides these circuits, urging you to want to consume more of the substance. Abstinence at this time might lead to experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Is Delta-9 THC Addictive?

Cannabis/marijuana is the most consumed illegal drug in the US. People who use cannabis products containing high THC levels are at risk of developing an addiction to delta-9 after some time. The likelihood of addiction or cannabis use disorder greatly increases when a person begins to smoke during their brain’s formative years (less than 18). The effects of this substance can vary slightly from person to person.

Like other types of drug addiction, addiction to delta-9 results in heightened cravings for the substance and an urge to always consume a bigger dosage. Addicted people would also feel withdrawal symptoms if they cannot access or use delta-9. There are other signs to determine a delta-9 addiction.

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Does Delta-9 Cause Withdrawals?

Withdrawal happens when a person addicted to a substance suddenly stops taking it. The thing about withdrawal is that an addicted person would need to take the substance more to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. As with most drugs that can cause addictions, quitting marijuana can suddenly also cause marijuana withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms usually worsen in the first few days after discontinuing drug use.

There have been several debates about cannabis withdrawal, and many people disagree that delta-9 use can lead to withdrawal symptoms in those who stop using it. However, cannabis withdrawal has been listed since 2013 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Some symptoms of delta 9 withdrawal include poor appetite, irritability, cold sweats and chills, mood changes, anxiety, depression, and digestion issues. As we stated earlier, cannabis withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe based on several factors. Using marijuana for longer periods increases your chances of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Compared to opioid or heroin withdrawal symptoms, delta-9 withdrawal is generally often milder. To avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, it’s best not to quit marijuana cold turkey. Instead, it’s best to slowly reduce your intake to ease into a cannabis-free life, especially if you smoke marijuana regularly. For irregular smokers, it may be easier to stop smoking without tapering down. Some people might take other less powerful drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms, although many medical experts consider that practice to be the start of a vicious cycle.

Addiction Terminology

You often come across specific terms like dependence and tolerance when referring to drug addiction. Although people use them interchangeably, they have completely different meanings.

Drug Tolerance

This phenomenon is also called drug insensitivity and refers to the reduced response or reaction a person’s body develops toward a drug. When a person uses a drug repeatedly, and for long periods, the body adapts to its perpetual availability in the system and thus becomes less sensitive to its mechanisms.

Essentially, you have developed tolerance to a drug when your body gets so accustomed to it that it starts to have less and less effect on you due to your continued usage. When you first start taking a drug, it can affect you significantly.

However, the body will try to make adjustments over time to keep the body at its optimum state. Thus, your body counteracts its effects after continual usage. A person can develop a tolerance for any drug, even prescription medicines and common analgesics. When your body develops a tolerance for a drug, you would need to take bigger doses of the drug to achieve an equivalent effect.

Drug Dependence 

This is also known as substance use disorder. It refers to a person’s dependence on a drug to attain normal body function. When a person has developed a dependency on a substance, stopping its use or reducing its dosage can lead to unpleasant side effects. It often proceeds after drug tolerance in some cases. When your body develops tolerance towards drugs like prescription opiates, the body begins to depend on the drug for normal function.

After prolonged use of such drugs, the body physically “hides” its receptors, thus leaving the receptors inactivated in the absence of such a drug. When the body fails to get its regular supply of such drugs, it may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. The body does not react to every drug in this way. The body builds tolerance for other drugs by simply “ignoring” their presence, and using such drugs frequently may not lead to dependence.

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a more severe mental illness affecting many people. It goes beyond just tolerance and dependence to something more severe. People who have developed an addiction to a thing would often use it even when it has no benefit. Such people will continue to use drugs at the expense of their health, family, and social relationships.

It’s easy for tolerance and dependence cases to cross over to addiction. If a person gets addicted to a drug, they can engage in risky activities like driving under the influence. Such people would also become capable of lying, stealing, or even doing worse things just to get the drug. One way to know you are addicted is when skipping a dose leads to serious withdrawal symptoms.

Anyone can develop an addiction. However, some people might be genetically predisposed to addiction. Also, people who start using certain drugs very early are also more prone to developing an addiction. For example, consistent use of delta-9 THC can lead to dependence and, in some cases, addiction.

How Quickly Does Delta-9 Tolerance Develop?

Some statistics show that at least 30 percent of marijuana users will develop a marijuana use disorder. Daily use of delta-9 can often lead to tolerance in about three or four weeks. Other non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD capsules might take up to four months of daily usage before the body develops a tolerance. When this happens, you might need up to a 30 percent higher dosage to get an equivalent effect.

Signs of Delta-9 Addiction

A few warning signs tell if a person is developing a marijuana addiction. Some of these include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Disinterest in maintaining relationships
  • Development of withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased tolerance
  • Inability to stop using the said drug

Some common withdrawal symptoms a person might experience include irritability, sweating or chills, anxiety, mood swings, restlessness, etc., when you develop.

How to Prevent Delta-9 Addiction

Preventing addiction begins with creating a healthy relationship with marijuana. It would help if you practiced tolerance breaks while using this substance.

Tolerance Break

This practice involves taking scheduled breaks from using delta-9 THC. It involves working with a roster to regulate how often you take marijuana. There are generally three ways people take tolerance breaks. However, the breaks can be customized.

  1. Abstaining from marijuana three simultaneous days a week
  2. Abstaining for one week after three weeks of consistent use
  3. Abstaining for one month after three months of consistent use

The first is the most effective of these three, as it requires more regular breaks. The last option presents a less effective practice that may not work for many people. Note that it is quite easy to form a tolerance even after reversing it. Thus, it would help if you practiced these breaks religiously. Also, it is best to resume with smaller doses and work your way up after every tolerance break.

Concluding Delta-9 Withdrawal

Substance abuse and drug abuse are common problems in the US and worldwide. Abusing drugs, whether legal or illegal, can cause addiction. Trying to cut loose on your own might come with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms could range from coughs to anxiety to stomach problems and can become severe. To avoid addiction, you should adopt taking regular tolerance breaks.

Partaking in therapy can help people experiencing cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Also, you can find local support groups to help you in your journey to living a marijuana-free life.

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