Can quitting marijuana/weed cause anxiety or depression?

This blog post will answer the question, “Can quitting marijuana cause anxiety or depression?” and cover topics like what happens to your mind and body when you stop smoking weed, withdrawal symptoms, what research says, which is the right way to stop smoking weed, anxiety and depression after quitting marijuana, FAQs, and how to cope with anxiety and other related issues.

Can quitting marijuana/weed cause anxiety or depression?

Yes, quitting marijuana/weed can cause anxiety or depression as quitting it can lead to withdrawal symptoms and various physical and mental health issues. 

What is weed/cannabis?

Cannabis is a psychotropic substance that is widely used around the world for recreational purposes. It is also known as weed, pot, dope, grass, etc. They’re various names for the very medication that comes from the cannabis plant. You can smoke it, vape it, drink it, or eat it. Most people use cannabis for joy and entertainment. In any case, a developing number of specialists endorse it for explicit ailments and manifestations in the physical healthcare domain.

 The most often used illicit drug is weed. It has been regarded as a gentle drug for many years, free of the usual addiction risks.

 Nowadays, teens are mostly addicted to weed and to an extent that they want it regularly.

 Many assume weed is pretty much harmless. Maybe you occasionally get some weird side effects, like paranoia or cottonmouth, but for the most part it calms you down and improves your mood.

What does the research say about weed?

Research sources suggest that weed may be both less addictive and less harmful than other substances like alcohol and nicotine but addiction and dependency can still happen. 

However, any substance can be harmful and can cause withdrawal symptoms when you decide to quit or significantly decrease the use. 

What happens to your body and mind when you stop smoking weed?

When a person who has been consuming it for a long time stops all of a sudden, the initial days and week is extremely brutal, they can have an anxiety or/and panic attack, sleep problems, hot flashes, increased level of anxiety, loss of appetite, etc. These are actually cannabis withdrawal symptoms that they are experiencing. 

Mental health is also deeply affected when a person stops smoking weed. The line between physical withdrawal symptoms and the reemergence of preexisting problems can become blurry for persons who use marijuana to treat mental health concerns. 

It’s not always clear if a recovering pot smoker’s anxiety stems from the difficulties of stopping or from the presence of an anxiety condition. This can make quitting even more difficult, as it creates unfavourable situations that increase the difficulties of stopping.

The most prevalent withdrawal symptoms that can indicate a mental illness are often attributed to anxiety and behavioural disorders.For example, irritability is linked to bipolar disorder, while depression is a sign of major depressive disorder. 

Anxiety and restlessness are symptoms of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

If your marijuana withdrawal symptoms don’t improve or seem to be getting worse in the weeks after you quit, you should go to an addiction medicine counsellor or therapist.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

What are the withdrawal symptoms after quitting weed?

According to the DSM-5, if you cut down or stop weed, you may experience:

●      anxiety

●      restlessness

●      difficulty sleeping

●      irritability

●      lowered appetite

●      depressed mood

●      other various uncomfortable physical symptoms

Daily smokers experienced the most severe withdrawal symptoms, but even those who used it for a shorter duration also experiences modest withdrawal symptoms.

If you’ve been using it regularly, in binges, or as an addiction for at least a few months, you can feel weed withdrawal if you suddenly stop or even if you try to decrease the use.

Anxiety is a side effect of both weed intoxication and withdrawal. Weed’s users are well aware of the paranoid feelings that come when high on the drug.

People get panic attacks and have difficulty in sleeping, nightmares, or wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat.

Even though cannabis withdrawal is not life-threatening, it can be debilitating, and create a lot of physical and emotional suffering. (Timothy Fang, UCLA cannabis research initiative)

What research says about weed withdrawal?

Recent research has shown that weed withdrawal can and does occur when heavy pot smokers discontinue its use.

A Duke University study of 496 adult marijuana smokers who tried to quit found that 95.5% of them experienced at least one withdrawal symptom while 43.1% experienced more than one symptom.

As indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 10 Americans who use weed will become dependent. That number leaps to 1 out of 6 assuming you start utilizing weed before the age of 18.

Weed withdrawal disorder can be set off by stopping weed through and through, yet additionally essentially diminishing your utilization of it. The base decrease expected to cause withdrawal changes from one individual to another, however, reflecting our individual biological differences.

Several research studies have been conducted and have shown that regular cannabis use is related to the desensitization and downregulation of the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain and it starts to reverse within the very first two days of abstinence from the substance and the CB1 receptors return to their normal functioning within a month of abstinence from it.

Anxiety and depression after quitting weed

Depression after quitting weed is quite common in its users. Marijuana and its use affects the brain’s activity related to serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the pleasure feelings and serotonin is the hormone that serves the purpose of mood stabilizing, happiness, helps with sleep, happiness, and digestion as well.

When you smoke marijuana, your brain swims in serotonin and dopamine whereas when you stop smoking marijuana, your brain which is accustomed to higher levels of serotonin and dopamine realizes these levels have come crashing down. Dopamine and serotonin play a major role in symptoms of depression and often users who quit find themselves going through depression.  

When to consult a doctor/de-addiction centre/rehab

Consult a doctor/de-addiction centre if you continue to feel anxious after a week without weed. Weed use can sometimes lead to substance-induced anxiety disorders, and you may have had an anxiety problem prior to starting to use it. 

It’s concerning when your condition worsens after you quit. It’s also important to realize that your anxiety, like your irritability, is most likely a natural side effect of drug withdrawal.

Rehab and de-addiction centres are often very helpful to people who are trying to quit as these places help in a better management of withdrawal symptoms, regular therapy sessions, indulgence in hobbies, activities, yoga, spiritual activities, meditation, etc.  

How to quit smoking weed?

No matter what strategy you decide to use to quit smoking weed, several techniques can help you stick to your goal of quitting

  • Decide why you want to quit
  • Plan how you will deal with the triggers
  • Keep yourself busy and distract yourself with some other activities
  • Getting regular exercise can be helpful for various reasons, most importantly it’s going to make you feel active.
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fat.
  • Vitamin D can also be important.
  • Take warm baths or showers to help with the sleep issues
  • Try going to a therapist to put things into perspective
  • Use relaxation and deep-breathing techniques
  • Your social support system can also play an important part in achieving your goals. Your friends and family play a very vital role when you decide to quit weed.
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Reach out to your support system

Experiencing the symptoms of weed withdrawal can be unpleasant and may temporarily interfere with your performance at work, school, and daily life. Remember that what you experience will pass. Be patient. Changing your life or even a habit is always a challenge, but with the right support, they can be transformative and extremely rewarding.


This blog post addressed the question, “Do you get anxiety when you stop smoking weed?” We understood that anxiety skyrockets when one stops or decreases their cannabis use significantly, how one can better prepare to give up smoking weed, when to consult a doctor/de-addiction centre, the withdrawal symptoms and how one can manage them in a much better manner. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Can quitting marijuana/weed cause anxiety or depression?


What happens to your brain when you stop smoking weed?

Brain receptors gradually return to normal function. Memory, mental acuity, and attention span improve. Sometimes users report experiencing withdrawal symptoms, especially insomnia, up to a year after quitting.

Can anxiety and depression caused after quitting weed be treated?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it can be treated provided one seeks professional intervention from qualified mental health professionals like psychotherapists who can provide the right kind of therapeutic treatment plans and help the person with various psychotherapies as well as psychiatrists who can provide the pharmacological interventions for a holistic approach to the person’s well-being.

How long does it take for your brain to go back to normal after smoking weed?

Many medical professionals suggest ninety days as a general estimate for recovery however the brains starts the recovery process within the first four weeks after cessation.  

Is weed bad for your brain?

Considerable proof from animal research and a developing number of studies in people show that pot openness during advancement can cause long haul or potentially long-lasting antagonistic changes in the mind.

How long does it take for cannabinoid receptors to return to normal?

Research states that brain receptors called cannabinoid 1 receptors start to return to normal after 2 days without weed, and they regain normal functioning within 4 weeks of stopping the drug.

How long does paranoia last after quitting weed?

For most people, withdrawal symptoms tend to improve within almost 4 weeks but there are other factors that play a role in the paranoia, so it is crucial for one to consult with their healthcare provider in order to effectively deal with the paranoia.

How long does anxiety last after quitting smoking?

Smoking weed is often though be a stress-busting activity and when one quits weed, the anxiety naturally shoots up. It can last for weeks but one can manage and work through their anxiety with a therapist who specializes in substance use related issues.


1. Bonnet and Preuss (2017), The cannabis withdrawal syndrome:current insights (

2. Belujon and Grace (2017), Dopamine system dysregulation in Major depressive disorders

3. Anxiety and Depression after Quitting Marijuana

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