Updated on March 21, 2024
2 min read

THC Withdrawal Headaches: Causes & Relief

If you’ve been using cannabis for a long time, you’ll probably experience headaches when you stop. This is called withdrawal, and it happens because your body’s trying to get used to functioning without tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

In this article we’ll cover why you’re getting headaches during withdrawal. We’ll also give you some tips on how to manage it.

Why Do I Get Headaches During Withdrawal?

Long-term drug use often causes significant neurological changes, this also applies to cannabis. Cannabis affects your brain’s natural chemistry, so suddenly quitting it can trigger headaches and other side effects.

Other potential reasons for headaches during withdrawal include:

  • Stress and anxiety: Withdrawal can make you feel stressed and anxious, which can lead to tension headaches
  • Sleep disturbances: Quitting can disrupt your regular sleeping patterns, and the lack of sleep can lead to fatigue which can make headaches worse
  • Dehydration: Getting a headache is pretty common if you’re not drinking enough during withdrawal
  • Rebound effect: THC can downregulate certain receptors in your brain, leading to headaches
  • Blood vessel changes: Withdrawal may cause changes in blood vessel dilation (widening) and constriction (narrowing) which contribute to head pain

How to Manage Withdrawal Headaches

There’s no one-size-fits-all cure for withdrawal headaches. But we have a few tips that can help you deal with them:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Over-the-counter pain relief medication
  • Proper sleep and rest
  • Cold compress on your forehead or temples
  • Warm bath or shower to ease pain
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Meditation and light exercises

Although getting headaches during withdrawal can be annoying, it does go away eventually. These symptoms typically peak within a few days of quitting and gradually subside after two to three weeks.


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When to See a Doctor

You should call a doctor if your headaches don’t improve after trying the abovementioned strategies, especially if you’re experiencing confusion, fever, or vision changes. A doctor can rule out any underlying medical issue that might require additional treatments.

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Updated on March 21, 2024

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