“Hash,” which is short for hashish, is a more potent form of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is also used to make marijuana.1 The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals.2 Both hash and marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, or cooked in food. 1
Detox Is the First Step
Addicts who are ready to begin the recovery process from drug and alcohol addiction usually must undergo detox, or medical detoxification, as the first step.
Recent reports suggest that 30% of marijuana users meet the criteria for diagnosis of a marijuana use disorder—in other words, a marijuana addiction.3 Heavy users develop tolerance and dependence, meaning they need higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects and experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using.
Hash withdrawal symptoms include irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, diminished appetite, cravings, and/or various physical symptoms that gradually become more intense during the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks.3
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 50-95% of adults and adolescents enrolled in treatment or who are heavy cannabis users report cannabis withdrawal.5
Symptoms and Effects
When a person who is dependent stops taking hash, they will begin to experience withdrawal. Hash withdrawal effects are not life-threatening and usually do not require medical attention.5 But they can still be uncomfortable.
The symptoms are mainly psychological and are not as severe as withdrawal from other types of commonly abused drugs. Despite their relatively low severity, withdrawal often prompts people to continue to use or take other drugs to relieve the symptoms—in fact, relapse rates for cannabis are higher than for many other drugs of abuse.5,6
Signs and symptoms of withdrawal include but are not limited to:3,5
- Drug craving.
- Low appetite.
- Unusual dreams or heightened activity during sleep.
- Abdominal pain.
If these effects become too uncomfortable, a medically supervised detox may be able to lessen symptoms.
The withdrawal for hash and marijuana begins within 24-72 hours of stopping use, usually peaks within the first week, and tapers off at approximately 2 weeks after the last ingestion of the drug. For some, sleep difficulties may last more than 30 days.5
The hash withdrawal timeline is unique to the individual and may not look the same for everyone. It is important to seek out resources for your specific situation.
Factors That Can Affect Withdrawal
The frequency of use and potency of the drug can affect the duration and intensity of withdrawal. Compared to marijuana, hashish usually contains a higher concentration of THC, which is the most potent psychoactive cannabinoid. A typical marijuana cigarette (“joint”) contains only 0.5–5% THC. But hashish tends to contain 2–20%, with some estimates as high as 50%.1
Some other factors that may affect hash withdrawal include:
- Severity of dependence or addiction.
- Amount of use.
- Length of use.
- Co-occurring medical conditions.
- Abuse of other drugs.
Withdrawal also tends to be more severe among adults, possibly because they use more often and in higher amounts.5
In addition, withdrawing from tobacco and hash at the same time can be more severe than coming off of either substance alone.6
Withdrawal can exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Cannabis withdrawal can exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. If a person was using hash to self-medicate a mental health condition, the symptoms of the condition could likely show up again when they quit, which can also lead to relapse.
Treatment is the best solution to prevent continued relapses. Whatever your situation may be, educate yourself about options to help you get through the withdrawal period and/or treat your addiction.
Read next: Hash Withdrawal Medications and Help
- Palamar, J. Lee, L., and Weitzman, M. (2015). Prevalence and correlates of hashish use in a national sample of high school seniors in the United States. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 41(3): 197-205.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Marijuana.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Is marijuana addictive?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Commonly abused drugs chart.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
- Ries, R., Fiellin, D, Miller, S., and Saitz, R. (2014). The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.