If you spend any time in the marijuana addiction forums, like the one at Reddit, you’ll see there are two terms that get used somewhat frequently:  depersonalization and derealization.

These are clinical terms describing psychological phenomena but they are also terms people are using in everyday language to describe their own experiences with marijuana dependence, especially after prolonged periods of extensive use.

Let’s take a look at what these things mean:


This is a feeling of being detached from yourself and everything around you.  You’re in your head looking out but you don’t feel connected to your own body.  You no longer recognize yourself and only see yourself as an observer of your own life, rather than an active participant.  (source)


This is a state where real life is perceived as very surreal.  The ordinary people, objects, and occurrences around you become weird and difficult for the mind to process.  There’s a veil between you and the rest of the world; kind of like living in the Twilight Zone.  (source)

DP/DR as a Withdrawal Symptom

Now anyone who’s ever smoked weed knows that these are things that can happen while you’re getting high, you may even expect it to happen but when the high tapers off, these feelings subsist.

What people are describing though are having these feelings in between uses, and when they least expect it, or even going around all day with such feelings.

This is not a good thing obviously but it does make sense why it would happen.  We’ve spoken before about how THC builds up in the body after multiple uses and takes awhile to metabolize out of the body.  In other words, depersonalization/derealization (or DP/DR) can be among the many withdrawal symptoms that occur between uses or even days after quitting.

What should you do if you feel these things?

So yes, it’s apparent some people feel DP/DR as an after effect of smoking marijuana but these may also be signs of a deeper problem.  If DP/DR is interfering with your quality of life, then it’s time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you ever experience DP/DR before you established your weed habit?

If this is the case, then perhaps one of the reasons you started smoking marijuana was to mask the symptoms of DP/DR only now these symptoms are getting worse.  While quitting could lessen the symptoms after awhile, it’s strongly recommended that you seek professional advice for the DP/DR.

  • Maybe you never experienced DP/DR prior to smoking weed but are you now feeling these symptoms weeks or months after quitting?

If so, the marijuana habit may have triggered a latent tendency to have DP/DR which is best addressed by professional help.

  • Are you still a weed smoker and the only time you’ve ever experienced DP/DR is while you’re high, in between uses, or up to a few days into a tolerance break?

In this case, DP/DR may only be a withdrawal symptom of quitting weed but you will not truly know until you’ve quit at least for a few weeks.

Speaking from personal experience, I did occasionally feel DP/DR in between uses as a heavy smoker.  Once I quit though, these feelings completely disappeared.  Hopefully the same will hold true for many of you out there.

However, if you answered in the affirmative to either of the first two questions posed above, please seek the help you need from a licensed professional.

Resources for seeking professional help:


Self Help Resource for Quitting Weed: