Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Marijuana Withdrawal


For Some Users, Cannabis Can Be Fiercely Addictive.

(Note: more than 1200 comments below)

See Also:
Is Marijuana Addictive? (>143 posts)
Marijuana Withdrawal Revisited. (>108posts).
Feds Fund Study of Marijuana Withdrawal.
(>39 posts)

For a minority of marijuana users, commonly estimated at 10 per cent, the use of pot can become uncontrollable, as with any other addictive drug. Addiction to marijuana is frequently submerged in the welter of polyaddictions common to active addicts. The withdrawal rigors of, say, alcohol or heroin tend to drown out the subtler, more psychological manifestations of cannabis withdrawal.

What has emerged in the past ten years is a profile of marijuana withdrawal, where none existed before. The syndrome is marked by irritability, restlessness, generalized anxiety, hostility, depression, difficulty sleeping, excessive sweating, loose stools, loss of appetite, and a general “blah” feeling. Many patients complain of feeling like they have a low-grade flu, and they describe a psychological state of existential uncertainty—“inner unrest,” as one researcher calls it.

The most common marijuana withdrawal symptom is low-grade anxiety. Anxiety of this sort has a firm biochemical substrate, produced by withdrawal, craving, and detoxification from almost all drugs of abuse. It is not the kind of anxiety that can be deflected by forcibly thinking “happy thoughts,” or staying busy all the time.

A peptide known as corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) is linked to this kind of anxiety. Neurologists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, noting that anxiety is the universal keynote symptom of drug and alcohol withdrawal, started looking at the release of CRF in the amygdala. After documenting elevated CRF levels in rat brains during alcohol, heroin, and cocaine withdrawal, the researchers injected synthetic THC into 50 rats once a day for two weeks. (For better or worse, this is how many of the animal models simulate heavy, long-term pot use in humans). Then they gave the rats a THC agonist that bound to the THC receptors without activating them. The result: The rats exhibited withdrawal symptoms such as compulsive grooming and teeth chattering—the kinds of stress behaviors rats engage in when they are kicking the habit. In the end, when the scientists measured CRF levels in the amygdalas of the animals, they found three times as much CRF, compared to animal control groups.

While subtler and more drawn out, the process of kicking marijuana can now be demonstrated as a neurochemical fact. It appears that marijuana increases dopamine and serotonin levels through the intermediary activation of opiate and GABA receptors. Drugs like naloxone, which block heroin, might have a role to play in marijuana detoxification.

As Dr. DeChiara of the Italian research team suggested in Science, “this overlap in the effects of THC and opiates on the reward pathway may provide a biological basis for the controversial ‘gateway hypothesis,’ in which smoking marijuana is thought to cause some people to abuse harder drugs.” America's second favorite drug, De Chiara suggests, may prime the brain to seek substances like heroin. In rebuttal, marijuana experts Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar of Harvard Medical school have protested this resumed interest in the gateway theory, pointing out that if substances that boost dopamine in the reward pathways are gateways to heroin use, than we had better add chocolate, sex, and alcohol to the list.

In the end, what surprised many observers was simply that the idea of treatment for marijuana dependence seemed to appeal to such a large number of people. The Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto has reported that even brief interventions, in the form of support group sessions, can be useful for addicted pot smokers.

In 2005, an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry concluded that, for patients recently out of rehab, “Postdischarge cannabis use substantially and significantly increased the hazard of first use of any substance and strongly reduced the likelihood of stable remission from use of any substance.”

A selected bibliography of science journal references can be found HERE.

See also:
Marijuana Withdrawal Rivals Nicotine
Marijuana Withdrawal Revisited
Feds Fund Study of Marijuana Withdrawal

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Anonymous said...

Hello, I have been smoking since 18 and I am 31 now. I smoke everyday since I started. I feel the withdrawls are my reasoning for not quiting. I know my health is at risk because I can feel it in my lungs. I dont have health insurance and I need to quit before its to late. I took a free lung test and I only have 75% of my lungs. So I need to quit to stop any more damage to my lungs. I know all about the withdrawls and now thats the least of my worry's. I am coughing up constant black/charcol grey flem, I can only imagine considering what all my pipes look like. I am afraid to quit and to start my journey of healing. I need you're help and words of encouragement. Thank You!

JasonInDallas said...

I, too, am a person who got addicted and am going through unpleasant withdrawal now going on 5 weeks. For the first 2 weeks I had horrible insomnia, loss of appetite, night sweats, nightmares, and depression and anxiety. In fact I was suicidal on a daily basis. Now, at nearly 5 weeks, I am much better but still struggle with anxiety and depression.

I started smoking pot at 14, and by 17 was a daily smoker. I made it through college but my life became pretty empty and I also became an alcoholic in college. At 28 I quit drinking which was physically though withdrawal (I didn't sleep 2 nights ina row for about a half a year) but the mental part wasn't too hard ... because I was still smoking pot.

I quit pot also at age 29 and joined AA ad started working teh steps with a sponsor, and that time the withdrawal wasn't as bad as it is this time, or at least I don't remember it as being such. However, I took the SSRI Paxil which helped albeit turning me into a zombie at teh same time.

After about 1.5 years of sobriety, I had a surgery and was prescribed codeine. I had abandoned AA and my sponsor and the steps because, hey, I had risen from rock bottom to a high level of success in business and family and life. I was cured! I quickly became addicted to codeine, and continued taking it every day for a few years - perhaps 100-200mg a day. After doctors would no longer prescribe it to me, I found other ways of getting it. That led me back to pot which started recreationally, then became an everyday thing shortly. My life was slowly but steadily going downhill in every imaginable fashion.

I quit codeine a couple years ago which was physically tough but not mentally so ... again because I was still smoking pot.

Now I am about 5 weeks sober from everything, and in AA working teh steps with a sponsor. My experience is that drugs and alcohol leads me to rock bottom every time, and I'm a guy with a lot going for him and a lot to lose. My experience is that I cannot quit on my own and that AA and the 12 steps are the only hope for me. But that's not a bad thing, and in fact I truly enjoy the fellowship of the group and coming to understand my higher power.

Not everyone who drinks or does drugs will become addicted, but for those of us who do, it is awful.

The good news is that now at ~5 weeks sober, I am feeling much relief, although I am still depressed and anxious at times. My doctor tried me on SSRI Lexapro which made me feel like I was going to jump out of my skin, and in fact made me much more suicidal. I only took it 3 days, and that was a copuple weeks ago. I now "treat" myself with daily exercise which helps a lot, and I have been taking St. John's Wort for about a week which is also seeming to help - or it could just be the waning of the withdrawals. I was not a depressed or anxious person before quitting, aside from the last months of heavy pot smoking which made me depressed. BUt I do not believe I am a "naturally" depressed or anxious person. What also helps is talking to recovered addicts regularly, and I have found plenty in AA and MA to talk with.

Dirk Hanson said...

Jason--

Thanks for the post. It' a perfect reminder that, regardless of your drug of choice, there's just no middle ground if you are addictive.

One of the AA sayings that always stuck with me was the idea that at any given moment, you are either getting better or you are getting worse. All but impossible to find a steady state....

Anonymous said...

I gave up 12 days ago after being a daily smoker for the last 7 years. Reasons for quitting : chest pains and breathing problems (bongs are bad!), mild paranoia, i had a friend who was mentally affected by smoking (however i think she wasnt exactly the sanest person to begin with!) and in the end i just thought it was about time to give it a rest for a while. My reasons for smoking were to me quite simple. i have polycisitic ovaries and endometriosis and have quite constant severe pain in the uterine region. smoking weed seemed to numb the pain. i forgot how much this pain actually hurts! back in the day when i smoked very irregularly i could go for weeks with none and have no side effects. but after using heavily for the past 7 years, and basically all day every day for the last 6 months my side effects are major. i still cant sleep properly although at least now im getting 6 hours which isnt to bad. nausea every day. i have a bad stomach to begin with but i usually dont get sick every day. hot and cold sweats. im freezing right now but about half an hour ago i was boiling. i havent eaten properly since i stopped. the thing i dont like is that i feel spaced out constantly. i feel like im bent even when im not. and not bent in a calm relaxing way either. the real world still doesnt seem real to me and i dont have my bent world to return to. i feel very lost and right now it feels like this is the way im gonna feel forever. in the back of mind i know its not and if i just tough it out for the next few months i may start to feel some kind of normal again. i just feel like mega shit right now! damn i want a cone! :)

Dirk Hanson said...

" i feel very lost and right now it feels like this is the way im gonna feel forever."
--------------------

That's one of the insidious mind tricks the limbic system plays on your cortex: If you don't get the drugs, NOW, you will feel this shitty forever.

It's not true, your brain is bullshitting you.

peter said...

Hi dirk and all other people posting. I was posting quite regulary about 1 month or so. Just to leave people with some good update stories.. i was smoking weed for about 8years i wasnt a real heavy smoker but usually i smoked 1 joint or so a day.. from stopping my use i suffered a major anxiety attack 3 weeks after quitting, from then on for the 2-3 months i had every syptom of cannabis withdrawal, including depression which i felt was very very disturbing. I was taking anti depressant tablets(still on them)to help me through, weather they work,help, i am not 100% sure, but myy mental health was everywhere. I too thought i was not going to get better and didnt feel , normal throughtout my withdrawal, all crazy syptoms, some days i would get better then a week later i would be really depressed again, spaced out and feeling like i was going mad. real up and down rollercoaster for 3 months for me. But just a reminder again, everyone is different and i felt i took along time to get better.. but you will get there in the end!!!!! i have been 100% normal fro the last month or more. i am really glad i am over this major hump and the weed is definatly past me now.. If i knew cannabis would have made me withdraw like this i would have never smoked it! hopefully some more much needed research will be done into cannabis.. i still miss the feeling of relaxing with a joint but, life is worth much more than just lazing around and getting stoned. so just in all a short message to those people going through cannabis withdrawal, it is the hardest thing and worst ilness i have ever had in my life no matter how hard or easy it is for some people, there is definatly a withdrawal period from it! But time will heal all, stick at it and dont give up no matter how hard it is(i felt mine really bad belive me) but as i say it took me 3 months to recover so dont give up!!! good luck and stay strong those that are getting it bad, it will get better and then you will just relize that you are back to normal and life can carry on without the cannabis!

JasonInDallas said...

Peter:

Thank you for the followup post!

In fact, I came back here today in the hopes that someone would have posted a story that would give me hope, because at 5 weeks sober I am still suffering terribly. It is good to hear that you had similar experiences to mine, and that you got well after a few months.

peter said...

Hi jason,

every1 is different and will react differently to withdrawal, but dont give up... i was suffering really badly... had major depression, really felt out of it and not normal one bit.. I was constantly reading about it and thought i was stuck like this forever.. which was really scarey.. throughout my ordeal i found that for 1 week i was better(well alot better than the previous days etc) and suddenly i over a couple of days i would go back into a dark place that would last a couple of weeks.. then i would pick up a little again. Infact the worst part of it was just before i can say i recovered more or less. I was convinced i had phycosis or scizophrenia, and went to the hospital where they wanted me to see a mental health professional. I relize now i was just in a state of absoulte panic and terror, but the 2-3 days afterwards i more or less snapped out of it completly! no morning depression, which when i was better i still had morning blues etc. my sleep pattern went back to normal and everything just slotted back into place. so all in all i have been 100% back to normal now for over a month! ps.. i went back to my doctor after my last major anxiety/panic(phycosis i though i had) attack and he did put me on a higher dose of anti-depressant from 20-40mg. But i cannot say weather they truely did help me through it or not, but i am not a medical health proffessional but i feel i dont need them now, but i have to stay on them for 4-6 months longer :(

But to any1 else out there in the same situation dont read this and comppare yourself to my story because every1 is different! I felt mine took ages to see through so stay tough, it will fall back into place and if at all try and stay constructive and eat well and i know even the most simple of task like eating could be a major problem. give it more time and your body will heal itself like a broken arm or leg.

good luck every1.. ps no more mood swings and lots more energy.life is well better without pot!

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to say this is a very interesting site. I've been a "pothead" for about 20 years and have been off it for 7 days now. In the past week I have experienced nearly all of the symptoms that have been posted by various people. I've only had the night sweats once, but I can relate to the weird dreams, and ya, I do feel pretty rough. What I have noted is for the first 3 days, the symptoms were only minor, and the last 4 days have been worse, I decided to abstain because I was curious to see what would happen, and also because the quality of the weed is pretty bad. I figured since it wasn't too potent, the withdrawl symptoms would be less severe. Has anyone noticed a connection between this?

Dirk Hanson said...

I have a strong hunch that if you have been a regular pothead for 20 years, the potency of whatever you were smoking most recently probably has only a minor effect on withdrawal outcome. Like I say, just a feeling on my part. Can't offer up any evidence for it.

wethead said...

Hi All,

I haven't quit in more than 2 decades but reading all this suffering, I had a few thoughts which hopefully could be of use.

A key feature determining the pattern of withdrawal from a drug is its half-life. This is the amount of time the body takes to remove 1/2 of the active chemical. The half-life of THC is anywhere from 4 to 12 days according to this study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2558889). This implies that THC leaves the body very very slowly and builds up faster than we excrete it during regular use

In addition to pre-existing psychological problems re-emerging, this could also help explain why so many posters have a rougher time weeks after not smoking.

I know many of the posters stated that tapering is not useful. However given the long half-life, a taper would have to be done over weeks or months, not days in order to avoid a steep drop off of THC levels.

On the completely other hand..., my last thought is that a couple of times when I needed to pass a drug test, I used one of those kits designed to provide rapid-detox. I don't know if they work or not, but when I tried them, they sure gave a mighty powerful simulation of what you all are experiencing all the way down to vomiting. Wonder if they would be of any use in facilitating along the withdrawal/detox process?

Dirk Hanson said...

Just a thought:

It's really valuable when people return after a few weeks or months and post on how things are, how it went, etc. Really useful stuff for those just starting out.

Thanks as always to everyone who contributes here.

Dirk Hanson
Addiction Inbox

Anonymous said...

hi, thanks for building this site.

i wanted to add to your list of symptoms rashes, or skin irritation. from what i understand this is common among heroin users as well. i don't think there is anything for this other than maybe cortisone, which i tend to like to avoid if at all possible.

i also wanted to mention that the withdrawal for me is accompanied with a sense of relief that my body is detoxing.

the hardest part for me is the initial 2 or 3 days when it is impossible to sleep or do anything else. i've noticed that it generally takes about 2 weeks to become used to being sober again.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank Dirk Hanson, sincerely, for maintaining this site and providing a forum in which those going through marijuana withdrawal can post comments and learn of other's experiences. The syndrome is very real, though some lucky people might not experience it as intensely as others. For those that do, please know that it will pass and you will not lose your mind in the process. I know, because I just finished (I hope) going through it.

I am a researcher at a university and have studied the effects of drugs, particularly alcohol, on the brain for the last decade or so. Like many of my friends and colleagues, I consider marijuana to be a relatively low-risk drug when used in moderation by responsible adults. However, I am now forced to admit that my view of the discontinuation syndrome was naïve and that I was completely unprepared for it myself.

I began smoking marijuana in the evenings for relaxation about three years ago. I found that it worked wonders for my anxiety and depression, at least initially. My level of use during those three years was not heavy and more in line with what I would consider moderate use - perhaps 0.5 -1.0 grams in an evening. Despite my training and knowledge, and the fact that I speak frequently about how and why withdrawal from substances occurs, I was in no way prepared for the frightening array of symptoms that emerged when I decided, 2.5 months ago today, to stop using it.

Because I travel a great deal, I frequently went stretches of three days to a week without use. This gave me the false sense that my brain had not become dependent on THC and its metabolites. Here is a timeline of my experiences in the last 2.5 months.

Week 1: Despite missing my evening smoking session and feeling some mild irritability, I felt fine.

Week 2: Mild flu-like symptoms, which I assumed to be viral in nature though it did not exactly feel viral. No real desire to smoke marijuana. I assumed I was out of the woods and had gotten off easy.

Week 3: Sudden onset of incredibly intense and vivid dreams. Profuse sweating at night. Difficulty discerning dreaming from waking state. Lack of energy. Upset stomach. Absolutely no appetite. Unable to focus. Saw my primary care physician. All labs normal.

Week 4: This is where the real problems began for me. Sudden onset of intense, full body anxiety. A feeling that I had butterflies in my stomach, but also in my legs and arms. This feeling moved around my body and absolutely prevented me from lying in bed for more than 20 seconds at a time. This led to complete insomnia for days. A very deep feeling of dread and a sense that I was going completely insane. Crying spells that came from nowhere. These happened several times a day. The anxiety led to fears and phobias of familiar places, including my own home.

Week 5: The intense anxiety slowly began to dissipate, though waves of milder anxiety continued. Was able to sleep for 4-6 hours a night, which is approaching normal for me. Appetite slowly came back but the thought of eating was unpleasant. Feeling of confidence began to return. Feelings of hopelessness and of going crazy began to diminish.

Week 6-present: I intended to post this report at the end of week 5, but decided to wait to see what the coming weeks brought. The first 6 weeks, particularly weeks 3-6, were absolutely hellish and I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone. In the last 4 weeks, things have improved dramatically and I feel better than I did while smoking regularly. I have no desire to smoke weed anymore, though I have had a general craving for any substance that can temporarily boost my mood. This is normal for me.

I am aware that this is a long post. However, during weeks three and four, reading of other's experiences kept me glued to reality and gave me hope the symptoms would pass, and they eventually did. Perhaps my comments will do the same for someone else.

Based on my experience, here is some advice for those in the same situation. Hang on and ride it out. It will get better. Remind yourself that discontinuation syndromes entail experiences opposite those provided by the drug. Marijuana can be calming, relaxing and evoke a feeling that all is good even if it isn't. It shouldn't be surprising (though it was to me) that coming off of this drug leads to restlessness, intense anxiety, and a feeling that everything is hopeless even if it isn't.

I found L-theanine (400 mg 3Xday) very helpful for the anxiety. You can get it at most drug stores. Exhausting exercise vents the irritability and tension. Try to exercise even if you don't feel like it. I tried everything for sleep and nothing really helped. However, for some, melatonin could do the trick I suppose. I simply resigned myself to not sleeping and paced my house for a lot of nights, reassuring myself it would pass. An extract of a leave called kratom (1 gram of 15X extract) took the edge off of the anxiety and hopeless feeling and allowed me to relax, but one must be careful as kratom itself can be habit forming (while legal in the US it is outlawed in the countries in which it grows). It has opiate-like properties and can temporarily diminish the withdrawal, but it will be waiting for you when the effects wear off.

Most importantly, do not give into the deep sense that you are going to lose your mind with restlessness and anxiety. Breathe deeply and know that it will pass, because it really will. Finally, if you are taking the antidepressant Wellbutrin, you might find that reducing your dose during weeks 3 and 4 could help with the restlessness and racing anxiety. While it works great for cigarette smoking cessation, research suggests it makes some of the discontinuation symptoms from marijuana use worse. Obviously, this is something you might want to run by your doctor first.

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for the detailed and articulate narrative of your bout with marijuana withdrawal. The timeline may vary, but the symptoms remain fairly consistent.

It can catch anybody by surprise, even someone in your line of work, since researchers have missed it, and most people don't suffer from it. But with more of this kind of (forgive me) clear-eyed assessment of the syndrome, the less likely people are to get caught unaware.

Crying jags are one symptom we haven't emphasized enough, probably.

Thanks again
Dirk

wethead said...

Reading the above poster suggesting reducing wellbrutrin dosage during withdrawal brings up another under-discussed aspect of this problem; namely the unholy alliance between cannabis and tobacco.

Like I said above, other the occasional short term supply hiccup, I continue to use cannabis regularly. However, I have struggled a number of times to give up cigarettes.

I know a number of smokers of both substances who do NOT share this experience, but for me the 2 substances seem to enable eachother. What I mean is that they balance and medicate many of the undesirable effects of the other. For example nicotine can produce nausea and over-stimulation. Marijuana induces the opposite to both of those effects. Marijuana can hurt cognitive performance and alertness. Tobacco improves memory, learning and general alertness. etc.

I obviously don't have the answer to this, other than its something to be very aware of if you use other chemicals in addition to cannabis.

I once used wellbutrin to quit cigarettes. I finally had to stop taking it b/c it produced an unmanageable overstimulated state including sleeping problems even while smoking 2-3 grams of cannabis per day. Wellbutrin can be a powerful drug too.

Dirk Hanson said...

"for me the 2 substances seem to enable each other."
----
Much the same with pot and coffee as well. Marijuana slows you down, coffee perks you up. Coffee helps counteract the physical lethargy that sometimes comes with getting high,just like cigs.

Anonymous said...

I have known my husband for 12 years he was smoking pot long before I met him, he sais he is trying to quit smoking pot, Probly 4 days ago. Today my neighbor found him hunched over the stearing wheel of the tractor cab with sweat dripping off his body, his face was gray, he looked like an aids victom or something. He couldn't walk straight or hold his head up, all he could say was "I have a headache" or "my head is spinning" this is not like him at all so I checked his temperature and it was 34.3 Degrees Celcius, he went to bed but I woke him up 20 minutes later to take his temp and it was 35.8, he said he was feeling better. This is nuts, pot wasn't supposed to be addictive, for **** sakes I thought he had carbon monoxide poisoning. I hope this doesn't last much longer.
Yesterday he had a headache too and he said his head was spinning, he looks like hell.

scottyice said...

Hey just an update. Its about week 11 and Im doing pretty well. The depression has lessened. It kind of comes and goes but does not stay as long.

The main problem now is wanting to smoke again. Its been long enough where its hard to remember how shitty it was. It has not been long enough to establish new routines and let my brain properly rewire itself. So its easier to think smoking would be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 43 year old male. Up until 3-1/2 weeks ago, I had been stoned from the moment I woke up until I went to bed, since I was 13. A few facts:

1) I have a great job, great wife + 2 kids. Nothing different to worry about than any other American trying to make it through the day.
2) I never liked to drink, snort, etc.
3) I always had at least a quarter of weed my entire smoking career. I "panicked" when I was down to an eighth. I was never without; EVER!
4) I didn't smoke large amounts, but always like to hit the bowl throughout the day.
5) I stopped because it has become so damn expensive and the summer drought that always comes around makes me depend on other people to get me through, which I hate. Also, I wanted to get life insurance and wanted to be sure I can pee into a cup to get a new job whenever I wanted to and not have my company (where I've worked for 20+ years) have the upper hand because I couldn't pass a drug test if I chose to quit or got layed-off.
6) Stopped cold turkey, as I did with cigarettes5 years ago.

My problem is this: The dreams!!

I dream every night; very vividly and VERY INTENSE!! They are not "weird" dreams. They are actually quite normal (compared to those weird dreams that we've all had throughout our lives). Nine out of ten of the dreams are about losing something and spending hours trying to find it. Like leaving my jacket somewhere or misplacing something trivial; Then I spend the rest of the dream trying (racing) to find it. When I wake up, I'm so wound up that it takes me a half an hour to come down from this crazy intense feeling. Theres more to write but that about sums it up; Dreams that are in 5th gear that put me in an angry way when I awake. I'm not looking for a psychological overhaul, I feel better for finding this blog. I now know I'm not alone. THANK YOU ALL !

Dirk Hanson said...

State-dependent memory, it's called. This happens to alcoholics, too. Sometimes they literally cannot remember why they can't drink. (If they are lucky, there is someone around to remind them of the reasons.)


These mind tricks just need to be seen for what they are. ("I've got it under control now, I can choose to use responsibly.")

Dirk Hanson said...

Anonymous:

About the dreams--many people say the problem isn't that their dreams are nightmares, just that they are so VIVID, as you made clear. I do find people often adhere to a pattern of vivid dreams that are built around the common theme of anxiety--I've lost something, I'm supposed to be somewhere, I can't find my way out of the building, etc.

Dirk Hanson said...

I've put up a related POST, which is a review of a very interesting book about cannabis dependence, self-published by a longtime pot smoker in the U.K. He talks about a lot of the withdrawal symptoms that frequently get discussed here.

http://addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com/2008/08/no-need-for-weed.html

Anonymous said...

I guess I should do this...
I started smoking pot and hash at the age of 13 (I am now in my mid-40s). Got myself involved in almost everything else by the time I was 18, except for heroin or alcohol. Fortunately I managed to drop everything by that time and kept to pot.
I have quit many times usually for 6 months to 2 years, and I have been through all of the withdrawal symptoms in varying degrees over the years. This year I managed to quit for about 6 months, but went back some time in April. For the last 10 years I smoked about 10 grams per week.
Marijuana addiction is extremely complex, as you can lead a reasonably "normal" life while addicted. It seems to get into all the little cracks in your life and it is quite difficult to sort them all out. This is the real problem, not the lousy feeling that may last for a few weeks.
You can get over the bad feeling by upgrading your diet to "healthy", through exercise and activities. The night sweats go away after a while as do the cravings. I found the best way to get over the dreams is to simply start enjoying your dreams, whatever and however vivid they may be. When I dream I know that I have slept. That is good. Rest is essential...it is one of the mechanisms by which our bodies repair themselves. And that is what quitting is all about. This kind of thinking can help put a smile on your face in the morning.
At the end of the day, it is the subtle psychological issues that are hardest to "weed" out and deal with.
Not everyone gets addicted to this substance. You have to ask yourself "why you?". Why do you need something that most people don't in order to have a good day or cool down. Maybe the question should be posed differently: "What is it that you DON'T do that makes pot the chosen method?"
Adn as a "repeat offender" I can say with great confidence that this will be a lifetime battle. But then again, if life in general were not meant to be somewhat of a struggle, we would still be living in the garden of eden.
Finally, to those readers who haven't yet let this insidious creature into their lives for a lengthy period, all I can say is quit now, get it together now, and you won't have to find out how hard it can get as your get older. Old habits are harder to quit the older they are.

Dirk Hanson said...

I strongly identify with your on-again, off-again story. In the end, I have answered the "why me" question to my own satisfaction: because I was one of the rare people with addictive propensities towards pot, and because these propensities are metabolic, rather than strictly psychological. What is it you lack that helped cause the situation? Sufficient levels of circulating dopamine and serotonin, is my answer.

peter said...

hi guys, been six months now since my last joint-- well end of january was my last toke... but my withdrawl period kicked in on end of febraury.. i can say i have been normal for the last two months( what a relief) i cant level out on other people's withdrawal but put simply mine was the worst thing that will have happened in my life.. major depression, very intense anxiety, i thought i was going to ned up in a mentalhome etc, night sweats, everyday was uncopable--(i mean i could literally feel if i had to live life like that it is surly understandable why people commit suicide throught out depression ect) i was put on anti depression tablets and after relapses throught taking them i was put on an average dose of 40mg(citalopram). but again as i posted in my last post life during the last two months has been really good, i should say normal :D buut this week i suffered a slight setback, i had a little anxiety attack on thurday which was nothing to my previous attacks or intensity, but still it is a horrible feeling! but just posting in for some advice of you guys... For 1 my doctor seems to know very little about this whole ordeal i have been through, it was like talking to a brick wall( i am guessing that doctors in USA seem better just my opinion lol) i know this will pass but just again the time issue has worried my again that even months later i still get a setback instead of just 100% normal life for me now. I really feel like the time i stopped has literally saved my life because i am sure it would have left me in a mental home if i carried on. But any advice or similar experiences would be great to hear back for you. as i say this is noothing compared to what it was initially but the anxiety seems to leave me feeling a little depressed and just worried,, buut the other arguement is that i want to stop the anti depressants as soon as possible but i know my doctor will recommend i saty on them, but what will happen when i come of them, will my cannabis withdrawal be overr etc as in are the tables just keeping me sane or are they the problem and maybe they could be causing some anxiety? but take care every1 hope to hear more sucess stroies and more awerness especially for all these people who think pot has no advese effects!

Dirk Hanson said...

Hi Peter:

In the book I recently reviewed at the front of the Addiction Inbox site, a guy from the U.K. says one thing that seriously hindered his recovery was "the almost universal dismissal from the medical and drug treatment professions about the reality of cannabis withdrawal.... very little specialist help is available to anybody who has lost control over their dope smoking."

I'm afraid awareness of pot withdrawal side effects is no higher among medicos in the states.

Thanks for checking back in. My distinctly non-professional thought is, don't be in a hurry to get off the antidepressants if you feel they are actually doing you some good right now.

Best,
Dirk

hooligan69 said...

Very few of the sites I have looked at have described chronic fatigue as a withdrawal effect. Since I have quit pot I have been extremely tired all the time for about 14 days even with a good nights sleep. Is this normal?

hooligan69 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

my partner has been smoking weed for about a 2 years(few days off in between)but 4 days ago he made a decision to stop,I'm proud of him for doing so,but I'm also worried as hes changed e.g. hes happy as anything one minute and then depressed the next,he cant sleep at nights,hes sensitive about things,and finding himself with mixed feelings,he feels like there's something bothering him but he doesn't know that it is.

Ive explained that these symptoms are probably to do with weed and since i found this website this morning i know they must be linked,i hate seeing him like this.

id just like to know will things improve?and how long? or does it vary for different people.

thanks for any help given.

nate said...

I have been smoking weed since about the time I was 18. I recently started smoking daily about 9 months ago. I never thought it was a problem however when I look back I realize that I started smoking as a crutch due to being broken up with by my first girl friend when I was 19. I took that pretty hard and now that I have stopped smoking weed 13 days ago I have been a wreck. For some reason it seems as tho I am never really whole without something else in my life keeping me happy. I began trying to quit in early July. I would be able to go one week and then would ahve to smoke again. Then another week. And now, like I said, it has been 13 days-2 weeks tomorrow. I went through the withdrawl symptoms anxiety, severe depression, etc. I feel a little better however still pretty low. I do not know if I should be diagnosed with something else. ie. chronic depression, ADHD, etc. I have been having a very hard time focusing and Work this summer for me did nto go well at all. I was an intern and I did not perform as well as I think I should have. It felt as though because I decided to stop smoking, I lost everything I was about. Felt as though I lost ME!! I guess I am just curious as to know if there are other people that have gone through that. The horrible feelings of insecurity, depression and just plain in general forgetting who they were? The previous year of my life I was the most confident person in the world. Things were going great in my life. Did well in school, didnt feel like I needed someone else in my life to be whole, and I just overall liked the person that I was. Is it possible that it was just fake due to the fact that I was smoking weed? After smoking does it change the chemical make up of your brain for good or does it level out? I am just so sick of the depression and what not. It can feel very lonely when you are depressed and as tho it will never get better. I am just hopin there is someone out there who might have gone through something like what I have written. If anyone can offer help, that would be great. I guess I am more curious if this is me going through pot withdrawls or me having to deal with issues I have been running from. thanks!

Dirk Hanson said...

James Langton, who wrote a book in the U.K. about marijuana withdrawal, says: "We have found that it takes, on average, around four to six weeks for most people to fully adjust to not using cannabis.... others will still hit upon lingering symptoms up to two months after smoking their last joint."

For some very heavy smokers, the withdrawal symptoms can stretch out for several months.

You noted that your friend "feels like there's something bothering him but he doesn't know that it is."
This is a very common form of "global anxiety" and is almost always present during early withdrawal.

Hope this helps.

peter said...

hi nate... try not to worry too much. i had really bad withdrawal symptoms and mine seem to last quite a while, i had my last joint at the end of january, my withdrawal dint kick in till the end of february, but as you say the depression and anxiety really is a killer, i was really bad, i thought i was loosing my mind etc but you will get better for sure! for some it does take time. i even had a bad spell last week, this is after months, but rest assureed the good days will come back, along with dark day/weeks, but i found now i have alot more good days/weeks than bad and that i am probably nearly fully better, so mine did take a while. The dangers of cannabis are still yet to be recognised, ps read some of my earlier posts, also a friend of mine went through the same boat as me and really helped me come to terms with that there is no quick fix but time will heal all, he even remembers having a bad spell months down the line, we both went to our doctors tho and where given anti depressants, i cant really say weather they helped/still helping but i had normal days without them and then i was hit again with crippling depression/anxiety which led me to take them etc, but they deffinetly dont cure you straight away etc but there again all the hype about that they mess you up seems a little biased i had no side effects at all really. so to help my withdrawal kicked in end of february and it is august now but ihave been alot more normal than depressed etc for the last 6-8 weeks so this is a really positive sign and yo will get better but dont give yourself a harder time than you need, i found talking to parents, friends helped plus just trying to complete small tasks like housework, walking and try and laugh or enjoy whatever oppurtunity yo get, this will all bulid back you emotions, that was very hard for me, i lost all sense of love, laughter, anger etc etc but when all these return yo will feel so much better!! stay in there!!!! stay tough, speak to you doctor too, just tell him everything. take care

Dirk Hanson said...

Lots of good advice and ideas in Peter's post above.

For what it's worth, I believe that a good deal of the bad press about SSRI antidepressants is overblown, if not a little hysterical. If you're having continual bouts of major depression, you should give it a try, and if the pills don't work, you stop taking them. Not much downside to that experiment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this article. I found it using stumble upon. Anyways, I am really having a hard time quitting. I've smoked daily (every hour if I can) for the past 5 years.

I get serious night sweats and panic attacks. I also loose complete interests in my normal hobbies. My doctor even prescribed me an inhaler to help with the panic attacks. He also said I should see a mental health expert about the panic, but I never did.

So, yeah pot addiction is real. And it seems like no one cares.

Anonymous said...

hey everyone,

who knew quiting marijuana could be so bad. For some people its not bad, where for others its like a train wreck. i do not feel it is so addictive as i loved to smoke but somewhat easily put it down after 15 years. it is different for everyone due to how much you smoked, how long you smoked, and your body weight. from my situation i would never smoke again.(right now i am shedding a tear)but dealing with this is a bit of an eye opener. i smoked a lot every day. I quit smoking weed for 10 days and cigarettes for 8 days, deep inside i am happy to be on a healthier path but when the withdrawals from both set in , i was and am a mess. IT DOES GET BETTER, I already have a loss of some anxiety. The first 3 days were cigarettes, i wanted 1 bad.
After day 4 it was downhill, i felt hopelessly sick, like a hardcore flu, no food, no appetite i had a low grade fever 96 , 97 for a few days and had the worst freezing sweats, i was freezing and sweating for 3 days under blankets with the fan on. my body and head was light and dizzy, my eyes and ears were sensitive. and nightmares. i am happy i cant remember them but know i woke up bugging out. now ts my 10th day i am up and trying to do things, eat more , i lost 15 pds, work out, i am very weak .i fly off the handle and i am a nice guy. and my love for music hurts my head. but like i said its getting better. i am hoping (praying) in 4 to 5 days to be almost 100 percent and could put this behind me. I did abuse the drug both cigarettes and marijuana, i would smoke both all day and night. it was part of me.
i am not a doctor but info i gathered says differ 10 days to a few months of time to get better. i am banking on 2 yo 3 weeks for me, hopefully.
Maybe, it is ok in moderation they say all things are, but you know them ;)
if you are going to quit i would suggest slowing down at a decent pace and then stop. i dont know what made me quit both at once , stupidity or myself saying ok put it down before it puts you down.
"cold turkey has got me , on the run." john lennon
i hope this can ease people s minds at first i thought i was losing it, weed hurt me nah. its true there are withdrawals from marijuana.
to relax try natural herbs and try to keep positive at all times, watch your fav. comedy, read, get your mind off of worry,. anxiety is wierd its really like nothing but fake worries from nowhere, and cannot hurt you in anyway shape or form. its almost unbeleaveable to think of it as something bad. i would grab my heart when its all in the brain. turn it off. its a switch. i am against scripts so i would try to stay away from other drugs that could lead to more problems. Try to feel good , the suns shining life is great now that we are not on cloud 9 maybe it will be great in many ways. i have been high since i was 14, theres a world i dont know, but i will get to see the diffrence now. Smile baby

Anonymous said...

oh,mypost is above, this is my opinion, i dont like scripts but when it first started a dr gave me .25 aprolozam (xanax)
although i dont like em, i did take half of one .12 in the beginning of this mess, 2 times which probebly did nothing but in my mind helped relax,
i guess some people need meds while i feel some drs feed them

Dirk Hanson said...

Quitting cigs and pot at the same time is a tough slog, no doubt about it. Better to go into it with eyes wide open for sure.

I liked your description of withdrawal anxiety as "really like nothing but fake worries from nowhere."

Anonymous said...

hi,
i wanted to add, i have no craving for weed but a cigarette is def. calling me. i was wondering if i should bow down until the marijuana withdrawal is over or stay on it. Would it help with the anxiety because thats the real ass kicker for me. i am always thinking something is wrong or harmful. It has been 9 days with no smokes 11 with no weed, all other symptoms died down abit except i still cant eat as much and my body is killing me,(muscles,joints). I had the chance to stay home for this time and do my best to get this over with fast. i took l-theanine,b-12, a multi vitamin, and l-tryptophan, I had those sweats for 4 days straight during the first week. still have them once in a while not bad at all.i am a light weight 145 pds no fat, i am hoping to flush me out fast. will this work.any other tricks

Dirk Hanson said...

If you decide you have to do them one at a time, at least you'll know you can go 9 days without a cigarette. On the other hand, it's a shame to waste a head start on nicotine and have to put yourself through the first 10 days all over again. Can't really generalize on how to proceed with dual addictions.

If there was a trick to it, everybody would have found out about it by now.

Stay tough.

Anonymous said...

I hope any of my info helped people with situation. I am not sure on how much of the theanine and others is good enough but i take 2 to 3 everyday.
and I will try to keep up on both substances.
thanks for your site,info, and
support Mr. Hanson

Anonymous said...

I just quit smoking weed two days ago after smoking 1-7 blunts a day for a year and a half but averaging 3 a day. The withdrawal symptoms are very real, as a strong person mentally, i too feel the effects. The main reason i quit smoking was it became too much of a habit, thats all anyone would do is smoke blunts, and if i wasn't high i couldn't eat, it ruins your appetite. The first day i didn't feel much, but that night i couldn't fall asleep till 5 in the morning, and when i awoke i had intense stomach pains that felt like i was going to throw up.. anxiety wise im not feeling anything because i chose to quit im making the choice i just dont feel anxious. i'd say my hands are sweating more then normally, and i feel changes in temperature slightly but its completely bearable. i noticed that im much more restless and irritable, say if my parents were asking me simple questions i just felt like there interogating me and get extremely mad for no reason. as an 18 year old about to leave for college i chose to quit two weeks before to break the habit and get the withdrawal symptoms done at home. for everyone quitting stay strong, anything you do high you can do sober remember that, its all the same except you lack the feeling.

Anonymous said...

I was SO happy to find this blog and after contemplating for a few days I decided to share... I'm a 52 yo woman - I smoked since I was 16 - yes, that's 36 years of smoking daily, all day if time allowed. At 16, I did not seek it out - it was already in the house because my brother sold it! It was at first fun then became just part of my everyday life and felt I could not function w/o it. It ruined relationships, got me into financial difficulties and needless to say... made me too lazy to stick with any healthy excercise/eating program. Then to top things off I took to drinking 5 years ago - first a little wine to go with my joints then it turned into hard liquer and smoking even heavier. It all came to a head on July 4th ( yes, just a little over a month ago) when I had a HUGE panic attack after eating a MJ brownie and drinking heavily. The heart would not stop racing even several days after the incident. I stopped drinking and smoking immediately and it thrust me into a scary detox/withdrawal that my doctor did not quite understand and prescribed a low dose (150mg)Wellbutrin and Ativan for quick panic releif. What a mistake the Wellbutrin was!! It gave me heavier anxiety, more heart palpitaions, more paranoia and made detoxing magnified. (I did take the Ativan in extreme panic or when I need to go into the public - but used very sparingly as I was scared of getting addicted) Doctor told me to keep taking the Wellbutrin because it needed time to settle in. I gave it 2 1/2 weeks before I finally gave it up per the suggestion of a psychiatrist - whew! While still on Wellbutrin I seeked the assitance of a nutrition center that specialized in detoxing and gave me supplements of vitamins and amino acids. First I had a bad reaction to many of them but we tapered them down to just multi vits and tryptophan, GABA relaxer. I continue to take these throughout the day and before bed to help me sleep. Theanine was also on my list of supplements but was hesitant...but after reading some of these posts I think I'll try that too.

Today, it's been a month and 1/2 since my last joint and drink. With the help of centering myself with spirituality (this being the MOST important),taking the supplements, eating right, having accupuncture, taking Ativan (.5mg once a day), being on disability until mid-Sept to cope with the withdrawals (yes, I had ALL the symptoms), having a great support system with phone calls and emails.... I can say I'm doing rather well for a person who smoked as long as I have. Now I only have nightime heart palpitations and first thing when I wake... deep breathing helps me with those. I still get the jitters now and then and have some trouble sleeping. Eventually, I'll drop the Ativan with the help of more GABA (and perhaps the Theanine will assist with that as well) Exercise right now is an occasional walk because anything more gets me jittery...BUT I will definitely do more as I feel more comfortable.

I plan to attend recovery meetings soon and perhaps join a church to further solidify my connection with God...as I know He had much to do with my healing and wanting a new beginning. (no, I was not religious before and no, nobody talked me into it... it was just a "feeling" that strongly came over me)

Good Luck to all of you that have quit or are thinking of quitting...and Thank You Dirk for this great site - what an eye-opener!

Dirk Hanson said...

Hi, and thanks so much for telling us your story in such useful detail. I think it's easy to forget that some people who are quitting are lifetime pot smokers in their fifties. No trivial affair, especially with another addiction to alcohol in the mix. As I've said before, these dual addictions are a real bitch.

The great thing about your post is simply this: A month and a half without a drink or a joint. That's huge, and you are to be congratulated.

And thanks for the kind words about this blog.

eric said...

I just want to thank you all so much for your posts!! I have been off it for two and a half weeks, and I go through about three shirts a night. I also have a pounding headache every day, and drinking only makes it worse. The strange thing for me is learning that most people who experience these effects have been long term, chronic users. I am 21 now and started only 3 years ago, smoking about 2-3 times a week(but smoking ALOT when I did) and am really surprised I am experiencing such severe effects. The "existential angst" is awful! When the symptoms first started about a week ago,I just assumed I had the flu or something, but when I saw this site I realized what was happening. Has anyone else who has only smoked 4 years or less had such effects?

eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I just recently got into some trouble with pot...been smoking for 13 years...about a quarter every two weeks which isn't much compared to the fact I used to smoke an 8th in two days and buy more after that...anyway, I'm quitting now. I've quit before for medical reasons I was having and never had too much trouble I think because I was too busy dealing w/ my health issue to notice...well now I'm quitting by choice and there's nothing wrong with me...and let me tell you it's freaken hard...I literally thought about it all last night and all day today, dream about it, wish it would just appear...or that I'd find some laying around the house...I'm pissed about it because I feel alchol is much worse and pot should be legal but it's not and I just want a healthier life...but I have to say...I've sworn that it's not addictive for so long and I am SHOCKED at the withdrawl I am going thru. It's nice to know Im not crazy...it's not just me...apparently it's an issue with many people. I still think it should be legal but it's still not a good habit just like cigs or alchol...kudos to those that have quit I hope I can overcome this without losing my insantity...and excuse the spelling I'm typing pretty fast...

Dirk Hanson said...

"Has anyone else who has only smoked 4 years or less had such effects?"

Yeah,some younger people have run into serious whim-whams upon withdrawal, even after a relatively short stretch of steady smoking. Metabolisms vary.
------
"I've sworn that it's not addictive for so long and I am SHOCKED at the withdrawal..."

I do believe that it often hits people harder than necessary for that very reason--it's all so unexpected, so HARD, for such a soft drug. But you know, you could make the same argument for cigarettes, really: "Gee, for such a low-level buzz, this nicotine is surprisingly difficult to give up."

I think one of the keys with both cigarettes and weed is the regularity--consuming it on a steady, sometimes 24/7 basis, really gives it a chance to cause some adaptive changes in your brain.

nate said...

"I think one of the keys with both cigarettes and weed is the regularity--consuming it on a steady, sometimes 24/7 basis, really gives it a chance to cause some adaptive changes in your brain."

Do you know if there is some kind of catalyst that cause people who may be addicted to somehow just get the effects of depression out of no where? I smoked rather frequently for about 9 months and once I realized I was getting very depressed and completely un-motivated, I tried to run from it by smoking more. I spose that probably wasnt the smartest thing seeing as Marijuana is a depressant in itself. would that make the withdrawl effects worse--and I guess I would be more curious about the depression effect? If you may be depressed, or becoming depressed before you quit, will you be even more depressed after you quit?

Dirk Hanson said...

Depression can be tied up with pot smoking in many different ways. It can be useful to try and think back to whether you had episodes of depression before you ever smoked pot. Or whether depression came on with increased smoking. Will you suffer some depression and anxiety when you quit? Almost everybody who posts here says yes.

With the kinds of questions you're addressing, you are already a big jump ahead of most people when they try to quit. In matters of drug dependence, knowledge is strong medicine.

Anonymous said...

hi,
i posted on aug 16th,
i am happy to say 17 days no weed, and 15 days no newports.
i still have a bit of anxiety thank goodness its not heavy.
i still crave cigarettes, not marijuana at all. I am still in a bit of a fog thought. Stay away from stressfull situations, the last 3 days have been like hell and i found myself holding a cig 2 times but didnt light it, stress did bring the anxious feeling back to like the first week again.
i do feel better and a bit more focused.

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much! I have been living with my boyfriend for about 3 years now and we are both HEAVY HABITUAL users...I'm talking like from the momment we wake up ( none during work) and then until we go to bed...We have tried to quit together countless times...but the stress..aniexty and aggrivation just gets the best of both of us...we have tried taking vacations so we are away from it but the momment we come back its the first thing we do...It's hard because as soon as 1 of us caves the other one follows right after...This article has given me hope..and lets me know that I'm not crazy pot really is addictive! Do u have any other reccomendations for quitting??

Anonymous said...

Strange how everybody has different reactions on giving up pot. I smoked daily for 18 years. Have given up for 50 days now and have not had any depression, anxiety or rage. Lucky I guess. I have however had insomnia (but getting better). Vivid dreams but nothing nightmareish. Headaches yes.
But I have pins and needles in my hands and feet. Has anyone else experienced that?
Overall I am feeling soooo much better... more positive about life. Enthusiasm has led to making life decisions I had putoff for 18 years !!
Giving up has been worth the side
effects. Am looking forward to complete normality...and I don't mind having to wait a couple more months if I have to.
If you are reading this, cause you are thinking about quitting...DO IT. DO IT.

Anonymous said...

hi,
i am on my 24 thday no marijuana, no cigs,
the dreams are wild but spread apart, and the anxiety is pretty bad, any one can tell me how long usually and if theres anything to help. I find myself bugging out thinking of 100 things that could be wrong when nothings really wrong. It is really starting to piss me off and at certain times i have to try to sleep its so bad.

Anonymous said...

I'm 19 and I've been smoking pretty much everyday for about a year... so much that I can't even remember a time I wasn't high... i would work high, go to school, high, i smoked when i woke up and before i went to bed, and at least 2 times during the day... and hell ya there are gnarly effects when you try and stop... headaches like crazy, you stomach will hurt... lucky me it only hurt at night and would keep me up so i couldn't sleep for like 4 days... you definitely feel anxious which makes you want to smoke so you can chill out... anyone who says marijuana is no big deal is trippin cause it sucks!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Im a mother of 3 children,2 under 4!
I have been a smoker of weed for many years now,,and often wanted to quit.I smoke about a 8th a day.I have been unable to believing that my symptoms were in my head.The symptoms seemed very simular to those of a heroin addict,I knew this as i was one over5 years ago.This is why i thought the feelings of cold sweats,sleeplessness and mild flu were in my head from the pain of coming of heroin all those years before.Now after repeated attempts failing,due to me just not being able to cope mentally or physically.Also my kids pick up on this which causes them to behave even more like monkeys!!At these times i usually roll up a joint and puff away in the garden,,,,,
The pros and cons for me are so clear for me to see,I do want to give up,for my kids sake ,and health reasons,I want to be free,Its just another drug that has a hold of me.
So the rumours in the 50s and 60s when Britain apperently knew nothing of the effects of weed were true.It does turn you mad,,I loose control,my temper is short,Im aggressive,I sweat,cant sleep,and the worst thing is I loose my urge to eat,I only weigh 7 stone.I have always been thin but i cant afford to loose my food as Ive no weight to loose!I know this will all pass,but in the meantime as a single fully independant mom I am worried it will make things worse before they get better.If any one has any advise on staying calm,,and doing this,please help.If I can kick a heroin addiction after 12 years,why cant I do this with ease?

Anonymous said...

Hello, Im a mother of 3 children,2 under 4!
I have been a smoker of weed for many years now,,and often wanted to quit.I smoke about a 8th a day.I have been unable to believing that my symptoms were in my head.The symptoms seemed very simular to those of a heroin addict,I knew this as i was one over5 years ago.This is why i thought the feelings of cold sweats,sleeplessness and mild flu were in my head from the pain of coming of heroin all those years before.Now after repeated attempts failing,due to me just not being able to cope mentally or physically.Also my kids pick up on this which causes them to behave even more like monkeys!!At these times i usually roll up a joint and puff away in the garden,,,,,
The pros and cons for me are so clear for me to see,I do want to give up,for my kids sake ,and health reasons,I want to be free,Its just another drug that has a hold of me.
So the rumours in the 50s and 60s when Britain apperently knew nothing of the effects of weed were true.It does turn you mad,,I loose control,my temper is short,Im aggressive,I sweat,cant sleep,and the worst thing is I loose my urge to eat,I only weigh 7 stone.I have always been thin but i cant afford to loose my food as Ive no weight to loose!I know this will all pass,but in the meantime as a single fully independant mom I am worried it will make things worse before they get better.If any one has any advise on staying calm,,and doing this,please help.If I can kick a heroin addiction after 12 years,why cant I do this with ease?

Anonymous said...

I found quitting tobacco much harder than pot.Tobacco has all kinds of poisons while grass may have tar etc.. but it's properties are not so toxic.Not to say it is easy but I take self-enforced breaks to remind myself that real life is ok even if painful.I get way more depressed thinking about the political state of our continent.

Legal Alien said...

I want to share two chapters of my life which others may relate to or at least be amused by. If it bores then invoke your right to move on.

Chapter 3
In 1989 (age 21) and shortly after my parents passed away and the family home was sold I started regularly smoking pot every day, both hash and weed. I was uneducated, unemployed and pretty much lost in life. The one thing I absolutely knew was that I had tremendous potential but just didn't know in which direction. In late 1992 I made a conscious decision to get out of the permanent dull haze and monotonous repetition of smoking pot and distance myself from friends (who also smoked significantly) and leave my home in another country and move to NY. Yes, this was a painfully difficult decision and one I questioned every day for months.

I went through severe withdrawal, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, nightmares, sweats, fatigue and suicidal thoughts. I honestly thought I was going mad with severe mental issues. Early on I relied on self discipline (which is by far the hardest thing of all) exercise, read regularly, wrote in a journal (even at times hourly) for distraction and occasionally took valium for levity. I also enrolled in adult education (I took 22-24 credits a semester mostly so I had an excuse to fail and return to my pot haze – fortunately neither happened at that time). Over the next 4 years I achieved my undergraduate degree and post graduate degree (both from Ivy League schools, which still amuses me today!). I then joined a wall street firm at the very bottom and am now half way to earning seven figures a year. I did occasionally smoke pot during this time but only recreational and “always” secondary to my education and work and never frequently i.e. for a weekend or two at a time but never for more then a month and with long periods of abstinence (6 months – 2 years at a time).

"My" learning from this was "physical and mental strength must be earned and maintained and not expected. The same goes for financial security." I wrote this in my journal 6pm Oct 8, 1992. I read it today for the first time since then and realized how obvious things were but how difficult they can be to embrace.

Chapter 6
After more then 2 years of complete abstinence, in early in 2004 I was introduced to pot again by my then girlfriend and as life was so great I made the decision to start using a little more then recreationally i.e. weekends and occasionally during the week. In May of 2005 I was diagnosed with an incurable nerve disease. This came a few months after breaking up from a long term relationship (to be frank she left me and yes to my shame pot was one factor). To dull the shock of both events and hide behind “perfectly good excuses” (which none actually are. Nothing ever is) I started to self medicate with pot daily. During the past two and a half years I have struggled with increasing bouts of depression, panic attacks and anxiety, poor quality sleep, sweating at night, mood swings etc. I am currently in a fairly bad state and am focusing myself to again develop the self discipline required to get control of my mind, emotions, physical well being and life! I want to again feel excited about… well anything and everything. Particularly people!

I stopped smoking pot about 6 days ago and am compensating with occasionally using prescribed Clonazepam (about 0.125mg in the morning to help start my day and 0.25mg at night to help sleep, which is well below what was suggested). Clonazepam is anti anxiety medication. I did have a relapse last night. My excuse was stress at work (which I do allow to exist but was also a good excuse). It’s Saturday night and I find it excruciatingly hard to not want another puff!

I sit here today reading my journals from 16 years ago and think how much progress have I really made. While I am far from financially secure I live a life most people dream of but my recent level of pot smoking is putting that in jeopardy because I just can’t emotionally or mentally cope. I look at myself and struggle to appreciate what I have achieved or where I want to go next. I truly believe I have again let pot take hold of my mental stability and is dangling it from a very high cliff.

This time I am aware of how difficult the journey to recovery will be but also know that the results will be mental and emotional control to again leave behind the mental cage pot creates and assume the journey to reach my potential.

No one is going to knock on door and deliver an immediate cure. Also, while I have achieved a lot I do regret that there was so much more I could have accomplish in my life to date. I can’t get that back but I can use the time a head of me to enjoy every moment left.

My current revelation is that “pot only consumes you when you consume it”. Good luck and wishing self discipline to those on a similar path.

peter said...

Great comment Anonymous about quitting herion and that quitting weed should be a walk in the park compared to it. I quit after a number of years and i was so shocked at the effect of quitting had on me, i can honestly say i dont know what herion withdrawal or any other drug withdrawal is like for that matter, but in my eyes in could not get any worse than what i went through,so little information or research is clearly lacking in cannabis, But not every1 get withdrawals form it which is strange? but i found out about withdrawal from it from a friend when he quit he thought he was going mental, loosing his mind, manic sickness and diarhea major anxiety. But i didnt belive him really this was a couple of years back, so when i stopped after 3 weeks i had a major blow to the brain. I was in a terrible state for a couple of months!! but i dont want to put idea's in your head that you will be like this etc... BUT the good news is, if you can handle the withdrawal it will pass... it may take time, but life is at the end of the tunnel. if this helps to i got told tii drink lots of green tea, suppose to calm you down. But i also was put on a anti depressant which i was scared to take. funny enough i am just coming of those tablets now, and dont feel too good that i am coming off them but nothing compared to the harrowing depression and anxiety i had.. but i agree, anxiety can be that bad that i think maybe the doctors should give out proper relaxent tablets or sleeping pills, these would have helped me out loads especially when the panic was extreme(which in my case i ended up running to the hospital because my panic attack was that bad i thought i had scizophrenia or phsycosis) of course this what any normal person could be led to think upon major, panic ,depression,anxiety brain fag for the first time! try to stick at it you will succeed too, but the time issue is a real bummer :( one week i was fine nearly 100% better next week anxiety it is a real rollercoaster ride but worth it in the end, because now the dangers and so apperent to me i feel sorry for people who smoke weed and trapped in a circle of life surrounded by when they smoke the next slpiff, My freind who still smokes a hell of a lot of weed is the same, cant see the dangers of what it is like, he is trapped by his smoking habbit, nothing is more scary than the thought of loosing your life to drugs! but keep posted in, there is some great advice in these posts and sure people will post in to give you encouragement! peace

Anonymous said...

I am a thirty five year old guy who has been smoking for 20 years almost everyday. I had an event in my life that caused me to put down the pipe for a few days. I started having dreams that were so unbelievable that was afraid of going to sleep at night knowing that my dreams were going to keep me active ll night. after a few days I started to feel overly negative and hopeless focusing on the event that started it in the first place. I lost interest in my drawings which had occupied my time for a while and I started thinking real negatively about everything I had done. I still cannot get a grip on the world. It has been a few weeks and i still smoke a little at night. Before I was smoking 7-8 times a day. Always High. I feel all the symptoms listed here and I kind of want to stop. I lived in California for ten years and I was even given the go ahead from my doctor. i could even grow my own. No cost or even legal issues. just time. I love to smoke at concerts and with all my good friends. It is what we do. I wonder if there are any stories of famous creative people who stopped smoking it and kept going on doing what they were doing in an effective way. When the Stones quit drugs the albums started to suck. I am afraid that if I quit altogether I will lose the desire to draw indefinitely and have to learn a new skill. Also my wife is not ready to quit by any means and I fell like if I do it will come between us. My mind is so scattered and I wake each morning with a dread for the day ahead. I usually wake two to three hours before i need to get up and try to fall back asleep. I have been trying to relate all these feelings to anything but pot use but this page made me think differently. I keep getting hot and cold and have had diarrhea for days. No appetite and I am constantly worried about losing all my friends. They all seem so content to smoke. When I was young i remember always being nervous and anxious all the time. I never was when I was high. I thought it was the perfect cure to all my ails. Now that I have stopped I feel like that again. Nervous and anxious all the time. I have been smoking at work ands I Initially though that I could just stop during the day and I have great control. Something about being all depressed all the time and thinking about life's worthlessness that makes smoking seem like no fun. But I also feel that if I get back to the bag I will felt relaxed again. It is what I know. Are these thoughts just the mind reeling off all the things that I have been ignoring or is it me feeling bored because I haven't been smoking. I keep trying to blame it on anything else. I love you Mary Jane! I have spent so much time with it that I am not sure how to live without it. I have never smoked cigarettes for very long. I never liked them. I have tried quitting a couple of times before when My brother died and when My grandpa committed suicide. Both times I was really sad about something else and now i am having other issues that I feel deem quitting needed for a while. If I am happy in life it has very little effect on me but when I am sad it magnifies it and I quit. I then spiral off into a pit of despair and dread. I always have some triggering event that causes me to feel down besides the pot. Do you think that stopping smoking during these times adds to the disparity or is the cause for the prolongation of it? Once I feel happy again I start smoking again and it helps to relax me and I feel better. I have gotten through school and gotten a great job in a small town all on good pot. IT has never really been the determining factor in my sadness. Now I am rambling. What I really want to say is that sometimes life gets heavier than other times and the simple self satisfying smoking seems simply stupid. Unfortunately I do see the down side to spending so much time focusing on anything. I just want the rolling thought patterns and repeating song lyrics in my head to stop. Sometimes I think that I would rather smoke that have all these crazy thoughts racing through my melon. I would like to hear some more stories from people like me that have been though it and come out ok. all the stories here seem to be people who are only a short distance into the process? I am still smoking a little at night but I have given up during the day. Can a person smoke less and fell better but still smoke it from time to time? I love it and it always enhances my creativity.

Jiveafro (search that out to see my art)

Anonymous said...

15 years of chronic daily use.
Helped manage the Bi-polar.

The withdrawls are very real.
extreme. I am a threat to society.
Yesterday it was either the police station or the hospital or off the wagon.

I chose the doctor. Broke down in the bathroom for 2 hours hiding in a stall.
a compromise. finally the smart decision. for the first time ever in regards to quitting.

I could kill ANYBODY no problem.
I hate the world,even when im sober. A walking nightmare.

if i could i would kill everyone even if that meant for each death i had to die with them over and over. That was my mentality with an 1/8 of chronic a day.

Just imagine what it is now.
Pure Psycho.

Thats how bad the anger is.
Everyday i have at least 2 psychotic interactions with people.,

BUT im gonna push through.
Just no trips to the gun store.

if i could cut the anger out literally, i would. physical pain compares nothing to the withdrawls.

Being a cutter doesent even compare, it would be pointless, like poking a pin whole in a cruise ship

I was addicted to heroin, smoked a tun of crack, dip, cigarettes, inhaled cigars 5-6 a day and much worse. ANything to hurt myself badly.
with the strength of pot these days this has been the hardest drug to quit yet.

i did have some luck for 6 months 3 years ago with welbutrin. I suggest talking to your doctor about it. it was a miracle drug, no longer works for me. now its 3 grams of xanex to stay out of prison and not hurt anybody. All it takes is one slip up and your back to Zero.

Harvard grad.
Many major film credits

at least i dont drink...

trust me people im the sickest fuck there is and im doing it. so can you.

Weights for 1 hour a day, followed by a 5K, followed by 2 mile swim. Everyday the goal is to wear myself out. even after all of it I still could kill... no withdrawls???
ha


a lil note for the psychos who cant relate to the pansy bitches posting here.

"Low-level Flu like symptoms"

wow, what a pussy

try high level hatred, daily violence. black out rage.
poor grammer.

I have the animals, they are my friends

the best thing you can do is work out hard. try not to trade addictions, but make it through the day.

great message board
suck it up losers.

LIVE BETTER
What we have done is no way to live.

think:
no fake fights
no future fights
live better

and if your desire is for god to help you through this, then just kill yourself.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article, it's far and away the best article on the topic I've seen, especially as it includes links to further solid info. Balanced and informative. I've been smoking for over ten years and about to take the plunge into long-term quitting. I haven't gone longer than a few days at a time without smoking since 1998. I'm a little freaked out but I think I'll make it, and it's great to see the feeling I have that it IS an addictive substance vindicated.
Thanks again. Wish me luck.

Dirk Hanson said...

Good luck.

You have a good thing going for you, which is prior knowledge of some of the side effects you may encounter. You won't get blindsided, thanks to the many posters here who have taken the time to detail their experiences for the benefit of others. And thanks for the kind words on my original post.

Anonymous said...

I smoked pot for 32 years, recently I quit so I could pass a hair test in the coming months. I started having every symptom listed on this site. I was in HELL and I don't even believe in HELL. I went to my Doctor 4 or 5 times. 1st she thought it was my thyroid then menopause of course I never mentioned my sudden Marijuana stoppage. She gave me xanax, ambien and zoloft, the zoloft gave me thoughts of suicide so I discontinued that and the other meds did not help so I discontinued them as well. I always thought it (marijuana) was not an issue. It has been 4 weeks now and my first night of sleep was last night. I still had some crazy dreams but they did not wake me. Hang in there because just when you think you cannot take it anymore it gets better. The nights were the worst for me, staring at the inside of my eyelids all night with my eyeballs darting around in my head. I will never smoke pot again, I used to be a meth addict and it was much easier for me to kick that habit than the pot habit.

Morte Cerebrale said...

Hmm, informative site, its nice to read a fact-based scientific and critical page that overestimates my intelligence rather than just giving vague advice..
However, that being said, I notice theres a bit of non-pragmatic stuff on this and other sites on how to treat THC withdrawals. Some people doubt the very fact of pot addiction, and imply that its a symptom of some kind of lack of moral fiber. Some of those assertions on this excellent site are centered around as yet not fully complete biochemical knowledge, some based on more psychological or sociological reasoning.
As a health professional on my 7th day of abstaining, I am reminded of what I was taught "the best qualified expert on a patient's pain level IS that patient."
That so many people should have identical psychosomatic symptoms seems a little unlikely.
It also seems a little silly to me to question the mental "strength" of people who have had symptoms for many days and are prepared to

Morte Cerebrale said...

Thanks for the cool responses Dirk!
I am now in day 15, and Einstein's
time-distortion when travelling at light speed is NOTHING compared to my throwing out my bong. Was it really 10 days ago I posted that comment?!?!? I really am completly blown away by that, it FEELS like a couple of months ago!! Its funny how those 10 days would have just flown by if I was still gurgling and coughing ALL my cash and a lot of life-experiences away.

Now I feel cocky enough to offer some sage advice!! It has been tough, but this time I'd only smoked for months, before I managed to live life instead.
Usually it been years, but I guess it must be a little like herion or something, 'cause it seemed like latent long-term abuse-effects reared its ugly head anyway. I still had(!) the sweat soaked bed, and beads of sweat on my forhead if I even thought about walking. And it felt like I was over-dosing on bad speed.
What REALLY helped me personally, were those old-fashioned drowsiness-inducing anti-histamines, which my doctor put me on because they are far less addictive than benzo's.
I am not saying that they are a cure for the sleepnessless, but that they HELPED, some. And I still have to treat them with respect, 'cause I can get addicted to anything..
ALSO, knowing that its the addiction talking, when the WHOLE WORLD SCREAMS at me that it demands that I toke up.
Because, I mean, JUST LOOK AT THE INHUMAN; IMPOSSIBLE-TO-DEAL-WITH-S**T I am expected to put up with!!
Sound familliar? Its horrible, that feeling. But it does ease off with time.
Cutting back on the coffee.
Oh, and exercise.. An incredibly boring and quite depressingly daunting concept when sitting in my chair, but it really works for a LOT of people.
I dare say everyone actually.
Anyway, the fun of not handling any sort of problem without almost collapsing into self-pity and utter irritation is waiting for me outside.
Along with the good, intense feeling of actually being in the here and now!

Anonymous said...

hi i have been a heavy cannabis user for twenty years...i recently gave up 3 days ago.. i have experienced chills,anxiety,confusion.
feeling tired but sleeping for a few hours at a time...i am seeing a drug counsellor now and im determined too see it out...cannabis nowadays is so much stronger than it used to be when i started smoking 20 yrs ago...its bound to give you grief in the end...but im gonna beat this and live a non cloudy hazed life...with normal emotions about things!!! about time....wish me luck!!!

Dirk Hanson said...

I wish you luck, and remind you that you already know a lot about what's likely to happen. So try not to let it shake you up when it does.

And try not to lose track of the reasons you have for deciding to quit. As weird as it sounds, it is possible to "forget" that part when cravings are upon you.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to write and thank you for this site. I am a 46 year old woman and have been smoking pretty much every day for 24 of the past 30 years. I always believed it was just a psychological addiction, but the physical withdrawal is very real. Today is day 4 of not smoking and before reading the posts here, I wasn't sure if I could do it. It's given me so much more hope that I will get through this. Thanks again.

Dirk Hanson said...

And thanks in return for the kind words about this site. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dirk-

Thanks so much for this site and for providing a forum for so many people that need help and support.

I quit smoking 10 days ago "cold turkey" after smoking everyday for the past 10 years. Knock on wood, but I have had almost none of the symptoms discussed here. I have felt a tad lethargic and for some reason I am feeling hungry a lot.

Today, I was diagnosed with ADHD (which I am not surprised about) and the doctor told me that I was using the marijuana all these years to get relief from for the ADHD. What do you think about this? It makes sense and I wanted to know if this is common for others with ADHD.

Thanks again!

Bongbrain said...

It was a relief to find this site after viewing many of the other outdated and factually devoid sites.
After reading many of the comments here, I was surprised by many of the symptoms that I came across, especially the brain fog many were experiencing during withdrawal. Today is day five for me and I am quite shocked by many of my symptoms, though they have all been relatively mild in intensity.

Brief History: I'm 40 years old and have been smoking heavily for 20. Like many, I started in college and never really stopped. I prided myself on being a functioning stoner. Unfortunately, to date I've been through 3 major clinical depressions, suffer from debilitating anxieties, sleep issues, slight OCD, and a host of other symptoms. In short, I have been unable to hold a job or be self-sufficient. I stopped smoking cold turkey when I was 29 following a painful breakup which led to my second and deepest depression which lasted for over two years. At this time I experienced a level of clinical anxiety which rendered me nearly functionless and contemplating suicide. In fact it got so bad one night that I checked myself into the local psych crisis center, though I checked myself out that night realizing that there was nothing that could be done for me there. After 6 months of sobriety, I returned to smoking and felt as though I sort of stabilized myself...or so I thought. Long story short, I have suffered debilitating mental health problems for the last decade. I have always wondered if this would have been my reality had I never smoked pot. There is no way of answering that question, but it is one that persists with me strongly even today. I strongly suspect that I was born with a predisposition to mental illness (I have a family history of such), and that over time pot exacerbated--if not manifested--every symptom I struggle with. Having said that, I will next detail my experiences during my first five days of cold turkey. This is the situation: I have plenty of pot in the house and have not gotten rid of my smoking tools (bong, etc.). My line of thinking: If I can stop smoking with it staring me right in the face, then I will have truly gained control. Or maybe it's just my subconscious way of giving myself the means to resume my addiction if things go wrong. I have experienced the following symptoms thus far: 1) poor sleep due to overactive mind. This is no surprise to me because I understand that my nightly routine is to smoke my brain into submission and pass out due to mental burnout in the wee hours of the morning. Then sleep late and repeat the process nightly. Luckily, I do not work now and can sleep if needed. The last two days, around early afternoon, I have been overcome by extreme and uncomfortable tiredness/fatigue and sleep for 20-30 and it subsides. I feel that w/out ample rest, the battle is very uphill and chances of relapse are high. 2) Slight increase in anxiety, but just mild/moderate for me anyway. 3) Decreased appetite/persistent stomach aches. Not a huge problem because through my past struggles I have learned to force food down even through nausea. It is crucial to fuel your body for the battle I believe. 4) An underlying feeling that something is "wrong" or missing. Somebody here described it as the feeling of losing a loved one or best friend. 5) An uncomfortable feeling that my familiar surroundings now feel strange and foreign to me. I look at my drumset and xbox 360 and feel a sense of sadness that now our relationships will no longer be the same. Hopefully not; as a pothead, they were my distraction from my pain and my empty life. I am trying instead to look forward to a new and enhanced relationship with these things when I am ready to enjoy them with my new fresh mind. 6)The Brain Fog!!! This was a shocker, I had always assumed that my head would immediately clear and that I would simply have to readjust to having emotions and relearning to sleep. Instead, yesterday (day 4), I began to feel very cloudy headed and unable to focus. I even feel that my motor skills and balance are somehow impaired. I even feel a bit unsafe on the road. For me this is the toughest symptom thus far because it is more debilitating than any amount of pot smoking ever was. Today (end of day 5), the odd feelings are persisting and this is what is making me long for a huge bong hit. However, I know that if I let myself take that route that I may be locking in my own life sentence. The thoughts of being free at last are enough to keep me moving in the right direction. I am almost convinced that I would survive a relapse or two, buy why add more distance to the already tough journey. I would like to reiterate that all of these symptoms are thus far pretty mild. I have read that they may worsen for me soon, but I know that it is crucial not to expect or plan for them to worsen, but just to realize that it's a possibility. Self fulfilling prophecy is not your ally in this instance. Beware very careful not to nudge yourself into any of the negative symptoms. In other words, try to stay as objective as possible. Try to take on the role of an observer who is merely making clinical observations. This seems to be helping me. Though I remind myself that this is only the first week.
Lastly, I feel it's important to mention that the chance of success in quitting an addiction depends greatly--if not completely--on the individual reaching that point where change is really and honestly the desired outcome. I'll post again as I begin the second week or if anything changes. Good luck to you all.

Bongbrain said...

Just a quick note: Still end of day 5 for me, but wanted to mention that I tried to play the drums, which I have done everyday for years, and am sad to say that for now I am completely incapable of playing. It feels very different to me at the moment. I feel that I have absolutely no timing, coordination, or rhythm. I cannot even play through simple material. Very disturbing to me. This is just further proof to me that pot has in many ways altered my neural chemistry over the years and that some profound changes/repairs are soon to begin. I have to admit that since my last post (few hours ago) I have been actively suppressing a growing fear that things are going to get much worse before getting much better. This is precisely the negative thinking that must be squashed in its tracks. This is just further evidence to me that I have to do this to salvage anything of myself worth keeping. Wish me luck!

Dirk Hanson said...

"Still end of day 5 for me, but wanted to mention that I tried to play the drums, which I have done everyday for years, and am sad to say that for now I am completely incapable of playing. It feels very different to me at the moment."

---
I've talked to artists, writers, painter, musicians, and they all say the same thing--during the first intense phase of pot detox, they could summon up very little interest in their artistic pursuits. Or in anything else.

It does pass, as the brain rewires itself in the absence of the drug.

Jeff said...

Hey Dirk, Thanks for the site, and the responses. As for me, I have been smoking medical grade marijuana daily(4-6 times per day) for over 10 years, started when I was 15-16 and I'm now 28. I have come to a point in my life where I need clarity of the mind. I took my last hit this morning, and I am worried about how this is all going to go down.. I have felt the restlessness and anxiety of quitting, I'm not looking forward to it, but after reading these comments and realizing that it's possible, I have a better positive outlook that I will be able to quit... I have many friends that I will have to distance myself from, I do not want to even put myself in the situation of marijuana being around... this is probably the saddest part for me, to lose my (real and close) toker friends.

gladiator said...

just wanted to say that I'm really happy I found this site and the comments that all of you have been leaving. I just quit smoking cigs and contemplating quiting blazing. I've tried quiting before but the withdrawal symptoms that the rest of you describe have always been too great. my biggest problems have been the anxiety, stomach pain, nausea, loose bowels, sweating.
i want to quit really bad because of my job and because i want to have kids soon. i wish there were support groups or some medicine readily available to help with the withdrawal. puking for 2 weeks straight is not fun and deters me quting.
any of you have suggestions to break the habit? i figure a few days home of suffering should do it.

Bongbrain said...

Today is day 9 for me. Quick confession...I allowed myself to smoke the smallest amount yesterday; just enough to barely see a little smoke as I exhaled. Not enough to feel anything but just wanted to take an edge off of the discomfort of cold turkey. It didn't work, and I'm honestly glad that it didn't. I'm almost enjoying the discomfort because I know that it means I'm still moving in the right direction.

I have still been experiencing the anxiousness which intensified about day 7. I have been sleeping ok, but the non-stop vivid dreaming--though interesting--is keeping me from restful sleep. The constant stomach ache makes eating a challenge but I force myself and then feel a little better. Yesterday the slight flu-like symptoms started. Slight headache, stiff neck/back, increased fatigue. Having harder time writing than my last post. Flu-like symptoms take slight edge off of anxiety though. Still the persistent feeling that something is wrong or missing, but that is counterbalanced by the good feelings from not smoking and feeling like I'm finally in control of this damned addiction. I honestly can't believe I'm doing this after 20 long, long years. An interesting note: I have been so dependent on nasal spray decongestants to the point of keeping a bottle in my car, by my bed, at my parents house for visits, etc. I have only used nasal spray twice in last 9 days. My lungs also feel better. I got to the point that I was coughing up black phlegm daily, but after the first 5 days that has cleared. It's very hard to think so I'm going to wrap this up by mentioning that thus far this is not too bad at all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that week 3 and 4 won't turn to shear Hell as many have posted here, but if so, I will deal with it. Luckily, I'm not working right now. If I was, this would all be that much harder. Good luck to all.

Dirk Hanson said...

" My lungs also feel better. I got to the point that I was coughing up black phlegm daily"

---

Yeah, that's always pretty graphic evidence--your body telling you that maybe, just maybe, you've been smoking too much. ;-)

Seriously, cutting that gunk loose from deep down in the lungs has served as positive feedback for many a newly minted ex-smoker of tobacco or weed or both.

Anonymous said...

I just quit smoking 4days now and noticed withdrawl symptoms so id thought id look it up and came across this website. And I just want to say... Everything everybody else said is real. If you dont experience anything you obviously havent smoked enough for long enough.

very hard time sleeping even tho it was already a problem. but worse now

no appetite at all. not even for liquid and i drink water all day long. after today my stomach is starting to feel ok

sweating- my hands which i dont understand and I feel this little up feeling in my heart almost like i did a line of coke. i dont know if thats anxiety or what cuz i dont really believe in thangs like that .example ppl bi-polar

dreams- havent had 1 like last night for a very long time. every thing was very vivid as others said and I can remember everything about it 2day.

how i interact with others- every normal person is great. but Im what people would classify as gangster, so other "gangsters" im ready to fight every 1. today i threw a bottle at somebodys head on a bike and hit him b/c 3 dudes on bikes were muggin like they wanted to do sumthin. otherwise we might have said what up or something. But anybody else that is perfectly fine better interactions than ever before.

so i just wanted to put my input.

these are real marijuana withdrawal symptoms just stay busy doin sumthin. be strong-minded

mind over matter

Dirk Hanson said...

Anger and irritation can be a huge problem coming off weed. One person told me, "whoever I saw first after getting up in the morning, I knew they were gonna get it right between the eyes."

Anonymous said...

I'm just another pot head trying to beat the addiction. I just wanted to let people know that benadryl can help you sleep and aleviate some of the discomfort you feel during detox. 1 in the morning and two at night worked best for me, the last time I quit. This time WILL be the last though. Take care and good luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! It's been a while since anyone has posted on this site, so I'm not sure if it's still active, but I thought I'd share my experience of the anxiety part of withdrawal.

I started smoking pot regularly (3-5 times a week) when I met my boyfriend who is a bit of a fiend. I never used to buy my own and only used to smoke when I was with him, so when he went away to visit family for approx 6 weeks I went cold turkey and didn't really think anything of it. Then all of a sudden I noticed I was feeling really pent up, like I'd had a lot of strong coffee and remember even commenting to a friend about it. This is where my problems started - I became AFRAID of the feelings I was experiencing as I couldn't understand them - I had no idea it could be pot withdrawal. This lead to a cycle of fear-adrenalin-fear which developed into Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This carried on for 2 years, and I still carried on smoking pot thinking it was helping me overcome these feelings. Along side 'self medicating' with pot, I also experimented with meditation and found this to be highly valuable. Also the book by Dr Claire Weekes ' Self Help For Your Nerves' has been a massive help as it tells you to overcome anxiety you need to accept it and not to fight/run from it, as your body innately seems to want to do. All this improved my ability to cope with the anxiety but it never seems to get rid of it completely. This puzzled me - until I did some research on the possibility of dope withdrawal affects. That was it - I quit completely 10 days ago (after smoking around 3 bongs a night for around 3 years) and have been going through the same symptoms as most of you on this site. Hightend anxiety has been the most difficult symptom, but my years of mediation experience has helped me cruise on passed these feelings. Knowing that each day that passes will lead to full recovery - after delaying recovery through pot smoking - has been a massive help. Thanks Dirk for your great website and for everyone who has posted on this forum - you've really helped me understand my symptoms and put me back on the right track!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, I didn't realise there was a SECOND page to this forum! I'm glad it's still up and running! :)

Dirk Hanson said...

You're most welcome. It just kills me that variations of your story are still so common. We all pretty much accepted the notion that you could smoke daily for years and then quit cold turkey--and nothing of note would happen. I mean, if you think about it, that's not even true about ice cream!

Dirk Hanson said...

"hhh, I didn't realise there was a SECOND page to this forum! I'm glad it's still up and running! :)"

-----
I almost didn't realize it myself, when it first rolled over to a second page. Blogger doesn't mark that very well. Should be bigger font or something.

Anonymous said...

Hi again - I just posted a blog on this forum about my experience of anxiety following pot withdrawal and how it led to GAD due to a lack of knowledge about the side effects of smoking. I thought I might share with you another book I found very helpful in changing my perceptions and attitudes towards life, which will be very helpful, I'm sure, to those of you who are suffering from a period of readjustment to life without pot and the feelings of emptiness, depression, loneliness, that can plague you during this time.

The book is all about understanding how your mind works, or more essentially, your subconscious mind, which is the POWER behind your WILLPOWER. It is called 'The Genie Within - Your Subconscious Mind: How It Works and How To Use It' by Harry W Carpenter. I picked up my copy from Amazon.

I am a natural sceptic about these sort of books as I have a strong science background, (books like 'The Secret' just didn't do it for me as it struck me as pseudoscience) but Carpenter's book explained the subconscious mind in a very clear, scientific and logical way. I was drawn to this website for a similar reason; the clear and matter of fact way the article was written and how it was backed up with hard scientific evidence.

To cut a long story short, Carpenter's book tells us that a lot of our core beliefs, such as attitudes towards smoking pot, and fears about our life post-pot are due to often inaccurate 'programmes' held in our subconscious. These programmes are there due to conditioning (think Pavolv's dog). The good news is that it's very easy to replace these 'bad' programmes with ones that make us feel happy, secure and complete in ourselves - without the need to spark up. Carpenter explains how to do this in a very easy straight forward way that required NO EFFORT AT ALL.

Sorry about the long post - It sounds like I make commission on this book for something! Give it a try if you like - from my experience it will make the transition into the non smoking world that much easier.

Anonymous said...

great site has given me some piece of mind - basically gave up 11 days ago after smoking for 10 years effectively realised it wasn't doing me any good, had cold sweats, headaches with some dizziness which i'm stil having and anxious feelings about whether i will be the same again - any help would be appreciated.

peter said...

hi every1, after in january, i had months of hell, mad anxiety, and felt i would never get better, but the last 4 months i have can say i am totally past it all, never touched any other drug but the withdrawal from cannabis was worse than anything. But stick at it you will definatly get better but some may just take more time than others, mine seemed like months, and the depression kept coming back for a while even when i was better etc, but best desicion i made was to quit! although ii still miss it life is worth more than staying stoned! gl every1

Paul E said...

I've been smoking for 12 years, 1-4 Joints per night. I quit 1 week ago and am experiencing the following symptoms:

*Flu like feeling including irritable chest

*Anxiety

*Irritability and outbursts of anger

*Lethargy (I'm sleeping ok but feel tired all of the time. My eyes constantly feel heavy)

*Lack of concentration

*Light headedness and dizzyness

*Headaches

*Depression

*Vivid dreams

The flu like symptoms only started a few days ago but things don't seem to be improving yet. As i smoked cannabis with tobbacco i'm unsure which effect directly correlate to Nicotine withdrawal and which corrospond to Cannabis withdrawal. Hopefully things will improve. I'll update my circumstances when i feel a significant change. It might be helpful to compare the length of these symptoms to others who have smoked different amounts over different lengths of time.

Anonymous said...

I am on day 5 and not feeling happy at all. Coupled with the holidays and family and it makes me want to pull my hair out. These posts help because I was really feeling so moody and irritable and still am.

Tyler said...

Glad I found this article.

I smoked daily for six years, varying amounts. I quit smoking four days ago and find myself having the same vivid dreams as described in earlier posts, along with the insomnia.

I've yet to have the other symptoms, and am now not looking forward to them, but at least I know why I keep having these bizarre dreams every time I go to sleep - if I even can.

Dirk Hanson said...

There's really no way to be prepared except word of mouth at present. It's the rare doctor you can go to and say you're quitting daily pot smoking, and the doctor says, hey, watch out for sleep problems and vivid dreams. Maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

This is my 1st planned quitting of pot smoking in 5 and a half years, otherwise there were two episodes where I managed to quit marijuana for 19 and then 24 days.

The 19 day period came about because there was simply no weed in town, and I was going nuts. At this point I didn't realize I had a serious addiction on my hands to deal with and I can't remember exactly but I'm fairly certain that I drank heavily for those 19 days (Hello Jack Daniels). As soon as I was able to find some weed again, the drinking stopped, because I once again found the "preferred" (because alcohol is much harder on the brain/body) substance to keep my mind pleased and in a blooming bubble. (fuzzy warm and slightly blurry yet with more contrast and brightness of colors)

The 24 day period came about due to a move to a different city. I began by willingly denying a joint on the day of the move, because I was actually super motivated (to move to a city that I always wanted to/to move out of the city which I grew to greatly dislike) and also because I had a nine-hour drive ahead of me in a U-haul full of our belongings. The move turned out to be more stressful that I initially thought it would be, thanks to a land-lord that posted incorrect images/descriptions of the place that we were so looking forward to move into. we ended up staying at a friend's place and drinking beer this time (Good Bye Jack Daniels) for a few days, during these few days I brought up Pot many times, but no one simply knew where to get any.. YAY! That helped me stay off of it for 24 days. But I got to know a few fellas at my new job who knew where to get some and I got back into it.

This time, I actually intend to quit it for good and never get back into it again. This is day 3 or so without the Pot. Yesterday all I ate was a piece of bread with some honey on it and some tea. And for supper I had a burger paddy because I didn't have any motivation or will to make a burger and didn't have any appetite to eat anything. I couldn't get to sleep till 5am. Right before sleep I had extremely strong cravings for weed and I was very, very tempted to get on the phone/msn and find me some, but I took 10mg of melatonin and talked myself into not trying to get some while finally falling asleep. when I woke up (first 8 hours later at 1 something pm) I felt still tired although very slightly more motivated. But I didn't have any energy from not eating and just a general withdrawal symptom. I went back to sleep thinking just for an hour or so to regain energy, but nuh-uh, 4 something odd hours later I woke up still tired and feeling like rubber, BUT yet again feeling a little bit better. Usually while smoking weed, within a few minutes of waking up, my hands and feet start to sweat and other symptoms of anxiety appear. Today that didn't happen right away, but 15 min after getting up ... which is right now at this instance, my hands and feet are sweatier than ever, I could put my hand in a fist and sweat would be dripping off of it. And I have tingling sensation in my feet, as if someone is tickling me. ... 5 min later ... my anxiety is starting to come down a little and sweat secretion is slowing down and I'm able to take deeper breaths.

Why did I go straight to day 3? Because I figured out that last time when I was able to quit for 24 days I drank beer (which is way, WAY better than hard liquor) to help me through the toughest first few days. That's exactly what I was doing first 2 days and I feel like I'm gonna have to repeat that for next 1 or 2 days, depending on how I feel. You may say: "But you're not doing yourself any good by possibly addicting yourself to alcohol". But worry not! I have been addicted to alcohol and other much worse substances (Ecstasy for instance) previously and I know how to deal with those addictions. Allow me to elaborate. Marijuana has been the base drug, like a back-up, compared to other substances. When coming down off E, Marijuana helped me feel better, when hung over like crazy from alcohol it helped me with nausea and appetite and head splitting headache was nothing if pot was there. With those two other substances (like with any other) the 1st step to overcoming the addiction is recognizing it. With Ex it was the waking up with blurred vision, heart rate of 140-160+, and basically feeling like I'm gonna die. That was my body saying stop or I will crap out on you. I had to stop. And I did stop for good for a long time, tried it once afterward and it only made me feel bad, which only helped me be more determined in not doing it ever again. With alcohol I was able to recognize my addiction myself, can't remember how but I did and since the stimulant was out of my life for good the depressant alcohol was a little easier to get rid of (oops... I used to mix alcohol and E, bad idea) I don't feel like I will get addicted to alcohol (come on I went from drinking hard liquor like it was water to drinking 4/5-6 beers to help me deal with 1st few days of pot withdrawals) Plus alcohol is pretty hard on the body and is a depressant.. I don't like depressants. Last time that I was quit for 24 days after the few days of constant drinking, when I didn't feel like I wanted pot anymore I felt like a new person and it was easy to stop the drinking. Also I have to get up earlier than 5pm tomorrow, for work, so I want the beer to help me get tired a bit and go to sleep and also I require much less sleep after drinking. I promise to all of you who are reading this now and most of all myself that I will only use alcohol on this rather frequent occasion and yet in moderate doses (beer as opposed to hard liquor) just to get through the firs toughest days of my fight with a nearly 6 year addiction to marijuana, after which I will stop drinking so frequently and will be able to enjoy a few occasional drinks at social events (to which I will have a will to go to as weed has helped me not feel any need for socializing in the past few years, well unless it was with other pot heads haha)

In conclusion! What I am trying to say here is that I used to think that weed is nothing (and it may be so compared to other much harder drugs such as E) but in reality it is just as hard to quit as any other substance that one has been using for a long period of time. I even denied that it has a negative effect on my life and only saw the positives. Pot did help me through quitting other things but now it's time to get rid of it as well and enjoy a much better, healthier lifestyle. To all of you trying to quit anything, hang in there, make a plan and stick to it (my plan involves some alcohol but yours DOES NOT HAVE TO! I feel very, VERY confident that I can manage it during and after the fact) If you are having a hard time quitting by yourself, consult somebody talk to somebody, your friends at least or someone you know may have some insight into the addiction. You can do it! And you will feel much better once you get through it.

P.S. there are many symptoms of marijuana withdrawals, one of them is "vivid dreams". I guess it's different for different people because that is the part that I enjoy the most. I don't really dream while smoking pot and I really enjoy having the dreams come back to me. They may be a little messed up at first. But they get better and help me get through my days. While smoking pot even while awake it feels like a dream, but I want to be awake and sober and dream when I go to sleep at night. Night before last night I had a really good dream involving my old classmates it was some sort of social even in a great setting. Last night it was more of a rough ride where I was involved in a gunfight between gangs and there were car chases etc.. an action movie for you. I don't enjoy being in a gun fight, but for some reason I still don't think of it as a nightmare, I am a mentally tough person and I rode through that dream and came out of it alive ;) ... people they are only dreams, I remember back when I wasn't into any substance I actually had those moments when I realized I was in a dream (usually 30 min prior to waking up) and I had pretty much the absolute control of the dream, at a snap of my fingers I could have anything I wanted to, I want to be able to do that again and I realize that will take some time. I just love dreaming and I think it is part of getting back into healthy lifestyle for me. Wish ya'll some awesome dreams folks! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have been a pot smoker for 8 years. I smoked about 2 to 3 bowls a day. Some weeks more and some weeks less. I quit over 2 months ago. I have experienced all the symptoms mentioned. What's ironic is that I have been down this road before back in my 20's. You think I would of learned my lesson. Back then there wasn't much information out on this subject. Health care professionals discounted my symptoms as a mental disorder. Back in my 20's, I quit after 4 years of using everyday. I felt no withdraw until 30 days later. (probably when the thc was finally out of my body) I had my first panic attack after not sleeping for 5 days. I was rushed to a hospital where I was given a ct of my head as well as blood tests and ekg's. They concluded that I had nothing wrong physically. I told them about my cesation of pot smoking. They said they didn't find any thc in my blood or urine. They said that would't cause my symptoms. They then admited me into a mental hospital. This hospital drugged me up and told me MJ was not the cause of my problems. They said I had deep emotional problems. Lucky for me my insurance company said they would not pay anymore for my stay so they released me. I then found a psychologist whom I saw every day for 3 years. She convinced me I had emotional problems and that was the cause of the anxiety and insomnia I experienced being that I didn't experience these symptoms until a month after quitting pot. It took about 3 years for the anxiety to subside. I went on with my life after that point strong and panic and anxiety free. I didn't smoke for years.

5 years later I was with friends and smoked a little again. I wasn't scared because I was told that my problems were not due to mj withdraw.... right? Well I got to the point where I was smoking just on weekends. Well weekends led to weekdays also. I still kept my consumption low though or at least lower than it was before. Well 2 months ago I smoked a bowl and watched videos about the economy and had my first panic attack in years. I quit smoking the very next day. No symptoms appeared immediatly. 3 to 4 weeks later...... Heart Palpitations started. About 20 to 30 times per day. Then the nausea and anxiety. The dreams were so vivid. I hadn't had a dream in years. I wake every 2 hours or so. So my sleep was lousy! Then while at work... I would be working as normal then I would get hear palps and flush feeling. Sweaty palms, Racing heart. I had to function when all I wanted to do was hide away. I wanted to go home sick just to escape. I knew that if I did that I would just be adding fuel to the fire. I would just be giving the anxiety more power. Well things got better.. Symptoms got more mild as time went on. But today after 3 months of being clean... The anxiety and nausea came back for a brief couple of hours. I know it may seem like I have an underlying anxiety problem but... I hand no anxiety for years both on and off pot.

Advice for warding off withdraw:

Eat breakfast every day. (keep blood glucose levels from getting low)

Keep your mind from obsessing. It's used to doing that from the times you were stoned.

Sudefed PE - This will reduce anxiety greatly. I only use it when absolutely nessesary. 1 pill per anxious episode.

Take a shower or bath/hot tub before bed.

Give yourself 8 to 9 hours to sleep. Being we will only sleep < 7 hours in that time frame.

For me, the symptoms are identical both times I quit. I think it's a bit easier now because I have a good idea what is causing them. Both times I obsessed about something right as the withdraw set in. The obsessing marked the begining of the withdraw. When will it end this time???? I don't know. As soon as I think I am finished with it..... It creeps back in.

This site is helping me greatly!

Anonymous said...

One thing we should think about is the effects of the thc being in our bodies when we are not stoned. It is stored in our fat cells and is time released into our bloodstream. This thc alters the chemical balance in the brain. It causes the emotions to be dulled. Emotions direct our behaviors in a positve way. They direct our actions, thought patterns and behaviors in a positive way. When this system is dulled or disrupted by thc, we don't learn good coping behaviors and skills. This is the withdraw we experience. Once we begin to feel emotions again and change our thought patterns, cope with our problems accordingly... the symptoms will subside. This is my take on this from a scientific or psychologic point of view.

Dirk Hanson said...

Your list of advice is a good one. Interesting that you mention Sudafed. Antihistamines makes some people sleepy. A Benydryl or a Sudafed before bedtime helps with sleep sometimes.

Nickname unavailable said...

The big question for me is how long is this going to last? I have been smoking about 1.5-2 years 4-7 times daily.
I ran out and can't find any. Augh....I am dying over here. I am sooo dang angry. I mean crazy angry. The smallest things send me into crazyville. Yesterday I acted like a 10 year old spoiled brat girl. I cried b/c the rake broke, I cried b/c I couldn't start the lawn mower which in turn just pissed me off. I tried to get a glass of milk out of the fride and something fell, so I THREW as hard as I could into the fridge and tried to slam the door shut. The jarring of the door caused a door tray and everything in to fall to the ground, so I slammed it again, jarring another one of the trays and everything on it to the floor. Pickle jar opened spilled all over the floor. I was so enraged that I didn't even clean it up. I blamed it on my husband for putting things on the top shelf that didn't belong there. Crazy. I wasn't thinking straight. I got in the car, drove straight to the projects where there is at least one shooting and/or murder a week. I had my leatherman out and the knife open...just in case. I couldn't find anyone to ask. How dangerous was that? :-(
I don't really sweat much but for 3 nights now I wake up soaking including my hair.
I feel like "something is mentally wrong with me" and I can't get a handle on it.
Is there anything that I can do/eat/drink to help me with this?
Thank you for the article, I don't feel so crazy now. I feel mad that I have put myself and my family in this situation.

Anonymous said...

It get's better with time... It can take a few weeks to months. I find that it is different with everyone. MJ made me have angry fits just like yours. Now that I am off of it the anger is gone!!! I still have anxiety and heart palpitations though. I have a string of good days, then middle of the road days and every so often the intense anxiety comes back. It is less severe though.

Things to help you through the withdraw:

Sudefed PE for anxiety attacks.

St. John's wort for depression.

Sleep.....

Relaxation techniques such as:
Meditation
Pogressive Muscle Relaxation
Baths, Hot Tubs
Message

Avoid stressful situations if possible like watching the news on tv. etc.

A glass of wine before bed.

Distract yourself by doing hobbies, reading this blog, watching relaxing shows on tv like HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery, Animal planet.

Hang in there, It get's better!!

peter said...

I cant belive i still come back to this site posting... but all in all it still interests me!, but nickname unavalible it does get better and i will stick to my own theory, it just takes time and mine was a long time belive me.. i felt crazy for a few months, but the last post interested me too that occasionaly anxiety and palpitations still effect every so often, well that is kinda what i still get every so often, and no where near as bad, i suffered major depression coz of it, but really deep down the main symptom was intense anxiety for me, but i didnt even know that was what anxiety was, it can really suck the life out of you but... to cheer the mood all i can remeber my brain clicking into clarity and normality every so often through withdrawal from the weed, a real pisser when it came back but then you just end up feeling normal for good, hopefully you will get there soon nickname unavalible!! just stay in there, only when you are off the weed do you relise what it does to you, seems like fun when you are on it, but if i knew there was withdrawals like that coming of it i prolly would have had herion instead!! (joke) but the green tea is suppose to work a treat i used it, also healthy diet and some detox products might help, also if it gets that bad i went to the doctor a few times with my withdrawal(of course the doctor dismissed weed as the cause) but he put me on anti-depressants, cant really say if they do anything but they havent reqally done me no harm too, but i can agree with the last comment to occasionaly i do get a touch of anxiety which i never had before, but hopefully i am still healing and it will rid itself completly! good luck all

Anonymous said...

I have read more than a 100 posts here, and I am on day 12/cold turkey. I got sick and didn't smoke cuz it helps you get better, well I decided to quite it for good as I already had 5 days going. Let me tell you something, Ive been pro pot since day one, that was 14 years ago, and I smoke a lot, like at least 10 bong shacks a day, for the last 14 years. I'm the guy fighting to legalize it, the one who called people lairs who said anything bad about it, thats because its not so bad when your on it, and you convince yourself that it isn't effecting your life, but then you hit 30 and realize you have had no motivation to do anything with your life other than get high. I have even written articles about how awesome weed is. Well I stand here today corrected, I am in HELL right now, although my symptoms are a little different. I am constantly tired, I have slept about 14 hours a day for the last 4 to 5 days and struggle to stay awake, I still have an appetite, but I have had a bad fever since the day I quite, and sweat all day and all night, going back and forth between freezing and jaw chattering to boiling hot, I feel like I'm dieing, I haven't had a normal bowl movement, and I have the shortest temper ever. I even have got mad at my 2 dogs who are the most awesome things in my life for no reason. I went to the doctor today because of major back pains when I sleep and because I cant stay awake, I dont have the energy to hold up my upper body at all, I have to lean on things. They ran a urine and finger prick test and said everything looked normal, I asked the doctor why I felt like I was dieing if nothing was wrong and told him that I quite 12 days ago, he sent me to a lab to get blood work and I get results in 2 to 4 days. To the guy who said its all in our head, try stopping tool, then come here and give us an update on your opinion. I am that hard core pro pot toker, and I'm telling you its for efing real! I wouldn't wish this on anyone, not even my worst enemy. Thanks for the support to all that have shared their experience, its helped a lot.

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for posting. Haven't had too many posters complaining of oversleeping--but the same thing happens with clinical depression, where some people sleep all the time, and some people don't sleep at all. The point, I guess, is that altered sleep patterns of one sort or another are usually part of the package.

hooligan69 said...

hey everyone, just want to say that it does get better. about 5.5 months in and things are starting to feel normal again. I was exhausted, extremely depressed, had headaches, anxiety, no motivation to even leave my house, and couldn't ever sleep even despite the exhaustion. I felt suicidal almost every day.

It was a slow, subtle process, but eventually you start to realize that life is starting to return back to normal, and you're starting to feel like your old self again. Not to say that after all this time I feel completely better, I still have low energy, and at times the depression comes back, but overall it is a HUGE improvement over what I was going through before and seems to be getting a little bit better every day.

Have faith in yourself, nurture the things in your life that you care about, and let the people that you love know about it. Exercise really does help, along with lots of water and a balanced healthy diet.

Some supplements that really seemed to help me were: Centrum vitamin everyday, 5 HTP at night, tyrosine during the day whenever I started to feel really tired, and theanine before I went out with friends. Also if you do not abuse it, alcohol can be a great release on the weekends.

Good Luck to all, I am looking forward to a life without weed!

hooligan69 said...

also, almost forgot, a tablespoon of fish oil every morning after 1-2 months can really help with anxiety and depression.

peter said...

hey annoymous, dont look back now you have started upon quitting, and as you said weed was my bible too, nothing bad could be said about it in my books, i too belived weed was the answer to everything till i decided to quit for a month, then i had really bad withdrawals too, but a little the opposite to yours, i just simply couldnt sleep, and had bad depression and anxiety( well really i thought i was going mental!!) but although it might take a little more time etc than you expect itis worth it! i was really bad for a few months(most of the time) but you will probably find soon you will feel better, then some symptoms will return and then better for spells, i have posted a good few posts on here now, i too couldnt really handle the withdrawal( ie/ weed isnt that bad for you) and weed doesnt seem that bad for you while you smoke it sure, but hey once you come of it it is like a different storty all together. BUT make sure you stick in there, dont belive how bad you feel at the minute and that you are stuck like that, because you will look back soon and think hey i am back to normal just not relying on weed to help you though life's stresses and strains! post back keep updated coz at times like that where you dont expect it sometimes you need some reasurance! lucky i had a friend who went through the same thing and told me he wasnt normal for a few weeks ect. but you will make it through! good luck m8, dont give up!

Anonymous said...

Where do I BEGIN? I started drinking at age 14-smoking pot within months of becoming a full blown teenage alcoholic-at 15.Truly dont know how Ikept under the radar or slipped through all the cracks but I did it fabulously-even managed to graduate albeit barely and I am sure only for them to get me out of their hair. No hard feelings-i was truly a real piece of work-steady in trouble with the law and any authority figure willing to take a shot. By the time I was 17 the only thing I felt would straighten me out was the army-so I joined with my parents approval-no doubt to let the army take a crack at sorting me out.I stopped smoking pot for 2 years of my just over 3 years of enlistment-but replaced the difference with the alcohol I never stopped drinking.By the time I was out of the army-just barely honourable discharge due to all the alcohol and drug induced madness I got into,I was no different than when I had joined.I continued on this self destructive path for many more years-till the age of 29-when I was incarcerated for driving impaired(one of untold numbers of reasons and times I was incarcerated or charged for my madness).For whatever reason I stopped drinking thinking this was my real demon, but replaced that with extra pot,hash ,oil,coke,but mostly pot-the things that allowed me to retain my good times-without getting into any real trouble-I carried on for a while and managed to narrow it down to pot and cigarettes-thought this wasn't so bad as I am basically in control of my life.WRONG!!!Ihave been off booze for over 8 years,minus a couple of trip ups-but remained a heavy pot smoker since military release-min. 1 ounce a week.Well here I am 36 years old with the best wife in the world-and three beautiful children who are 3,4,and5.I managed to continue smoking through all of this-now here I am realising that its up to me to break this cycle of addiction in my family.After some hard times I fell down and last week did the unthinkable-drink and smoke.The next morn I KNEW my life was on the brink of destruction.I have since found my higher power and have begged forgiveness every moment since-for a lifetime of misery I have bestowed on everyone foolish enough to try to help me.Day 5 of no pot or any thing in my system-please someone just finish me off.Never did I realize how much misery or discomfort I have caused so many-no doubt due to my never ending state of mind.If you are out there reading this-the withdrawal from pot is VERY real and so is the eventual outcome of using and abusing it.Please take the word of a now former drunk and drug addict-save yourselves from the self administered hell I continue to suffer-Just Dont do it. Five days in I have suffered every one of the mentioned withdrawal symptoms to a level of severity not thought of.I am not nor have I ever been a religious person(maybe even the opposite)and though I have no intention of joining a church,or religion I have found MY higher power-I will pray for all of us!Good luck to you all in your endevour to become a better person!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your posts. I'm keeping this brief as everything you have described, I relate to. Serious toker for about 10 years but have used it since college (I'm now 38). The withdrawal symptoms do get easier as I have quit for multiple months several times before. I always think I can buy a bag and just smoke it once and a while, but before I know it I am back to blowing through 1/4 a week. That's where I find myself again: I bought one bag in Sept for my b-day and now it is December and have bought several other bags since that first one. It is day three and OH BOY, this one is a doozy. That is okay though. This site actually has affirmed for me that this is an addiction and that I do need to quit...for good. I wish each of you the best in your quitting. It will get easier. I am feeling like shit right now but know it will pass. I am now going to take a jog on my treadmill to hopefully release some of this negative energy I'm feeling right now ;) Thanks again for this site. Best wishes to you all. Peace out.

Just another guy who feels the same

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for your comments.

I've begun to speculate--and it's nothing but speculation--that people who regularly smoke more than a quarter-ounce a week of high-test might represent people at risk for addiction. Like having a "hollow leg" as a young drinker turns out to be a risk factor for subsequent alcoholism.

It's not the fact of smoking so much that gets you addicted; it's the fact that you CAN smoke so much (compared to more recreational tokers) and WANT to smoke so much that serves as a marker for possible trouble.

missy said...

I just came upon this site and I don't think it was an accident. I want to stop but I have been putting it off. I am 56 years old and and have two teenagers who smoke and don't believe it is addicting. They see me as a total hypocrite which I am. I don't want them to smoke because I am afraid they will get into doing it all the time. Smoking weed makes me feel like a total loser. I still smoke it. It makes me lazy and dull and way to introverted. I don't like it anymore and I still do it. That's how I know it's addicting. I get terrible nightmares when I stop. Now after reading through almost all the posts I know that there are lots of people like me. I don't know how to begin but if I make it through the rest of today without smoking than it will be day one for me. Thank you so much for this site. I am going to give it a real try. Does anyone else have any suggestions about how to deal with my kids? What can I say to them? I am so filled with shame because I failed them. and I tried to lie and hide it from them and they knew anyway and being a liar and a rotten example just kills me.

Dirk Hanson said...

One of the best things about quitting an addiction is not having to lie about it anymore. And like you say, your kids knew, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anyone mention gabapentin (aka Neurontin). It's an anti-epileptic drug that is sometimes prescribed off-label to help people quitting MJ deal with the low mood, irritability, and related issues. It has been prescribed for two acquaintances of mine dealing with these exact problems and apparently helped both a great deal. I think there is a NIDA study about it right now.

Dirk Hanson said...

So far Neurontin has been tried on cocaine addicts and alcoholics, with mixed results. 'Sbout all I know.

Anonymous said...

Now seven days in- no booze, tokes or smokes.I dont know whats worse-the mental anguish of not having, the guilt from the lifestyle I've lived,or all the physical pains I have suffered since quitting(all deserved)I tell you its as if my whole frieckin body is falling apart. Don't know how much more I can take or how much longer I can suffer through this.May the rest of you be well and strong-and remember should you continue to abuse your body you may end up feeling like me. just plain old hurtin all around!May your God be with you!

missy said...

thank you dirk for responding to my comment. I made it through day one and I said to myself that if you or anyone responded I would not smoke tonight and you did. To anonymous, you have 7 days! I can't imagine 7 days. It's like we are in one of Dante's circles in hell. Not at the 9th circle. That's for the government.

Dirk Hanson said...

"It's like we are in one of Dante's circles in hell. Not at the 9th circle. That's for the government."

See, things could be worse!

missy said...

ONE MORE DAY!!! Last night I had this awful twitching in my arms and legs...like that restless leg syndrome which is absolutely horrible! I am resentful though because the shrink has had me on all kinds of evil drugs...like prozac, lamictal, seraquel, dexedrine and whatever along the way...oh yeah, lets not forget depakote, neurontin, lithium, paxil, effexor....konopin...whatever else over the last ten years when they said i was manic depressive...i hadn;t smoked pot for 15 years before that and then after I was diagnosed the guy had me on so many drugs I went really crazy and manic and forged checks and went to jail...that's when I started smoking weed because I KNOW IT'S BETTER FOR ME THAN THE BIG PHARMA POSION!!! Now here I am wide awake at night and I could take a seraquel to sleep but I don't want to. If I don't sleep enough I get manic. But some good news is that only once or twice today did I think of smoking. I think if I stay busy I will be ok. I just don't want to stay busy 24/7. But you all did it so I am going to keep trying!!Thanks you all...especially Dirk for all your help.

Anonymous said...

To all of you on the road, all I can say is, keep going. I have quit the wacky several times, many times for several months, a few times for years. Every time, though, I have found my way back to it. It always starts off, with a special occassion, then I buy a bag for special uses, and before I know it I am toking every day. Although getting high is fun, I find it robs my creativity, motivation, and sometimes, my soul. I am exactly a week into my most recent quit. Please know that the side effects do lessen, but that it takes time. In the past week I have had three crappy days, two good days, and two okay days. Today is a crappy one. I am committed though. The alternative is only a temporary high followed by a lower low that I am feeling now. I am tired of relying on something else for my happiness and hope you are too. If I was writing this on a good day I would probably be even more supportive, but please know that others are in your boat rowing with you. It will get better. Keep Going! ;)

troubled man said...

I've smoked weed since I was 14 - lots! I'm over 50 now and I haven't had a spliff for 2 months, a cigarette for 6 weeks and the teeniest amount of alcohol too - less than a bottle of wine in a month. I still feel depressed, tearful frequently, and am sleping a lot - I do have stress at work and worries and this might account for a lot - my wife is expecting our first child too so no wonder I'm worried. BUt I still seem to be getting panicky attacks, and I'm surprised that I haven't regained my energy yet. Having read this site the last thing I want to do is take medications (I take St Johns Wort though) . Feelings like 'I just don't feel right' are the norm - do youthink this is just recovery withdrawal symptoms too -after 2 months!

Dirk Hanson said...

Some people do report withdrawal symptoms a couple of months or more down the road.

I note in passing that if you are taking St. Johns Wort, you are taking a drug, specifically an MAO inhibitor that work like Nardil, Parnate, and other prescription tricyclic antidepressants. People who take MAO inhibitors are advised to restrict their diet by reducing or eliminating red wine, fish, sauerkraut, certain yeast extracts, soy sauce, and aged cheese, among other foodstuffs.

Anonymous said...

I have been a heavy weed smoker for over 30 years and never had a problem with it until recently, I started to get really bad pains around the heart area, my left shoulder and arm felt like they were seizing up, I have been told that if the grass is sightly damp it can do this, I have experienced this for quite a few years but it was not to bad until a few weeks ago, I realised that I had to listen to my body, was another toke going to do me in?
Well I am now 6 days of it, the night sweats have been horrendous, I gave up booze excactly a year ago, and the sweating then was no where near as bad as coming of pot, I am amazed that weed can do this to us, I never imagined it could, I have always been in defence of the weed, but not anymore, I have had very little sleep over the last week due to being half drowned with sweat all night, I am not feeling to bad but every now and again I get a little stoned feeling coming on but does not last long, I am determined now to kick the habit for good, last year my habit cost me around four thousand pounds, I would start first thing in the morning and continue until bedtime. I had a friend who died this week, this man had been smoking bongs since he was nine years old, he lost half a lung ten years ago, and had several stokes, he told me some time ago that it was all down to pot, he told me I was a fool and did not realise what I was doing to myself, I do now, I have seen the light at last, and I know now that I will never smoke weed again.

Brandon B said...

Hello Everyone,

First of all, I would like to praise the effors of everyone here in helping eachother out as much as we can. This website provides more hope than any amount of therapy or antidepressants could possibly give.

I have had a love affair with marijuana for about 3 years now and I am seriously considering quitting for good now. Ever since I could remember, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and have been on every pill and program there is. I was always told by society that there was something wrong with me, that I had an imbalance in my brain that needed to be fixed. I was told what we have all been told by our counselors, parents, friends, andsignificant others: "you have problems and if you would just be like me, you would be fine". My biggest physical problem has always been my sleep and not even prescriptions like Ambien and Lunesta could help at all, not to mention all the herbal remedies and voodoo ladies my mom took me to. Some of you know what I mean. The only thing that has ever put me to sleep is weed. Eventually I even got a medical marijuana card for sleep, which gave me the power to smoke the highest grade weed available and it was all legal. I even got a vaporizer to convince myself there was nothing wrong with what I was doing; it was legal, there was no smoke, and it was doctor approved. My girlfriend and family absolutely hate weed, even when I made it as "harmless" as possible, so I know how it can be dealing with people not in our shoes. None of the traditional remedies for my depression had had any effect. In fact, up until recently my life has been slowly spiraling downward to the point that I was convinced at one point I would have to commit suicide, because I can't live sustainably for more than a few days at a time without crashing. At my worst was when I literally did not enjoy being conscious at all. I would smoke myself retarded, pass out, wake up, then smoke again until I fell asleep again and around we go.

Of course there was no one that could help, no matter how hard they tried, and they tried very, very hard.

One night at like 3am, I was watching something on TV that was of particular interest to me. It was a religious program and I will not go into what it was about but after watching it, I remember having the feeling like everything was going to be alright. All the usual symptoms of my depression were still there: Sad, lonely, exhausted, bad feeling in my stomach, negative thoughts racing through my head, super anxious, couldn't fall asleep, list goes on.
I cannot do it justice the feeling, but basically it goes like this: everything is bad right now, but maybe it doesn't have to be forever. And so for a brief moment, evrything was OK.

Of course that feeling was gone soon and I ended up in a hospital a few days later for alcohol poisoning after a fight with my girlfriend and things were shitty and back to normal. I quit my fraternity and didn't really talk to many people or even leave my apartment much.

But I remembered that feeling I had and took a leap of faith to say: I refuse to be depressed my whole life and I will try my absolute hardest to find a way out, because if I fail, I'm dead anyways. I thought about nobody except my mom because she is the most important person in the world to me and so if I couldn't try for myself, I could do it for her. More than anything, I couldn't stand to see my mother cry because of me anymore.

And so I made getting better my life, literally. I researched everything I possibly could and more importantly, I took a long hard look into myself to find out what actually makes me sad and feel like life is so terrible. For me, ultimately, I was afraid of death and I was sad about the state of affairs in the world. For example: thousands of starving children die everyday while others live in mansions and don't give a shit.

Normally I would simply avoid the subject of death and just blame all the problems of the world on God. But I remembered my mom and it gave me the courage to continue. My father once told me that true courage is not being without fear, it is being scared shitless, and continuing regardless. I began to explore each and every feeling I had and go through them one by one with my psychologist and try to look at them as objectively as possible. I spent hundreds of hour just trying to sit back and notice my thoughts, feelings, and health status as well. I did not even try to quit smoking weed because I was never convinced that weed was one of the major culprits of my sadness. As weird as it may sound, I believe the weed helped me to objectively analyze my own self because it made it easier for me to be otuside of myself and more of an observer than the one experiencing things.

After a few months of this I began to realize that most of my negative thoughts don't even make sense. Ex: Im afraid to die yet I want to kill myself. More complicated ones were along the lines of I get easily upset about tiny things, yet I don't care about important things. I realized I didn't know what I wanted out of life, I let my emotions get the better of me way too easily, and most importantly, I simply did not enjoy life; things did not taste good, fun things were not fun, every single other person was annoying to me. The only place I felt just comfortable enough to live was on my couch, high as balls, and watching TV. A zombie pretty much.

At this point I still had no gameplan to speak of as to how to get better, but I began to see the real problem here which is the same problem everyone in world has: I DON'T LOVE MYSELF. I guess I always knew that but I never saw it firsthand.

And so I set off to try with all my might to be comfortable with the subject of death, to take control of my toughts and emotions so that I control them and not the other way around, to figure out what I really wanted out of life and to find joy in all situations.
These things have been the supreme and only focus of my life, and even graduating college became a secondary goal, which had been really my only thing to maybe look forward to.

I looked long and hard, I searched far and wide, and I put more effort into this than anything else in my whole life. I realized that without even doing anything, I had given myself things that I always wanted: a task worth completing and the motivation to accomplish it. I opened my mind up to any and all possibilities but most importantly, I did only things that I wanted to do and meaning to me and not because somebody heard from a friend that some bullshit remedy will cure my depression overnight.

The most important thing I did was try to be completely honest with myself about my feelings. If I don't want to quit smoking, what is the point of trying? If I don't want to go somewhere, why do I go? If I don't want to be around someone, why do I stay there? All of these things required me to learn another important life lesson: What others say is not absolute truth, it is simply their opinion. Only I can know how I feel and determine what I need. And so I learned that it really doesn't matter what others think about me. I began to feel much more comfortable when I spoke with others about my situation and could talk more freely and openly in front of loved ones and sort of let them into my world.

Working with my psychologist, I came up with strategies to combat some of the issues and I worked at them as best I could. I did not believe in God but I took a second look with renewed enthusiasm and the sense that 'failure is not an option' and I have not only changed my tune on the subject, I have strengthened my faith to the point where I no longer fear death.
Through a combination of therapy and meditation, I have learned to quiet my mind significantly and stop bad thoughts dead in their tracks before they get out of hand and I self destruct. I don't know specifically what my life will look like but I have a general idea and can see my way a little clearer. I learned what true joy was and I found myself beginning to do things that I would have never even considered before, voluntarily and with pleasure.

The most important thing i will tell you is that even after all this, I still did not physically or mentally feel that anything had gone away. I still have bad thoughts, I still have that feeling of impending doom in the pit of my stomach, I have a poor appetite, and so on. The difference is that I feel in control and I rarely let my emotions make poor decisions for me. They still do occasionally but I can recognize when they do and plan for them in the future.

I still cannot sleep worth crap except when i smoke weed and it takes a phenomenal amount to do the trick nowadays. So I decided if I think that could do it, I would stop smoking for about a month so that my 'medicine' could be more effective and I would save money, weed, and some physical health. I had the perfect opportunity to so this christmas break.

I came home for the holidays and being around my mom gives me instant motivation. She knows how much i smoke and I told her I was going to stop and she only wanted to help in any way possible.
She has been changing my sheets every night because I sweat buckets in my sleep, I haven't really eaten a whole lot, my stomach is very easily upset, there is super intense anxiety and nausea is a constant companion. Not to mention all the other horrific withdrawal symptoms that some claim are all in our heads. It has been so bad that my sister has accused me of doing other drugs because there is no way weed could cause this severe of withdrawal symptoms.

Although it has certainly been uncomfortable, I would not describe it as difficult because I knew exactly what I was getting into and I prepared myself mentally as best I could to deal with whatever it threw at me and I knew that I had a reason for what I was doing. I chew tobacco obsessively also when I smoke so I quit chewing for the time being and the withdrawals from the nicotine are insignificant compared to the weed.

I am a week into complete sobriety and I have not felt this good in YEARS as far as being hopeful about the future, being confident in myself, and not being obsessively sad and depressed about things that are sad and depressing. Amazingly, I also have not been taking the usual antidepressants and things like valium and xanax.

I don't buy it that the solution to the problem is a pill. I don't even believe that people like me have something wrong with them. I just think we are more sensitive to our environment and we live in a shitty, deteriorating selfish world. I was told once that I would have made a great Caveman because when early man was on the hunt, the most sensitive to what is around them would be the best hunter, and whoever brought home the goods got the cavegirl if you know what I mean.

I have self medicated for years with the aide of marijuana and even though I don't fully want to quit right now, it seems like it wouldn't be that hard relative to the Hell I feel I've been to. For me the hard part is not quitting initially but being able to say no when it's in my face. I know I probably won't be able to resist smoking for too long because when it's 2am and I can't sleep and I know that weed is the only thing that can fix that, I will smoke and I will sleep. The real test of will is when I go back to school after break and if I can either not smoke or just keep it to bedtime. All previous attempts at such goals have failed miserably but I don't give up that easy.

I do apologize for making this so long but it is perhaps the most impotant subject to me and I feel people like are cast off as crazy or defective or just an addict. I've spent more time typing this than most papers I write and even though it won't be submitted for a grade, it matters way more to me.

My only hope is that one person reads this and understands themselves a little better. Don't let anyone tell you that there is something wrong with you and never give up hope that you will find happiness. Quitting is nearly impossible without reasons to quit and motivation. The trick is finding the motivation and coming up with reasons you can truly have faith in. Otherwise you are just lying to yourself and perpetuating the situation further. Do not alienate yourself from those you love and those who love you. Find reasons to love yourself, find your purpose in life, try to make sense of it all and I guarantee you that quitting smoking weed will be the easiest thing you ever did. If you have a girlfriend/boyfriend that wants you to quit and you love them very much, think about their feelings and make an honest effort to quit because you know deep down that people are more important than weed. If you are honest and open with eachother, love will always prevail. Be true to yourself, but more importantly, find out why it is so essential to personal happiness. I do not think I have found it yet but I feel closer to it than i ever had before and the road to it has never been clearer. Quitting smoking certainly lifts a certain fog and lets in more light.

If you are a success story, you are my hero and if you are struggling to quit, you are also my hero. The opposite of success is not failure, it is mediocrity and complacency.

I will pop back in in a few weeks, hopefully with good things to tell.

Good Night and Good Luck everybody

Peter said...

Im going through withdrawal right now, experiencing most of the same symptoms mentioned- depression, anxiety, insomnia, decreased appetite, etc. I quite, cold turkey, about 2.5 weeks ago after a binge of over two months. I am on winter break from uni- where I did all my smoking (since the start of classes 3 months ago), and can feel improvements over time. I am concerned about my return to school in 2 weeks. Basically all my friends, including my roommate, are heavy smokers. What I am worried about is returning to an environment where I am exposed to marijuana. I am confident that I will not smoke again, but I am worried that living in close exposure to marijuana (lingering smoke on clothes, in the halls, around campus, etc) will heighten my withdrawal symptoms, impede my recovery, or otherwise negatively impact my brain chemistry in recovery. Sometimes the smell can be quite potent around school- especially when I am living in such close proximity to so many smokers. Any thoughts on the matter, Dirk, or anyone else out there?
ps- this is a great article and blog you have going!

Nate said...

I have posted on here before. I have tried to quit before and am still in the process. I am not going to go through my issues becuase they are all the same as everyone elses.

I would however, like to try to make a point about weed.

As you already know, most people do not suffer from what people like us are going through. However, I would like to ask the question to all of you who are on this site as well as myself.

Why are you smoking marijuana? For the people who have no problem quitting--the answer is simple! Because it is fun and another way to have fun.

For those of us who cannot quit as easily--I would be willing to bet that 9 times out of 10 there is a reason. Something we are running from! And the crappy part is that for everyone it is different.

This site is wonderful! IT helps my know and hopefully you also what we are going through is normal! The one thing it cannot do, not can anbody else do for YOU, is to find out what reason you are using weed to cope for! You will not truly get over the addiction until you figure out why you felt you needed something to cope in the first place!

One piece of advice I can give is that to truly get over all these symptoms--The withdrawls! (I dont know about you but I know the depression is the worst for me!--find out what you are running from!

for me it was my emotions! it still is my emotions! I am still in the process of trying to quit and it sucks. no other way to describe it. F'n sucks!! Weed has a wonderful way of masking those shitty emotions but when it gets to the point where you use it all the time--it masks the Really GREAT emotions too! I am hopin those emotions come back to me soon! Cause any good, great emotion sober is better than any fantastic, spectaculat, amazing, etc. emotion stoned! Good luck to all!

Merry Christmas!

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks Peter.

If you mean like secondhand smoke, probably not. If you mean cues to former smoking habits that might be triggered by a roomful of tokers, that's another question altogether, and one that only you can answer.

Dirk Hanson said...

"it masks the Really GREAT emotions too!"

Neil Young once said he quit smoking after he got a phone call telling him he'd won a Grammy, and he was high, and he didn't feel any elation or excitement about the big award.

maryjane said...

I can't do it :( It's been one day and I could barely get out of bed yesterday just at the thought of having to go another day without pot. I quit cigarettes and pot as of yesterday and I just don't think cold turkey is the best way to go because all I want to do is stay in bed if I can't live my life as normal.

Dirk Hanson said...

Anybody who quits any serious addiction is going to have second thoughts--you wake up the morning after your cold turkey pledge and say, "what the hell was I thinking?" and head out to score, even if you just threw out your whole stash 24 hours ago.

You can do that as many times as you want. It's called relapse. But one of these times, you're going to wake up sick and tired of this cycle, and decide that the unknowns ahead of you are far more desirable alternatives than the known life behind you.

maryjane said...

I know...I just don't feel like I can handle this stress and irritation. EVERYTHING is driving me crazy. Its so hard to do this but I have to I feel like. It hit me when I found out that I still have high blood pressure (dr. says its abnormal - I am 26 and fairly "skinny") plus I have asthma so smoking cigarettes is killing me I'm sure. But smoking pot, followed by smoking cigarettes is my only release sometimes. Its my favorite pasttime. that sounds so crazy but true. I'm crying at how stupid I sound but I guess I'm getting better...my husband actually broke down earlier and told me where he hid my stash. Funny thing is by that time I had worked myself up so much, cried so long, and felt so shitty that I didn't even go get it. so I haven't had anything to smoke since just after midnight on 12/31.

Dirk Hanson said...

"so I haven't had anything to smoke since just after midnight on 12/31."
-----------------

Congratulations. It'll be that much easier to remember the date you quit.

I quit smoking cigarettes on President's Day many years ago. Seemed appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Thank you sooooooo much!! I thought I was going crazy or something. I couldn't figure out why I felt so crappy. My hands and feet keep sweating, my stomach is in knots, just the wonky feeling. It really blows. I will never laugh at another person that says "weed is addictive", it is! It does have medical values though. Like any drug, it needs to be used with care. Thanks again for all this info. I had a staff meeting at work today and just couldn't sit though it. I had to leave, go home and sleep. It seems like when I sleep everything is cool. When I wake up it sucks again. My last toke was New Years eve. We had a party and people were smoking, took a toke to try to calm myself down and things got worse. Time is on my side. Take care!

maryjane said...

thanks, I'm feeling better today (day 3). my eyes are swollen from all the crying, and I feel terrible about the way I've acted...but its got to get better....right? I don't want to put my family through that anymore

Anonymous said...

here I am day whatever,dont give a fuck anymore about anything-burn it all!!!Am still trying-but my fuckin head being so clear just reminds me why I smoked-trying to relax so I dont kill every fucking thing in my path-only people I love are wife and kids and am about to lose all of it-god help this fucking planet if this happens because I will no doubt lose my way.Have been trying to reach my god, but he aint listening-probably tired of saving my sorry ass out of jams-no blame unto him-for the wrath I will suffer will ultimately have come from my own alcohol/drug induced madness.May believe,may not,all I do know is science is fact in hand and even that is fucking me over-bring it!Have tried very hard for many years to be a better person than I know I am-am losing this battle-cannot deny myself much longer.If I could secure a life policy on myself to secure my families financial position after my death I would gladly take any suicide mission available-no longer care-did I ever?God help this shithole of a planet and all you bleeding heart fuckin maggots because if I snap I will show no mercy unto anyone but my own.And even that will be limited!Please grant me the courage to change what I can,accept what I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference.I havent yet found any solace in this-maybe you can.the die has been cast and I beleive I have once again found myself on the outside looking in-or was I ever on the inside-dont know or give a fuck anymore-let the chips fall where they may!Because in the end when its all said and done I will stand alone as per normal-oh ya I dont even know what normal is-fuck that too!NO SURRENDER-EVER!You can pry them from my cold dead fuckin hands!Trying to be positive-but I only see cold hard reality-dont let my guard down-doesnt matter anymore -Pray for swift and righteous death!

Anonymous said...

feel better now that I have vented-thank you for the place and space for this-and rest assured I pose no physical threat to anyone-still fucked in the head-yes no doubt-but have no intent on harming anyone!

Anonymous said...

theoretically speaking, of course:

having being a heavy on and off again smoker, these are the symptoms i personally have repeatedly experienced:

insomnia
nightmares (!!!!!) & night-sweats
low-grade flu
low-grade fever
slight loss of appetite
mild nausea
mild diarrhea

all of these are transient (1 - 2 weeks), and exercise and a change in your normal routine are recommended. your mileage may vary.

i suspect taking melatonin just prior to attempting to go to sleep may be very beneficial in re-calibrating your body clock.

Dirk Hanson said...

If you can't vent about it here, I don't where to send you. ;-)

When I tell doctors that some people even fall into suicidal ideation during pot withdrawal, they look at me like I'm crazy.

Dirk Hanson said...

A REMINDER:

James Langton runs an excellent site about marijuana dependency, complete with a message board, at Clearhead.
http://www.clearhead.org.uk/

Anonymous said...

In quitting marijuana, I have joined marijuana anonymous and it has helped me so much.

http://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/

Anonymous said...

this article is so so true to me...
i have the loose stool and the flu like stuff and the anxity but i also have sweaty palm and shaky hands... i smoke every day... as soon as i feel my high go away i feel the need to light up another sweet its like i cant do my daily activitys without it including work! i got a big problem but i just dont have the energy to go back to treatment for another addiction

Anonymous said...

I've smoked for nearly everyday since I was 18 and am now 38...20 years!!! OMG!!! I am going into the medical profession and will have to supply a UA for my externships in about one year. I am bound to quit for good. Although, I LOVE the smell, the taste, the way it makes me relax and I enjoy movies alot better.

I am now 3 days clean but have been sweating profusly while sleeping, waking up to soaked clothes and sheets. I wonder if this is not from withdrawal symptoms or something else. I am relatively healthy (aside from smoking MJ) and athletic. I would normally smoke 3-6 small bowls in the evening and then more on the weekends. I receive A's in my classes and don't think memory loss is an issue for me. Basically, I would like to know if sweating is a symptomas well as equilibrium imbalances.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the way through before leaving my initial comment...sorry. I guess night sweats are normal for this. But what about the equilibrium issues?? Anyone else? After reading briefly through the blogs, I decided to keep a journal of each day and list my symptoms and any cravings. I will be back to see any new posts. Thank you for having this site. It's going to be helpful for me and many others...L2

Dirk Hanson said...

"Basically, I would like to know if sweating is a symptoms well as equilibrium imbalances."
-----------------------

According to the people who post here, night sweats are an extremely common side effect of withdrawal from heavy smoking. It seems like excessive sweating is one thing that almost everybody complains about.

Some people also mention light-headedness and a feeling of being a little shaky on the pins.

Connie said...

Like any drug, marijuana is an escape from reality. When you stop the drug, you have to deal with that reality. That is why many marijuana users experience anxiety, irritability, sleep problems and other issues when their mind is finally free from the marijuana haze. Reality can be a real bitch.
As a person who smoked daily for 30 years, I assure you that after a couple of weeks without marijuana, these symptoms fade and your life will improve mentally, physically and spiritually.

Anonymous said...

dirk..its nice to finally see that people are realising that there IS physical withdrawals from weed! i have been saying it for years, i have been smoking weed for 12yrs, gave up 2 days ago...i have accelerated heart rate,stomach cramps, excessive sweating, eyes,mouth watering, dont want to eat, cant sleep.and generally feel a bit crappy!!!
CONSIDERING I WAS A HEROIN ADDICT FOR 5YRS, THEN BATTLED WITH METHADONE ADDICTION FOR 4, I MANADGED TO REDUCE MYSELF, AND SELF DETOX..I KNOW ALL ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MENTALL AND PHYSICAL ADDICTION!MARIJUANA IS SO NOT MENTAL, ITS PHYSICAL...AND FOR ANYONE WHO THINKS THIS IS HARD...FROM AN EX ADDICT TO YOU ALL...IT BLOODY IS HARD!I FOUND MY METH WITHDRAWALS EASIER TO COPE WITH, MAYBE BECAUSE (AFTER BEING TOLD IT WAS ALL MENTAL SYMPTOMS) I WASNT EXPECTING SYMPTOMS WITH WEED! I had cut down to 1/2 a spliff a day, or an 8th a week, and still feel these withdrawals are harder than ever!!
so dirk, thankyou for bringing these FACTS to light...i had always felt that too many people were saying they were getting withdrawals from weed, for it not to be true...and FINALLY there is scientific proof of this!
anyone trying to stop, or has stopped....fair play, and good luck...remember how strong you are for stopping!!xx

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dirk! I thought I was a heavy smoker - since I smoked everyday, but sounds like alot of folks smoke ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. I would go through an 1/8 every two weeks - but the post that went through one a day - is amazing. I had my THC level checked once a couple of years ago...it was something like 150 and the doc told me that chronic users are at 1500. I guess I am not as chronic as I thought. Noneless, smoking is smoking. I am so glad to have this site. Thank you again...esp for confirming the imbalances. I know my vivid dreams are coming...since I have experienced this before...

Oh, one other thing...I recently went to Africa on safari for two weeks and of course, I didn't have any weed to smoke...funny thing I never once thought about it and never had any symptoms - AT ALL. Dirk, do you suppose it was the environment or that my mind was preoccupied by not getting eaten by lions? I would imagine that I would have felt some withdrawal symptoms. I didn't have the night sweats nor dreams or imbalances..L2

Dirk Hanson said...

"Oh, one other thing...I recently went to Africa on safari for two weeks and of course, I didn't have any weed to smoke...funny thing I never once thought about it and never had any symptoms - AT ALL."
----------------------
I suppose thinking about being eaten by lions can concentrate the mind wonderfully. ;-)

Seriously, though, a lot of people report similar experiences--that when they are in an unusual place,like travelling in a foreign country where having pot is impossible, the cravings seem to be diminished. Why would that be? My theory is that one whole layer of external cues for internal states--favorite places to smoke, favorite smoke memories, smoking friends, the whole socioenvironmental package--doesn't kick into play as dramatically. You're sort of shielded from certain external cues that trigger negative internal states.

It's an interesting observation--why wouldn't someone crave just as much in an unusual locale or situation? Perhaps there is also an attention factor involved, as you humorously suggested.

Note: this isn't a foolproof reaction. I've known people who came home from a travel experience early, cancelling out because the weed withdrawal was just too much.

Good topic. Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if cutting down on the amount you smoke first will help with the withdraw symptoms?

craig said...

well fuck hay here i am 3:34 in morn bag full of pot my bong and i gotta go work in 3 hours. been speeding for last 3 night's,but garente i will be at work, in body at least. talk about addiction. ill make sure ive cones made ready for when i wake and i already have a pick full of speed ready for the morn.
but hopefully not much longer, ive strugled with addiction since age 14, pot a need, speed a way of life and taken nearly everything inbetween. but it has also taken from me. many times taken my friends, famley, posesions, loved ones even my sanity but the worst thing addiction has taken my dignaty, selfesteam,hopes dreams fuck for every good time/ thing that drugs have brought they have stole back tenfold. times up time to take back some of myself and hopefully find the strenth to excape this hell called addiction and may i find it in myself to forgive me for the damage ive done and let me find my place. in life.
would like to take the chance to thank u Dirk, your dedacation to this site is truly a insperation. have read every post on this site and must congradulate u. Most addicts aer desperate to understand and be understood, obovusly you have done this for many with your compationate site. will post more on my battle and hopefully trimphs as it unfolds. wish me luck i need it

Anonymous said...

Hello burnouts, from a fellow burnout myself of course! Just quit toking again about a week ago after about 2 and 1/2 months of toking daily. One thing I wanted to point out that may or may not have been mentioned as of yet, and that is what's called Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.(PAWS) Basically it's the emotional/cognitive withdrawal that lasts long after the physical withdrawal is over. I've read up a bit on it myself and for a marijuana smoker it can last from 18-24 months after quitting. This depends upon the person and circumstances of course. Just wanted to throw that out there! Over time it lessens and the episodes are farther and fewer between. Hang in there peeps!! Over and out...

Stu said...

I'm starting Day 1 of withdrawing from pot. I've smoked pot everyday for 15 years (god that sounds bad, but its true) and I'm about to try to stop smoking it, again. I think in a way I smoked so much so I didn't have to face up to my life...if I could just be stoned all the time I wouldn't have to do anything and nothing would change. I really think that was the biggest thing I was running away from...CHANGE. When you smoke all the time nothing changes, you have some sort of control over change. But now after so long and so much heart ache and pain I want to change. I want things to be different in my life and I'm starting with pot. I also intend to eat better, get more exercise and I'm taking Chinese Medicine to clean my body, this will help with sleeping and the sweats, (I recommend Chinese Herbs to everyone).
I'm happy I found this website and I will post my thoughts and feelings over the next couple of weeks...Peace Everyone

Todays Quote "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got"

Nick said...

Well thanks Dirk.

I quit weed about mid-November last year (2008) and have since been on a steep downhill slope. I was, for the last 2 years, taking Cymbalta as well, and thought for a while the combo was the perfect cure for my depression/anxiety. After my father had a seizure at work due to excessive alcohol intake / poor diet, I had a serious wake up call. My mind forced me to realize I AM addicted to weed, and although it was helpful in some ways, it was an overall DESTRUCTIVE force. The Cymbalta was not very helpful in coping with withdrawal, and I felt it was making the anxiety worse. My doctor added Buspar (anti-anxiety) and Paxil (anti-depressant) to the mix, and I felt overwhelmed with chemicals. I stopped the Cymbalta and now continue with the other two drugs (and the occassional cigarette). Another bout of major depression has hit me full-force. I have been bed-ridden/agoraphobic/suicidal for the better part of the last month.

I have relapsed once in this time, on New Year's Day, at about 3 in the morning. I was having a particularly horrible night alone and wanting to die. I remembered I had a couple tabelspoons worth of some hash olive-oil stashed away. I dug it out, gulped it down, not expecting much. About 30 minutes later, RELIEF! I felt better than I had since quitting weed. I didn't feel suicidal. I felt like myself. I felt normal. I went for a drive with some music and some cigarettes, and was OK for a few hours. A couple days later, I went to buy a sac, but dude wasn't home. I quickly decided to stick with trying to be sober.

So I've been going through it: The crazy dreams, inability to sleep, agoraphobia, inability to function, and a general feeling of horror. This severe depression, often seemingly psychotic, started when I was 15 and took an LSD trip with a friend. It comes in bouts, and usually coincides with discontinuation of chronic Marijuana use. I fear being insane forever. At least now I know, although rare, some of the severe symptoms I face are due to WITHDRAWAL; not just that very damaging bad acid-trip. I will see my psychiatrist tomorrow and may ask about THC pills. Anyone have info on / experience with THC pills?

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Well, I found the last time it took about three weeks. But now im around it everyday all day because all of my friends are tokers. I have been smoking this stuff called Doha/Dokha (however you want to spell it, not the same as just a simple slang for weed. it's some kind of non marijuana substance sold in dubai.) and i have found that helps somewhat in trying not to smoke weed. Either way, is 3-4 weeks about the typical time period for the withdrawal symptoms to subside?

DJ said...

Hey Folks--

I'm here to help and share.

I will be 60 next month. I was on the leading edge at Berkeley High School when I started smoking my Junior Year in 1965.

I have been through at least 10 major withdrawals. Plus many more less major with withdrawals. I did 5 years in Marijuana Anonymous -- IT WORKS!!! I stayed straight for 5 years, 15 years ago. Yes, us bud lovers are slow to learn. I got high before XXXXmas and I am still paying the price.

Like most addicts we are always chasing that 1st high. Soon after that it becomes maintenance quickly. Mice pushing the lever for one more pleasure fix. That kind of pleasure is hard to let go off, but we must!!!

HEADACHE TIPS FOR THE DAY

When your skull feels THICK AND FULL OF SILLY PUDDY WITH A METAL BAND AROUND IT, the following can help:

--Breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Massage your skull with both hands.

--Take a nap.

--Eat a snack. High protein and/ or whole grains. Avoid sugar and enriched flour. Withdrawal messes up blood sugar, and many addicts have blood sugar problems.

--Lots of vitamin C. 4000 mgs if you can tolerate.

--Fresh squeezed orange juice. A small glass. It has sugars, but can be an elixir.

--A long hike--2 miles or more.

--Similar outdoor exercise like biking, inline skating, skiing, swimming, etc.

--If you can work or talk with someone about anything, the headache can disappear.

--Bayer Aspirin.

--Masturbation.

Hang in there!! This is at least a 6 month process. It does get better.

More later.

Peace & Joy!

Doug

Ralph said...

Don't sit around dwelling on it. You'll be pretty uncomfortable for the first 10 days to 2 weeks. Deal with it. If you can get over that hump, you've got it licked. The withdrawal symptoms are a small price to pay for freeing yourself from that poison and being able to live your life to the fullest potential. Life is short, live whats left of it with a clear strong mind.

Dirk Hanson said...

Good luck, Craig. Your post is its own eloquent argument for abstaining.

Thanks for the kind remarks.

Dirk Hanson said...

Stu's quote: "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got"
-----
Stu: Quite right. The more often you do something, the more likely you will do it again tomorrow.

DJ's tips and suggestions are really good, right on the money all the way, in my humble opinion. Thanks, DJ. Let's all not forget that there are some, uh, older folks that post here, too (like me).

Dirk Hanson said...

Good ideas from Ralph, too.

Anonymous, who ask whether 3-4 weeks of withdrawal is the norm: As with cigarettes, you could say that a month of occasional heavy sledding would be common. But the time range varies so widely that it's very hard to meaningfully generalize. As somebody else mentioned above, some subtle mental effects can dog you off and on for months. Again, the same is true of cigarettes, yes?

Anonymous said...

Im 26 and i have smoked heavily everyday since i was 14 except when i was pregnant.. i was a 5-9 joint a day girl ( approx 5 cones per joint) have no stopped as instead of it being an anti anxiety its begun making me fweel anxious and out of control for the first time in over ten years. I have been off for nearly 3 weeks now, this page has helped me identify the syptoms i am suffering.. My dreams are lucid and im having out of body experiences, and false awakenings.. this confusion almost lead me to a full psychosis.. i pray that at the 30 day mark this will slow down.. Instead of pot my doctor has prescribed me alprazolam (xanax) for my pre exisiting anxiety which i take at night to get me thro my feelings and withdrawals.. however last night i feel alseep naturally and feel into a sleep paralysis.. These withdrawls are not worth the relaxation i got from smoking, its enough that i never want to return to the drug again.. The thought of totally loosing my mind is a scarey one.. I know understand what all those years of careless smoking has done and i pray its over soon and my reality is clearer

sobriquet said...

One thing that strikes me about all the people who claim to experience withdrawal from cannabis is the possibility that they might be people who are suffering from a mild form of depression that is relieved by cannabis use. Once they decide to abstain from cannabis use, the depression symptoms return and people interpret these as withdrawal symptoms.
It has also been suggested that cannabis in moderation can be beneficial for people suffering from mental problems (like psychotic episodes), because it elevates dopamine levels. Using it in excess makes the dopamine levels go though the roof and result in adverse effects. When people abstain though, they might experience the same problems that they had before they started using cannabis.

One more suggestion about the relationship between intense dreaming and abstaining from cannabis is that there appears to be a relationship between melatonin and cannabis, where cannabis use tends to stimulate melatonin production. People who use melatonin also frequently report more intense dreaming, so perhaps the relationship between dreaming and cannabis is also related to how cannabis use influences melatonin production.

Anonymous said...

I see this is an article almost a year old. I looked up marijuana withdrawal and found this. I agree with the article whole-heartedly. Ive smoked copious amounts of marijuana for the last 13 years. Ive quit a few times. Each time I suffer the effects described in the article and by others in posts. Restlessness, hot/cold, difficulty concentrating, a dull pressure behind my eyes, sweaty palms, crazy dreams, night sweats, oily skin, loss of appetite, irritability, the feeling that I want to just sleep all the time but I cant without sleeping pills, achy body, general malaise. All of these things are very real, and have happened to me, with varying degrees of intensity each time I have quit. The last two years I have had as many days addicted to maryjane, as I have not, which is much better than smoking all the time. I have triggers that seem to make me relapse. Ive noticed winter is the toughest time for me to stay away. When I smoke, I have very little contol of when and where. If I have weed, I will smoke it. However, I am an electrical engineering student, I have a good job, and manage my life well. Marijuana has been fun, but it definitely keeps me from my full potential. Good luck to others that are quitting. Ive noticed that withdrawal is the worst for the first 3 days. You may not feel right for a few weeks, but you do get over it.

suzy said...

I actually have a question. I did smoke pot few times in my life nothing major, I actually do not care for it at all. My boyfriend is another story. He smokes whenever he has it at home. He is realizing that it not helping him being successful and reaching his potentials. I was glad to hear that from him.But for last two days (havent' smoked in about a week) he did not get out of bad. He is constantly sleeping and I am trying to kep it cool but it is really frustrating not knowing what is going on...Do you guys think that could be a withdrawal form pot? He has been smoking for at least 10 years with periods of non smoking for maybe at most a month...How do I react to this?Anyone has any suggestions?I do not want to overreact but it is really annoying.I want him to stop and get back to life...Help please!Thank you all!!!

suzy said...

I actually have a question. I did smoke pot few times in my life nothing major, I actually do not care for it at all. My boyfriend is another story. He smokes whenever he has it at home. He is realizing that it not helping him being successful and reaching his potentials. I was glad to hear that from him.But for last two days (havent' smoked in about a week) he did not get out of bad. He is constantly sleeping and I am trying to kep it cool but it is really frustrating not knowing what is going on...Do you guys think that could be a withdrawal form pot? He has been smoking for at least 10 years with periods of non smoking for maybe at most a month...How do I react to this?Anyone has any suggestions?I do not want to overreact but it is really annoying.I want him to stop and get back to life...Help please!Thank you all!!!

Dirk Hanson said...

For spouses and significant others, patience is the watchword. You may have to deal with lots of short-term fatigue, irritability, sleep disruptions, etc. Not taking it personally is the crucial mindset that will help see both of you through it.

Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have been reading this post for 3 months after I quit MJ. This is my second time around. I have suffered with all the symptoms discribed here. The anxiety and depression was the most severe. Poor sleep is another big problem. But the worst symptom is the heart palpitations. They started 3 weeks after quiting MJ. I haven't seen this symptom discribed here that much. My doctor said that the MJ withdraw was not the cause. So it's been 3 months since I quit and have been having palpitations for the 3 months. Then I decided to do an experiment. I smoked a bowl one night to see if the palpitations would go away. Well 2 days after smoking a bowl the palpitations were totally gone. They stayed away for 3 weeks and then slowly came back. Now they are here in full foce again. I don't crave MJ anymore. I do however want to smoke it just to make the palpitations go away. Was wondering if anyone else experienced heart palpitations upon quitting mj? I am wondering how long it will take my body to get back in balance and the heart palpitations to cese. 3 months seems like a long time.

Anonymous said...

ive been smoking very very heavly for about 6 months every day all day and i have mental dieases in my background which from what i hear makes it much more addictive and when i get the want for relaxtion the urge is unbearable as if it was dope and i always end up giving in and the bad part is i am only 14 and in the middle of puberty

Dirk Hanson said...

I can't add much to your excellent list of reasons why you shouldn't smoke.

katman said...

Hi. This is a good place. Lots of very interesting information. The dreams are vivid and disturbing for me at first. I am very interested in my dreams and believe they are are a way the brain works out problems it encounters during the day but doesn't have time to deal with. MJ is ultimately a depressive and suppresses dreaming IMHO so you get a rebound effect. At first I found them to be too disturbing but now I just deal with it. After a while they go away.

katman said...

Also I have had heart palpitations. Cut down on the coffee and caffeine. You will be surprised how much it helps. In fact if you can, quit coffee all together and you will feel so serene you will not believe. Coffee is an BAMA antagonist.

Dirk Hanson said...

Other people have mentioned heart palpitations. Now I'm wondering if maybe cannabis metabolically allows people to drink more coffee, like tobacco does. So when you quit smoking, and don't reduce your coffee intake, you're effectively increasing your caffeine dose.

Deepak said...

Marijuana addiction has the same characteristics as any other addiction to other drugs including alcohol, tobacco or even caffeine.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dirk,

Thanks for sharing so many valuable insights into what is going on when one quits smoking pot.

It helped me tremendously to know that I wasn't permanently damaged and that those flu symptoms will eventually go away.

I've learned over time that withdrawl symptoms from many substances including pot or antidepressants like Paxil can be lessened with Shiatsu and vitamin therapy (just taking a high quality vitamins so your body has the resources to detox effectively).

In my case I've found USANA(medical grade) vitamins and shakes to help me alot to give relief from my symptoms.

I just wanted to share that in case anyone else can benefit.

Cheers,

Glenn

Anonymous said...

Just a note on heart palpitations. I have quit coffee and all caffeine the day I quit MJ. The palpitations still start 3 weeks after quitting pot. It would be interesting to see how many people experience this symptom! I proved it was due to withdraw by smoking a little pot to see if the symptoms dissapear. They do every time and return like clockwork 3 weeks later. Anxiety returns again also but not as severe. I am starting to think that the road to recovery lasts for 1-2 years. The symptoms become much less severe as you progress though.

katman said...

HOW TO QUIT
hey man, got any weed?
no man, I quit, why you got some?
no man, I'm all out.
yeah me too.

scared1 said...

great posts.
Iam a 32, male. Been smoking heavily for at least 10 years. The past 3 years have been the heaviest with the average consumption of an oz. of high potency chron every 2 weeks.

I think Iam dying of something. Iam slightly overweight and sweat slightly daily/nightly.

I have a good doctor. She realizes MJ is powerful drug that effects people mentally and physically, ie..lungs, liver, blood pressure/heart, neruologically.

I have decided to kick cold turkey, in order to save my money and health. I feel that the weed is bringing me closer to doom/poor health/premature death. Paranoia to the max.

I have been off the pot for 3 or 4 days now and experienced some insomnia and night sweats/chills.
It's comforting to know that others have night/day sweats also.

Iam looking forward to lucid dreams and the ability to astral project again. Pot was fun, but i have better things to spend my $$$ and time on.

Plus, I find time perception slows down when not using pot. So if I trully am doomed/sick. I want to live my remaining days fuller with a clearer head.

P.

Anonymous said...

I am 24 and have been smoking for about 6-7 years. Quit 1-4-09. Same symptoms as what I see posted: initially, night sweats, difficulty regulating body temp., difficult concentrating, night mares, etc. Now after 6 weeks clean, anxiety is the main bothersome symptom. You just need to ask yourself, "all in all, am I getting better every day?" Me, yes. Though some days feel like a step back, progress is being made. The main thing is you need to experience the same things sober that you did while stoned: vacations, going out with friends, snow boarding, going to the beach, Vegas, whatever you used to do while stoned. The first couple of times sober will be difficult, but they are milestones. Things that will help: 1) take a Benadryl or 2 at night if needed at first. 2) Chamomille tea works wonders. 3) limit or eliminate caffeine. 4) weight training and cardiovasular work outs 3-4 times per week. 5) a health diet. 6) plan a vacation. 7)limit alcohol (no more than 2-3 drinks in a sitting). The main lingering effect is anxiety in my experience-possibly something that makes us pre-disposed to pot in the first place. When I used to smoke right before quitting I remember taking a bong hit, feeling good, then saying to myself, "I really should quit, why do I even do this." Then it wears off, smoke again, "wow this is nice", 30 minutes later, "why do I do this, I really should quit". Don't keep scratching the cut because it itches, it will bleed open again and never heal, but scratching it sure feels good. Let it go, put some neosporin on it (excersize, chamomille/green tea, etc.) and it will heal. You may have a scar, but it reminds you to be careful in the future (no need to smoke cannabis anymore). Good luck to both me and everyone out there!!

dee said...

my husband is clean for 20 days but he nightmares are non stop, any idea when it will stop

Anonymous said...

Hi Dirk.. I couldn't address my problem in your article because I know I"m not suffering from withdraw symptoms since I am not quiting anything. I've been smoking pot for three to four years.. never with any sleep problems, however as of recently I've been getting the worst night sweats you can imagine. I know there are hundreds of reasons for sweats, but with such a relivance to marijuana smoking I figured it had to be apart of the problem. I smoke weed everyday so I can't see it being withdraw ... what do you think? On top of pot, some obvious causes could be stress, as I'm a college freshmen... also I do drink a decent ammount, however that is off and on and not coressponding to the nights I have cold sweats. Thanks for any help.

Anonymous said...

"my husband is clean for 20 days but he nightmares are non stop, any idea when it will stop"

Took me about 5-6 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Change the "new" photo! Put up a picture of someone in withdrawal or a person who is now free, anything but this plant that is ruining lives! Our now 15 year old son is addicted to this plant. He comes from a wealthy,Christian, two married parents family. He is smart and is a leader, it is so sad. We are trying to help him, change the photo. Thanks.

g dogg said...

Hi guys, i started smoking when i was 15. i started off pretty lightweight, maybe a joint or so every 2-3 weeks. after a few months of that i discovred the wonders of the bong and was hooked. in my final year of high school i smoked basically everydayn and could smoke as much as 15-20 bongs a day. somehow from thefirst day of the new year i was able to find the strength to quit and am now 2 months clean. the first month i had the crazy dreams and the lack of appetite. eventually that passed and i had a stage of headaches and feeling shit every morning when i woke up. thankfully that has passed too. however i still have anxiety (sometimes quite severe) and never quite feel like myself. i do feel like i am getting better though and thanks to comments from others here can see what i am feeling seems to be normal. i was definetly in the heavy smoker category and starting so young didnt help much either. also i believe bongs have much more of a worse effect then joints, of course both are bad, but the headaches i would constantly have i believe were due to bongs, other friends who never smoked bongs had similar withdrawal symtpoms but without the headaches.

just 3 questions for y'all:

did anyone else out there get the headaches? did anyone still feel shit after 2 months and have the idea that a smoke would make it all go away? and did anyone lose inetrest in basically everything and not want to leave the house much?

Dirk Hanson said...

1.Several people have posted here about getting headaches.

2.As an example, I haven't smoked a cigarette for 10 years, but sometimes I still wake up with the feeling that I could get the day started properly if I just had a smoke. But the feeling passes in short order.

3.It's quite common for addicts to feel like everything is flat, boring, and pointless during early withdrawal and detox from ANY drug.

Anonymous said...

try bikram yoga!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey everybody, my name is Julia and I came across this site last night and like many of you have posted, was much relieved that all of you are experiencing the same thing. The most extreme effect for me is the anxiety. For whatever reason I've been wanting to completely isolate myself, and when people have been calling me these last few days I've been making any excuse possible to be alone. I just feel like right now I am far too selfish and focused on my own brain and my process to recovery. I decided to quit smoking because I was getting severe mood swings whenever I wasn't high. Now that I've quit, I've been much more level-headed in terms of not going off on my boyfriend for ridiculous reasons.. but inside of my head I've been a wreck. I have been experiencing a sort of general anxiety, along with insomnia, loss of appetite, night sweats, and a general "blah" feeling as dirk wrote..

Something I really would like some advice on if anyone has experienced this... along with the generalized anxiety toward everything these last few days.. I have especially been feeling social anxiety.. which generally only happens when I'm really high because I feel like everyone and their mother will know I'm baked. But the extremes I have been going to the last few days sober in order to avoid social contact besides my boyfriend is scaring me.

I'm sitting here trying to describe how I feel and its impossible. Like you guys said.. just a sort of fear and hopelessness but I can't pinpoint what I'm so fearful of.

STAY STRONG EVERYBODY.. we're all in this together

Dirk Hanson said...

Stepping into a social situation in early abstinence can be like trying to walk through a glass wall. But time after time, people say that, when they finally go through with it, socializing is not nearly as bad as they had envisioned. In fact, they often discovered, to their surprise, that they enjoyed it!

In this respect, it's not so different from exercise. When people are depressed or anxious, exercise is the last thing they want to contemplate. But if they go through with it, they often feel better afterwards.

Anonymous said...

That's very true. For instance, the last few days when I've gone to work I've been in great spirits and have had no problem socializing. But when it comes to taking it upon myself to go out and voluntarily be social, aside from work, even though I know everything will be fine, I still have no desire to do it.

I just feel very uninterested at this point, by anything besides the desire to get high. I just feel like my whole outlook on life has had a major shift since I've quit, and I'm sure its just my brain chemicals trying to get back to normal. I've had a history of anxiety and I've been taking anti-anxiety meds this whole time..even when I was heavily smoking.. and who knows what kind of effects that could have had with the mixing of chemicals and all. I used to be deep into meth and haven't used for about a year but I honestly am so tempted to do it just once in order to regain a sort of peace that i used to get when I'd smoke. I feel like it would take so much anxiety away, even though i'll of course feel like crap coming down, at least I can for a little while gain some peaceful perspective and a positive outlook. I won't go and do this.. I've been clean too long and I know that road goes to nowhere.. but ugh. I'm only 19, I have so long to go and I'm already hitting this hard of a low.

Excuse the length of this.. and thanks for such a quick reply!

-Julia

dave said...

Grate site, my 1st day with out mj,woke up at 3am cant sleep pace the house back and fourth, this anxity feeling sucks, feels the all four walls are closeing in, any one want to quit togather and suport eachother email me at nl529@yahoo.com,after reading most post not much to say they said it all, feel like shit, had my green tea this mornning , it helped a bit,feel so down and helpless,good luck to everyone.

Mike said...

Im on day 4 of my quest to quit smoking. Ive been planning on quitting smoking for a few weeks but as a college student thought it would be best to wait until after midterms... well now im spending my spring break in self imposed detox (last yr fl this yr quit smoking haha)the anxiety and feelings of worthlessness are pretty intense... im quite lonely as well evidenced by this post on an addiction blog haha me n my gf just broke up about an hr ago so im feeling pretty downnn and all i have to look forward to now is another fucked up dream tonight.
Im curious if you smoke does this all start over again from sqaure 1?
Anyway Good Luck to the rest of youse guys...

Dirk Hanson said...

From Square One? Depends how you mean it. If you are experiencing heavy withdrawal symptoms, and if you go back to heavy smoking, then yes, it's likely you'll get hit with similar symptoms when you quit the next time. There really is no cheating in this game.

Freben said...

i laugh at all of you weak minded saps. try coming off a crack or meth or heroin addiction, then talk about your "weed withdrawls". i could go into massive detail telling all you chumps why you are wrong and weak willed, but i will only laugh instead

Anonymous said...

I quit about 8 mo ago after 18 yrs I used sleeping pills to sleep at night (over the counter..be careful) also took very low doses of diazapham(be careful)also Ive heard Chantex(stop smoking pills )work good too.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found this site. I have been a chronic week smoker for 27 or so years. The first 15 or so years I smoked when ever I had it,could find it and had the money. For the last 12 years I have smoked everyday, all day. Although I would try to wait until 11am to start smoking. When you grow you never run out. I did stop growing 2 years ago only to buy from a grower. Buying enough to last a year.
I did quit for 4 months toward the end of last year. Only to start again when stress got the best of me. Now I'm back at trying to quit. Not because I can't get any, I have enough to still last me this year. I need to quit for me. It has taken my life. It has become a depressent. I find I keep to myself not socializing. I would rather be high than to be around people. I cry because I want to have a life with relationships, instead of a live of isolation, that's one of the things my relationship with pot has done. Isolated me. I so much want to be able to stop smoking pot. I've tried before but find myself going back to old habits.
When I have quit in the past expecially for 4 months I felt most all of these symptoms, but found the vivid dreaming the worst. It got to be where I was afraid to go to sleep for the dreams.
Today I didn't not smoke weed, almost this evening, but told myself what the hell the day is almost over and you haven't smoked yet, don't ruin it. Today I'm proud of myself, now for tomorrow. I'll take all the help I can get. I haven't told any one that I'm trying to quit for a couple of reasons. I'm the only smoker I know so no one I know has a problem with addiction and can't understand what it's about. The other reason is if I fail again I don't what anyone to think I'm weak.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous just above, you said:

"Today I'm proud of myself, now for tomorrow." You should be proud of yourself; good for you!

"I haven't told any one that I'm trying to quit for a couple of reasons. I'm the only smoker I know so no one I know has a problem with addiction and can't understand what it's about." One place you will find other people who can understand what it's all about is Marijuana Anonymous. In light of what you have said in your post, and the way that you use pot, I think you should look into going to a meeting; they even have on line meetings in case there are none near you. At least give it a try; it can be really helpful to meet other folks who are like you and who won't judge you, but only offer loving support.

"The other reason is if I fail again I don't what anyone to think I'm weak." The fact that you are trying to quit makes you anything but weak. You are highly motivated; you have reached the end of your rope. It's super clear from your post that you are determined to quit...and you will.

Dirk Hanson said...

"At least give it a try; it can be really helpful to meet other folks who are like you and who won't judge you, but only offer loving support."
---------
Yes, it's truly astonishing how helpful that kind of group support can be for some people in the beginning. Even people who are understandably cynical about the 12-Step stuff. Simply being in a room full of people who know EXACTLY what you're going through can be a powerful experience.

Anonymous said...

I am 27 and have been smoking weed everyday since I was 13. I also have had an extremely severe case of anxiety and depression to the point of being suicidal for the same amount of time. I also have been through meth and alchohol addiction. I quit those both on my own. Alchohol was easy, meth was harder, but weed is very hard. Low level flu, anxiety, irritability, even rage are very present, along with the impulse to always, always, be doing something. I don't know how to relax without weed. I can't. I have finally found help to get me over the anxiety and depression and am trying to do these at the same time. Its wonderful, the way life has opened up, but I was wondering why I felt so bad in that respect but so able to do all these other things like keep the house clean, study, and everything else i haven't been able to do for so long now. This site helped alot. Now I know what I am in for and feel like I can handle it. Don't let anyone tell you that weed isn't that bad, IT IS.

Anonymous said...

Well, It's 3:50 a.m. I awoke about 30 minutes ago from another nightmare related to marijuana; my bed soaking wet from sweat. I quit for two years until about 7 months ago when Ike hit, and I stayed up north with pot smoking friends and family. I had actually forgotten about the serious sweating and bad dreams. Maybe next time, I'll remember the withdrawals and decide not to start again!

Anonymous said...

"i laugh at all of you weak minded saps. try coming off a crack or meth or heroin addiction, then talk about your "weed withdrawls". i could go into massive detail telling all you chumps why you are wrong and weak willed, but i will only laugh instead"

Dude, your comments are not helpful. Why are you reading this MJ withdrawal blog anyway? I think its great that you kicked heroin, crack, and meth, but why put down others. Many of us have denied that we were addicted to pot. We rationalized that we liked to be high - it made us more comfortable. But marijuana takes you down slowly. So slowly - in fact - that many are able to function on it for years, both socially and financially. It is for that reason that many have used it for over 20 years without putting it down for even a day. When your mind is accustomed to being in a certain state for that long, it takes a great deal of chemistry change to return to normal. The intense nightmares lasting for months is real. The profuse sweating at night is real. The difficulty in breathing, and rapid heart rate is real.
It is not by choice or mere suggestion that these are experienced. I had no idea that these symptoms would occur, but they did, and again - are.

Dirk Hanson said...

It's human nature to remember the highs and "forget" the lows. We tend to makes vows of abstention when we're high. Then when we come down, and feel the withdrawal pangs, we say, "What in the world was a I thinking about last night? I gotta go score."

Dirk Hanson said...

"When your mind is accustomed to being in a certain state for that long, it takes a great deal of chemistry change to return to normal."
-----
Exactly so. Everybody say it with me: Thank God for neural plasticity.

Anonymous said...

Ok here goes, i have been suffering from depression and anxiety for 8 years , my doctor has given me 7 different anti depression meds and they all caused more side effects then the depression and anxiety alone,So i attended a group therapy all who took meds and did not work , so i asked how are your coping ?this is what some have told me. Liston to music,exercise,long walk,alcohol,pain pills with codeine,and last but not least, cannabis,so i gave it a try ,now here's my problem, it worked for me , my first toke lifted that depressed and anxiety feeling all gone,WOW,was this real i could not believe how much of my self i was feeling, felt just like gitting rid of that monkey on my back, only it wasn't pot it was the depression, mj helped me,now taking those pills for so long time with no results,i ask you doctor,am i right or wrong for smoking mj? i say,if it works just do it,I'm sure you heard the saying (god made pot , man made liquor, out of the two who do you trust?)yes quiting is hard,mj can help me on this one, but i will say this you already know, our metabolism are different what works for you may not work for me,its time to legalize cannabis in all our states.my time has come to stop taking anti depression meds and start the mj self treat

Anonymous said...

I am the fiancee of a chronic weed user. He smoked it as if it were cigaretts. Because of incarceration (at home monitoring) he was ordered to quit or be incarcerated at the "big house". It has been very difficult for both of us (I don't/haven't ever used). He is ultra paranoid and of course "grumpy" as I figured, but that paranoia pervades my every moment with him. He falsely accuses me of things that are simply NOT true, and I almost called the authorities this morning (4:30 a.m.) to come pick his ass up and throw him in lock down. Is this a common symptom? My plantive cries and extreme anger as a counter to this go unnoticed as well as thought to be "silly" by him. His accusations are truly DEMENTED and I wonder how much longer I can take this. He has been "clean" now for over 2 months and has one more month on house arrest. Truly, is there an end in sight? He's been using now for over 35 years (he's 46) and I find it increasingly difficult to maintain with him. HELP!!!!!!!!!!! (<--no joke, though)

Anonymous said...

day 2 with out, fell so depressed ,wife just keeps bitching ,i lost my job because of the economy and lost 43% of my 401k,it will take years to make that back,i have no cash and what little i have goes to bills,i am feeling all the symptoms,if you can name some things i can take to relieve this terrible feeling,it seems this time i have no chose, its bad when you cant even watch your favorite shows or doing the things i like, i just feel like doing nothing so helpless,people of all sorts of life drink to git away from everyday stress (i don't drink, cant stand liq or other drugs only mj)I'm not having any trouble sleeping i take nyquil it really helps me fall asleep also i am on court probation and will have a drug test first week of April or its jail time for me also,im going to try and take a long walk now even though i don't feel like it, its Sunday days are long the anxiety has control over me cant sit still having short breath hart betting fast.WHAT TO DO? HELP, how am i going to git throw this.

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