Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Marijuana Withdrawal


For Some Users, Cannabis Can Be Fiercely Addictive.

(Note: more than 1,100 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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The Marijuana Addict said...

This article is extremely interesting to me. As a person who is struggling to break free of my marijuana habit, it is great to see this kind of detail on brain chemistry.

I have experienced most of these symptoms when attempting to quit weed in the past.

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks.

It's quite common for pot withdrawal symptoms to catch people by surprise, especially symptoms like night sweats, insomnia, and decreased appetite. It's also hard to explain the primary psychological symptom to others--a feeling that things are drastically wrong, but you can't put you're finger on exactly what or why.

Anonymous said...

i have been a chronic weed smoker for roughly the past 12 years, smoking at least once but up to five times a day. i am also bi-polar for which i was diagnosed four years ago. two weeks ago i made the decision to stop the weed since i was feeling that it was not a positive force in my life. since stopping i have been steeped in anxiety and depression. now i believe that other situations add to the depression but my feeling is that the sudden absence of THC has exacerbated and heightened these feelings. also insomnia and restlessness.
when i smoked i denied the addictive aspect, but when you look at how powerful the weed is now and how much i put into my brain i believe it's undeniable.

Anonymous said...

I just wanna say thanks alot, this article really helped me.

"To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity." - Samuel Johnson

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks.

The idea of concrete withdrawal symptoms caused by marijuana has been slow to catch on, but they are real, and quitting is often a serious challenge.

Anonymous said...

I just quit and I couldn't figure out why I felt like crap. Pot wasn't supposed to be addictive.

I think "Low-level Flu like symptoms" says it the best.

Dirk Hanson said...

Yeah, nicely put, the idea of feeling like crap and not quite being able to figure out why. But the whole concept that some people suffer from pot withdrawal is still very controversial. A lot of people don't buy it, because it doesn't happen to them.

Dirk
Addiction Inbox

Anonymous said...

I have been a HEAVY pot smoker since I was sixteen. I smoked about a half a POUND a month on my own, and finally couldn't take it anymore. Every prior attempt to quit proved fruitless, until I came down with a really severe case of the flu last week, the day I turned 25. I became so sick that I literally could not taste it anymore. (Don't think this stopped me though, I just kept puffing even though the taste was nauseating). Anyway, I finally realized enough is enough. But I just could not quit. But I also couldn't afford rehab- and anyone who says this is not an addictive drug is lying! So on the advice of my best friend's father who was an alcoholic for over 30 years- I borrowed and read "Rational Recovery." This Book will enable you to Quit. I have now gone from smoking a half a pound of pot a month (and two packs of black and milds a day) to absolutely nothing. And I did it in a day.

But to reiterate what everyone has said- the withdrawal is really bad. I have diarrhea so bad my butt is bleeding and cannot eat anything. The sweats are really bad too, and I have had a lapse of concentration. I cuss everyone, my anger is high and patience is short. I have been running a fever for over three days and have very bad nausea. But hopefully (and I hear) this is just temporary).

For anyone struggling to quit, I hope the Book "Rational Recovery" Helps.

the cave said...

well i just stopped smoking pot after 4 years of everyday use, 5 days ago. I am feeling the withdrawal symptoms ridiculous hard. No appetite, slight nausea, extreme insomnia (i haven't slept one hour in the past two days with taking over the counter sleeping pills). I'm not quitting by choice, but for an internship. It sucks that its illegal and its not choice but that's not what this discussions about. anyway just thought i'd share. p.s. why would they put such a nice looking bud on this page for people trying to quit? just a thought.

Dirk Hanson said...

Re the picture of kind bud: You've got a point. I used it sort of without thinking. Perhaps the art I used with my latest post, Marijuana Withdrawal Revisited, is more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Helpful article.
I'm 32 years old and I've just quit after being an every day weed smoker for 5-6 years. I'm about to begin week 3. The first week wasn't too bad but then in week 2 I started to have really bad anxiety and restlessness. I'm still dealing with it now. It's very hard to find something to take my mind off it since right now the anxiety seems to take the joy/fun out of everything.
Articles like this have helped me realise that nothing is wrong exactly. This is just a normal part of quitting.
But since I'm beginning week 3 and I STILL have this awful anxiety, I'm really hoping that it will start to subside soon.
Any advise dirk?

Dirk Hanson said...

Anonymous:

That sense of a strong feeling of anxiety can be a real pisser: Is this how I'm going to feel forever? But you're correct, there's nothing wrong with you. It's normal. And it's not uncommon for things to be pretty rocky for 30 days or so in the case of heavy tokers.

As trite as it sounds, vigorous exercise is a good antidote during the worst of the withdrawal period. If you already exercise, step it up. Helps with anxiety and sleep problems.

Stay tough. It DOES get better.

the cave said...

yeah man it will definitely get better. i posted on feb 4th and i was in pain. it's now..the 17th and i'm feeling much better now. almost nothing.

samuraismoker said...

don't believe it. i've smoked pot every day the last five years, maybe with a day break in between sometimes, and now all of a sudden i haven't smoked for about a month for a job. haven't felt jack shit for withdrawal. you people are just mentally weak.

would i like to smoke? yes. do i need to? no.

you read about this withdrawal shit, and all of a sudden you feel it. it's the placebo effect. not to mention you obviously want to smoke. it's so easy to believe these withdrawal symptoms.

the sooner you realize you're doing it to yourself, the sooner you'll get better. good luck and work on your mental strength.

Dirk Hanson said...

Count yourself lucky, Samurai, and have a little sympathy for those who don't have it so easy when they quit.

Social drinkers can stop drinking anytime they want to. Does it then make sense for them to mock alcoholics who have serious trouble quitting?

Not all metabolisms are alike.

Anonymous said...

I have been a heavy daily smoker now for over 13 years. Before work after work anytime other than at work really & have now been off it for about 2 weeks. I never really thought about the effects of quitting & if I would feel anythng at all but over basically the exact same time Ive been quitting I have received constant complaints at work & have had meetings with my boss to discuss why etc. I dont feel its something I can share with my boss although would like to explain to be honest as I feel it is something that I just need to manage & hang on for a while. I very much appreciate reading such information as on this site & now have a better understanding of what my body is feeling. Although its not the cravings that are my issue I have no problems quitting etc but now I know why Im not acting quite myself & its good to know it should pass in time & hopefully I will return to even better than my old self in due time.

Anonymous said...

the insomnia is sucking right now. articles like this help me realize that yeah this is happening and i'm much more likely to sleep now. if only i could go back to when i only smoked on weekends and tell myself to keep it that way.

Dirk Hanson said...

Re insomnia: That's why vigorous exercise is often a real boon during that first period of getting over the hump. Helps you sleep.

Anonymous said...

yea am 17 and i started smoking like everyday after exams were done and i guess my body took it as an anti deppresent and now it's been 11 or 12 days and it sucks the anxity sucks i can't do my work it's 12:30 and am supposed to be in bed but i can't sleep but think about it anxiety is important i think it allows u to understand how ppl who have it all the time go through am sure i will be helping other people in my school cause weed sucks i never though i'd say this can't wait till am fully recovered hopfully soon though thanx guy who wrote the article ur awesome and we need alot of ppl like out there holly my body hurts like hell take care all

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Im really glad that i found this page tonight. My boyfriend (of 6 years) has been a smoker for approx 16 years. He has tried to give up a few times seriously before but has never quite gotten there yet. His behaviour is almost unbearable when he does. It really takes a toll on our relationship. I never realised that it could be so bad and that his actions are so exaggerated by withdrawal. Its really hard to be the partner of a smoker also so spare a thought. I want him to quit and would never leave him because of his behaviour but its really hard. Being able to read other peoples experiences is comforting though. Gives me strength to give him strength.
So thanks

Dirk Hanson said...

Any kind of withdrawal is tough sledding for significant others. You have to keep telling yourself that it is NOT personal--it doesn't mean he has suddenly turned on you. It's a metabolic maelstrom for sure. Time and patience and understanding are called for--a tall order sometimes, yes?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank you for this very informative article. I'm a 30 year old man and have been a heavy cannabis user (3 to 4 joints per day, every day) since I was 19. I have also been a near pack a day smoker for as long as I smoked cannabis. The wake up call hit me when I ran on my treadmill for a half hour last week and felt like crap afterward. That was enough for me. So I made the plunge and gave up both cigarettes and marijuana on the same day. It's been 3 days now and I'm a complete and utter basket case. I can't remember the last time I cried (When I was a teenager maybe?). Well I bawled my eyes out today. I've been going through intense anxiety, depression, restlessness, lack of appetite. I can't sleep for more than a few hours at a time and when I do, I sweat buckets. I have a terrible appetite, I'm cold all the time, like a can't regulate my temperature, my hands are always sweaty and the worst thing is the fact that I feel like I'm in another world. My reality is so different, eg. I have an office in my basement where I spend quite a bit of time and I feel like it's foreign to me now, I don't even want to be in the room. I can tell you from first hand experience that withdrawal from heavy use of cannabis (combined with tobacco) is very real. I know this will pass, time will heal all. But I'm in utter hell right now, and for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, any of you young, up and coming teens read this and realize that you can get addicted to just about any substance, no matter how mild you think it is. I'm not going to preach about marijuana use. I had a lot of good times on pot, but if I had my time back I would have used it occasionally, limiting it to once a week at most (much like alcohol). Pot can be fun, rewarding, and enjoyable but it ceases to be much fun when you're always stoned (for the most part) and have to clean up and hit cold hard reality.

Thanks for listening.

Signed,

Former pot/cigarette smoker.

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for your post.

Quitting both at once is double tough, no doubt about it.

Have you considered nicotine patches or gum? For some, it helps take the edge off just enough to get on with the project.

As one ex-smoker described the early going: "I cannot think, cannot concentrate, cannot remember."

As for pot withdrawal, it DOES get better, as numerous posters on this discussion thread have pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou this site is the only one that has helped me, I thought I was going crazy because all other sites told me that there were no withdrawal symptoms from pot, I cant think or eat and when I do finally get something down my gullet I get the runs straight after,although I couldnt sleep the first few nights now all I want to do is sleep, I feel like I have been hit by a truck and it has only been a week since I gave up,my mood swings are unbearable at times,and I am driving my son crazy as well, I have no energy and my head feels like it is going to pop off, but after reading others stories I feel almost normal good luck to you all and thankyou for such a great site.

Dirk Hanson said...

The existence of a withdrawal syndrome for people who become addicted to pot just shouldn't be such a huge secret anymore.

As a science writer, I take a fair amount of flak from both medical professionals and pot smokers over this issue. The comments engendered by this post make it clear that the reality of these side-effects for addicted marijuana smokers is still not widely acknowledged or understood.

It's not like it's absent from the scientific literature, either:
-------------------

"Marijuana Abstinence Effects in Marijuana Smokers Maintained in Their Home Environment" Alan J. Budney,et. al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001; 58:917-924.

Results: An overall measure of withdrawal discomfort increased significantly during the abstinence phases and returned to baseline when marijuana smoking resumed. Craving for marijuana, decreased appetite, sleep difficulty, and weight loss reliably changed across the smoking and abstinence phases. Aggression, anger, irritability, restlessness, and strange dreams increased significantly during one abstinence phase, but not the other. Collateral observers confirmed participant reports of these symptoms.

Conclusions : This study validated several specific effects of marijuana abstinence in heavy marijuana users, and showed they were reliable and clinically significant. These withdrawal effects appear similar in type and magnitude to those observed in studies of nicotine withdrawal.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am really glad I found this site. It's nice to know I'm not the only one going through such rocky seas after quitting.

I am 31 and a heavy smoker of 10 years. I would say roughly an ounce or so a week most of that time. After I quit I went through the worst in the first 2 or 3 weeks (e.g. severe cravings, moodiness, anxiety).

What is really troubling me however, is the excessive dreaming. I am 7-8 weeks in now, with a single relapse of 2 hits around the 2.5-3 week mark. I relapsed the one time to see if I could buy myself a few nights of dreamless sleep, and only got a single night of it.

Before I started smoking I was not a heavy dreamer, recalling maybe a few dreams a month. Same applies for while I was smoking. But now, even at nearly 2 months quit and with all the other symptoms passed, I dream every night.

The dreams are vivid and strong, enough to wake me up sometimes. Other times I have to work to separate dream and reality when I awake, essentially talking myself back down into the real world. I even woke up the other day talking out loud, as something I was saying in my dream bled over into the waking world.

No real problems getting to sleep, but the dreams alone are enough to disturb me, especially with the fact that I am losing some sleep over them and feel extra tired. I am back to working out with a vengeance (quit 6 months ago when my college classes got extra stressful), but that isn't doing the trick. I know this is normal, but all that I have read suggests that the duration I am experiencing is a little extreme. Any other advice or counsel, preferable from others in the same boat, would be awesome.

Dirk Hanson said...

It's not the first time I have heard of this. I should probably have added "intense dreaming" to the list of possible withdrawal symptoms.

Cannabis seems to suppress dreaming, or at least dream recall. I don't have any good studies or data to back this up, but heavy pot smokers often say they don't dream very much--so perhaps it's some sort of rebound effect.

Anybody have a scientific explanation for this effect?

Anonymous said...

I myself quit smoking strong strains of skunk 2 weeks ago having smoked for 7 years, with a relapse at the end of week one as i thought it would be ok, but it is definately not. This idea of 'intense dreaming' is very real and for the 1st 5 or 6 days after quitting i experienced life-like dreams/nightmares (99% nightmares) which would wake me from my sleep. At first i didn't know what was waking me, i thought it was insomnia but as a few days past i realised the nightmares were the reason for waking. They have almost past and i tend to be having less nightmares and more normal dreams. This idea of breaking out in cold sweat is also very real and quite scary when occurs as got me worried there was something else wrong with me. I now feel bursts of tiredness which i think can be explained as maybe still catching up sleep from my 2 weeks of restless nights but still unsure. Anxiety is also a problem but since speaking to a few people, i try to not let myself worry to much but it is hard as before a smoke would have solved any problem :(! Now i do not have that release and would be nice to find one which isn't prescribed by the doc! Hope this is of help to anyone else who is trying to quit chronic weed smoking. They say it's not addictive physically but i think it must be very mentally addictive and that is where the problems start.

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for the description of dream alterations due to pot.

I'm not sure the distinction between physical addiction and mental addiction really holds much water. Withdrawal symptoms have both physical and psychological correlates. Hard to separate the two, it seems to me.

Scott L said...

Very interesting. While I am not actively trying to quit, I am currently very pressed for cash and other things obviously take priority over cannabis.

As I look over this list of withdrawal symptoms, it fits my current state perfectly. I was blown away when I saw "excessive sweating" as I have been experiencing that for a few days.

I also experience incredibly vivid dreams during periods when I don't smoke. The dreams are often so engaging, that I have considered quitting simply so that I can experience these dreams. I wonder if the vividness of the dreams diminishes as one adjusts to not having THC in the system, though.

I no longer deny that pot is addictive, nor do I deny that I am addicted to it. The level of shame is relatively small, though. If I could cut back drastically, that would be the ideal situation. But I know from experience that I can't just smoke pot "a little bit." If I'm going to reduce, it's going to have to be all the way to zero.

Dirk Hanson said...

One guy told me he used to have sporadic bouts of intense night sweats for several nights running and he couldn't figure out what was going on, until his girlfriend said: "That always happens to you when you're out of weed."

It seemed so obvious after she said it, but he just hadn't made the connection.

HELP said...

HELP

I will try to make a long story short. I am not the person in detox it's by bf of only 8 weeks. He is into his 6th week of cold turkey after 30 years of daily pot smoking!! Everything was good he was asking lots of questions and I understand that taking on this detox and dating a new person at the sametime is BIG. Maybe should not be. But this is it this past weekend he needed and wanted to use badly and well he turned all that pain/anger/anexity on me. He told me he was going to give it up and smoke I told him whatever he needs to do it is his life. Here I am not knowing what to do and me this person who is and In-Home Intensive Therpist! Yes me. I work with families that are court ordered to work with my agency as they are close to losing there children to foster care. So I work with people with every kind of problem, addiciation you can guess at. And I have no idea how to handle this! He told me on Sunday to stop being his therpist and just be a gf. I promise if that side of me was coming out I was not juding and it's part of me I thought wanted to help. He said he is competely confused about seeing me and competely scared and he said " I am not going to fall in love with you, I don't want to be in love and not going to do it". Yes many issues. I don't want to be his therpist but I see the pain and he has asked me for suggestions. Yes everythig between us was so good until I guess I was in the way Sunday. So we have not spoken in four days. You think I would know what to do!!! I want what is best for him and he has to stop smoking due to the fact a new company has bought his company and there will be random drug testing and yes the possible fact of losing his job after 22 years if he fails. I am open to all suggestions from other loved ones and those of you going thru the detox. Was it the detox talking the real him the years of abuse. Do I just leave him be untill he calls just walk away or will he think I just gave up on him. Yes his words where bullents to me with all the pain of being shoot. But whatever he needs and is best for him I can deal with. Yes I like him alot have know him for years rode horses with him and our families for years but we did not see each other for ten years as I had moved away. Yes it will hurt if I need to stay away but I'll do what needs to be. Detox talking the real him talking his real views on love how will I ever know? I understand it was a really bad day for him but he said some words of posion and everything about him wanted me gone sunday.

Just signed HELP

Anonymous said...

I just want to say a few words as i'm in the same situation but the other way round i.e. I'm the one giving up. Obviously it is upto you ultimately but as with anyone who is giving something up, they might feel they need to replace that with someone else. I told my gf of 5 monthst that i was going to give up and then decided it was time to stop lying to her and actually do it. It's been hard, all the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above i've gone through but unless anyone actually is determined to give up they wil not, especially with ganja as it seems to have a hold like that of loving someone. I've obviously been stressed and worried and well not physically hit my gf but very much worried about everything else to do with her. I'm sure with re-assurance and love he will be able to get through it, although that is up to you and whether you feel you can give that love. Sometimes a hug is all i want and then everything is ok. Maybe thats all he wants. Hope this of some help :)

Anonymous said...

Concerning "HELP's" post of March 6th... I'm on day seven of abstinence and boy, do I feel lousy. Night sweats, anxiety, extreme insomnia and loads of irritability/anger problems. Your boyfriend is probably SO uncomfortable with his withdrawals that he's just not thinking straight right now. It's a bit like when you have a bad flu. You plain feel rotten. And anything stress-related is magnified ten-fold. I highly doubt it's you at all. He probably resents being "forced" to quit because of the new company and that only adds to his frustration and seemingly negative attitude towards you. He is just in a lot of emotional discomfort right now. And, just like a wouunded animal, will strike out at others including those he truly cares for. The anger/anxiety/depression can sometimes be overwhelming. I know first hand. I have to watch myself on the road while withdrawing because even the slightest infraction from another driver will prompt me to want to KILL (not really but it sure feels like it). Patience is non-existant. Whereas while using I am the sweetest guy in the world. Which makes it ever more difficult to quit. I do love the feelings of relaxation and contentment it gives me. But as soon as you quit, your emotions will do a fast 180 degree turn. I've had so little sleep in the last week (about two hours a night) that I swear I'm starting to have a few mild visual hallucinations. Not fun! Anyway, if you care for him that much you may have to endure his onslaught of bad behavior until he's over the hump in the withdrawal process. And if he CAN'T smoke any longer, you may find him coming around to you once his intense feelings of "inner unrest" subside. But I certainly commend you for trying to be understanding about what he is going through.

HELP said...

From Help:

Thank you , Thank you to both of your replys. Me the therpist I did not even think about the fact he feels forced to due something his mind or body was not ready for due to his new company. I did leave him a voice mail after reading what you both wrote. Just a "Hello thinking of you". You are right he may just need a hug. But it's been five days and not call from him! So I say this is not the time for pride I but it on the shelf and called. It's been 6 weeks how much longer will these intense withdraw symptoms last? He is worth waiting for. Just the harsh words about love. But I can guess at this time he does not feel like he can love or deserves to be loved! Just a thought. So I will wait and be soft. I am sure I will be back for more words of encourgement. Again thank you so much.
HELP

bob said...

i'm 38 years old and have been using weed now daily for almost 21 years,The decision to quit came to a head when i found myself falling out with my best friends (also users) over silly minor issues, i would secumb to massive raging fits,coupled with threats of violence.

ive been 'clean' now for 4 days and so far its obviously been very difficult, but already im showing signs of improvement, the first two days i had no sleep at all, day 3, three hours, day 4, 5 hours!

There is a history of Depression in my family, and from the onset of my weed use (at17)i had never experienced it, but i had read several articles that say that there is evidence to prove that any Heavy prolonged marijuana use can seriously increase psychological problems that may already exist in the user.

Six years ago i was diagnosed with manic depression, my symptoms were vast and some (i feel) among the worst:

Anxiety, Instability, irrational unstable behavior, mood swings, suicidal tendancies, diarrhea, constant negative thoughts, loss of lybido and impotency.

My Paranoia got so bad that i was even sabotaging my own relationships!

My withdrawal symptoms: Loss of appetite,sweating, irritability, sudden crying fits.

My advice to all weed smokers out there wanting to quit is to DO IT NOW! dont leave it to late like i did,there is light at the end of the tunnel!

The good news - my symptoms are decreasing rapidly already after only 4 days. I know i will succede as i came to close (i feel)to insanity.

good luck - bob (from UK)

Dirk Hanson said...

Bob--Glad to hear you are feeling better. You have a tough break, what they call a dual diagnosis, or co-morbid conditions: a mental illness, plus a drug addiction. Not uncommon, but it does complicate matters for sure.

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

To HELP: This is the second responder again. The first person to answer you has a good point. If your boyfriend has been smoking for 22 years, he is no doubt very angry that "these people" are forcing him to give up something that has given him pleasure for all that time. And having to endure the withdrawal is just adding insult to injury. After using for that long, pot can become so ingrained in your lifestyle that it's very difficult to suddenly "remove it" without feeling that you have lost a good friend. Even if it is ultimately causing problems with health or relationships. You can always let him know you have been blogging here (if he wouldn't get pissed) and even let him read the article and these posts for himself. I'm sure he would appreciate your concerns and your trying to understand his feelings during this time. Send this page to him if you feel you can. It may help him understand where you are coming from.

Anonymous said...

I am 25 year old female and I have been smoking pot since I was 13. I have NEVER stopped even a day that I can remember. Not unless I couldn't get it. I have recently started to realize that it is a drug addiction. I was always on the "it's not addictive" side. I get very anxious if I think I'm not goin to have any. I smoke every day, in the morning b4 work, sometimes on my lunch break, and immediately after work, all night until bed. I have a routine even. I smoke b4 going to lunch or family dinners. So i can get an appetite. That's what I tell myself. I cry if i have a hard time getting it. If I think I might have to go a night without it. I spend so much $ now and I finish a quarter ounce in 2-3 days. I was in a very physically abusive relationship and I feel like those emotions that I hold in are making my smoking worse. I never really got help for the things I feel inside. I just smoke and smoke and smoke. It is out of my control I think, and now I'm starting to not feel high. I REALLY wanna stop, but am so scared of the symptoms. I think I need help. I just wanted to thank you for all the information on this page. I REALLY never knew that I was a drug addict. I hope I can stop eventually. I want to badly!

Anonymous said...

I had been precribed an SSRI antidepressant for some MILD anxiety for eight years and barely survived it. Turned me into an emotionless zombie and changed my personality so much I felt I had lost a large part of my identity. Took me almost three years to break that addiction. It was awful and included intense suicidal thoughts while trying to withdraw from it. Now I use cannabis to control the apparently permanent neurological damage it caused. "Sober" I have bad tremors and tics, depression and a host of other problems from the AD where I had NONE beforehand. Yeah, I do get most of the withdrawal symptoms listed here when I run out of my herb (I use almost an ounce a month). And it can be very uncomfortable to be sure. But they are NOTHING like the SSRI horrors I survived. I'll take the pot withdrawals any day of the week. My advice to anyone reading these blogs: DON'T EVER ever take any antidepressant no matter WHO says you should. They were engineered for one purpose only. PROFIT. Not reducing human suffering. OK, I'll say it... Paxil. Marijuana withdrawals are a cheerful walk in the park in comparison. A little off-topic perhaps but I'm sure glad I have my "addictive" cannabis. It literally saved me.

Anonymous said...

Geez, did you have to post the picture of such a gorgeous bud with this post? ;) Came across this blog looking for info on my headaches. Well, after 14 years, I'm looking to stop. Three days down! :)

Dirk Hanson said...

It's hard to find a picture of a shoebox full of seedy brown Mexican these days.... ;-)

Stay tough.

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend has been "toking" for the last 6 years or so. He's 21, and sometimes i see the side effects straight away. Yesterday he didn't have any weed and he went i got home from work he was all pissy, irritated. I always tell him it's an addiction, but he always tells me he can quit whenever he wants and it's not addictive. The biggest problem is that his whole family smokes, to the point they share the bong around. I find myself very uncomfortable and want him to stop, but i don't know how. Anyone have any ideas how i can get him to stop smoking. He smokes like 5 cones before work, comes home and first thing has a cone, maybe another 5 or more. Any ideas, as to what i should do?

Anonymous said...

Great info on weed withdrawal. As a daily smoker for over 10 years I can attest to every withdrawal symptom listed. I am currently on day 3 with no weed and feel terrible. I have attempted to quit several times in the past and experienced these symptoms so I am not surprised that I feel them again. When using I go through about an ounce a week, smoking pretty much whenever I get a chance. I have no doubt that I could continue smoking for the rest of my life however I have a wife and 3 young boys whom I love very much. I don't ever want my children finding out that their dad is a drug addict. Don't let fools who say that weed is not addictive sway you into believing that it is not. I am a recovering alcoholic (among other things) and I can tell you that I've had a lot of the same thought patterns with quitting pot that I had with other substances. Nothing can compare with the hell I went through trying to quit drinking, however stopping smoking weed is no picnic either. Luckily for me the withdrawal symptoms for me tend to go away after about a week. So to anyone out there who is trying to quit or thinking of doing so, it does get better!
By the way, you should probably remove the picture of the beautiful bud at the top. I found myself looking at it a little too much!

Anonymous said...

I agree remove the picture of bud at the top as it looks a little to real for anyone wanting to quit!

Dirk Hanson said...

Okay, okay, by relentless popular demand, I have replaced the photo at the top of the post with a less trichome-rich alternative. Now it's just... nature. ;-)

Anonymous said...

The night sweats and wild dreaming happen to me when i run out or stop for awhile. It only lasts a few nights for me though. Good luck to anyone trying to quit. It will be well worth the effort.

In regards to the post above about antidepressants, this is very real and not unique. I lost a good friend, he spent 6 weeks on ad meds, and now the last 5 years in a mental asylum. The doctors said his body reacted "unusually" and "uncommonly", but a little research will show you the drastic, life changing and deadly side effects these drugs cause are not unusual or uncommon at all. To anyone who is considering antidepressants, please for the sake of you and your families exhaust all other options first.

Dirk Hanson said...

This might be the right time to point out that large numbers of patients take antidepressants and benefit greatly from them without any ill effects.

This does not lessen the terrible reactions some people have had to this class of medication--but for many, many people, they are literally life-savers.

Anonymous said...

well, having read all of these comments and questions I no longer feel so ab-normal..I have been experiencing most of these symptoms including the vivid dreaming. I have been smoke free for a week now. I have been a smoker since I was 15, everyday smoking about 2-3 joints. I am now 20 and decided to quit because I just dont feel that same high anymore and every night since I quit I have been having dreams. Before i go to sleep i pray that i dont dream to get some real sleep but that doesnt seem to work. I also sometimes feel dizzy and light headed..is that normal? the feeling comes out of no where when I least expect it. I'll feel ok and then suddenly I feel light headed and dizzy.

Dirk Hanson said...

"I'll feel ok and then suddenly I feel light headed and dizzy."

As long as you're eating, and getting some sleep, I'm guessing it's part of the process and will pass. (I'm no doctor, can't diagnose or prescribe).

Anonymous said...

ive been smoking 3 to 10 times a day for the past ten years and only chronic or serious kind nugs and i feel like i need to stop,ive cut down drasticly over the past week and havent smoked in a day and a half,by far the most anxiety ive ever had ,diarea ,fever ,light phycotic episodes and anger,my stomach feels like crap like my root chackras are all out of tune,i feel like i dont wanna smoke but i have to....so the best thing for me is get some regular crap weed and take a puff or two to relax these withdrawl effects,hold out as long as i can untill i eventually dont need it,nothing will make me happier than two quit 100 percent.exercise seems like it might help .i see know how marijuana is addictive in high doses and should not be underestamated .feels like when u break up with ur first girlfriend just alot stranger .i also experianced these wierd vivid dreams ,insomnia,and serious loss of appetite,but the mind is strong and can overcome anything .what doesnt kill you makes u stronger

Anonymous said...

It seems rehabs either cost too much money or really have bigger fish to fry when it comes to marijuana addiction. It's just not taken seriously enough.

Dirk Hanson said...

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) just funded a multi-site study of marijuana withdrawal. I posted about it here:

http://addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com/2008/03/feds-fund-study-of-marijuana-withdrawal.html

Anonymous said...

I'm 18 n I've been smoking 4 about a year n sum months. 4 weeks now it seems like evrytime I smoke I go into withdrawal mayb in a couple hours n my body feels weird like somethings wrong with my health n I jus can't place a finger on it..Withdrawal symptoms I experience r racing thoughts sleepless nights, night sweats(just recently) sweaty palms and feet, the list goes on. I kno I can quit n I want to really bad n I will...but can somebody please explain the helpless feeling that something is terribly wrong wit my body(internally), cuz I wudnt wanna lose my life ova constant weed smoking..might b overreacting bt I can't help it..any advice or a few words would b helpful..

Thanx 4 ya time---signed KC

Anonymous said...

I am a 25 year old female. I started smoking at 18. I lost my job last year, and my pot consumption increased. I was basically smoking all day. I quit a few weeks ago, and I have literally been going insane. I have had suicidal thoughts for the first time, since after I was raped at 18. I can't focus on anything. I can't make myself do anything. I need to get my shit together especially since I am in my last semester of college (finally), but I can't seem to get any work done. The anxiety is unbearable. I have cried for entire days. I snap at everyone, including my boyfriend who has been complaining about my excessive sweating. I didn't even think of the sweating as a symptom until I read the other posts here. I don't know what to do. My motivation is future employment drug testing for my chosen field,and it is strong enough to keep me from smoking. Any suggestions on getting my mind into focus?

Dirk Hanson said...

For my part, all I can offer you is the reminder that it WILL pass, and Ken Kesey's advice for dealing with stressful situations: Walk slow, and drink lots of water.

Anonymous said...

The question is no longer "does marijuana induce withdrawal symptoms when heavy smokers cease from using it?" but "where do ppl like us go when we can stop by ourselves and need outside help?"

Anonymous said...

I'm already on Celexa and Wellbutrin (have been for a year) and quit smoking pot last week (ran out and can't afford more). I don't seem to have the depression/anxiety (probably because of the meds), but I definitely am having trouble staying asleep, night sweats, and extremely vivid dreams. Can't yet blame it on menopause, so voila! Must be the absence of my good friend 'Bob'.

Dirk Hanson said...

It turns out that night sweats, vivid dreaming, and interrupted sleep are VERY common symptoms. I wonder if the dreaming isn't some sort of rebound effect, given that pot suppresses dream, or at least dream recall. But the night sweats are hard to figure. Don't know what might account for that phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Hey Im 26, male and Ive only smoked pot for about 3 years with a max consumption of about 6 or 7 blunts. I have also smoked newport lights for about 2 years. About March 10th I decided to quit smoking ciggarettes, I was only up to about less than a pack a day, not a heavy cigg smoker. When I got up to a pack a day, the day after I decided to quit because A PACK TO ME WAS LIKE WOW IM A SMOKER, I didnt like it. I quit it cold turkey. I decided to try and stay on pot because i figured it would be easier. It was 3days no cig or weed, and I decided to smoke a blunt...that blunt made my heart race frantically I was so anxious (anxiety) So I decided then to quit pot. WOW. Ever since then if I was alone with myself or not moving around I would get severe panic attacks like you would not believe, I felt like i was having a heart attack. I was sweaty, chest just pounding. I decided to look up what I was feeling...it was Nicotine and THC withdraw...and fuck what you heard its REAL. Anytime your doing something regularly and stop abruptly its detrimental at first. You have to find something to replace that fulfillment. If you have sex with your girl or guy everyday and they stop giving it to you...well your gonna be pissed and angry and damnit wondering what the fuck is wrong. (sorry for cussing but this is real) With pot it was like my chill thing, with friends, if i wanted to wind down, play video games, do homework whatever, I would even smoke pot to have fun cleaning the house. Cigs were the same. I would smoke at work for a break just get away from the stress. Id smoke with others who needed a smoke for the comradery. When I stopped so quick it was like everything was empty. I didnt have anything to fill that emotional need when those previously stated situations arrose. I would be in my room like I wanna play my PS3 or relax but I felt like i wouldnt have fun. So i just didnt do anything. WRONG move. I developed insomnia from anxiety. I would be fine before i went to bed, but the moment id lie down I started thinking of everything. EVEN THINGS THAT HAPPENED WHEN I WAS A KID. Id tell mysefl, wtf thats over and done. I would get frustrated because i couldnt sleep. Id be ready to fight anyone outside making noise, or tvs in the house playing, or computer noise whatever. I figured YOUR KEEPING ME FROM SLEEPING. I finally realized that i was going through severe withdraw and need a way out. So I went online and looked for ways to relieve stress. I found that jammin out and dancing in my room completely relieved anxiety, the hard heart pumps, the sweats the fear that i was dying. I would it on and rock out, i mean loundly sing my favorite songs I would dance like i was at a concert. Hands up rockin out. I felt so free, i started getting tingles all over like someone just gave me millions of dollars. I COULDNT BELIEVE IT. It relieve the weird sensations in my lungs from them repairing, removed the weird thoughts. This high usually lasted as long as i stayed with the music playing even if it wasnt loud and as long as I bobbed my head even if i was tired from really dancing. IM SERIOUS THIS WORKS. I decided to make time to do it everyday. At night when im ready for bed, literally I write in a journal saying what i didnt like about what i was feeling. typical entry: why am I feeling like shit, this is a good thing, im getting better, i can find something better to do. Eventually u limit ur excuses for feeling guilty/bad/anxious. This is only my approx. 3rd week off both. Everyday its like torture, but as long as im not alone or bored I dont get withdraw symptoms. Exercise helps because it speeds up healing, recirculates blood, and just really clears you. Anxiety can cause loads of problems, like high blood sugar, dizziness, weakness, heart palps..the gauntlet. However you can get through it. Take the time everytime you feel bad to make yourself feel good even if its temp...I went to the ER because i thought i was having a heart attack, they took a chest xray, did blood work, EKG and monitored me. They found nothing wrong. Qutting smoking cause me to feel like I was congested in my nose and chest...kinda like if your nose is clogged and you are so tired and need to sleep. You know that feeling you feel like your nose and mouth are a suction cup choking you. That can cause panic attacks cause of the shallow breathing, the worry and frustration about not sleeping, its a ballcrusher. I try and keep my room cool, not cold but cool to keep the mucus from hindering breathing or causing chest discomfort. Decongestants work and give you one less thing to worry about and make breathing and relaxation easier. This is in no way easy for me, but when your used to planning your day including getting off work hitting the "L" or going outside to smoke that cigg, and dont its just not easy. I hope this helps someone cause its helping me finally talk about this..GLG

Anonymous said...

I amd 33 yrs old and have been smoking pot daily since I was 18. I did run into some trouble with the law and was forced to stop smoking for 2 yrs from age 21 to 24.

There have also been many short periods of time I had to stop because of lack of money or not able to find any pot. But for the most part I smoke on average about 5 grams of pot a day.

I just want to say that the withdrawl symptoms described, nightsweats,anxiety, and depression are problems that I experience with or without pot. Even when i stopped for 2yrs I still had these symptoms on a regular basis.

Has it every occured to anyone that people who have low self esteem, problems with anxiety or depression naturally turn to drugs like pot as a way to self medicate?

Besides the financial burden and my problems with the law, pot has been nothing but good to me. I think more clearly when I am using it. I pay more attention to what I do or say, and think more in depth about the consequences of my words or actions than I do when not on pot.

I tend to base decissions more on what really matters, and it removes the lack of greed or urge to be better or have more than my neighbors.

It makes me realize how stupid the TV really is, how much people are influenced by the media and advertising, and how the general drive of the common person is based on material possesions that the media keeps telling them they must have to be a good person.

I think the reason the government does not want people to smoke is the general lack of motivation they say it gives people. You need to also know there is no lack of motivation, I am easily motivated to do anything if there is a good reason to do it. I do lose motivation and drive to own more than i need, to buy things that are not a neccesity, to follow the latest fads with clothing, or to "keep up with the jone's" in general.

It makes me feel content with what I have, with my freinds and family. It makes me realize I dont have to keep my lawn perfect and green, my car's shiny and new, or my clothes expensive and strange looking when they go out of style.

It free's me from this consumer driven world that we live in. For I am content without the need to go shopping or spend an hour in the bathroom smothering chemicals all over my body to hide our natural pheromones, or alter how I really look.

We do, what we do, and live the way we do, because the small percent of the population who controls most of the money wants us to feel this way. If we did not they would hold no power over us and everyone would live as equals.

Pot can free your mind and for this reason will remain illegal for as long as its possible.

“You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.”

“Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?”

“Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold...”

"Preacherman, dont tell me,
Heaven is under the earth.
I know you dont know
What life is really worth.
Its not all that glitters is gold;
half the story has never been told:
"So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. come on!"
Most people think,
Great God will come from the skies,
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth,
You will look for yours on earth:
And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights. jah!"

"We sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game -
Dyin n goin to heaven in-a jesus name, lord.
We know when we understand:
Almighty God is a living man.
You can fool some people sometimes,
But you cant fool all the people all the time.
So now we see the light (what you gonna do? ),
We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)"

Dirk Hanson said...

There's no denying the pleasurable and introspective side of pot--why else would millions of Americans smoke it with few, if any, ill effects?

This post and the resulting comment thread have mostly centered on people with addictive propensities, who often find that they have great difficulty, and suffer identical symptoms, whenever--and for whatever reason--they abstain from weed.

Anonymous said...

To everyone experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana use:

Every time you face the physical and/or psychological difficulties related to your quitting (which may well include serious battling with some pseudo-rationalizing as to why you NOW can/should/need to go light one up), remind yourselves the simple fact: You feel the way you feel, simply because your body is in the gradual but positive phase of DETOX.

No matter how depressed,lethargic or anxious you feel, ALL THIS is because your system has began the cleaning process. Your body is going through the DETOX. In other words, YOU FEEL SICK BECAUSE YOU ARE GAINING BACK YOUR HEALTH. The logic to it may seem hard to get at first, but that's how any DETOX works. So every time you feel the weight of the symptoms, two things to do right-off: acknowledge and congratulate yourself.

ACKNOWLEDGE that your body is striving to accomplish something quite hard. CONGRATULATE yourself for the strength of your body, CONGRATULATE yourself for the strength of your will power. Yeah, tap on that shoulder of yours, your DETOX is working JUST FINE.

Don't give in to the urge. Adding Vitamin B supplements to your diet, enjoying a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice daily, drinking plenty of water and making the effort to introduce to your everyday routine a healthy, preferably physical habit are simple but effective steps to help pace your detox. (Everyone says it but few do really realize: Exercise is a natural dopamine-booster. Just a 20 min-a-day kind of exercise,like yoga, pilates or simple stretching can and does wonders)

Peace.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say I'm glad I found this site because as many people have noted the common wisdom is that there are few, if any, symptoms of withdrawal. I used to be a moderate smoker (about 2 bowls a day, no problem with not smoking a week or two at a time) and quit about 10 days ago. I've noticed the irritability and mood swings, which I expected, but didn't make the connection between the vivid and frequent dreams and waking at night until I read all the other comments.

When I used to smoke and even before I started, remembering my dreams was VERY rare, and I would remember maybe one dream a month or less. For almost every day since I quit I've been remembering multiple dreams every night. I started keeping a dream journal which is fun in itself but I also noticed that I've had at least 3 dreams nightly, sometimes 6 or more that I could remember upon waking, and several were so vivid that I remember the complete experience now.

As interesting as it is though I hope it passes soon because I've been waking up in the middle of the night a lot as well. I'm pretty sure it's related, although most of my dreams don't end with me waking up in cold sweat or scared out of my mind, thankfully. I think just the act of dreaming that vividly prevents me from feeling completely rested. It seems that after I finally get to dreamless sleep (usually around 4-5 AM, sometimes as late as after 7 AM) I'm fine and get a much more restful sleep, but obviously it's not enough.

Anyway, I also wanted to give out a tip for people trying to quit as well, since I've quit for months at a time before with no real problems, and noticed that there are some factors that help a lot. Most important is to remove the accessibility to smoke. That means sell or give all your pot away, as well as all your smoking implements. Ideally you want to sell/give them to people you don't hang out with all the time, as your chances of getting them back will be much higher if you do. The single biggest factor in not quitting when I wanted to was the fact that it was right there in front of me. While of course you can always buy more, doing so reminds you that you're in the process of preparing to smoke again, and it takes more time and planning, time in which you can talk yourself back out of it. Just my two cents, good luck to everyone out there!

Anonymous said...

im not going to say how much ive smoked daily or for how many years cause i feel like im in a pissing contest when i do that. i am going to say that i quit smoking because i felt as if smoking was holding me back financially, emotionally, physically. though socially ive made the best friends of my life through having weed in common. this is day 3 of sobriety for me and i have gone through all of the withdrawal symptoms that have been mentioned in the above posts. ive been working out daily since i quit and it has helped me to sleep. i think of myself as headstrong ive exposed myself to basically every drug you could think of i have 24 cavitys in my mouth from a meth habit i walked away from meth knowing that weed would be my comfort with no problems. now its thc and nicotine-the final hold outs and its not easy. i already miss the ganja after all it was my true first love as crazy as that may sound. i remember as a child the smell as my dad and friends enjoyed laughs together while smoking. i suppose that stuck with me from then. well the withdrawals get bad then better then worse and im beginning to question if it is worth the trouble. i reason thus far by picturing myself reaching milestones in my life that i feel otherwise would pass me by. well for those ready to move on good luck and for those still toking enjoy. as for me its time to get some things done in my life. i just wish i could hurry and fill this void that i have created. any advise?

Anonymous said...

I've recently stopped smoking weed altogether after being a 3-5 times a day smoker for about half a year. Before that time I used it much more sparingly and rarely bought it if ever.

Needless to say I am quitting now because of the difficulty I've been having finding a job with my college degree (not because of failing tests, just the nature of the economy). I worry about having to get a job for supplemental income but being required to drug test. I didn't want to take any chances so I figured better safe than sorry.

My body has never really been the strongest in my life, and I often suffered from anxiety even before smoking weed. After quiting I've suffered most of the common withdrawal symptoms: increased anxiety, slight depression, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. I know my symptoms are being increased by normal unfortunate everyday anxiety.

I guess my major questions would be:

1. How long does the loss of appetite usually last? It's hard to deal with because even the smells of certain foods cause me nausea and it's the symptom I'm struggling with the most.

2. Are there any natural vitamins or supplements I can take to increase appetite? It seems like so many people are trying to lose weight nowadays that it's hard to readily find something to have the opposite effect.

3. I've been able to get Ambien from a relative to aid with my insomnia. It's not the CR but it's still something I don't have a prescription for. I know it's not a controlled or illegal substance, but is it possible to cause a false negative during general job drug testing?

4. I've been taking Kava-Kava extract to deal with the anxiety, which has really worked wonders, but I feel it might be having an adverse effect on my appetite. Is this possible?

I'm about 8 days bone-sober now, and I've genuinely been feeling better, albeit with more of a decrease in appetite. I've also been exercising more to aid with the insomnia but it seems nothing can really be a cure for an overactive mind while lying in bed. I hope that these symptoms subside soon because it's hard to keep sober nothing one joint could alleviate all my symptoms.

Anonymous said...

Dirk,

I seem to recall reading somewhere that your brain produces its own "cannabinoid" called anandamide. One reason our brains have an natural affinity for cannabis in the first place. And that this anandamide is involved in the body's temperature regulation system. This may account for the night sweats we experience when abstaining. Because we have been flooding those anandamide receptors with plant-based cannabinoids, the body all but shuts down its production of anandamide to offset this flood. Then when we stop using, the brain does not have this anandamide store to fall back on. At least for a while. This may account for the body's temperature-regulating system to go haywire. So the body may produce those night sweats in an attempt to keep its nocturnal temp in check. Perhaps like when you break a fever from the flu and end up soaking the sheets. The body is chemically confused and, until it can get back in sync, it may be trying its best at keeping its internal temp stabilized.

Dirk Hanson said...

Yes, you're right, there exists a small body of published studies suggesting a connection between cannabis and thermoregulation. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm looking into it...

Anonymous said...

I'm begining to DESPISE corticotrophin-releasing factor. As well as my amygdala. Little bastard.

Dirk Hanson said...

That damn amygdala wants you to be afraid--very afraid!

Don't believe it.

D

Anonymous said...

What particularly sticks in MY craw (deeply) is the astonishingly transparent hypocracy of the FDA and DEA. The "Fraud and Drug Administration" can and routinely does approve potentially deadly drugs (such as SSRIs or Vioxx) while the DEA (which is aptly named - they enforce PRESCRIPTION drugs) and local police arrested some 800,000 people for cannabis possesion alone in 2007. A typical scenario might go like this: I'm depressed. So I take an SSRI with its myriad of serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects. From this you'll hear: "Oh, I'm so glad you've decided to do something good for yourself!" OR: I'm depressed. So I utilize some completely non-toxic cannabis to help relieve it. Sadly, in this instance, you'll no doubt hear: Oh, my! You've got a serious drug problem! Let's get you into rehab right away!" It never ceases to amaze.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I finally feel sane again after reading these postings. I am a 48 year old male who has been smoking weed since 1975. Anywhere from 2-6 joints per day of good quality pot for the last four year. Decided to quit about a week ago and my life has been a living hell since. With the bad economic and global news I was beginning to actual fixate on the end of the world and my and my wife's survival!. Needless to say my wife has been very concerned and extremely supportive. Haven't eatin a full meal in a week, very tired and depressed, stomach in knots. I had actually called my dealer this morning to restock because I thoought the pot may have been the problem but now that I found this web site I have called him back and decided to rough it out as long as it takes. Thank You, Thank You, Thank you

Dirk Hanson said...

You've touched on another common symptom, the something-is-very-wrong-but-I-don't-know-what-it-is symptom. That can be a very unpleasant form of anxiety for sure.

I'm glad this site proved helpful. I've been amazed at the response to the original post and the thoughtful ongoing discussion, for which I can take none of the credit. But it just goes to show that this issue is not commonly discussed.

Anonymous said...

Needless to say, this article was very informative. I smoked daily for 8 years and quit two weeks ago cold turkey. I've experienced almost all of the withdrawal symptoms. Without a doubt the "everything is wrong feeling" has been the worse for me. I now wish that I would have planned out the quitting process by starting at 10 hits a day, and eliminating one hit a day, for 10 days, until I was down to one hit the day before I quit. I know this may not be the most scientific method of quitting, but I think it may help alleviate the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Maybe Dirk can help shed light on whether this will help or not.

Dirk Hanson said...

I don't know of any specific studies that have looked at tapering as a method of giving up pot. Maybe some people can try it and report back.

Tapering doesn't seem to work for most people. Experience shows that when it comes to alcohol, cigarettes, or crack, for example, tapering is generally not an effective strategy. There comes a time when you have to taper to zero--and that's the catch.

But there are exceptions. Nicotine replacement therapies like gum and patches are a form of tapering, and they seem to help a lot of people. And tapering also seems to work if you decide to stop drinking coffee. If you taper off, you can avoid some of the headache problems associated with caffeine withdrawal.

However, sometimes tapering is just a form of procrastination--like the guy whose goal was to shift his status from "active alcoholic" to "problem drinker."

Dirk Hanson said...

Check out my current post in response to AlterNet's assertion that the idea of marijuana withdrawal is "laughable"
http://addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com/2008/04/marijuana-withdrawal-what-marijuana.html

Anonymous said...

I used to smoke marijuana on a consistent basis. Of course, I told myself that I would only smoke it on weekends but with all of my mates also enjoying the greeens things became exponentially more difficult. Feelings of complacency dominated my life. I moved to the UK for some contractual work and stopped smoking completely for three months. I then had an stressful day at the office and smoked a massive spliff that evening, boy was it relaxing. Of course, the chances of falling back into the game substantially increased but since then I have only smoked once a month which has allowed me to stay mentally sharp but enjoy the experience so much more. Everything in moderation.

Anonymous said...

well...i have quit for about a month
after smoking all day every day for like...9 monthes...
cant think...cant do jack
i used to be smart and functional
now im supposed to get a job and i doubt ill be able to handle it because i feel severe derealization going on...\
does this go away!!
i mean...
some of you say after a week you feel better...its been a month... i still feel insane.

Dirk Hanson said...

For some people, a week; for some, a month; for others as long as a few months.

Metabolisms vary.

Stay tough.

Adam said...

Iv smoked for a couple of years but never to what Id call a heavy amount, maybe 3-4 times a month. Then I started uni, since oct 2007 iv slowly smoked more and more. At the christmas holidays, I was sneakig out the house at night for a smoke, I couldnt sleep without it and was iritable with my family. After I returned to uni I began smoking even more. I got to the point where my tolerance was high and costing £50 every other day. I came back at easter pretty Ill, Id lost alot of weight, depressed, mood swings, extreme anxiety, and felt mentally and physicaly weak, but I didnt have any cravings for weed so didnt smoke. I went back to uni for a night, one heavy night. Next night back home I was craving weed, completely paranoid, sweating, couldnt sleep, I felt like my brain wouldnever rest. This lasted a few days. I havnt smoked now for 3 weeks and feel great for it. I still feel ocasional anxiety especially when I think about returning to uni next week, all my friends smoke and Im going to find it hard not to get dragged back in. On a lighter note, I have started dreaming again but they are very tiring, will my dreams gradually go back to normal?

Dirk Hanson said...

Most people seem to be reporting that the extremely vivid, dramatic, and sometimes exhausting nature of their dreams returns to baseline over time.

If you haven't been dreaming much for a long time, any recalled dreaming at all can sometimes seem like a lot.

michael said...

i quit smoking pot a few days ago. the first time i smoked pot i was 13, but then i didnt smoke at all during high school [too busy chasing girls lol]. after high school i was a casual/recreational pot smoker, smoking with friends and stuff maybe a few times a week. when i was 21 me and my girlfriend of a couple years broke up and i started smoking pretty much everyday, mostly out of boredom. i continued to smoke everyday for a couple years but quit when i was 23 for almost a whole year. it was a combination of financial strains, getting a new job, and just wanting to know that i still had control over my life. these were the reasons that i quit. and it wasn't easy but it also wasn't that bad.

i resumed smoking again when i got a new job that paid way more than i had ever made. i could have stayed a non-smoker but i simply wanted to smoke pot again. it wasnt out of a need or anxiety or anything.

now i am 25, and have quit again. the reasons why i am quitting again are these:

1) i am moving to seattle to live with my brother and his wife and new son real soon. i decided not to bring my pot habit with me. it would be wrong to bring that into my brothers home because i know he does not condone it.

2) i have aspirations of being a professional musician. doing so requires doing a TON of networking and the fact is being a serious pot smoker limits the type of people you can associate with professionally.

3) i have this thing about vices and control and stuff. i think its why i tend to quit pot every couple of years. i need to know that i am in control and can survive without any dependencies (besides the obvious food, water, air, rock n roll etc... )

the symptoms i am experiencing are very much the same symptoms i had last time i quit. general boredom and a disinterest in things. decreased appetite (i make myself to eat when i start feeling weak or get hunger pains.) luckily i havent experienced any nausea.

i now understand that these feelings are normal. anytime you break a habit like this, you are going to feel the requisite seperation anxiety that goes along with removing it. i am of the opinion that anything can become addictive to somebody and can produce these symptoms, even things like TV, the internet, etc...

most people have things that they latch onto for comfort. it's kind of human nature. you need to find something that makes you comfortable that is a more positive influence in your life.

Dirk Hanson said...

P.S. on vivid dreaming. Possibly it lasts longer than I suggested--

Results of a 2003 study of cannabis withdrawal cited in the American Journal of Psychiatry (161:11 Nov. 2004):

"Most effects were transient, i.e. returned to baseline levels by the end of the second week of abstinence, although strange dreams and sleep difficulties showed significant elevations throughout the [45-day]study."

So vivid dreaming and sleep problems may be longer lasting than other withdrawal symptoms, at least according to this study.

Anonymous said...

that picture isnt so bad.
ok.
well for me its been since march 11. thats when i quit.
still...i feel mildly down syndromed...i had been introduced to smoking weed on a daily basis last june and have been smoking pretty much ever since. loved it so much i quit my job and did it every day all day. spent about 10,000 dollars. i started experience depersonalization not knowin what it was, just thinking that something was wrong with me...everyone else seemed to be fine smoking. so i just kept on smoking!! i probably made it much worse. but now im having the worst mood swings ever...snapping on everyone and not even knowing what i did. they look at me in shock and im like "what?".
hopefully this gets better...i got a job.
im on lamictal. my psychologist told me i have borderline personality disorder...but im not sure if thats true. depersonalization/derealization and severe mood swings are symptoms of marijuana withdrawl too right?well its been a month like i stated earlier and it just seems to be getting worse.

Anonymous said...

I quit end of 2007 and have noticed a change in my reaction to everything. I have a hard time getting excited about much, my dreams are crazy vivid, my sex drive is down, and all in all I feel rather drained all the time. I also made major changes in my eating habits (all good) and excercise (from nothing to 3-5 days a week). Shouldn't I be feeling great?

peter said...

Hi every1, i have been quit for over 2 months and a half months... My last join was at the end of january. What is strange for me that i really only had 1 night sweat that i can remeber this was 3 weeks after then the following night i didnt sleep then snapped into a crazy depression/anxiety/feeling the next day. i tried the herbal route and detox methods, lots of water/green tea's/ vitamins, st johns wort, but while things where getting better i would crash back down again after a week or so.. i have been on anti depressants now for just over 2 weeks and have had alot of symptoms for 7-8 weeks now, i feel better some days when busy but i really have a negativer thought like something is still wrong with me? i know time will be the healer and the depression i suffered i felt like it was a really bad,nothing i can ever compare anything too. My question is will i be guaranteed to heal 100% i smoked for about 10years, usually only 1 joint a night and i had lots of breaks inbetween this time.. i never smoked in the day really, only very occasionly. SO i am now going to pop my anti depressant, which from 3 days after taking did level me out to some extent.. but not really the miricle i hoped for... just feels more copable at the moment. I still feel like i am getting dsturbed sleep at loints because some dreams feel like i am having a nightmare but infact they arnt. Any more advice would be grea? i feel like patience is still getting the better of me, and the minute i wake up teh first thing i think of is teh fact that each day is the same. no real enjoyment is still present. I feel like i am stuck in a world that i cant get out of. I mean if these syptoms carry on for another month i am going to have to think about what i am going to do, beacsue i might even try going back on the cannabis if the syptoms stay like this. I had a close friend who quit and told us he had a really bad time with it and lasted him months.. He has been there for me lots trying to reasure me that i will get better but time will heal.. what is baffling me instead of trying to enjoy my day i keep coming back to all these forums for answers when there really is none at all except work through it! Is there any really really heavy smoker who have been through hell and got through it 100%? i wasnt the heaviest smoker by all means but surely none of this smoking was worth it belive me.. i feel like i have wrecked my whole life and it is only just starting :( if any1 has a miricle cure plz let me know

many thanks.

Dirk Hanson said...

Two weeks isn't always long enough to get the full benefit of an antidepressant. ADs don't always work outright miracles; their positive benefit is sometimes subtle and cumulative for those they help.

peter said...

Hi dirk, well i have been quit for some time now, but really i just still feel like i am not the same anymore... I keep coming back posting comments in forums in search of a miricle, but there seems to be none.. I think the anti depressants are helping with the syptoms because when i get anxiety it is not very severe but more just keeps my mood pretty down insead of just thinking about enjoying whatever comes ahead. I mean from me experiencing the withdrawal syptoms which i felt where really bad i dont feel as bad but just not myself anymore. I think overall i didnt really abuse cannabis to the extent that it took over my life. more just socially and it never interfeared with my relationship or my work. I always felt great! even when i couldnt be arsed getting up which was most days, but 1 hour l8r i would always be happy and cheerful. I mean even if somebody said next month you will be 100% great i would love the thought of that but i feel like i might never get back to normal, no my night are spent cleaning the house watching tely, exersising but it doesnt feel like it is enough, just feel like there is still a problem. The cannabis should be all out my system now and i know i dont want to smoke cannabis anymore, although there has been an increase in the amount of ciggaretes i smoke which was about 3 then i would smoke a joint in the evening but now i smoke 10 a day. I wish time would heal me like every1 else.. well i think i would need more time still but, 7 weeks or more of depression is quite alot to take, but as i say i do feel better from other days, the only thing which is very different from me is that..... from my initial panic attack and anxiety where it kicked in i was like that for about 4 days, then i felt like i was getting better, then i would feel better for a few days then it would come back for a week or more , then it would settle slightly, then come back, i felt better last week than i do this week really. Just because i have had some anxiety which has led me to belive that i am still not better although not as severe. Any other suggestions or information would be great. Just to continue the story alos, i have a close friend who went throught the same ordeal. he descibed it as the worst time of his life, he is now 100% but i have probably smoke double in my life as to what he has smoked. How much longer can i wait till i wake up as happay as larry!! maybe i am still convincing myself there is a problem.. eitherway it is a horrible situation! feels unfair and regret is all i feel at the moment, i just remeber that i used to love lighting up a reefa and feeling so relaxed that i didnt care about anything, now i cant relax :(

cheers any more comments would be welcomed!

George said...

Hi Peter, I consider myself to be one of the luckier ones who didnt have such a hard time after quiting smoking. What was worse for me was the last month of smoking I was quite depressed and relied on the pot to bring some joy to my life. As we know any artificial high in life generally is followed by a return to reality, so I never really escaped my depression for long. I struggled to be happy and always questioned why and looked for medical reasons or other excuses to why I was down. Like you say there never seems to be a miraculous way out.
Seeing friends in similar positions as mine, I decided to put their happiness before mine. I found putting a smile on others faces brought somthing to me. Maybe this sounds a bit hippy (i think its a buddhist belief) and whether it simply gave my mind time away from itself that helped im not sure, I dont know what science or psychology is behind it, all I know is it helped me.

Forums arnt always going to have answer that suit everyone, one mans rubbish is anothers mans gold as they say.

Hope this helps and I hope you continue to get better.

Anonymous said...

I am 42 and smoked daily for most of the past 30 years.

For a long time I considered myself a functioning "potaholic" managing to somewhat succeed in life.

Then it happened - my wife of 12 years discovered I was a pot addict. I lost everything, but I still did not quit.

In fact, I stepped it up now that I did not have to hide it.

Years later I quit for 6 months while looking to switch jobs. The day I started that job I got high.

Two years later I am trying again. Why? Because my ST memory is going and I am always anxious.

I am not sure if I will ever kick the habit, but I am determined to live a different life - one without the "relief" that pot brings.

My advice - quit before you regret it.

You may say "not me, I will never be as weak as that guy". Don't go down that road - learn from the mistakes of others like myself. the earlier you quit, the less regret you'll have.

I hope this helps someone.

Anonymous said...

I am 22 and have been smoking for about 4 years everday. I quite about a week and a half ago and I just feel hopeless. It became part of my life. My friends were my friends because we did it, and now I don't see them. Me and my boyfriend have tried to quit before with no avail (because of me). I guess I just finally realized that I had to make the decision on my own, but it is so hard. I am just a mess. I feel like I am going crazy. It was what I looked forward to and now it just feels like I have nothing to do. I know I can't and don't want to start again but I feel like I can't handle this much longer. I am just so mean, and before I never was mean. I just lost a part of me while I smoked it and I want that back but how long is it going to take? I feel like it disconnected me from all real emotion. I guess it will be worth it in the end. This article helped confirm that it is hard and it is a struggle but if you people can do it, I can! :)

Anonymous said...

if ismoke once does it start the withdrawl process all over again and does that mean that all the hard work i did quitting for a month is ruined?

Joel said...

Hi All, Ive recently discovered that I am going through sometihng very wierd, i didnt know what it was exactly, Im still not even sure, I have been smoking weed consistantly for about 10 - 15 years now, A few joints a day, I couldnt go even one whole day with out it, B4 jonesing and wanting to go grab from the nearest person to me, But it made me feel normal, and not actually high, But normal.... That being said, I recently went to Costa Rica where i was on vacation for almost 2 weeks, There not worrying about getting high because the weed out there sucks ass, and I only get high from chronic weed in Toronto Canada, So i just ignored it and had an amazing time out there, smoking only reallllly crappy weed out there once in the middle of my trip, a few days later from not smoking i devleoped what i thought to be a serious fever, But no one else could tell that it was soo, Couldnt eat or drink alchohol like usually do, because i Drink alot, always so tohught nothing of it, Felt ok for a few days later, went back home caught pnemonia for a bit, or at least what i tohught was pnemonia, after 3 weeks, It continued, and still is, so i get barely any sleep toss and turn, vivid dreams at night, all that insomnia stuff, a bit loss of appetite then it comes back and im starving, But mainly the reason im writing is because i wake up every morning no question, with my head to me feeling hot and burning, so after about 3 or so weeks, i went to the doctor to get bloodwork, all looked ok, i went to the emergency to get it again, and all the std tests because i do partake in unsafe sex, and still everyting seemed fine with my blood, By 2 oclock every day i get incredible headaches that me me irratable, and i still have this hot feeling, So a freinds suggested it might actuially be withdrawls, I tohuht that was stupid because how could that be, and only now after reading all this stuff im readin i really beilive that i might be normal, and all this is happeneing to me because of weed, Ive quit cold turkey from it over 15 years of smoking not 2 - 5 like the majority of people have been, My quseetion is will i feel normal soon, im sooo irratble stressed out, I have sooo much stuff going on in my life that adds to my stress level, quiting my job, my addictions, and moving and selling my possesions, the list goes on and on, But i cant shake this hot headache as the only way i can describe it, But what is wierd to me is qwhy did i feel fine for a long time in Costa rica, and then sick, then good, now crappy again for 3 straight weeks, going milder a tad here and there, Buit i cant take it anymore i just want to feel normal, thinkin of botox for my migranes or something else i can do to stop it, any hel[p, or anyone think that it is marijuanna withdrawl for sure, or something else, Ive taken every test imaginable except an EKG, Just end already, Sorry for rambling but i jsut want these hot burning headaches to go away, THX Joel

Joel said...

And Peter, Please tell me that it has been getting a bit better hopefully almost gone for you now, I reallllly dont want to take any antidepresents, I jsut want to feel normal like you said again, Please someone help,lol... THX

Dirk Hanson said...

"if i smoke once does it start the withdrawl process all over again and does that mean that all the hard work i did quitting for a month is ruined?"
-------------

Depends. If smoking once leads you back to smoking regularly, and you don't want to smoke regularly, then I guess so.

If you only smoke one time it is unlikely that you would be hit with the full panoply of withdrawal symptoms all over again--except for craving, which is sort of like the pilot light on the furnace.

Dirk Hanson said...

Joel--

You're right, 15 years of steady toking--if you are an addictive person--is going to give you a case of the Greater Whim-Whams when you go cold turkey. I don't know what to say about the headaches--haven't heard of that before and I'm no doctor so can't really offer up anything.

Your experience in Costa Rica brings up an interesting point. Part of withdrawal from, and craving for, any addictive drug on the part of an abstaining addict is environmental--set and setting. Because you were in a setting that you didn't traditionally associate with your pot activities, and mostly abstained and accepted that you had to go without, you effectively cut back one element of the equation: a loss of control, or a momentary impulse, couldn't be acted upon by showing up at your dealer's door with cash in hand.

Not that "doing a geographic" is any sort of permanent solution, but it might be worth a try for people considering a quit attempt. By going somewhere you cannot buy weed, for whatever reason, you might find the early going a little easier. I'm just speculating and don't know how it might go for other people, but I have heard this from a few other smokers. They miss it less when they're somewhere they can't score.

Dirk Hanson said...

Another thing:

Joel mentioned smoking to "feel normal." This is more common than most people realize. A LOT of smokers say this.

For recreational smokers, this seems incomprehensible: What's normal about being baked? But for some people who feel out of balance because of innate biochemical abnormalities, addictive drugs DO perform a sort of normalizing effect.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I experienced all the symptoms mentioned and definitely addicted.
I reached a point after 15-20 years of use where the negative was outwaying the positive....here is the problem...once I get through the acute withdrawl I still feel balanced or able to cope well. Feels like damned if I do and damned if I don't ...any suggestions???

Joel said...

Hey again, THX Dirk for the response, and yes i do belive that lack of availabiltiy to a substance helps in certain cases, But at the end of my trip there I started the symptoms, went away, then came back again vigourously, I had a bout a 2 week stent where i was weak and phsyically toast, But now its about week 4, and all i can say is I have Hot Headxaaches, I wake up with it, i go to sleep with it, I have stress like crz, and Im just dying to know if anyone has ahad similar symptoms and have gone away, My friend has told me that when he was dealing with Heroin withdrawl, the bset way to deal is to eat healthy, drink alot and sweat it out, Do you itnhk that might help, as I cant take ithis much longer, any advice from yah Dirk, or anonoymus, or Peter would love to know how your doing now, again, Sorry for the rambling, Obviously another symptom of it, My stress and irritability just needs to end, Joel

Dirk Hanson said...

Joel--

Been to a doctor lately? Maybe it's time to consult an M.D. and get a check-up and see if something else might be contributing to your symptoms.

Stay tough.

Joel said...

Yes, Been to DR, hes an didiot, blood work all good, Still was in pain, so AI went to the hospital for Emergeny, and the same, All fine, the only thing they said was Stress, But i can imagine stress giving me the headahces yes, But not a hot Burning feeling, and not right when i get up, through sleep, non stop, so Dunno what else i can do, looking for a Head fix here, botox, shots, sometihng

Anonymous said...

Joel:

I am anonymous from the only 4/17 post.

Smoking stimulates brain activity, and like me, you feel better when you smoke. Since you, like me, have smoked for many years, your brain, and mood, is highly dependent on smoking to just stay normal.

Now that you are not smoking, your brain is confused and has to learn a new way to operate. It will, but it takes time. Hormone production needs a readjustment period.

I suggest you keep doing what you are doing (eating correctly, sleeping enough, hydrating and exercising. But add in meditation - I don't mean the kind that swami's do, but the one where you take time out to think away the anxiety and symptoms and take the focus on them. I am sure you have moments in the day where you feel good - focus on those moments when you are not feeling good.

What ever you do, do not smoke. I predict 2-3 months of newly learned behavior.

I have quit for a brief time in the past and it wasn't bad. But this time it is terrible and I suffer many of the same symptoms as you do.

If you couple quitting with the pressures of life you talked of, the stress levels are going to be high. Stress releases serious hormones that effect the brain.

Do the stress and "sick" symptoms occur at certain times in the day? For me it's the morning.

Do you have a stressful job? I am a CPA and the anxiety of dealing with people when I am not doing well even worsens matters - maybe you are under the same pressures.

After 30 years of smoking I have to quit - I don't want to, but I have to. It is a matter of health - both mental and physical (lungs), but mostly mental (hormone production and memory preservation).

If you have not suffered serious prolonged side effects from smoking for many years, consider yourself fortunate.

I am reading the posts daily and look forward to hearing about your progress.

Anonymous said...

I'm only 17, and I've been smoking for about a year, but the past six months I've been smoking about 4-5 days a week, if I stop one day, I get horrible headaches and migranes or I feel like I'm missing out on life, usually by this time, I need to lay down, or smoke a joint....lately, I've been smoking a joint. Is this going to get worse? I know the right thing to do is stop, but it's pretty hard, I feel stupid saying this since I haven't been smoking for some large part of my life like 20 years.

Anonymous said...

To "I am only 17"

You only have one life - summon up the motivation to resist and apply yourself in life as a substitute to smoking.

Or continue to smoke and then have to deal with the problems that come with it - just read some of the posts from long time smokers.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets easier as you get older.

The decision is yours.

Joel said...

Hey Back Anonymous from 4/17,

Well thanks very much for your concern, as Obviously if i keep coming back to this site every day and sometimes 2 or 3 times, i tihnk you guys here are the only ones who seem to help if even just a bit, if even just for the knoledge of it, Becuase Dr's dont seem to help, or care much for a marijuanna withdrawl...

For some of the questions you asked, Yes Mornings are usually the toughest, By the time i get to work its a bit stronger, and then becuase of my stressfull Job, it just goes to over drive, I run a print shop, dealing with Corporate million dollar clients, My boss is an idiot, so he doesnt help, so its all on me, so by 1 I just get crz headaches that make me wanna go home and lay my head down, But ofcourse I cant becuase i have bills to pay and a life to live, its really tough for me to eat healthy and workout as much as i do normally becuase of this situation, But ive never heard of these hormone and chemical balance stuff that my brain needs, or is producing momore of now that im Weed defficient and stressed out to the max.....

Everyone sais it will pass in time, But how long can this take, and how long can I go through this, Its easy to say now, that I wishhhhhhhed, I nver smoked as much as I did my whole life, No one ever thinks Weed actually effects you seriously, But i am proof, that it doesm and the time you do it, its obviously awesome, going to parties, concerts, chilling at home, drinkg, etc.... But trust me if this is the woutcome of it, Its not worth it, anyone reading tyhis who is new to weed, or recent, like you the 17 year old, QUIT NOW, i know its a ogood feeling, but there are painfull side effects that I can only pray will go away...

so if anyone reading this, Dirk, Peter, Anonymous have an idea of a time frame or know that I will be my normal self again, sometime, Please write so, because talking seems to help a bit, Then i go back to work and have hot headaches all over again...

THX Joel

peter said...

Hi every1, I have recently gone throught a crazy time with the cannabis withdrawal. I still feel like i am no-where? why is that? i keep asking myself. I have had days where i have really picked up and almost thought that i was better and would be better by next week ect. My last joint was at the end of january. I have withdrawal kick in 3 weeks after my last joint. I am still a nervous wreck. But i have come to relize it is only myself to blame. I have paniced and thought about these syptoms no stop all day everyday(or most when i feel depressed etc) Even after my syptoms first showed up about 4 days later i thought i was getting better and then by the weekend i had a sleepless night which in turd took me back to square 1, this time probably worse because at that point i was terrified at to what was going on. i then had a major life change and was fine for a week.... i thought again i was cured at last, then setback again!!! At that point my depression was worse and couldnt sleep and couldnt even move around the house properly. I have come to relize after reading this book, that all the syptoms of stress come into a cycle that makes averything worse, Emotions, fatigue doubt, depression, and so on and so on. I now atleast understand what is going on. My fear is the fear of not getting better instead of just going with the flow until the syptoms no longer matter to me, then i will be cured. Because i am only sleeping 2 hours a night for the last few days i feel terrible and my anxiety is crippling me. I started anti depressants 3.5 weeks ago and they are still to take any effect of the syptoms, i might actually be thinking that they are making me worse even. The mornings is where i feel it the most. I wake up from still bewildered by this depression and dread! I need to just learn now to face it all and go with the flow. To add some peace to this matter, i have a friend who had a similar experience, i cannot say it was exactly the same as any of us, but he had similar syptoms... IE thought he was going mad, depression, anxiety, and he was baffled by cronic sickness and diahrea. He said his weeks where literly spent on 2 hours sleep and throwing up throughout the day and diahrea constantly. So maybe i can be fortunate that i can aleast eat food and not throw it back up and not running the toilet every2 minutes. He iis now 100% better and asured me of this and has really said it takes time to get yourself back to normal.. I told him i feel like i am not going to get back to normal and i am stuck in this world. But this is what the depression and nervous and emotional fatigue brings you to belive!! There is a cureand i know it must come within myself! My feeling is that i dont want to do anything but just concentrate on myself and this bewildering experience i am going through. I couldnt even be arsed making tea ect.. But this is not the answer again.. i need to accept my syptoms and let time heal me and carry on without stressing me any more! The thought is scary but........... Just try this or read this book, it seems to ring true to what i am going through! hopefully i am going to make a another post with some promising results! the book is ... MORE HELP FOR YOUR NERVES by doctor claire weekes... you also get a cassete.. she claims to have cure every nervous illness there is lol, So my message would be now... dont run just accept, i have been running and thinking to much! no wonder i cant sleep.I know thought that i am over smoking weed and will never go back, I mean i wish these syptoms would have gone by now but... they still lingering. At least if you understand the body and the was anxiety,stress,depression and nerves works then it might help people to get through it alot easier..

ps... There was also an article in the local paper about depression and it does say that drug and alchol abuse is a factor!


good luck to every1...

Dirk Hanson said...

i feel like i am not going to get back to normal and i am stuck in this world. But this is what the depression and nervous and emotional fatigue brings you to believe!!"
-------
Absolutely. One of the keynotes of serious depression or anxiety is the horrible belief that the way you feel right now is the way you are going to feel forever.

Not true. It is the brain's limbic system sending panic signals: "if you don't continue to take this drug, you will die."

peter said...

What did you mean dirk by the 'if you continue to take this drug you will die' Do u mean the anti depressants?

But you are right about what depression does and it gives alot of mixed signals and emotions. WHat i cant figure out tho is that is it just depression? I feel like my mind is just caved in from the weed. I feel like i will never be cured :( it is so hard for me at the moment becasue i know that i am thinking and feeling the worst. But it could well be the anti depressants aslo putting in a few side affects also. But i just want to hear of a cannabis abuser that has had similar symptoms and actually 100% normal now? my friend keeps reasuring me but i smoked about 3-4 years more than him in total. I did quit weed for 1.5 years and had nothing from coming of it. I just got myself obsessed with exercise and injured my back which led me back onto the cannabis. :( i wish i never went back! CAN we change the blogger to sucess stories? hopefully it will give us more hope of recovery . peace every1

Dirk Hanson said...

"What did you mean dirk by the 'if you continue to take this drug you will die' Do u mean the anti depressants?"
----------
I think you misread the sentence--it should be, "if you DON'T continue taking this drug (meaning weed), you will die." This is an extreme way of putting it, but the panic message is coming from the same part of the brain that sends messages like, "If you don't drink some water soon, you will die of thirst."

Anonymous said...

joel from 4/17

do what you can 9-5 to pay bills

maybe exercise lightly for a while so you dont stress on that

eating clean food keeps toxins low, and toxins are what's messing you with you physical well being

if when you get home from work you are exhausted, then relax

better yet, plan on relaxing for a while, keep all stress to a minimum

once you leave work tell yourself, great, no stress for at least 12 hours

when you get back to work, talk to youself about keeping a cool head - this will send signals to you body

do this for 8 weeks and note your daily progess - remember, small progress is still progress

lastly, stay away from potheads, at least for now

you are in a temporary phase that will pass

this is how i manage myself and it is working - and believe me, i am no easy case

good luck joel

Anonymous said...

peter from 4/17

i feel inclined to mention that i once tried antidepressents

i took 2 days to realize this was not for me

i am not saying stop using them, what i want to say is it seems you sought them out too early - unless you had depression and anxiety trouble before, you are just likely going through a transitional period - constantly remind youself that everything will be fine in the near future

try holistic measures - eat clean, relax, exerecise

don't beat yourself up over past behavior

you will move past this and life will be good then - work towards that goal in small increments

when you start to get nervous, try and tell yourself "hang in there" - experiment with ways of thinking to stop the cycle of focusing in on this part of your life

take note of your progress

remember, many people have made it through this same experience

and you will too

best to you

Joel said...

THX, Anonymous, Since reading this forum and starting to talk to you guys, I have been trying to think happy thoughts, and push myself to exercise even when i cant do it, And yes, day by day, I am starting to feel a little better, I know there are good days and bad, Just like any, and the change in my head and hot headaches are going down slightly and slightly each day, Then when a stress or fight of tension occurs, It gets stronger, So all im trying to do is keep a cool head, and hope and pray these feverish headaches go away, everyday my eyes open up a tad more, and i can start being myself more, it doesnt look like its gonna be a quick recovery, i think the worst is behind me, No more flu like symptoms and not being able to do anything perios, and leave work early, But every day, my tension and burn [brain subdue a tad, or at leazsst trying not to think its gonna be forefver helps, I will continue to give all you my progress, as I really think there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and hope and pray it ends ina month or so, that will be about 9 weeks, from when it began, as I have a ton of stuff to do at the end of next month, and moving to Costa Rica in 4 months, so I pray i am normal again, But reassurance is a good thing, So anonymous and Drik, I know your helping me, think positive and be happy and some of the pain is released,

Peter, I can only say, try to keep a cool head, When i thought this might be a serious thing in my body or brain and sought medical attention, I felt like crap, and couldnt hold my eyes open, but now realizing it is 99% a withdrawl thing, I feel a tad betert every day, I know thers good and bad days, But maybe the anti depresesnts arent a good thing, i thoguht about it, and immidietly said No, as one drug to cover up another drug is never a good tihng, and trrust me i know frfom experience, ive done evrey drug known on the spectrum, I used to be a wild kid i guess, and for the past 6 years i quit all that and only smoked weed alot, and alchohol even more, now when i uit the weed, I realize what i did to myself, So maybe try coping with out the pills, and keep a positive outlook, ill try to help and keep writing everydaya dn hope we all get better, cause if one of us doesnt its not a good sign for everyone else who will have this problem, as all my freinds smoke, were retarded......

THX, all, I feel a bit better today so gonna try and enjoy the day, and i feel i can actually aproach girls again right now, which is a good thing, they keep your mind of it too..lol..

Anonymous said...

hi
i quit weed 46 days ago , i did'nt get any of the major withdrawals until 3 weeks in , although the frist three weeks were pretty crap aswell,pretty smiliar symptoms as everyone else and the most severe anxiety and depression i have ever known , i was sure i was going mad it was really bad , i started to feel better about a week ago but im still not write my main problem is i cant relax fully im clam but my mind just will not relax i cant concentrate or focus i cant seem to forget about what has happened even though i want to , it feels as though my brain keeps reminding me about the "situation" or some general anxious or negetive thought just pops into my conscious , this is really pissing me off cause it can be persistant and feels like its never going to end like my thoughts are caught in a vicious circle . HAS ANYONE ELSE HAD THIS PROBLEM ?. sometimes i feel like i have seen the light and think "its over im cured" mostly in the late evening but then next day same old thing again , i feel im not in control of these ups and downs , this also gets me down cause i feel ive got a grip on the situation but then it just fades away does anyone relate to this or am i losing it ? has anyone out there ever been through the worst and felt 100% normal again ? will this feeling ever end ? HELP!
bryan

Anonymous said...

Hey Bryan- I think withdrawal symptoms and signs of detox vary from people to people, from metabolism to metabolism and yours is only one example among many for this (my point: don't feel alone in this). For some, feeling crappy physiologically is first and then come the psychological effects. Others only go though the psychological symptoms like apathy, edginess or feeling uneasy for no apparent reason, finding it difficult to concentrate etc. Your endocrinological (hormonal) system is going through an adjustment period, trying to rediscover its sources and processes of stimulation, other than cannabis-induced ones. Your mmod swings are signs of that- and again, you're not alone in this. Give yourself some time and don't give in to the urge. You're feeling the way you do BECAUSE YOUR SYSTEM IS GETTING CLEANER AND SELF-SUFFICIENT AGAIN. Now go get yourself a huge glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and go for a walk to enjoy the spring.

Peace :)

Dirk Hanson said...

"my thoughts are caught in a vicious circle . HAS ANYONE ELSE HAD THIS PROBLEM ?"
-----

Absolutely. Getting caught in negative tape loops in the brain is a common symptom of depression and anxiety. This too will loosen its grip with time, as the prior poster has pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks i appreciate your comments it sounds like sound advice based on concrete evidence the only problem for me is when your feeling this way it can be difficult to find your bearings have you been through it do you have a success story ?
cheers

Dirk Hanson said...

Yes I've been through it. Yes it can be difficult to find your bearings.

There are numerous success stories recounted in earlier posts in this thread.

Anonymous said...

thanks again for your comments i feel much better now
cheers bryan

peter said...

hi every1 again, yes i think i must be on about 50-60 days now since my withdrawal, it has made me very upset by the fact that i am over smoking weed now and that i never want to smoke again. My symptoms kicked in after 3 weeks of stopping where i clicked into this state very suddenly, i too have felt i have been getting better, then suddenly all my syptoms flash infront of me, and seem to panic me more because of the frustration, i mainly have depression and anxiety and feel like a different person now(as in not my old happy self) I have two stories with sucess although i have probably smoked alot more that the two people, My best friend went through it and came out, he said it took ages and described all the same syptoms, panic -depression- thought he was going crazy- major diarea and throwing up constantly- insomnia... he keeps reasuring me that time is the main healer. He had to take anti depressants which he said helped him alot. I also have gone down this path to see if it can help.. so i am at 4 weeks with my course and still no amazing results, and have felt better without them.. previously before i stated i thought i was there 90% then i got struck back to constant though cycle and depression-anxiety. My firend also said he can even remeber having atleast a couple of bad days 4-5-6 months later, he said they get les and less and when the good days return you just have more and more good days and you start enjoying what u use to like more and more.. sounds like alot of people are like me still...

THERE IS A GREAT BOOK CALLED--- hope and help for you nerves--by doctor claire weekes... explains everything that goes on with anxiety-depression--personality changes that go with it.. It is more the syptoms that we fear that are causing us to stay further adrift from recovery and panic. I too feel lost very edgy still... mainly in the mornins where i get up the same. very depressed and with anxiety present. Kinda does keep you house bound and wondering all day WTF is going on? quite common when nerves are stressed and fear and panic of recovery seem so far ahead. definatly get the book if you want any bewilderment cleared up about what you think is going on.

AGAIn i thought i was getting better and i can remeber last saturday that i enjoyed the night and was very relaxed... i was also very relaxed last night too.. strange that i had all the syptoms present in the day and then they kinda fold over more...

My sleep is still very bad.. this could also be the anti depressants to cuasing side effects and maybe causing more panic for the time being. i dont think there is no magic cure... but accepting for the time being that anxiety-depression-and nervous illness is like any other illnness and need time to re-adjust and that the batteries will recharge over time.

I was smoking weed quite heavy at parts of my life.. i did quit before for 1.5 years or so with no effects at all, this is what baffles me, i was probably smoking more then. I went on a mad exercise bender and injured myself then of course back on the weed.

hopefully in a couple more weeks i can finally start looking at getting back to work and then hopefully i can just enjoy everything like i used too--- my doubt is that i have permanetly left myself like this.. but as my friend said he felt the same... what is bizare tho my friend said after a few weeks on the tablets that he was more or less 90% most of the time. i am at 4 weeks and still trying to forget :(

good luck every1, i do hear it is temporary and will get easier. i know somebody else who quit too with similar effects, couldnt put he finger on what was up just dread-anxiety etc.. she is 100% now too... different people probably just take alot more time too, all i have been doing is researching the worst--IE can cannabis cause permanent damage etc etc. If the depression gets really bad too maybe the anti-depressants will help.. i cant say tho.. because i took them thinking after 2 weeks i would be well better but still it is hard to say.. all i can say is i never take paracetemol or anything really but i had no side effects taking these anti depressants and maybe they are starting to work now more effiently because of the time.. so maybe 2 more weeks my syptoms will die off :)

peace every1... good luck and dont let the syptoms stress you out more... i never suffered from and adverse effect of cannabis too.. no whiteys, (very rarely anyway) but this is far worse that any effects while i was smoking it, dont get upset again by the way you feel now, tis will cause you to feel worse!

again the book HOPE AND HELP FOR YOUR NERVES-doctor claire weekes--google etc.

CHEERS EVERY1, keep supporting!

Anonymous said...

Hello
i quit smokin about 6 weeks ago after about 3 weeks i started to havin obbsesive thoughts and i still have them its like i cant block them out as i normaly would I have never had this before has anybody expreinced this will it go away ? most of the other withdrawals are gone im worried i have ocd

Anonymous said...

or could it be this
If anandamide receptors trigger a form of forgetfulness, this may be part of the brain’s system of filtering out unimportant or unpleasant memories—a vital function, without which we would all be overwhelmed by irrelevant and unprovoked memories at every turn.

Anonymous said...

What a helpful site this is. After too many years of daily pot smoking, I finally got rid of all my pipes etc and have resolved to quit. I've read all the comment and have experienced many of the symptoms others have reported. Just reading that others experience the same issues is a huge relief and encouraging me to stay the course. Like most addicts, I had resolved to quit other times in my life(nicotine has also been a problem) about a year and a half ago I also tried to quit both cold turkey, and did so for six months, my worst symptom was depression, and my Doc put me on effexor XR 75mg...well that sure helped, except I slowly went back to smoking again, until now.It maybe too early to know for sure but I'm hoping the effexor will for now keep the worst effects of withdrawal to a minimum. Only time will tell for me. I'm not advocating this as a solution, at least until I can report to you next year that I'm truly over the weed.
good luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

I've had to quit a couple to times because of impending drug testing. In my experience, by day 14 things are really bad. For me, after that the withdrawal symptoms being to subside. Everyone is different, so your experience maybe different but in time they go away. Tough it out. Conceptualize it as having the flu and that you will get better. If you are an addict, just don't pick up a j again. Don't do other drugs or drink. You can do it. I did.

Anonymous said...

I am the g/f of 4 months, of a man who has been trying to quit probably for the last week. He has been smoking for years, and said started years ago when he went through depression as it was the only thing that helped him when antidepressants he was prescribed had too many side effects. I never asked how much he smoked althtough I would guess up to 5 times a day, I read most of the stories, and symptoms, but no one mentioned impotency, has that been an issue for anyone? How long does that last ? Just wondering and trying to be supportive. Thank you all who have written in with your experiences as I was looking to see what I might be able to do to be supportive and wondering what he would be going through.

Dirk Hanson said...

Lower libido, diminished sex drive, often accompany bouts of depression or extreme anxiety, so it's certainly possible.

I don't know of any research that looks at the question, but I'm pretty certain that a lowered sex drive is probably part of the early going during withdrawal from any addictive drug, from alcohol to heroin.

Anonymous said...

hi
has anybody had any success with ST JOHNS WORT i bought some today ?

Richard said...

I'm used to going through withdrawal when I go off marijuana, and I agree with many of the observations by others.

1) a feeling that something existential is wrong, it's not suicidal ideation but it's the feeling that life will just never "be right."

2) easily enraged.

3) Strange dreams. I understand that some attribute this to supposed REM sleep inhibition induced by marijuana.

I think it's very important to publicize the news of these findings. Unlike the person above who insists that such symptoms are all placebo, I have a different take on it: when you suffer from symptoms that you've been told don't exist, you are left looking for the wrong cause. So, if you're told that marijuana withdrawal does not increase anxiety, anger, or "hopelessness" you want to look for a cause of those things. This causes these emotions to be more real (when we know they are an illusion caused by withdrawal.)

Long story short, I went through withdrawal periods where I was inappropriately angry at the wrong thing, thinking that specific PEOPLE were upsetting me when they were not.

Dirk Hanson said...

"when you suffer from symptoms that you've been told don't exist, you are left looking for the wrong cause."

--------------------

Thanks,Richard. I think that is a very important point. The distorted thinking becomes: "Somewhere, somebody I know is responsible for how bad I feel right now."

I agree that publicizing this stuff is useful for exactly that reason, if nothing else. When you've been told all your life that you CANNOT suffer any ill effects from going off pot, the confusion can be quite real, and quite problematic.

Honesty said...

I am on day 19 of no marijuana and it has been tough. I keep telling myself that it will get better and it has. The aggresiveness has subsided (not completely), the night sweats are gone but I'm still not adapted to "real ife" yet. I still feel like there's something "wrong". I know it's just withdrawals. I have been smoking weed for 10 years. I have tried to quit numerous times before unsuccessfully. In 2003 I was able to quit for 21 days. This time is different. I stopped at the beginning of 2008 but I began to smoke occassionally after a few weeks. The next day after smoking, I could tell a dramatic difference in my personality and emotions. I know it's going to take awhile for me to adjust to living without marijuana. Some days it feels like torture, while other days it feels like an adventure. Does anybody know how long this will last? Today is the 1st day that I've had a really strong urge to smoke, which is how I ended up on your site. It reminded me of how far I've come and why I don't want to go back. Thank you all for your comments

Honesty said...

btw, headaches are a symptom of marijuana withdrawal

Honesty said...

night sweats....marijuana stores itself in your fat cells.. when u quit... it begins to break down and sweating is a way to excrete the toxins out of your body.


sorry, I've done a lot of research trying to quit. I recommend it. It really helps

Dirk Hanson said...

I think it helps, too. For people struggling with this stuff, knowledge is power.

Anonymous said...

In 1993 I went through a 28 day program at Scripps McDonald Center in Lajolla California. They treated me like an alcoholic and said it was the "same disease". I smoked 3 to 4 joints a day for 14 years from age 14 to 28. They put me on prozac sent me to AA and NA meetings and I was able to stay sober for 7 years. I then felt like I could try again. I had always felt like an outcast at AA and NA meetings because I was just a pot head. I then started to use again in the year 2000. The intensity of using picked right back up to 3 to 4 joints a day for the past 8 years. After passing out in February 08, I decided to cut back and wean myself off. I started with terrible night sweats, lack of appetite, anxiety, and HUGE AMOUNTS OF DIZZINESS. The worst of all I started to become short of breath with major heart racing upon exursion. I never connected it all withdrawal. Then on 4/22/08 I took my last hit of weed. I was down to just one hit a day. Upon me quiting I was at work at rest and my heart took off and went from my normal 70 bpm to 133bpm and would not stop. I thought I was having a heart attack. After being rushed to the hospital and given beta blockers to slow the heart down it was not until today day 17 of being clean and sober that I realized the dizziness and heart racing and short of breath has all but stopped. I have an appetite again, the anxiety and depression are so much less and most of the nightmares have stopped. I never realized for a HEAVY USER like me that the withdrawal could be so physical. They need to do more research and let people know about the possible heart racing and short of breath as well as the other sypmtoms. After being so ill I am hoping this is a major motivator to stay clean and sober again. Not sure if I will do the 12 step thing again but it cannot hurt. I am now 44 years old and after a combined 24 years of smoking pot with 7 years of clean time in between I think I have enough evidence of both the physical and psycological impact it has had on my life. Good luck to all who venture this path and to the medical community for publishing more information.

Mike said...

Thanks everyone for your honest info. I am a heavy cronic smoker for 28 years, wow. Quit 10 days ago. Withdraw is so bad that Im online looking for answers. Your info has made me feel more secure. Hopefully the withdraw period is almost over. Even with the bad withdraw it does seem like life will be much better without pot. Good luck everyone.

Dirk Hanson said...

"The worst of all I started to become short of breath with major heart racing "

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm wondering if others have had symptoms like shortness of breath or heart palpitations. Also a few people have mentioned headache. Are these symptoms of anxiety/panic responses during withdrawal, do you suppose?

Dirk Hanson said...

"Thanks everyone for your honest info."

I'll second that.

Dirk
site editor/owner

peter said...

Hi every1, i left a few posts a couple of weeks ago.. I cant belive how much better i am now. for the last 3 weeks or definatly 2 weeks i was more or less 100% better or normal would be the word, after a really rough time(definatly the worst time of my life) with all the syptoms the cannabiis caused i finally seen the light. so just to update every1 again...... i stopped cannabis at the end of january, after 3 weeks of stopping i had a night where i didnt sleep, next thing in work i snapped into an abnormal state--(anxiety, general feeling of panic, or my body telling me that something is wrong) after telling the doctor who was in denial that the cannabis could do this he gave me celexa anti depressant. After trying the st john wort for 3-4weeks first i kept having spells where i would feel better then suddenly get worse, after the 3 weeks of st johns wort i was really depressed, my brain just couldnt concentrate on anything. just all day i was thinking about how bad i felt and couldnt break out of it. So i decided to take the celexa which after 3-4 days i felt better again--more or less normal. then on week 3 of the celexa i had the same syptoms come up again--bad anxiety really difficult time concentrating on anything but myself and the feeling of dread. about a week later i noticed i picked up again, in the evenings i would feel alot better and the even in the mornings i noticed i was better and the 1 week past again and felt better again. I felt like i had finally seeen the light at the end of the tunnel. So i have nearly completed 7 weeks of celexa now and posiibly felt the benifit that the anti depressants do.

So back to my post- after returning to work this week and feeling great for 2 weeks i had a small step back again!!!!! but this time i am not going to worry as much, i dont think it is that bad either, basically just had a return of the feeling of panic and anxiety but not as bad. So to my post I think the statement that you will be better in 4-6weeks is an understatment, as in my case i have been bad since february. almost 3 months and i still get the the syptoms coming on. i am looking more realistically at 6 month for a FULL recovery. Also just to mention i definatly cannot decide weather the anti depressants where a good thing or not now... Last 2 weeks i was more or less happy about taking them--- i was thinking i dont need them anymore the job is done.. but as i mentioned i have had a slight setback with syptoms again. So if your syptoms are that bad i would probably say 'yes' they probably do help but only after 4 weeks, and you have to take them for 4-6 months or longer. as in my case when i am syptom free i have to take them for 4 more months. But the good thing is i had really no side effects at all, only on a couple of days i have had a dry mouth etc and nothing at all really that would make me think otherwise about taking them.

i was smoking weed for roughly 10years or less. not every single day either and never really had any major sessions, and would only smoke in the evenings. After the way i have suffered for most of the time i can honestly say it was just not worth it. They government really need to work out and put some more testing into cannabis to prove that it is not harmless at all.

If there is anybody else in the same boat as me... not fully recovered even after the 2-3 month mark, post in let us know how you are getting on... any more advice on how to rid yourself fully of these pesky syptoms share your tips.. i have been on the green tea since the start of my withdrawal lol. hopefully next time i pick myself up again i will stay 100% then for good ---here's hopeing anyways.

good luck every1 who is trying to quit at the minute and looking for help... get as much help as you can, even form your GP or counciling --anything . Butdefiantly stick at it. If your goal is to stop and you experience any withdrawal make your self a plan. You might need to stay off work or away form friends for a short while but it does get easier. But it does definatly take time and that will be the main healer in my opinion.

cheers

Dirk Hanson said...

Peter:

Thanks for the update. Glad to hear things are improving. It would seem that in some cases, withdrawal symptoms can last up to several months, based on your experience.

I think staying consistently on your antidepressant for a while couldn't hurt, especially since you're not suffering any troublesome side effects.

peter said...

cheers dirk, Just wondering is this quite common that is does take a long time to recover fully? I can identify that i feel alot better, and generally i can think clearly but.. i keep getting an anxious feeling and followed by negative thinking pattern when my syptoms show up, i am just more happy that this time that my syptoms have showed up again that it is not as severe as last time, But i keep having the thought that maybe this will always happen, IE-- 2 weeks of normallity then follwed by recuring symptoms. From my last setback or shoow of syptoms when they cleared up it was mainly just a morning thing where i would wake feeling on edge and even this went for a week or so, so in my opionion i was symptom free for a week or more.. that is the life i want back!! but this setback is not reallyy as bad and more just waking on edge and feeling a bit down/anxious and loss of appitite. As i say i just still cant put my finger on any life problems, ii just basically feel not the same person when i get these syptoms. But really i know i will get there, and time will help, but i feel i have had enough time lol, from the end of january was my last smoke, about late february my syptoms showed, now the month is may, makes me feel sick the fact i have not been fully right since! well i have for small patches, hopefully this setback will clear soon and then i will be 100% maybe this time for good! but here's hoping!

any good examples of a withdrawal that last a while would be welcomed. But any1 else who is in the same boat as me, i posted in an earlier thread that, my friend went through the same thing and he said his lasted ages.. and had similar to me, felt 90% there most of the time then he would have a few bad days, then he got 100% then just the odd days would come back then he stayed 100% and he also taken a trcyclic anti depressant which seems to be a cause of side effects.

Anonymous said...

hi peter
i quit 2 and half months ago but i still have this horible feeling inside its always with me , i cant seem to lose it , also i get caught in these negitave thought or feeling cycles where i just feel or think the same things over and over did you expreience this ? did it go away ? i dont know if its withdrawal related or if its just im my head its been going on now for about 5 or 6 weeks and im really getting tired of it , the last few days i have been thinking about getting some hash to see if smoking would stop it , like you this withdrawal has been the worst experience of my life the wrost of it seems to be over but it still lingers its the lenght of the withdrawal thats really getting to me and i feel like giving in !

peter said...

Hi, not sure what to say really.. except i have been over the 2.5month peroid since quitting, but my syptoms showed up a while after. I didnt think i would get anything like this from quitting, i didnt expectt it either. My friend did tell me that it made ill for a while, when i was still smoking i didnt really belive it was the weed, as he seemed quite unsure too. All he said was afetr 5 weeks of hell, throwing up, diahrea, no sleep, couldnt eat, feeling panic and stress he went to the doctor and she asked him have you been smoking weed, when he said yes, the doctor gave him anti -depressant tablets, he said afetr 2 weeks he felt 90% normal, but it took him 6 months or more to fully recover. possibaly the same with me i think i can identify that it is getting easier wjhen my syptoms show up, also i have had a really good 2 weeks or more where i have felt more or less recovered or atleast i think so lol. Maybe you could try a course of anti depressants? i am noot saying that they are good for you at all-----but nothing will ever feel like what i felt like when i was at the lowest of this situation. Only thing is i felt a little worse upon taking the tablets but i hear this is normal and maybe it was becasue i wasnt sleeping at the time also that i was feeling bad. Fingers crossed soon we both get back to normal.. but time is a healer. I am not sure on the madical answers but they say the anti depressants help with the chemical inbalace in the brain and this is what is causing the depreesion, anxiety etc etc. Keep posted in.. i stayed away from the forums beacsue i felt like i was living this horrible time for answers when there is no real answer that will speed my recovery up, and i was going to put a final post in after being syptom free for a month, i think i was better tho for about 2 weeks :) so recovery is not a million miles away to what it seemed before. Oh ps can any1 relate to this--- when my smptoms where bad, all i would do is think about how bad i feel and anyhting i was doing at the time ie/ walking, hovering i would still be going over that cycle in my head, when the anxiety goes or syptoms etc my brain feels refreshed as in the only thing i think about is i wonder why i was thinking that way why couldnt i stop it. maybe the anti depressants alos help with that, because they are used for OCD too, so they must help somehow. But i dont think they are a miricle! but keep posted in.. hopefully this bad patch will be very short then my good patch will last a month or more!

Anonymous said...

thanhks for the reply
i think the main reason why we feel so bad is because we lack "anandamide" thats the brain chemical that thc mimics becuase i have been depressed before for a short while but this is something different i think ananadamide is the key i have done quit alot of research on it and it seems to answer alot of questions

Anonymous said...

and that maybe the reason why antidpresants dont work for alot people in this situation because i dont think we have a problem wth seritonin its anandamide

Dirk Hanson said...

"i wonder why i was thinking that way why couldnt i stop it. maybe the anti depressants alos help with that, because they are used for OCD too, so they must help somehow."
------

It's true antidepressants are not for everyone. However, they often help with obsessive thought patterns. For some people they really help break up those repeating negative tape loops in the brain.

Dirk Hanson said...

See my post on Anandamide:

http://addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com/2008/01/anandamide-brains-own-marijuana.html

Anonymous said...

i am 46 years old & have smoked since i was 14 or 15 stopping only for brief periods such as vacations, etc. it has been 14 days since stopping and i am having the night sweats, flu like symptoms, dizziness and extremely vivid dreams, mostly errotic in nature. does anyone know if this will be like an alcoholic where the craving for weed will always be here? or does that subside too?

Dirk Hanson said...

I don't think anyone can promise that you will be completely free of cravings forever, but, as with non-drinking alcoholics, there is every reason to expect cravings to follow a diminishing slope of intensity as time goes by.

peter said...

Hi again guys, Dirk i was wondering are you a doctor or studying or have you just set up this site of your own acord and free time? just wondered?

But again i am on down patch since wednesday, i am just relived that it is not as bad as last time. But i still think this is very abnormal to be like this after such time, I am so concerned that i have left myself and i will be permanently like this maybe spells that come and go, again the ordeal and time factor is so horrible, i am back to waking up early again when i know i should be getting 8 hours but getting roughly 6 at this time. I more wake with like an anxious feeling and like a slight pins and needles feeling in my body, and my mood and appitite seem low again. THe fact that i didnt smoke a great deal everyday has left me really upset that i still know friends who can smoke up to 8-10joints a day where as i was just smoking 1, i wish i knew that my body would have reacted this way, although i have a voice saying that i will get through this and 1 day i will recover, everything is going against me that i want to get enganged and focus on making a family now but it seems secondary when i feel like this, i just turn inwards and think about the negative things and what have i done to myself. What baffles me is that i cant relate to any other drug taking, but people who use stronger drugs-herion-crack etc etc, i dont even think they would have had it this hard... but who knows.

Dirk is there any more information i should really be looking at for a recovery or is time the factor i should concentrate on? as i might have explained in earlier posts, i told the doctor everything and he was in denial that the cannabis would have left me like this? told me not to think about that? surley the amount of people smoking cannabis he would have had atleast 1 more person come to him with a withdrawal/cannabis problem? WHat i am thinking about now is that, was i even better the previous weeks and have doubt about that. the syptoms present now make me think i couldnt have been better! i am sure i was nearly there tho, but then i get a flush back of the same feelings of dread and anxiety.

Any more sucess stories to read would be very incoraging, dirk what is your experience in this? is it more a 6month recovery for some? or longer? is this common? i also phoned the drugs helpline just to get information, well this was a while back, they told me should be 4-6 weeks to leave the system etc, i told him i was quit for 6 weeks and he said it could take longer in some people and see my GP, i know i dont need rehab or anything, i know i am not going to smoke weed again, unless i dont recover i might aswell carry on and see if that cures me. although i think at this stage if i have a smoke of cannabis it would send me into a frenzy of panic maybe.

But again just to add any1 experiencing this sort of withdrawal, that the feeling of recovery is so close then seems to fall to bits and panic and anxiety seem to still be with you? i have had more bad days than good for sure, but again i thought i was going to stay on my good side after taking anti depressants for 6 weeks with give a full effect from the medication. but obviously not :(

Dirk Hanson said...

"Dirk i was wondering are you a doctor or studying or have you just set up this site of your own acord and free time? just wondered?"
----------------

I'm most definitely NOT a doctor. I am a science writer with 15 year's worth of experience researching and writing about drugs and drug addiction. I set up this site on my own, as a way of sharing some of the information I have come across, esp. stuff that is new or is not common knowledge. I'm the author of two books and will be converting the drug research into a third book shortly.

Anonymous said...

hi dirk and peter
i have been doing more research on anandamide , the evidence just keeps building there is some research done using FAAH inhibtors to boost anandamide because faah breaks down anandamide in the brain they have shown in animal studies that it dramaticaly decreases withdrawal from THC the drug is called URB597 and its curentlly going through trails they say its going to better than ssri antidepresants it can be bought from chaymen chemicals im thinking of getting some what do you guys think

Dirk Hanson said...

I think that until the compound has gone through adequate clinical testing here in the U.S., I would STRONGLY argue against procuring it through questionable channels and experimenting with it.


As always, consult an M.D. before starting up some serious medication under your own steam.

Anonymous said...

yes
i thought about it some more and i totally agree im just so eagar to help myself but , what do you think about anandamide connetion?

Dirk Hanson said...

Yes, I think that some degree of upregulation of anandamide receptors probably happens as a consequence of heavy regular toking. So when all those extra THC/anandamide receptors are suddenly left unstimulated during abstinence, there's trouble.

peter said...

Hi again guys, I looked at the anandamide and maybe in the future it is something they can use, but there must be alot more people with cannabis withdrawal/after effects, seems to be on the news quite a bit, and i seen one advert saying "mess with cannabis and you mess with your mind" while i was smoking it i just ignored that as just a scare tactic. I wish i would have belived nothing was more scary that what happened over the last few months. Again i wish this was very short lived but everybody is different, so i guess people do take months to recover(as my friend keeps telling me) As for the anti depressants i really am not sure weather they actually do anything really, i think they must help somehow otherwise they would not be prescribed to people, just seems to be alot of negative veiws about them. Also came to me what if the anti depressants are still making me feel anxious? i also have a big doubt weather i was actually great now last week, i went on mad eating frenzy to gain some extra weight that i lost, only until this setback where again my appitite has gone :(

But again atleast i am not as bad as i was last month etc, what now i need to prepare for is upon gaining a good spell, ie/ more normal feeling, i need to expect to be setback again, it seems the only way i will recover.

So about anandamide would it seem that it is not actually my seretonin level but my anandamide balance? obviously the anti-depressants would be a waste of time.....

it is quite hard to actually describe my symptoms from the begining, but i have had more depression and anxiety really... i have never really had any of these things before either, But if it was just depression i can only descibe it as the hardest thing i have certainly had, during this setback i feel slightly depressed(low mood) but i felt major depressed last month, some days felt uncopable and my thought where just inward about how bad i was. so maybe there is some improvment upon this setback, it is quite hard when you make progress then you get sucked back in for no reason expalinable. Would anandamide make you depressed etc once that level has gone? also what is the medical answer( do doctors even know becasue mine was in denial that cannabis would do this) does my body need to make more anandamide or get rid of it? How long could it take? would it cause me to be up and down with anxiety and low mood and the feeling of unreality?

The sooner they put more research into cannabis the better... it can certainly wreck your mental health(hopefully this will go as i keep saying) but i can say weather is has wrecked mine for good or will a bit more time be the healer. I really tried to push this home to a couple of friends who still smoke it, and yes while you are still smoking they dont belive or they dont belive it will happen to them, and they also smoke alot more than i ever did! I really feel for these people now until they wake up, not that i am totally anti-drugs, we all have a choice but i centainly wont be risking it.

BTW dirk any people you might have spoke to about withdrawal, did they have a long process? seems to be alot of people get a withdrawal but they get over it quickly? is six months a realistic recovery time? If so would any other drug (herion,cocain, alcholics etc)be so long winded to recover? i think this seems to be the longest! i would imagine alcholics would be sober within a couple of months? just a thought:p

To anonymous i had that thought too, what would happen now if i smoked a joint? would it cure everything? very hard to call too especially when you have been free from it for a couple of months, i thought about it too, as i was so tired of the feeling and the negative/inward thinking. I think it possibly would have sent me crazy. but who knows, i suppose herion addicts who cold turkey know soon as they have their fix they would feel great! but i am defiantly going to stick at it, if i get no better in the next few months or end of the year i might aswell go back on cannabis. Seems selfish to say that but i am sure i was normal all the time on cannabis except when i smoked it where i liked my own space. and again it never interfered with work or reletionships where i failed at them.

Put keep posting in on any progress anonymous, also have you made any progress? as in felt better for a few days then setback like me? just to finish off i also felt better after 2 weeks where i thought "yess this is on it's way out" but i still got worse after another setback! so maybe dont be too dishearted if you are like this too, hopefully i will get a good patch very soon that will last longer! so i know i am recovering!

take care!

Anonymous said...

hi peter its me Anonymous
i think we lack anandamide because when we use tch our bodies stop making anan the main symtom i have is constant negitive thoughts and memories and feeligs about this hole mess and one of the main functions of anandamide is to stop this action by the brain its not normal for the brain perform in this way thc does a similar job thats why many people somke to forget peolple with PSTD use it forget its very efective

peter said...

how do you feel now anonymous? have your syptoms been similar to mine ie/ up and down(mostlyy down for me really) It would be great if i could get a timelimit on when i would just feel normal all the time, but hopefully i can make a post soon about some good progress!! anyway again i quit at the end of january, coming up to four months now! but my symptoms only kicked in 3-4weeks after my last smoke. Biggest fright of my life, just clicked into a wierd state!

But again i am sure i have made prgress as in, my appitite was great last week, 4 eggs in the morning, was really trying to bulid myself up ect! but just again had a down patch! again too my friend took an anti depressant called doseulepin, when looking at that there seemed to be more dangers with this one that the SSRI that i take. again he said he had a rocky time, even after 5 months he had bad patches etc... but he said you get to a stage where the good out wieght the bad, then nothing.. well that is what happened for him, and that was a few years back too.

but hopefully all these syptoms are very temerary and we can all have the memory of the suffering is caused instead of just suffering!

But hopefully some news on the anandimide or weather is really does point to that why we are still feeling bad.

Anonymous said...

yes peter like you everthing started happening around 3-4 weeks after quiting panic anxiety majour depression flu sweats and racing thoughts going around in circles thinking about the same things over and over this for me was and still is the worst part everthing else has gone all i have now is very mild depression and these thought cycles that just dont seem to stop a constant state of being if i had know this would happen i would have never stopped smoking or even better never started in the frist place

peter said...

my syptoms really seem very strange still, as i say anonymous, after 2 weeks from my initial panic attack i felt like i was recovering. But i recovered only for the same symptoms to return but what felt like worse, and the depression was worse. i wish i knew that it was just depression and not some permenant damage, i really am whipping myself again, i was sure i was noraml for 1 week, last week, i mean complettly normal, but now i am in doubt that i was, i mainly have anxiety and obivious feeling of dullness that is really effecting my quality of life, i cant say again weather it is the mediaction (anti depressants) or is it helping me. I know depression can take time, and i thought it usually always lifts.

I also have been doingg exersice quite a bit.. just when i hit the bad patches it really does suck the life out of me... upon waking too is usally the first sign of how my day will be.I really wake like i am scared of something just happened in my sleep.

any advice on depression dirk? (that is if i have depression) i feel mental some of the time,

keep posted on any news/advice!

Anonymous said...

HI just wanted to add that I am very relieved to have found this site. I am on week 5 of withdrawal after 15 years of heavy use. Mostly evenings and fluctuating from 2-7 spliffs a night over this period. I would say that I don't think tapering off helps with the withdrawal symptoms as I had cut down to 1 spliff a night from 3-4 in recent months and from 6-7 in previous years yet I am still experiencing a lot of the symptoms. I am mostly sufffering with the insomnia and night sweats and vivid dreams still and came online looking for some answers after a friend had said they had ahd similar experience with the vivid dreams and insomnia. They effectively made them give up on giving up. Most of the other sites have said that there are no physical withdrawal symptoms so I am just glad to find that I was right and what I am experiencing IS down to cannabis withdrawal. It is quite disheartening to read that I could be feeling like this for some time yet but that fear of that is outweighed by the fear of going back to the evil weed!!! I have not had any major cravings. I gave up and went cold turkey after suffering a really bad virus that stopped me wanting to smoke at all and then found after a week had passed that I may as well keep going. I have felt down but that's pretty normal for me anyway due to other issues beyond my control but for me it's the physical symptoms that are driving me mad at the moment. I just feel if I could get a good night's sleep I could deal with anything else thrown at me. The only other thing I would add is that I've been eating like a horse! I don't seem to be able to satisfy my hunger at the moment! Thanks for this site and for the words of wisdom from the guy/girl who signs off with "Peace :)" and of course Dirk

Dirk Hanson said...

"Most of the other sites have said that there are no physical withdrawal symptoms so I am just glad to find that I was right and what I am experiencing IS down to cannabis withdrawal."
------

Amazing, in 2008, that this argument is still alive. But research in this area has been a long time coming. I think that the earlier attempts to distinguish between strictly physical symptoms and strictly psychological symptoms really threw everybody off the scent for a while.

Anonymous said...

peter its Anonymous from the other day you should look at this site http://www.anxietynomore.co.uk/ it has really helped me understand what going on , now i dont fear it so much and it seems to be fading very quickly plus if the ssri are not helping by now i think you should think about trying something eles anyway look at the site and tell me what you think

Anonymous said...

I first smoked weed at 12(Im almost 44), using occasionally when out partying or at concerts.

In college, I started drinking for effect about 3 or 4 nights a week, mostly chasing girls and just having a good time. Weed was around, but I really didn't keep any at the house so no problem.
I mostly couldnt afford it.

All thru my 20's and up to about 33, I would go out on weekends and get hammered and chase girls. No harm done, but it got old. I drove drunk a lot and thank god nothing happened. Just plain luck.

Then I got involved in a good business venture and some money started rolling in. My weekday drinking pretty much ended, as I knew I had to make the most of this opportunity. I did and saved it all. Things were really going well.

Then I met some guy who could get me amazing weed on a regular basis. So, I figured why not get a big bag since I barely drink anymore? Again, no problem as I only smoked when I got home from work and some days not at all.

Then I had an amazing vacation around the world that lasted a month. I met a bunch of great folks and basicially had the time of my life. When I got back, I got bummed out for whatever reason, I started smoking after brekfast one morning(not a work day). I continued to smoke every day after work and all day on the weekends. I didnt smoke if I had to go in the office, as I just felt paranoid and weird being up there stoned when folks are busting there butts running my company.

Then I got stoned and went in to the office one day and never looked back. This was the start of smoking all day, every day from around 1997 to January 5, 2008.

I sold my company and spent the last 11 years traveling, smoking, redoing my house, etc. I stopped a few times and got some dreams, loss of appetite, etc.

Then on Jan 5th, 2008 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, yikes!

Well, I gave away all my weed(my neighbor was thrilled, lol) and stopped smoking that day.

The surgery went well and my cancer is a low grade type that can hopefully be lived with for a long time.

I find the days boring and empty, but for some reason that doesnt bother me. I am just happy to be alive and not doing chemo, radiation etc. Again, very very lucky.

I know this sounds nuts, but getting cancer has made quitting the weed easy to do. Quit or risk making it come back. No brainer.

Im in the process of going back to work for the first time in 7 years and am really excited about it. Also good to know I will pass a drug test for the first time in decades if neccesary!

"wake and bake" was my choice for nearly 10 years. I had a good time, but I must admit I was pretty unmotivated during that period unless it involved skiing, golf, fishing, walking the dog, etc. One thing for sure, I fell out of touch with sooo many folks. Me and the weed was all I thought I needed. Ooops, wrongo.

Good luck to all of you who are going to stop.

My best suggestion to really stop is to get rid of everything weed related(papers, pipes, weed, etc) immediately. Also, dont hang around folks who smoke or contact those who you know will have some.

If you dont have access, it makes stopping inevitable. After a few weeks, you should be pround and happy you stopped.

ScottyIce said...

Wow guys Im glad to see more sites like this popping up. Marijuana has been my crutch for many years and in alot of ways helped me to get through some tough times. Its at the point now where it has no benefit whatsoever and I feel confident I can quit now. Ive changed my diet completly, got of the SSRI's that mixed so very well with the pot.

Like I said Ive tried many times before both going cold turkey and substituting other drugs such as alcohol and xanax. None of these worked.

WHAT HAS WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-high dose omega 3's
ALA from freshly ground flax
EPA and DHA from fish oil

-B12 to eliminate some stress hormones

-Yoga, running

-L theanine
I am so glad I found this, it completly eliminates almost all withdrawal symptoms the worst behind that feeling in your chest, being so so tired but not being able to sleep. I FEEL HUNGRY AGAIN. THIS SHIT IS AMAZING!!!!!

-Bacopa
Metal clarity mild sedative helps alot with sleep

-tryptophan, melatonin
Helps me fall asleep

Ive tried numerous times to quit and always failed after the fourth or fifth day. If one thing works more than the other its the Theanine. I cant stress this enough .

Anonymous said...

I am a 29 year old woman who has been a chronic weed smoker for about 12 years, but probably closer to 15. I loved the drug, and for years pictured myself a daily smoker-- for life.

My father is also a chronic pot smoker, who has not been able to stop for any length of time. There are other forms of addiction in my family of course. I suppose I always felt that I was ok because pot was the only vice I really had. It had not really prevented me from accomplishing any of my goals, and from a young age I learned to be a "functional addict." I excelled in life in spite of my addiction. This made me feel even better about it.

Recently I started feeling fearful of the health risks (like cancer) and also of generally not performing at my peak, or socially engaging like I should. I mostly preferred to come home after work, be alone, and smoke my stress away. For me it has come time to stop. I want to feel more control of my life instead of being controlled by a substance and a habit. I know part of the reason I always continued was because I was bored and lonely. Maybe I am realizing that the drug made me more bored (numb) and lonely.

It has been 2 weeks and the withdrawal has been pretty bad. I have experienced crazy dreams,depression, the general flu feeling, anxiety, exhaustion and worst of all, in the beginning, RAGE.

These symptoms are starting to subside now. I am taking heavy doses of Omega 3's, getting exercise (yoga) and getting my doctors help to take a little time off of work to get a bit more rest.

At first you will feel a weird existential upset, but it will finally give way to your real self again. You will feel happiness and best of all-- CLARITY again. Finally your brain will not feel so cloudy.

I guess one of the reasons that I always loved pot was that I felt more creative, and open when I smoked it, but I think that changed when it stopped being recreational, and started being habitual. I just never noticed much.

Please stick with it. Marijuana addiction is just like any other. You must choose to be in control of your own life again. Acknowledge that it is a struggle,that it takes great mental control, and that in the end it will be well worth it. Good luck everyone. Stay strong, and thank you all for your helpful comments; I realize now that I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

well, although this article is interesting, i have noticed something, not once did you let any of your readers that you can not get addicted to weed unless you think that weed addictions are all in ther head
and i hope for anyone reading this comment that they understand how it effects with your head

Anonymous said...

Its been great reading all the posts here, i feel less insane and alone in my withdrawals from doing so.
Im 26, and have been smoking the strongest hydro i could get my hands on since i was 17, every day. My usage got as high as an ounce every 5 days, but i have cut down over the past 2 years to about a quarter a week, then down to about half a quarter a week for the past 5 months.
Its been exactly 2 weeks since i have had anything, and im really suffering every symptom of withdrawal listed here. I can handle the vivid dreams and nightmares, the insomnia, the lack of appetite, the diarrhea, the mood swings, the profuse sweating during sleep (what i get of it anyway) and the sweaty armpits, hands and feet. However the worse symptoms im having are severe anxiety, and sensitivity to motion. I at first couldnt even go out to the shop to get something to eat, or even crossing the road. I pushed myself through that, although i still feel quite uncomfortable when i go out in public. What i find veryhard to manage now though is my extreme sensitivity to motion - i cannot handle catching the bus to work, it makes me feel like im going to pass out and i get so dizzy (imbalanced more accurately) i cannot walk in a straight line when i get off the bus. I just want to get off as soon as i have got on it, and simply staying in my seat till i get to work is torture and i feel like something bad is going to happen. i become consumed with fear and anguish. i feel lightheaded all the time, and things in my vision seem to move slightly. its very disconcerting, and i have had numerous days off work as a result, and my supervisor is nothing short of irritated by me. However i do somewhat high risk work, and i feel its unsafe for me to do it in this state. im clumsy, and have a terrible memory and feel like i just blank out sometimes - for example i went outside for a cigarette, and i found myself outside about to light it and i realized id dropped it on my way out and didnt even notice. i had no recollection of doing so. I may be able to drag myself through a days work being careful, but i cant even handle being on the bus to get there. i get incredibly anxious, my palms sweat and it feels like im going to pass out when im on the bus, and i dont know what to do to get through this stage. im going to lose my job if i dont manage to get to work tomorrow. My girlfriend is suggesting i push through the feeling, but i feel totally incapacitated in that state, and when im so far from home and to get home i have to catch another bus, i cant get out of the situation and it feels like its going to kill me. All i want to do in that state is go home, and i cant once im there as it takes me hours to regain a feeling of stability so i can walk properly and for the dizziness to subside to a manageable level. I just want this to be over.

ScottyIce said...

I will say it again. If you want to almost completly eliminate the anxiety use L-theanine. I had tried at least 30 times to quit and never got past day 5. The theanine works. Its an amino acid found in green tea.
I get mine at whole foods but you can find it at GNC as well as the internet. I had been smoking a half of chronic a week out of my vaporizer which is like smoking 2 ounces a week out of a pipe. Its day 9 and i feel fine.

Anonymous said...

i quit 5 months ago and i am still not back to normal . i have relapsed twice in the 5 months , once when i bought an eigth so i could get some sleep . this was about 2 1/2 months ago . and once when i was handed half a joint about a month ago . i have had every symptom mentioned on this thread . the symptoms i still get are the vivid dreams , the night sweats and the feeling that my souroundings are alien . i can not watch tv , play my music , play my computer or use my music studio . i have no desire to do any of the things i loved . i just sit stairing at it all wishing i could get back into it all . i have smoked weed every day for the last 11 years . i have always had a scorce of very potent skunk . mostly every time i sleep i dream very violent dreams in which i am useally the victim . i used to go to sleep at a normalish time before i gave up ( between 10 and 12 at night ) . now i sit up till its light nearly every night . i have only just started to get the light flu feeling that i have read about here . i feel so drained but my brain is awake . i know this is wrong what i am about to say , but i feel like i want to smoke it again and carry on doing so for the rest of my life . i really have had enough off the dreams and night sweats . i awake about every hour throughout the night and it seems like the second im asleep the dreams start to happen . this is really getting to me and i am very withdrawen from my freinds , family , and socioty . i do not know anyone who has gone though this like i have and need some peaple who understand around me . my freinds just laugh or tell me its only weed , dont be an idiot , when i tell then what i have been going through , my family just shake there heads in disapointment and say dont smoke it no more then . sometimes i get a sad feeling come over me , i almost start to cry and find myself holding back the tears . this will last for about a minute and seem like it never even happend after . i have been really drained and tierd all day any now ( at 11 o clock at night ) i feel completely awake . i want to meet some peaple who are going through this like me .

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your brave and honest comments. I am a 52 yo male who smoked heavily for 15 years (from college into my early thirties), quit, and started again about 5 years ago, quickly getting into a daily routine.

Recently, I decided to lay off, and have experienced night sweats, diminished appetite, anxiety, and depressed mood. I know from past lay-offs that this will take about aweek or so to settle down a little. One suggestion that has really helped me this time is intense daily exercise, yoga, and, the key this time, daily saunas at my health club. I think this has reduced the severity of withdrawal this time, or maybe I just know what to expect. It's not fun, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there everyone, it does get better.

Dirk Hanson said...

Yes, it does. Here's to the miracle of neuronal plasticity. The brain adapted to the drug, and with time, it will re-adapt to its absence.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone its anonymous here, I posted exactly a week ago, when i was exactly 2 weeks into my withdrawals. Im the guy who was having really bad anxiety and motion sensitivity. Well i'd like to inform you all, i have been off it with no relapses for 3 weeks tonight, and I feel so much better than at the 2 week point. This week, from day 15 till day 21, i have improved on a daily basis. I now feel almost totally normal, and i will never touch it again, im sure of it. Im still having the wierd dreams, where i do wierd stuff and get chased by things, but theyre diminishing in intensity too. So are all the symptoms really, im sweating less, eating more, and I have no anxiety or motion sensitivity at all anymore. I feel almost totally over it.
I want to thank all of you for sharing your stories here, it helped me through it, when i was sitting all alone in my lounge room i felt not alone in my difficulties, as i could read what you were all going through and relate.
I know it made a difference to me, so thanks.
I want to say to anyone in the week one to week 2 phase, or even anyone thinking of quitting, that you can do it! Hell if i can you can! Its really hard, it feels like hell sometimes, but push through it because on the other side of that hell, is beautiful normality! It will happen, you do adjust back to normal!
Also just one thing, do try some green tea, it does help with the anxiety, so thanks Scottyice for your suggestion! Youre a champ.
Thanks again and good luck everyone!

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for checking back in with some good news.

My gut feeling is that, for most people, 21-30 days is the heavy withdrawal period. Not unlike cigarettes in that respect.

Anonymous said...

I have taken the suggestion of l-theanine and feel like it is making a huge positive difference with the anxiety and depression. I am one week in, still getting intense night sweats, which now I am thinking might not be so much anxiety as the thermoregulation thing, because I am sleeping ok.

Also even a few days ago when I was feeling pretty depressed, I did note how much easier and freer by breathing is without hitting the bong every few hours, and I am also free of the leaden body lethargy that comes on the downside of the high. My body feels lighter and I definitely have more energy. Also I am much more outgoing and realize now that heavy smoking turns me into an introvert. I guess my point is that concentrating on these positive effects is helping me get through the tough slog of withdrawal. This is a great site and I really appreciate Dirk's informed writing, insight and compassion, as well as the honest sharing by everyone. Peace and love!

Dirk Hanson said...

To recap:

l-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and considered by many to be the source of green tea's anxiety-reducing properties. It increased alpha wave production--a common benchmark of a relaxed state--in volunteers in a small number of non-clinical studies.

Thanks for the kind words about this site. It has grown like crazy, which makes me strongly suspect that this topic is not well represented on the net.

Dirk

Anonymous said...

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

look it up im off weed 3 months now and still feel all over the place if you like me are still dealing with longer term withdrawal symptoms then it might be "paws" im pretty sure i have it

Anonymous said...

Hi Dirk,

I have not smoked pot in 8 days, after having smoked it for about a year and a half, three times a week. I'm 26.

You have addressed the most distressing of my symptoms of withdrawal in past responses---the paranoia and feeling of something being dreadfully wrong.

I have a streak of hypochondria, and while I can have faith that this period of feeling "crazy" is from the withdrawal, I would like to know what you have to say about marijuana triggering mental illnesses. Neither my family nor I have any Hx of mental illness...except perhaps for this irrational fear I have of going crazy (which seems to be exacerbating the something-is-wrong symptoms).

I am so thankful for this website. What a relief to know that this experience is to be expected.

Thanks,
Lindsey

Dirk Hanson said...

" I would like to know what you have to say about marijuana triggering mental illnesses."

Hi Lindsey:

Pot doesn't cause mental illness.

However, latent schizophrenics often suffer their first break while under the influence of psychoactive drugs. Pot, along with LSD, physical trauma, the death of a loved one, and other intense emotional events can all trigger a schizophrenic break in late adolescence.

But correlation is not causation. For example, lots of schizophrenics smoke cigarettes. (It helps quell hallucinations). Most of them began to smoke before the onset of their illness. Therefore, we could just as easily say that cigarette smoking is almost certain to cause schizophrenia.

scottyice said...

Hey guys day 22 and im still hanging in there. I started to get some serious depression but have been working through it. It catches me off guard cause I will feel great one momement then terribly depressed the next. This is to be expected though.

A word of caution, dont overdo the theanine, I developed a tolerance to it very quickly. It still works I just cant take it all day every day like I was and have it be effective.

Yoga and other exercise help alot. My sleep is getting better. Melatonin and valerian help with sleep. You cant take melatonin for more than a few months as it is speculated your body will quit producing it on its own.

Thanks again everyone.

Tim said...

Dirk, you've hit it right on the head with this one. I've been smoking for a little over 15 years. It took me about 3 years to realize that weed is addicting. I love weed and dislike it at the same time. Way more love though. I have never been able to quite for more then a week until about a year ago when I managed to quite for 4-5 months smoking only like 3 times. Then I started smoking again. 1 hit of the oney a day then 2, then 3 and you know where it went from there, back to all day, everyday. Now I have been putting myself through hell starting and quitting for like 4 months. I hope to be done with it for a while again. I love it to much to say forever.

Anonymous said...

this is just a bit more infromation on paws im sure i have it because i have every symptom so if you like me did not get better after the frist 3 or 4 weeks or even got worse like me after 3 weeks this could well be the answer does anyone relate with this ? dirk what do you think ?

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) has three major areas of impact upon the individual:

Cognitive:PAWS creates many difficulties with cognitive processes. Racing or recycling thoughts are often noted and found to be highly distracting by the individual. Thoughts may be scattered and even a lack of coherence at times may be present. Others may notice a certain rigidity of thinking and lack of required flexibility. In connection with this, abstract and conceptual thought may be negatively impacted. Cause and effect reasoning suffers as well in the early stages of recovery. Themes and threads connecting disparate events may not be recognized as easily. Concentration and attention span may be impaired. Confusion may be present. Prioritization by the individual will likely be a difficulty for six to twelve months.

Emotional: PAWS tends to create in individuals either a dearth or excess of emotion. The individual may be hyper reactive emotionally. Even small events of little consequence may loom large in his/her mind and create strong and overly valent (not being able to bond thoughts together) reactions. This may lead others to suspect a relapse or create social withdrawal. Shame emotions may be noted. Conversely, The individual may notice a numbing of emotions. The inability to feel impairs proper emotional bonding with friends and family during the early recovery process. It also impairs the recovery process itself as the individual struggles with trying to feel the resentments, anger, guilt, shame and other emotions common in recovery.

Memory: Memory is frequently the most noted PAWS problem. Recently learned information (within the last 30 minutes) may be quickly forgotten. New skills or routines may be learned and then not assimilated as before the drinking began. Information may be retained for a short time (days/weeks) and then lost, requiring the individual to learn it anew. As recovery requires inspection of the past, the individual may discover that developmental and childhood memories are totally absent or only remembered in a spotty fashion.

All of the above PAWS issues can obviously affect the early recovering person. The recognition of this syndrome by the recovering person as well as by friends, family and colleagues is important. The individual will note that the severity of PAWS decreases as time progresses and that PAWS is stress sensitive. Lowering of stress is helpful. Healthy habits such as limiting caffeine, getting 8-10 hours of sleep, eating three balanced meals and exercising three-four times weekly usually prove beneficial. Meditation, or relaxation exercises can be invaluable once properly learned. Obviously AA involvement with a sensitive and experienced sponsor is key to navigating through PAWS.

Most individuals find the first six months to be the most PAWS impacted with decreasing severity over the next six-month period. By the end of one year, most persons have returned to their respective levels of functioning.

source: Family Intervention Center of Virginia

Dirk Hanson said...

"so if you like me did not get better after the frist 3 or 4 weeks or even got worse like me after 3 weeks this could well be the answer does anyone relate with this ? dirk what do you think ?

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) has three major areas of impact upon the individual...
---------------

I think it look like a pretty accurate list of the kinds of symptoms you hear from the group of people for whom the withdrawal/detox process is an extended affair.

Clearly the intensity and duration of symptoms lie on a continuum. At one end we find people with symptoms like you are describing, and at the other end, there are people who are pretty much through with the whole thing after a week or so.

Dirk Hanson said...

This quote caught my eye in a CNN report about increased marijuana potency:

Dr. Mitch Earleywine, who teaches psychology at the State University of New York in Albany and serves as an adviser for marijuana advocacy groups, said:
------
"Mild irritability, craving for marijuana and decreased appetite -- I mean those are laughable when you talk about withdrawal from a drug. Caffeine is worse."
------
This is a good example of what has been called "metabolic chauvinism"--the belief that the way a drug affects ME is exactly the way the drug affects YOU. People can see that this is not true all the time in the case of alcohol, but somehow when it comes to quitting marijuana, it is assumed that we all react exactly the same.

anthony said...

I feel a bit more sane after reading through this article and the comments. my story is similar to most of the other postings, how i've been feeling "blah" and very anxious and depressed for the past few weeks. but it started a bit differently, here's a rundown...
I've been smoking for the past 5 years, i wouldn't say i'm a heavy smoker, usually not more than 3 (bong) hits per day, usually only in the evening.
So, it was May 18th, my roommate got some new stuff, and at this point i've only smoked once in the past week, but it's pretty much been EVERYDAY for the past year or so. Anyway, I took a hit on my bong on that day around 4pm (to cure my hangover) and about 1 minute later my arms, legs and face felt kind of tingly & numb which was followed by (or exacerbated) a strong sense of anxiety/panic. my chest felt tight, my heart felt like it was racing, I was pretty convinced i was dying, since i've never had any kind of panic attack before. the whole episode went on for almost 12 hours in varying degrees of intensity. i ended up having to pop some nyquil at 4 am to sleep, since as soon as my eyes closed i was convinced i'd stop breathing. It was only until the following day that i determined it to be a panic attack.
the anxiety attack seemed to be caused by the MJ, since then i've felt most of the symptoms described with the withdrawal, since i haven't smoked since then (except I tried some different stuff a few days ago, no panic, but i wish i didn't).
But yea, since the whole incident almost a month ago I've felt really anxious, depressed and become certain that i have some sort of tumor or other random things wrong with me.
i'm guessing taking that one hit the other night probably set me back as far as beating withdrawal. I've been looking for a reason to quit for a while... i've really developed quite the love/hate relationship with the sweet sweet MJ.
So after reading this thread I do feel a bit more relaxed/normal and i think i'll get some tea later in the afternoon.
Thanks!

Dirk Hanson said...

Glad you brought that up--sometimes people who have smoked recreationally for years, without complications, will suddenly and inexplicably begin suffering extreme panic and anxiety episodes when they smoke. I don't have a clue as to the rhyme or reason for it.

Anonymous said...

Tonights my 1st night and it's 1AM with no sign of sleep. I'm quitting by choice because my marriage of 8 years is failing and being a stoner (evenings only) everyday for the past 15+ years is not helping the situation.

I'm currently on Chantix to quit smoking cigarettes and that has been working out for me for 2 months now. One of the side effects of Chantix is crazy dreams (Nightmares). I too have had very vivid dreams on nights where I have been out of weed. I almost scared to try and go to bed with the dreams that I know will come in full force as a result of the chantix and no weed.

To add to the above I usually drink a 6 pack of beer every night as well, so i've given that up too.

Not even through the first day and I'm itchy, irritated, wide awake with no ability to concentrate.

Dirk Hanson said...

As I have mentioned before, quitting cigarettes and weed in the same time period can mean a double-whammy of withdrawal symptoms. Expect to feel a bit shaky on your pins for a while.

honesty said...

Hey Peter I read somewhere that it can take up to 2 full years to completly recover from being a long term user. Basically the longer you got without weed, the more good days you have but to not be suprised when somewhere along the line you have 2 or 3 days of withdrawal symptoms. So far I'm 39 days in. I quit on April 16th. On May 17th I decided I would smoke just once and I did. It was so not worth it. Everyday for the next week I woke up feeling like life wasnt worth living. I knew that it was because I chose to smoke just that once and completely set my brain back. I did fine for the next 30 days. At day 32 the symptoms kicked up and now I just feel awkward but not enough to even think of smoking weed.

Anonymous said...

im almost 25 and ive been smoking cannabis daily since the age of 14 at first it was somthing i just tried with my friends but it didnt take long before i found myself smoking everyday, the only time i would go without was on holiday and even then id find out where to get some from within the first couple of days. i know work and live in spain working in the tourist industry (barman/entertainer in a popular tourist bar) i work 6 months on and 6 months off, when im working i find it easier to limit my use most days i only smoke one or 2 joints in the last couple of hours before i go to bed as im convinced i cant sleep without it! and on the very rare occasion i find myself without it i feel panicked (mainly because i feel i wont be able to sleep) also very irritable with a very short fuse but when im on my 6 months off with nothing to do i find myself smoking my first joint of the dsy with a cup of tea shortly after i wake up and can smoke up to 7 a day and find it very hard to motivate myself to do anything.
im a keen singer and have been told on many occasions that i should make the most of my talent and seek employment as a singer instead of working in a bar, at the time when im told things like that (when im not stoned) i think to myself yeah i could do that! im surrounded by oppotunitys and contacts but when i get home after a hard nights work and have a smoke i start to think of things differently i start to dout myself and my ability, its my dream to be up on stage doing what i love and it can even be a reality but i think the only thing holding me back is cannabis even the thought of giving it up seems impossible (again mainly due to fear of insomnia, and the boredom of nothing to do on my 6 months off)but ive been treading water now for about 5 years and have come to the realisation that if i dont kick the habit and clear my head ill turn into someone full of regrets and looking back on what might have been, theres nothing id love more then to wake up everyday with a clear head feeling positive rather then waking up groggy and tired with an instant negitive feeling cast over the day.
i really need some advise on how to get out of this rutt! any advice would be much appriciated because i really dont know where to start!

Dirk Hanson said...

One of the things that happens when you quit an addiction is that suddenly you have a lot of time on your hands. How you fill that "extra" time can make a big difference. If you sit in a chair all day and stare at the wall and meticulously dissect how lousy you fell, that's one thing. But if you stay busy and physically active and pursue personal interests with enthusiasm, that's something else again.

The thing to hold in mind is the beauty of neuronal plasticity. Your brain is on your side in the long run. (In the short run it seems like the enemy). It remembers how to operate in the absence of the drug even if you don't, and with time, it will teach it to you.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys its anonymous again. I posted a little while back sying I'd been off weed for 3 weeks and I'd improved a lot in the 3rd week.

Well it was 6 weeks for me on Wednesday just past (day 46 today) and I'm feeling good. There are still some slight affects I can notice, like slightly vivid or anxious dreams, but perhaps this is just normal dreaming? I wouldn't know, I'd smoked for 9.5 years before I quit and I cant remember what normal dreaming is like.

I don't drink or need green tea anymore, although i do from time to time have slight feelings of anxiety but i can ignore them and they dissipate in minutes.

I'm definitely almost fully recovered, but I would expect the human body & mid to take this long to revert back to normal after almost 10 years of smoking weed.

Keep it up guys, quitting is really hard at times but believe me, the freedom you feel and self pride after successfully beating it are well worth it, not to mention the health benefits!

I'll keep you updated on my progress, and once again, thankyou for creating this site, and thanks to everyone who candidly posts on here. We are all in it together, and can all help each other through the hard times.

Be strong!

Anonymous said...

It really takes at least 6 months to go back to "normal" sometimes as long as 2 years. Do not be surprised if you hit a couple rough spots, although they should be few and far between.

ScottyIce said...

Hey guys, just an update, I quit 6 1/2 weeks ago. The night sweats and anxiety are gone. Appetite is back.

The main thing now is the deep severe depression that has set in. The brain fog got better after a few days but has returned full force. I expect to feel like this for several months.

I think this is the point where most people probably go back to smoking thinking "whats the point". I know better though.

I truly belive it takes 6 months to 2 years to become "normal" again.

If after two years I still feel like shit then I will start smoking again.

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks for the update.

Depression is always a tricky business if you're talking about timelines. Lotta variables.

I believe that many smokers start out using pot as self-medication for depression, even though it's far from reliable in that regard, and when they quit smoking, they need to look for alternative lines of attack for their underlying depression.

Anonymous said...

This is my 3rd time quitting this year and hopefully my last. Shortness of breath is the worst symptom for me. I had to stop drinking many years ago due to gout so pot became my escape. I told myself I needed or deserved something. I wonder how I am going to live without some form of partying and I feel envious of others who can drink and smoke but I keep telling myself to see what it will be like in my new, non-medicated world. Hopefully there will be a revelation and deep appreciation for good health. It has been a week and the breathing is getting better. Anyone else having these breathing symptoms?

Dirk Hanson said...

Hi:

Shortness of breath is sometimes a symptom of anxiety, is all I know.

quittingformykids said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been a daily pot smoker for 16 years, beginning when I was 17. I stopped while I was pregnant with each of my children and had no real side effects. Although, those side effects might have been passed off as hormonal issues. I stopped smoking on June 16th (almost three weeks now). My children are getting older and it doesn't seem ok for me to be doing it anymore. (Practice what you preach....) I have done a lot better than I expected but one thing has been really disturbing. My dreams. They are crazy! I would say 80% of them are nightmares and the other 20% are so messed up, I don't want to think about them the next day. They are so vivid and so 'real', I am almost afraid to go to bed at night. I wake up wanting to hit the bong just to help forget the dreams from the night before. I feel much better knowing I am not the only one with this problem. There a just a handful of people that even know I smoked pot, so it's not like I have a good network around me to ask questions..."Is this normal? Did this happen to you when you quit?" I always thought it could be a side-effect since I rarely remembered my dreams while I was smoking. Thanks for the site. Dirk. Now I know I am not slowly going crazy. =) Here's to weird dreams, but SOBRIETY!

Dirk Hanson said...

Yeah, the dreaming can really catch people by surprise. Since pot suppresses dreaming or dream recall, there must be some kind of rebound effect in play.

Stay tough,
Dirk

Jimmy C said...

Great post with plenty of good info - quitting for the second and last time - couldn't believe I went back to smoking after going w/o for 8 months considering how hard withdrawals were the first time - Doc put me some meds which definitely help - on 37.5 Effexor right now - Dirk is definitely right when he says exercise helps - sweating out the toxins decreases the withdrawal time

Dirk Hanson said...

"couldn't believe I went back to smoking after going w/o for 8 months considering how hard withdrawals were the first time"
------------

That's pretty common, as you no doubt know. No matter what the drug, the biology of relapse can be set in motion at any time. In most cases, the strength of cravings decreases pretty steadily over time (but that time may be longer than you want.)

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