Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marijuana Withdrawal: A Survey of Symptoms (Part 2)


By Dirk Hanson

[Originally published in The Praeger International Collection on Addictions. Ed. by Angela Browne-Miller. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2009. Vol. 2 Ch. 7 pp.111-124.]


Results

All of the following comments can be found at the Addiction Inbox post on Marijuana Withdrawal. The unnumbered messages on the Web site are dated, and appear in chronological order.

Cave. (2008, February 8):

“Well I just stopped smoking pot after 4 years of everyday use, 5 days ago. I am feeling the withdrawal symptoms ridiculously hard. No appetite, slight nausea, extreme insomnia.”

Anonymous. (2008, February 26):

“My boyfriend (of 6 years) has been a smoker for approximately 16 years. He has tried to give up a few times seriously before but has never quite gotten there yet. His behavior is almost unbearable when he does. It really takes a toll on our relationship. I never realized that it could be so bad and that his actions are so exaggerated by withdrawal.”

Anonymous. (2008, February 26):

“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’ve been 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 I can’t regulate my temperature.”

Anonymous. (2008, February 27):

“I thought I was going crazy because all other sites told me that there were no withdrawal symptoms from pot, I can’t think or eat and when I do finally get something down my gullet I get the runs straight after. . . . I feel like I have been hit by a truck and it has only been a week since I gave up.”

Anonymous. (2008, March 1):

“I am 31 and a heavy smoker of 10 years. . . . What is really troubling me, however, is the excessive dreaming. . . . The dreams are vivid and strong, enough to wake me up sometimes.”

Anonymous. (2008, March 3):

“This idea of ‘intense dreaming’ is very real and for the first 5 or 6 days after quitting I experienced life-like dreams/nightmares (99% nightmares), which would wake me from my sleep. . . . This idea of breaking out in cold sweat is also very real and quite scary when [it] occurs as [it] got me worried there was something else wrong with me.”

Scott. (2008, March 3):

“I was blown away when I saw ‘excessive sweating’ as I have been experiencing that for a few days. . . . 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.”

Anonymous. (2008, March 7):

“I’m on day seven of abstinence and boy, do I feel lousy. Night sweats, anxiety, extreme insomnia, and loads of irritability/anger problems. . . . It’s a bit like when you have a bad flu. You plain feel rotten. Anything stress-related is magnified ten-fold.”

Bob. (2008, March 7):

“I’m 38 years old and have been using weed now daily for almost 21 years. . . . I’ve been ‘clean’ now for 4 days and so far it has obviously been difficult, but already I’m showing signs of improvement, the first two days I had no sleep at all. . . . My withdrawal symptoms: Loss of appetite, sweating, irritability, sudden crying fits.”

Anonymous. (2008, March 8):

“I am a 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 going to have any. . . . 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.”

Anonymous. (2008, March 18):

“Having read all of these comments and questions I no longer feel so abnormal. I have been experiencing most of these symptoms including vivid dreaming. . . . I have been a smoker since I was 15, every day smoking about 2–3 joints.”

Anonymous. (2008, March 24):

“I am a 25-year-old female. I started smoking at 18. . . . I quit a few weeks ago. . . . I can’t focus on anything. I can’t make myself do anything. . . . 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.”

Anonymous. (2008, April 2):

“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’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.”

Anonymous. (2008, April 8):

“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 years. Decided to quit about a week ago and my life has been a living hell since. . . . Haven’t eaten a full meal in a week, very tired and depressed, stomach in knots.”

Anonymous. (2008, April 25):

“I quit weed 46 days ago. . . . pretty similar symptoms as everyone else and the most severe anxiety and depression I have ever known. . . . I can’t concentrate or focus, I can’t 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 negative thought just pops into my consciousness . . . like it’s never going to end, like my thoughts are caught in a vicious circle.”

Richard. (2008, May 3):

“It’s not suicidal ideation but it’s the feeling that life will just never ‘be right’. . . . 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. . . . 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.”

Discussion

The U.S. government’s essentially unchanged opposition to marijuana research has meant that, until quite recently, precious few dollars were available for research. This official recalcitrance is one of the reasons for the belated recognition and characterization of marijuana’s distinct withdrawal syndrome. According to research undertaken as part of the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism, 16 percent of people with a lifetime history of regular marijuana use reported a history of cannabis withdrawal symptoms (Schuckit et al., 1999, p.41). In earlier research, Mason discovered that those seeking treatment for cannabis addiction tended to cluster in two age groups—college age and mid-50s (Somers, 2008).

Budney et al. (2004, p. 1973) write:

Regarding cross-study reliability, the most consistently reported symptoms are anxiety, decreased appetite/weight loss, irritability, restlessness, sleep problems, and strange dreams. These symptoms were associated with abstinence in at least 70% of the studies in which they were measured. Other clinically important symptoms such as anger/aggression, physical discomfort (usually stomach related), depressed mood, increased craving for marijuana, and increased sweating and shakiness occurred less consistently.

Today, scientists have a much better picture of the tasks performed by anandamide, the body’s own form of THC. Among the endogenous tasks performed by anandamide are pain control, memory blocking, appetite enhancement, the suckling reflex, lowering of blood pressure during shock, and the regulation of certain immune responses. This knowledge helps shed light on the wide range of THC withdrawal symptoms, particularly anxiety, chills, sweats, flu-like physical symptoms, and decreased appetite.

Furthermore, we can look to indications for which marijuana is already being prescribed—anxiety relief, appetite enhancement (compounds similar to anandamide have been discovered in dark chocolate), suppression of nausea, relief from the symptoms of glaucoma, and amelioration of certain kinds of pain—for more insight into the common hallmarks of cannabis withdrawal.

What treatment measures can help ameliorate marijuana withdrawal and craving in heavy users who wish to quit? The immediate threat to any decision in favor of abstinence is what might fairly be called the “hair of the dog” effect. Note the findings of a 2004 paper in Neuropsychopharmacology: “Oral THC administered during marijuana abstinence decreased ratings of ‘anxious,’ ‘miserable,’ ‘trouble sleeping,’ ‘chills,’ and marijuana craving, and reversed large decreases in food intake as compared to placebo, while producing no intoxication” (Haney et al., p. 158).

Moreover, “Overall withdrawal severity associated with cannabis alone and tobacco alone was of a similar magnitude. . . . cannabis withdrawal is clinically important and warrants detailed description in the DSM–V and ICD–11” (Vandrey, Budney, Hughes, & Liguori, 2008, p. 48). It is possible that many more people are trying—and failing—to quit marijuana than researchers have previously suspected. Daily use of marijuana may be driven in part by the desire to avoid or eliminate abstinence symptoms (Haney, Ward, Comer, Foltin, & Fischman, 1999, p. 395).

To date, there is no effective anticraving medication approved for use against marijuana withdrawal syndrome. More than a decade ago, Ingrid Wickelgren wrote in Science: “For instance, chemicals that block the effects of CRF or even relaxation exercises might ameliorate the miserable moods experienced by people in THC withdrawal. In addition, opiate antagonists like naloxone may, by dampening dopamine release, block the reinforcing properties of marijuana in people” (1997, p. 1967). Since stimulation of THC receptors has homologous effects on the endogenous opioid system, various investigators have speculated that naltrexone, the drug used as an adjunct of heroin withdrawal therapy, may find use against symptoms of marijuana withdrawal in people prone to marijuana dependence (Tanda et al., 1997, p. 2049). Further research is needed on the reciprocal relationship between THC and opioid receptor systems.

Serzone (nefazodone), an antidepressant, has been used to decrease some symptoms of marijuana withdrawal in human subjects who regularly smoked six joints per day (Haney et al., 2003, p. 157). Anxiety and muscular discomfort were reduced, but Serzone had no effect on other symptoms, such as irritability and sleep problems.

Preliminary studies have found that lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder, curbed marijuana withdrawal symptoms in an animal study (Cui, Gu, Hannesson, Yu, & Zhang, 2001, p. 9867). Another drug for mania and epilepsy—Depakote—did not aid significantly in marijuana withdrawal (Haney et al., 2004, p.158).

Since difficulty sleeping is one common symptom of withdrawal, common prescription medications might be indicated for short-term use in the case of severe marijuana withdrawal. Some researchers have reported that even brief interventions, in the form of support group sessions, can be useful for dependent pot smokers (Copeland, Swift, & Rees, 2001, p. 45).

It is also plausible to suggest that the use of marijuana by abstinent substance abusers may heighten the risk of relapse. In a study of 250 patients at a psychiatric/substance abuse hospital in New York, “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” (Aharonovich et al., 2005, p. 1507). However, the researchers found that cannabis posed a greater risk to cocaine and alcohol abusers. For heroin, “cannabis use after inpatient treatment did not significantly affect remission and relapse.”

It is surprising to note the relative paucity of previous clinical data the researchers had to work with in the case of alcohol and marijuana. “The gap in the literature concerning the relationship of cannabis use to the outcome of alcohol dependence was surprising,” according to Aharonovich and colleagues. “We were unable to find a single study that examined the effects of cannabis use on post-treatment outcome for alcohol dependence, despite the fact that the majority of patients now in treatment for alcoholism dependence also abuse other drugs. Clearly additional studies of this issue are warranted” (2005, p. 1512).

Addiction researcher Barbara Mason of the Scripps Research Institute of La Jolla, California, is overseeing a four-year study of the neurobiology of marijuana dependence under a grant from NIDA. The comprehensive project will involve both animal and human research, and will make use of state-of-the-art functional brain imaging. The federal grant will also be used as seed money for the new Translational Center on the Clinical Neurobiology of Cannabis Addiction at the Scripps Institute (“Scripps Given,” 2008).

Above all, it is time to move beyond the common mistake of assuming that if marijuana causes withdrawal in some people, then it must cause withdrawal in everybody. And if it doesn’t, it cannot be very addictive. This thinking has been overtaken by the growing understanding that a minority of people suffer a chemical propensity for marijuana addiction that puts them at high risk, compared to casual, recreational drug users. The fact that most people do not become addicted to pot and do not suffer from withdrawal is no more revealing than the fact that a majority of drinkers do not become alcoholics.

The idea of marijuana addiction and withdrawal remains controversial in both private and professional circles. For an unlucky few, a well-identified set of symptoms characterizes abstinence from heavy, daily use of pot. In this, marijuana addiction and withdrawal does not differ greatly from alcoholism—the vast majority of recreational users and drinkers will never experience it.

For those that do, however, the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana abstinence can severely impact their quality of life.

Note: Sources and references can be found at the end of Part 1 below.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

All these comments are a great help ive been smoking very heavily for about 6 years (7-9 joints a day) And the withdrawal is awful i cant eat i cant sleep i sweat i have dreams that wake me from my sleep I feel paranoid and on edge alot of the time. But im definately feeling the benefits As my head just feels clearer in general and once I can eat and sleep properly again ill be great!

Marijuana Withdrawal said...

I agree that there just isn't enough info out there for people who are suffering. I am for legalization AND a full disclosure on the effects of marijuana. They are positive and negative. Everyone is different.

Dirk Hanson said...

"I am for legalization AND a full disclosure on the effects of marijuana."
-----------

Me too.

Anonymous said...

Very silly. I am a habitual smoker and have been for 10 years and once a year i quit for one month as a sort of detox for my mind and body. Outside of the vivid dreams and reduced appetite (symptoms which also pop up after quitting caffeine)I have never had any of these ridiculous side effects. Sure everyone is different and perhaps some people have certain withdrawl symptoms but as a card carrying medicinal marijuana user I can tell you through all of my talks with ex-smokers I have NEVER heard of any of these symptoms. Perhaps your irritability was always there? And the weed just calms you down. Please people understand that there is NO physical addictive properties to the chemical THC. Understand the garbage that the government puts out and read the facts. The SCIENCE of the chemicals and substances you put into your body.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell would take lithium to combat these so called marijuana withdraw symptoms. From drugs.com:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision; confusion; diarrhea; drowsiness; excessive weight gain; fainting; giddiness; inability to control the bladder or bowels; increased thirst; increased or decreased urination; involuntary twitching or muscle movements; loss of consciousness; loss of coordination; muscle weakness; persistent headache; persistent or severe nausea; ringing in the ears; seizures; slow or irregular heartbeat; slurred speech; swelling of the ankles or wrists; unsteadiness; vision changes; vomiting.

Yes... much better...

Dirk Hanson said...

" Please people understand that there is NO physical addictive properties to the chemical THC. Understand the garbage that the government puts out and read the facts. The SCIENCE of the chemicals and substances you put into your body."
---------

Speaking of which, you're way behind the science of the matter. It doesn't have anything to do with how the gov. feels about it. The SCIENCE of the matter makes it abundantly clear that for a minority of smokers, physical addiction takes place. You're just parroting old canards, outdated thinking.

Congratulations on never suffering from side effects when you quit, but that factoid proves nothing with respect to the overall question. Assuming that your own reaction to drugs is the only normal reaction is a form of biological chauvinism which is also very outdated.

Anonymous said...

About the 4th comment (from the 2nd anonymous)

* No disrespect just honestly curious 1)Are you saying that you are a cannabis smoker for 10 years, with med mj card? I thought decriminalization of medicinal use has a shorter history, so unless I'm wrong on that, you must have obtained the card at a later phase of those 10 years, right? 2)Do you think that 1-month-breaks per year have any detox value for a decade of habitual smoking? 3)Do you really think that self-medicated cannabis use on chronic terms help fight anxiety? Many people like myself might have resorted to cannabis to keep their anxiety in check but long-term use worsens the problem more than often. 4)Today's science is pretty clear on how and why psychology is a complicated aspect of physiological processes involving endocrines, hormones and over/under-functioning of certain related organs. Is it because you are unfamiliar with those scientific studies that you seem to view psychology and physiology as separable?

to Dirk:

I'm not even sure that it's only a minor proportion of heavy/chronic smokers who experience withdrawal symptoms. 1) Are there enough longitudinal studies conducted with a wide sample group of heavy/chronic cannabis users to suggest that WD symptoms are a concern for just a few? 2) Is there enough statistical data with plausible estimation of total nb of heavy/chronic cannabis users in a given society, the ratio of those to the ones who break the habit, and the ratio of the ones with symptoms? Romanticizing/ glorifying aspects of herbalism makes those studies difficult to conduct just as political agendas behind government-funded research render some of the research findings dubious.

In today's world where there's heavy discussion of GMO going on, what we put into our bodies resembles a philosophical problem more than anything, than ever before. It *looks* like a tomato I have on my plate, but is it really a tomato in essence? It *appears* to be so, but is it *really* a tomato, considering its size, taste, growth and untimely presence at this time of the year?

I find it surprising that many people are blind to a similar kind of questioning about cannabis despite some of the current growing/cultivation techniques & processes. Whatever chemical is by definition part of nature yes, but not everything green is purely natural.

T.--

Dirk Hanson said...

"I'm not even sure that it's only a minor proportion of heavy/chronic smokers who experience withdrawal symptoms."
-----
I'm not certain about that, either. And the lack of the very kinds of longitudinal studies you go on to sensibly suggest is part of the reason why.

"Romanticizing/ glorifying aspects of herbalism makes those studies difficult to conduct just as political agendas behind government-funded research render some of the research findings dubious."

Well said. The extreme ends of the sociopolitical spectrum are well represented: the oppressive legal legacy of Harry Anslinger, and the "world peace through pot" devotees. Gets thinner in between, which is quite a shame now that we're edging toward thinking about legalization. Would be nice to have all the medical factual cards on the table going forward.

moss.productions said...

I am wondering if anyone out there can give advice for someone who is helping his partner through the first several days/weeks of quitting smoking pot? My boyfriend is experiencing many of the symptoms above and I don't know what to do or not to do to try and help him through these difficult days. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Take care all.

Dirk Hanson said...

Watch out for irrational outbursts of anger and impatience in the early going. Try to remember not to take it personally. Your partner will be mad about how he feels, and will tend to take it out on whoever's within range.

Anonymous said...

i am 46 smoked pot for 33 years.i stoped smoking 3 weeks ago.this is the worst i have ever felt.i am suffering all the side affects. may14 2010 calvin

Anonymous said...

Hi am a 24yr old female who has recently quit for 2.5 weeks and had been smoking since 17 yrs old this is the 5th time i've quit for more then a month at a time (Im a bad relapser!!, due to knowing too many ppl who smoke, except my new bf) but everytime i forget how horrific the symptoms are which include feeling tired all the time, can't concentrate, can't do any assignments cos my brain feels outta whack, I also feel spaced out, hot and cold, immunity is down, vivid dreams which I kind of enjoy although find it hard to distinguish between reality. I feel like im on the verge of panic attacks and hate everything and feel like I wanna kill myself, also feel paranoid and not feeling myself at all, feel really weird and over everything, I wish everything was normal and my body would calm down, I feel irritated all the time as well. when will this end.

Anonymous said...

Am a 31yr old and I was smoking the highest grade for over 13yrs I stop a week ago and my biggest problem is sleeping, and sweating buckets every night when is it going to stop, that's my only problem am have, besides that am good and excited about quiting..

Anonymous said...

I'm a 20yr old I been smoking since I was 18 I been smoke daily for two year I just stoped yesturday and I sweat a lot and I'm very cold , I can't sleep I have no appetite I went from eating about 5 times a day to once a day after just one day I'm moody everything get to me
Is this normal or is it going to get worst?

Anonymous said...

For the past 20 years I've always followed a month on/month off approach.
I smoke daily for a month (an ounce a week), then I take a month off *completely* to recover physically, mentally and attend to things that I might have neglected while I was stoned everyday!

Every single time when I stop smoking, I experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms; insomnia, sweating/night sweats, vivid dreams/nightmares, loss of appetite, irritability, anger, depression/crying/suicidal ideation.
Usually, these symptoms last 5 days for me and then I feel back to normal. The severity of the symptoms seems to vary, but for whatever reason the duration seems to be about the same.
It definitely sucks, but it's a reality of life. I find it hard to believe anyone who can say they experience no withdrawal symptoms at all - I'm a living testament to the fact that the withdrawal is very real and I've been through it so many times it's like clockwork, and I know plenty of other people who have experience the same.

So here's my tips for dealing with the withdrawal symptoms:

- Speak to your doctor and get some Valium. This is kinda a dangerous one because this drug is definitely addictive, so I usually get my doctor to prescribe me only 5 tablets (yep exactly 5). I take them for the first 5 nights after quitting and that helps deal with the sleep issues including the night sweats - and having a good night's sleep tends to also stabilize your mood during the day.

- Drink LOTS of water all day. It's the only reliable way to flush out your system.

- Eat low fat/healthy options. I find that it's the foods high in fat (that you'd probably eat in abundance while stoned) like pizza, burgers, candy etc that makes me feel really sick during the withdrawal period. I find lots of fresh fruits, nuts, dry crackers, soup etc. goes down a lot better until my appetite returns.

- Surround yourself with (non cannabis using) friends/family and do stuff you enjoy and stay busy. I find the emotional/mental symptoms get much worse when I dwell on it. If you find yourself in that place, get up and do something; go for a walk, watch a movie, call a friend, DISTRACT YOURSELF!

Smoking pot is NOT a way to cope with all this shit and feel normal again, even though your brain keeps trying to convince you otherwise. I never start smoking pot again unless I feel 100% normal and have my life totally and utterly under control.

The good news is that the withdrawal symptoms will ease, and I actually find it exciting to return to reality and "feel" things again. But I like life both ways: i enjoy the month I'm stoned, and I enjoy the month I'm not.

Anonymous said...

I have been smoking daily for 13 years and I've tried to quit but cant. Its got me in a vice like grip. I want to kill myself when I try so I guess I'm too far gone and will be a lousy stoner for life. What have I done to myself?

Anonymous said...

I am trying to quit after 10 years of heavy smoking. 3 weeks and counting...
To those who say it isn't addictive or there are no withdrawal symptoms all I can say is good for you, but the majority of smokers I know (including myself) have suffered immensely with addiction and withdrawal.

My withdrawal symptoms are, in no particular order;
- Craving
- Unable to sleep (first week)
- Vivid dreams/nightmares thereafter
- Sweating/chills
- Itching all over (this is the worst one for me, it is constant and shows no sign of subsiding)
- Irritability

If I keep busy i'm ok, but as soon as I stop and try to relax I crave a smoke.

I should admit at this point that I have been here before. I have been clean for 4 months in fact, but decided to 'treat myself' on one occasion and that was it, I was smoking again.

Quitting is hard, that is a fact. It takes time, and a lot of mental strength. This is where I fall down. Part of me knows I can do it, but part of me is also saying "who are you kidding, you'll never last, just get some weed and get it over with". I hope I can do it. Only time will tell...

To anyone else out there who is trying to quit I wish you the best of luck. It is possible, we just have to be strong.

Take care everyone.

Anonymous said...

as a girlfriend of a heavy weed smoker of 25 yrs...help me...we will finish soon as hes moods r totally unreasonable...given up for 8 days...please say it gets better..doesnt help that i smoke cigs tryin to smoke outside n out the way but he looks at me and talks to me like total crap!!!

Dirk Hanson said...

It get better. It really does. Short-term, irritation and anger can be a major withdrawal problem.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me...has anyone experienced withdrawal symptoms from smoking weed that really, really made you feel like you are literally dying inside...I have experienced the tremors, shakiness, terrible insomnia coupled with the frightening nightmares...but I was wondering if anyone out there has experienced a hot burning inferno going on inside their body plagued with the feeling of death coming upon you? Ironically, I'd sweat but have no fever with the inferno feeling inside of me....I had smoked weed for 4 years and decided to go it cold turkey and at the same time I stopped smoking cigarettes...you know, trying to get two birds with one stone...but I'm not sure if the intense heat throughout my body for about 4 days has anything to do with withdrawing from weed and smoking at the same time....I have mastered the feeling however, of not returning to weed nor cigarette smoking and the horrendous feeling of dying is past me for now...but lately I've gotten these red and what appears to look like mosquito bites showing up on my legs and now travelling to my torso...Is this a symptom that happens to the odd individual or could it be something else going on? I haven't noticed anyone saying they developed a bite like rash on their body...am I the only one?

Anonymous said...

Um, I'd suggest a visit to the doctor!

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea: What if all those symptoms this article refers to as withdrawal symptoms -- especially anxiety and depression -- are organic and there to begin with, and cannabis merely relieves them? You know that this is so, and yet you blame the cannabis for creating the symptoms instead of relieving them. I'd say you're looking at this problem from exactly the wrong end. But we're all drug addicts so what do we know, right? Unless the drugs are Prozac, Seroquel or all those other poisons, and then down the hatch with no regrets, right? Medical science took about 500 years to agree that acupuncture might actually have something to it. It's notoriously clueless, and that includes on this issue.

Dirk Hanson said...

Acupuncture still has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Yo anonymous (lol had to glance over at how to spell that) thank god I'm not the only one with the rash thing! So no you're not the only one, Ive been quit for 2 months exactly and I woke up with a rash so bad I cried, cause I used to get it while smoking on and off and Ive never been able to pin down what it was, but it's got to be the weed now you said you have it too, I'm using calamine lotion and it's working really well, also castor oil tonight I'm doing a liver flush too so hopefully will be gone soon, most of it has died down just two red ass spots one on each thigh.. nice I cant even go on the pull til it clears up :(

Anonymous said...

yo anonymous again, i meant to say your rash is exactly the same as mine!! so it's got to be the weed! its cleared up now i'm so happy thank god!

Anonymous said...

Until I read all these posts today... I had been depressed about my husband not loving me anymore and how he did and said such mean things to me and how he kept lying to me for weed. Now I know they were his withdrawal symptoms and that makes me feel so peaceful. Finally last month after he tried to strangle me while trying to quit, I told him I had had enough of his crap and would leave him. Thatz when he realised and admitted the fact...he was an addict in denial. We directly went to a doctor and he suggested a medical drug detox bcoz my husband also has major depression and attempted suicide bcoz he couldnt accept that he actually tried to strangle me. The 1st 2 weeks went quite bad although he was on heavy medication...the dreams and insomnia went very bad so the doc had to increase his dosage. I felt so helpless and sad as I watched him scared and worried and waking up every hour and goin back to sleep, he is detoxing at home. He hated me everytime I tried to help him but he had to let me help him coz he couldnt do anything by himself(effect of meds). His helplessness teared me down as well as his rude behaviour. I thought those were all effects of his detox meds till today. The 3rd n 4th weeks went much better, he stopped havin the dreams n slept. The best part was when he started depending on me and actually caring about me and his temper was under control. He's on his 5th week now and simply loves me like before and keeps mentioning how sorry he is....was doubtful thinking the meds are makin him say these but honestly the posts made my day. I know for real it wasnt him doing crap...it was the withdrawal...really hoping to see him get well soon and wishing all others to hang in there and not lose hope.

Anonymous said...

Greetings...I am the anonymous individual that wrote on September 23, 2012 9:34 p.m....Please allow me to update you on my condition.
Firstly, I appreciate the individual who encouraged me to go see a doctor over my concerns...I guess I failed to mention I had and to no avail, he provided me with no solice...that being said, I went to emerge on two more ocassions only to find that they sent me home without explaination as well...but was given an antidepressant because my nerves were shot...Now, a month and half later...I feel great!!! Everything terrible that I was experiencing has vanished...I've completely stopped the habit....My mind is very clear, I'm calm, energized, no nightmares, no tremors....I've made life altering changes...I eat better and more on schedule and my diabetes has never been more regulated and under control than ever..and I have lost weight in the process...I've really never felt better in my entire life!!! For the lady who wrote on October 31, I'd like to say...You deserve acknowledgement for all you have been through...I both sympathize with what you had to endure and commend you for your willingness to hang in there...not all women have the strength to go through what you have...I am sure that your husband sees you in a more different light...He is truly grateful that you were there for him, trust me on this one...Now that he is on his way to recovery he will even see his relationship with you differently..He will and already does value you more than you know...I believe the worst of what he and you have gone through has passed and now you will see your relationship can only flourish...Hey that's what unconditional love is all about right...It's never easy but it's certainly rewarding...I wish you both the very best now and into the future...It's times like these when we realize how much we've been blessed when our loved one's stick it out with us...You are an exceptionally amazing lady...and I'm sure your husband finds you to be one of the highest calibre!!! From woman to woman...I wish I had your type of endurance...Happy life to you both!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am not a doctor, but I am observationalist that has come to the conclusion that such symptoms as Chest Tightening/Discomfort are symptoms of Depression that have been suppressed by the consumption of Marijuana.

So, when you quit consuming the Marijuana, your Depression has come back. This is why you immediately begin to have negative thoughts. These thoughts have been suppressed and are now back.

Here is how to fix that:

Take a hot shower and sit down in the tub, while the hot water is pelting the top of your head and back, allow these thoughts to enter your mind and focus on them, make them better by addressing them, perhaps for the first time.

This process could take as long as an hour, but as soon as you feel more comfortable, step out of the shower and sleep.

Sleep will come easier for you because you are emotionally drained, but if it does not come easy, then eat soup (warm food) and exercise (run in place) until you are physically exhausted (may take 5-20 minutes).

Drink a lot of water and lay down, close your eyes and allow your mind to project (like it did in the shower), be patient as some thoughts may continue to come back, this just means that you have not yet come to a compromise with yourself and how you truly feel about the subject.

If at any time your brain tells you, "RELAPSE", remind it about how you feel RIGHT NOW!!

The point here is that you are feeling discomfort because you are DEPRESSED and marijuana has helped you to SUPPRESS it. Now your crutch is gone and your SUPPRESSED thoughts have been there waiting for you to deal with them all this time and have come back to haunt you UNTIL you DEAL WITH THEM.

DEAL WITH THEM!

Anonymous said...

I am the observationalist from 11-21-2012 here to help you with your remaining symptoms, which are:

1. Headaches
2. Prolonged withdrawal
3. Nightmares
4. Rashes
5. Frustration

OK, let's begin with symptom number 1 and we'll work our way down:

1. Headaches

Congratulations, this is a sign of your improvement, because your brain has begun to re-wiring itself, now that marijuana has left your system. Sure, it will be retained within your fat, but it is leaving or has left your brain!!

Have hope and know that IT WILL GET BETTER and that IT IS ALMOST OVER.

During this period, eat a lot of warm foods and drink lukewarm water (avoid cold water as this will require more energy to process).

If you have to take an Advil, then do it sparingly, as it is recommended (by me) that you fix yourself without medication, as this will leave a lasting impression on your mind and your chances of relapse will decrease.

2. Prolonged withdrawal

So, you are 2+ weeks into your sobriety, yet you are still feeling awful... but, don't worry, this is quite normal.

It depends on your metabolism, diet, sleep, exercise, etc as to how fast you'll recover.

Read what I said about depression in my previous post and this information should help you knock out most of your symptoms.

3. Nightmares

This is a simple fix, because this is ALL in your mind and can be directed toward more positive thoughts, thus better dreams.

Here is a trick:

Before you fall asleep, think of something, anything, that makes you feel happy. Maybe its the first time your child smiled at you when they were still a newborn, or perhaps it was something funny that happened to you or someone else, anything will do, but it must be pleasant.

And, you must DWELL on it until you fall asleep. Focus on the good times, find something to hold on to, something that will keep your mind busy with ONLY positive thoughts and YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL and YOU WILL HAVE POSITIVE dreams via suggestion.

4. Rashes

This may be a reaction to the device you used to consume marijuana. For instance, if you smoke using a homemade device containing copper tubing, plastic tubing, or otherwise something toxic, then you may certainly break out in rash.

Now that you have stopped consuming marijuana, you should recover naturally; however, just to be safe, you might want to consult your doctor.

5. Frustration

Your chest feels tight, your head hurts, you feel FLU like symptoms, and let's face it, anyone in your shoes would feel frustrated too.

But, you don't have to feel that way, not after you realize what the TRUE cause of your discomfort is.

Obviously it isn't marijuana, but the lack thereof, that is causing your discomfort, but WHY?

Well, it is because you feel anxious. Yes, these are signs of DEPRESSION.

Read my previous post to find some tips on how to defeat your depression once and for all!!

Hint: Dealing with your problems is key to your success.

BONUS

One last tip, if you want to decrease the amount of time that you would normally experience your withdrawal symptoms, then SWEAT, DRINK WATER, SWEAT, DRINK WATER, SWEAT, DRINK WATER, repeat!!

The best way to do this is to play basketball, run, jog, walk, etc.

Get active, stay busy, and you'll not just cure your discomfort, but you will become healthier while doing it, so WIN-WIN!!

MOST OF ALL stay POSITIVE. If you have to remove yourself from negative people or situations until you can deal PROPERLY with them, then go.

REMEMBER, your family and friends LOVE YOU and CARE ABOUT YOU!! They want you to be successful in ALL THAT YOU DO, so hang on to that FACT and THINK TWICE BEFORE REACTING, because you just might be attacking the ONLY PERSON in the ENTIRE WORLD that feels this way about you and DON'T YOU FORGET THAT!!

Lastly, identify the source of your discomforts, know that they are caused by STRESS and DEPRESSION, DEAL WITH THEM accordingly, STAY POSITIVE and before you know it, you will be FREE!!

Anonymous said...

Hello people!!! I'm da anonymous frm 31st oct...my husband's been absolutely clean for more than 2 monz now...i just had to share dis coz I hav my real hubby bak...although he's still on meds for his depression,he has changed drastically :)...i still hav to take alot of care but now m gladly doin so...he takes care of me more than he ever did before bcoz he's more than grateful I hung on to him thru all da hardships I faced...he pays as much attention as possible to our 4 yr old daughter who's just started school and she simply loves her daddy more and more everyday...i'm very happy tht I believed deep down in my heart tht he still loves for which I gave him a chance...i had to knw if our love was true...thnk god I waited or else I wudve regretted my whole life for ditching him when he needed me most...i cudnt forget da amazing love we had till da disasters started last yr...today I showed him my post for da 1st time and he gave me a tight warm hug and said 'i love u,thank u for beung there for me.'...wat more can I ask for? And for da post on 6th nov...i'm extremely touched for wat u've written for me...dont knw how to thnk u coz u made me feel proud of myself n my love...yes I believe in unconditional love only bcoz thtz wat I had frm my hubby for 9 yrs as well...i will try n forget all of dis bad past n move on to a happier life...n yes my hubby wants to thnk u as well coz u made him more proud of his wife n promises he'll definitely write on dis blog as soon as he's able to...he wants to encourage other sufferers like him...thnk u again for makin me feel so special...n now my msg to all loved n closed ones...plz dont lose hope n dont giv up...nothin's impossible...many might think i'm sayin dis too soon but I knw he's changed n no matter wat he's never goin to choose weed over his family again...he has realised wat a precious part of his life he was bout to lose.

Anonymous said...

My husband asked me to personally thank you on his behalf...he said he was already blessed to hav my daughter n me in his life but ur comment made him feel very very proud n even more blessed...n tht he wont let u down :)

Dirk Hanson said...

Thanks, my pleasure.

Anon5252 said...

ive been clean for about three weeks now and ive had all the usually symptoms read on here but i was wondering if crying for no reason was one also? ive cried randomly a few times in the last two days and i dont know why?

Dirk Hanson said...

A sense of sadness, loss, melancholia, can all be a part of the withdrawal process.

Anonymous said...

I've been a marijuana smoker for about seven years. The first five years, it was a weekly, sometimes only monthly thing. The last two years it's been daily, about 1.5 grams of the highest THC content weed "haze" available. I thought it was helping me with insomnia and anxiety. It was not. But that's another story. Naturally I experienced these symptoms accutley every time I tried to kick.

Let's talk about the AWFUL withdrawal symptoms it may cause. The side effects are so bad that many users that want to quit don't simply because of the physical withdrawal. I was one of them. I tried to clean up and get off marijuana several times over the last two years, and never made it longer than 10 days because the physical impact is completing debilitating for me.

I'm writing this now, as I am making my final and determined effort to get clean. I talked to my doctor truthfully before coming off. He armed me with

1. Zofran for nausea
2. 75 mg Lyrica once daily for anxiety and to suppress the nervous system a bit.

It's been 72 hours and I have good news and bad news. Good news. I'm still clearn and Lyrica works like a charm. No anxiety, insomnia, numbness of hands and feet.


Bad news -I am suffering inspite of trying Zofran and OTC heartburn medcines like Pilosec:
1. profound stomach cramping and burning several hours after eating
2. severe nausea with sudden massive sweating caused by chills, including actual episodes of vomitting, several hours after eating
3. Constant feeling of having to defficate with nothing coming, intersparsed with bouts of diahhrea
4. The diarrhea, is light in color, wattery, fluffy diarrhea, sandwiched between episodes of constipation

All this has again caused a total loss of apetite, because of the fear of the pain associated with the subsequent nausea and diarrhea.

It's certainly, think safer and better to be addicted to that than cigarettes or alcohol. Speaking of both those substances. And truly (though no space for that here - marijuana allowed me to quite both tobacco and alcohol cold turkey after habitual use from 13 to 28 of alochol and tobacco.

I do have awful stomach and GI problems long before I started smoking marijuana. Now I'm not a scientist or a doctor, and I know you can't believe everything you read, but I've read that sufferers of various ailments like IBS, Chrones,and others swear by marijuana. That's irrelevant to me, because I'm quitting smoking mairjuana. I would be amenable to THC pills if they actually were shown to help IBS.


At this case I don't know if the stomach problems that some people complain about when kicking the habbit aren't a reemergence of a Chronic problem that marijuana had helped regulate?

Thoughts

Anonymous said...

hi!i am now on my 8th day of weed withdrawal now i feel dehydrated even if i drink lots of water.my bp is 80/60 i am a 30 yo female and been smoking for 2 yrs straight.my question is it normal to feel dehydrated even when i drink lots of water.and one.more thing i pee alot.

Dirk Hanson said...

It's not unusual for the fluid thing to be out of whack, with sweats and frequent pees and stuf like that.

Anonymous said...

I am a MMJ user that has been smoking for the past 15 years – I used to take high doses of opiods for pain management.
The withdrawal from the opiates could be mitigated with cannabis and coffee, however it took me a few years to find something to help with cannabis withdrawal after I switched from opiods to cannabis for my pain management regimen.
Every month for a few days I have to take a break from cannabis in order to 'reset' my tolerance. During these few days in order to lessen the excessive sweats, insomnia, irratability, etc... I drink a green dragon cocktail once or twice a day along with a little bit of a CBD mixture for lessening the insomnia.

I make my green dragon from using 'pure' ethanol and ground cannabis, leaves and stems. The CBD tincture is a manufactured product I get from my collective (I've only ever used Dixie Elixir Dew Drops, but there are others out there.)

Anonymous said...

Are you guys for real? Woopty do there are one offs for people who have minor withdrawal symptoms but can you answer this mate, why does every state in the world have a drug rehabilitation in them, and why are there so many people in this conversation? Not because of Science and not because of what they heard but because of what WE are going through now or have gone through. Congratulations card holder. You were wrong.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous..I use to feel this way.. I am a cannibis smoker of 16 years smoking every day.. Times have changed... It is bein chemicalised with growth , it is not the THC tha is the addictive chemical, most of cannibis addictions is all in the mind, for the feeling of the hightend situation to dissapear.. Back in the day I could take it or leave it... Now as a 31 year old I find it extreamly hard to go a day with out... I have tried time after time to not bother but even when I'm busy I have on my mind only one thing to chill off with.. A fag and glass of wine can not do the same job... Every one is diferent, and of late over the past 4 to 6 years the more people suffering from these with drawal symptoms have been speaking out more due to the change of thought pattern and symptoms from the other chemicals tha are being put in from growing... It is there we need to be looking.. As a natrual seed, soil and water, is not a drug, if so then the plant in my living room would be illegal if you no what I'm trying to say... Yes the government will fill us with crap about It because there is qualitys (in the natrual grown stuff) that they would rarther keep to them selves... And some times I wonder because they couldn't and will neva get it off the streets have they put their own poision out there... Remember alchol was illegal in the 40 ish... Untill they realised the benefit it had for the government its self as also with ciggrets.. Its a lot bigger than any one could immagen... If ur smoking pot please do it with care and moderation... Mind who and where ur buying from.... As it is not as it use to be....

Anonymous said...

Weed increases dopamine in your brain.

I won't go into huge amounts of details but you are essentially experiencing similar symptoms an opiate user or cocaine user would after stopping use of the substance.

Everyone has different levels of dopamine in the body as its a naturally occurring substance. Its actually the main chemical in the brain that with it being too high would cause you to be a psychotic.

Too low and you are depressed, battling insomnia, weird pains, sniffling and sneezing etc.. These are similar to the flu like symptoms that opiate users go through when quitting or running out of drugs.

Weed, (IMO) only slightly affects this dopamine chemical in your brain but extended abuse of this plant can result in some seriously issues as your body no longer produces dopamine naturally..

It takes a week or maybe 2 for your body to readjust and chemically balance it self out.

I suggest people taper off MJ use to minimize these withdrawl symptoms.. Although you MJ users have no idea what real opiate like withdraws are like, and the fact weed is easier and cheaper to come by, you all should have no issues tapering usage down and quitting.

Go read some stories about people going through opiate withdraws.. and if you know anyone going through opiate withdraw issues, tell them to make some weed baked goods.. IT will greatly take the edge off..

Anonymous said...

im currently on day 3 aftet waking up and realising ive thrown a bright future down the bong....i dunno y i feel opptimistic about this attempt but if i can do it so can u

Anonymous said...

After the 2nd day to the 6 Th day my body hurt like swine flu it was terrible I almost went to the er . I threw up clear phlegm & dark yellow stuff from my nose. I started drinking green tea & taking golden seal w echinecea two pills twice daily. Lots of water also. After I got sick I felt much better I know my body is cleansing itself from toxin. Good luck to you. I was a chronic smoker for 22 years I'm a 34 yo female.

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