Marijuana Withdrawals - My Experience, 2 Months Later

Postby NoProblem » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:39 pm

Hey everybody,

I have hesitated to post my marijuana withdrawal experience since the day it started; however, I feel now is a wise time to do it. Before I start, I wanted to thank all of those who have posted on this forum. There are too many usernames to list through. All of these posts have helped calm me down during endless nights of insomnia and heart racing anxiety filled days. I hope that my experience can provide the same comfort and hope for others going down this path. As unique as my experience is, I hope that others can relate.

Background: I have smoked marijuana for approximately 4 years, on and off. I suffer from ulcerative colitis which is a form of IBS/IBD that affects the lower part of the large intestine. Marijuana provided me the relief I needed during hard times. Unfortunately, over the past year (July 2015 – April 2016), I began to smoke every day, not for relief, but because I was addicted. This ranged from smoking through a vaporizer, to joints and bowls. I began to notice that anytime I was not working or lifting weights in the gym, I was high. Life became stale and revolved around when I would get to smoke next. I was smoking approximately 2g’s per week, which may not seem like a lot.

As a side note, I have had one major panic attack in my life which was not associated with marijuana. I have had moments of anxiety when I would get very high, but I would tell myself that my high was at its ‘peak’ and that it would go away shortly. Sure enough, this held true and it went away.

Onto the withdrawals …

In March of 2016, I realized that I needed to tone down my marijuana habits. Having quit cold turkey in the past before with no effect, I figured this would be no different. The following week was filled with odd moments of anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia (new to me), but nothing major or concerning. I thought nothing of it and continued on. I took a mini vacation to visit some family in the southern USA which was not pleasant. I boarded my flight only to be met with feelings of anxiety and the precursor to a panic attack while on my flight. I managed to control the symptoms until we landed at my destination. I was baffled. This left a dent on my love of flying which still affects me today. That weekend, I felt oddly anxious with no explanation and I began to question if this was the result of quitting. I immediately disregarded that and convinced myself that it was harmless. On my flight back home, I was met with anxiety throughout my whole flight trying to fight back panic. I felt trapped but did what I could until we landed once again. I was baffled at this point. That night, I relapsed and smoked again. Withdrawals weren’t real, I thought. It’s all in my head.

The following two weeks, I had smoked on and off for a total of about 4-5 days with minor symptoms. The last time I smoked was April 10th, which was met with a severely anxious session. I took one hit of a joint and the anxiety would not go away this time. I immediately told myself that it was time to stop for good. No turning back.

The week that followed was terrible. I was anxious doing almost anything, thinking I would have a panic attack at any moment. I had to walk out of work a few times and sit outside because I was anxious for no reason. At this point, I began to question if it really was withdrawals. I brushed it off once more and assumed that I was anxious about an upcoming flight. The anxiety gradually faded until the day of my flight. I had no appetite and severe anxiety. I boarded my flight, flew down south and all my feelings went away. Once again, I brushed off withdrawals being the cause. The following day, everything changed …

I was making a drive from Atlanta, GA to New York City (17hrs with traffic) to help a family member move. Upon awaking at 3am, I immediately began to shake uncontrollably. I tried to take down my breakfast, but I couldn’t finish it. I felt nauseous. We loaded up the truck and hit the road. The whole time, I was severely anxious, shaking, sweating at times. I felt very faint and had no appetite. I was confused, worried and scared. Upon arrival at our hotel on Long Island, NY, my symptoms went away and I was able to eat. I went to bed concerned that night, but I had no trouble sleeping.

Within 5 minutes of waking, the withdrawals hit me like a train. I was shaking. My heart was racing. I was sweating. I had no appetite, but I was starving. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack at any moment. I felt severely depressed and I wanted to break down and cry. All of this, not at home, in comfort. I couldn't sleep due to my racing heart and racing thoughts. I was so anxious; I could barely leave the hotel in fear of panic. I felt agoraphobic. Every step I took outside, I debated running back to my hotel room and crawling into bed. For the next three days, these symptoms stuck around. This is when I began to do some research and came across the reality that is marijuana withdrawals. I had to cancel my flight and drive back home (10 hrs) which was agonizing in itself. I felt defeated and saw no end in sight.

At this point, I was convinced I was going through severe withdrawals. Over the next 2 months, I experienced waves of severe anxiety, severe depression, random loss of appetite, debilitating fear of leaving the house, severe insomnia, vivid dreams, vertigo and dizziness, headaches and DR/DP. Everything almost seemed fake, foggy, and dreamlike. Something as simple as going to the gym made me near panic. I would have to stop between repetitions and breathe deeply out of fear of a panic attack. I consulted a family friend that is a physician and explained my situation. He immediately agreed that this was withdrawals and the worst happens within the 4-6 week period. He prescribed me a low dose (0.25mg) Xanax and 2mg Valium to use as needed, but warned about their addictive properties. Thankfully, I have only used the Xanax once, 7 weeks ago. I have not touched a benzo since.

As time went on, my symptoms began to lessen. I would have days of severe anxiety with no other symptoms. Then I would have days where I would shake uncontrollably, no appetite with depression, but no anxiety. My sleep patterns have been all over. Some nights, I would sleep for 8 hours. Others, I would wake 4-5 times, tossing and turning, having the same repeated dreams over and over. My heart would race and I would turn to forums like this one for comfort. This leads me to the present day.

I am gradually beginning to have interest in things again. I avoided socializing during this process; however, my job requires me to travel for work primarily by car, so I fought through the anxiety to the best of my ability. I can safely say that most of that is now gone. I still have some minor fear of boarding a flight due to my past experiences, but I am convincing myself that it was due to the withdrawals and my body is recovering. I feel as if this experience has left a permanent mark on my brain and thought process. Every time I imagine doing something new, the first thought that comes to mind is me having a panic attack in that situation; however, I do my best to think positive thoughts and proceed to do it anyways, anxiety free. It’s as if I’m retraining my brain not to be afraid or anxious of everything.

I have been supplementing with 5-HTP (100mg), Fish Oils (1200mg) and a multivitamin daily. I plan on stopping the 5-HTP today. I am exercising daily and hope for better days.

I feel that I can go into plenty more detail about the withdrawals themselves; however, I don’t want to have a wall of text as that can be daunting to read sometimes. If anyone can relate, please share. I still have moments where I doubt if I’ll ever recover, even though things have gotten better. The anxiety still lingers at random times and while I understand that PAWS is likely jumping in, it’s hard to convince myself of that.

I hope my ongoing experience can provide comfort to others. For all those in this journey or just beginning, be as patient as you can. Things will get better! This will pass and know, you’re definitely not alone! Feel free to PM me if you would like.

Thanks.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:56 am

Keep up the progress. Exercise is key IMO to staying positive.
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#2

Postby akash agarwal » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:15 am

@no problem
Well done u came this far buddy

Honestly i felt s
SAME LIKE U!!all the symptoms... I sti some times feel that i will die when anxiety hit me..
Dizziness Vertigo is horrible too
d
DP DR omg this is 24 hrs in my head like a pressure

I cant go to work i cant study i cant watch tv or movie's longer...

I m 3 month 1 week clean and i m feeling bettr but when PAWS waves hit me again i m down
I have worst DR DP ( specially in the evening timing)
How long did u smoke and how old r u
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#3

Postby slick_willy » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:53 am

Hey noproblem, welcome to the forum. You will find lots of support here which is essential to recovery I think, for reasons that we all know: this sh** is scary. A lot of us (myself included) never had real problems with anxiety, depression, or dp/dr, and all of a sudden we have all this sh** at the same time and basically get blindsided by it. Very frustrating but also a great challenge for us to overcome, and I know many people, friends of mine who continue to smoke weed to their obvious detriment, but they either don't realise the effect weed has on their lives, or they are satisfied where they are, which I don't think is the case.

Anyway, congratulations on two months man! Every month is a victory (every day even) and we are in a great spot of knowing the truth about how weed affects us. I had a conversation yesterday woth onebof my best friends (who smokes weed everyday) about how weed is like a wrecking ball in my life (not the infectiously catchy Miley Cyrus kind) and he could not understand it at all. I don't blame him because I would not have understood it before going through it. I don't mean to make this post so long so I'll get to the point:

Inam at three months in a few days and have already noticed a lot of improvement. It seems that with paws, we all have similar but still individual symptoms. I haven't experienced nausea or a change in diet from my withdrawal, but I sure do have a lot of dp/dr (which is getting better), and also depression, slight anxiety (which has gotten way better since quitting weed), and my most troubling symptom is just that I don't feel like the person I used to be. Things that used to make me laugh just don't anymore, and when people around me have a positive energy (like a funny joke in a group of 5 people, say) I don't really connect with that energy, I feel like I'm numb and cut off socially this way from almost everyone. Also my words often come out all wrong, with the wrong emphasis and intention, and so things I mean to say are misinterpreted because I cannot accurately express them. As a result of my impaired ability to communicate, my relationships suffer and I have lost a lot of the great things I was used to, like people respecting me and always regarding my opinion as important, also I used to be pretty clever and funny and that is all but gone. A lot of times I think of jokes but don't say them, then someone else will and everybody laughs and I think "damnit... could have had that one." I think the pain of this experience is meant to teach us a priceless lesson. Just my own opinion.

Sorry for thr longest reply ever but yeah man, your symptoms sound totally consistent with paws. They might get better pretty quick too given your constant exercise, diet and supps. Always feel free to hop on the forum and let us know how you're doing if you feel like it.

Good luck and fight the good fight homie
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#4

Postby akash agarwal » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:13 am

Today i hv very bad day with anxiety dp dr

I had fight with my gf abput god exists or not

I have very bad DR and restless feelings i couldn't breath and hands shaking and i m very scared rite now
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#5

Postby HikerOfTheSoul » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:20 am

Hi noproblem, and welcome!
Congratulations on your 2 months mark... that's very good!

I'm sorry I don't have tips to give you to improve your situation... just want to say that I know how it feels and that you have my thoughts and support.

I think that you have the right attitude, because you push through even if you fear being anxious. That's what it takes, saying a big F**K YOU to anxiety and PAWS, and try to live at the best you can manage.
Sometimes it's really hard - I broke down badly a couple of days ago. But the best we can do is enough. We have to accept it.

Just keep on fight. Wish you the best
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#6

Postby NoProblem » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:10 am

Akash:

Hang in there man. I'm 25 years old and I smoked occasionally for about 4 years. I quit for a 7 month period after my first year of smoking with no withdrawal effects. Got back into it with the occasional smoke once again until about June of 2015. I began to smoke everyday, 3-4 times a day until around March of 2016 (8-9 months).

If you can, take some time to go outside for a walk, alone. Maybe have a small jog around the block or in your neighborhood. That usually helped me relax and come to reality a little. They were hard to do because of my sensations of panic and anxiety, but I gradually desensitized myself to that fear. It still lingers from time to time.

Slick:

I will do my best to keep on updating my progress as it goes along. This sh** is beyond scary. What I thought was once harmless has now turned into the hardest challenge I've ever fought in my life. It has definitely given me a different perspective on my life and those around me. Those that do not realize the effects of weed on their lives are living in denial. I was surrounded by friends who continue to smoke which I have gradually pushed away because every minute around them revolves around being high. The other interesting thing to note is that withdrawals do not effect everybody. Unfortunately for us, we got the shitty end of the stick! But hey, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.

I can relate with your symptoms, especially the socializing portion. While that is improving on my part, I have a very hard time focusing on others when they are talking. My mind tends to drift off and zone out elsewhere and I force my attention back on the topic at hand. It's almost like DP/DR but not as severe. Brainfog, if you will. And you nailed it: we are definitely not the same as we used to be. I used to be the individual that wanted to travel the world and visit every famous monument known to man. The simple thought of that now makes me shrug my shoulders and push it away. It almost feels like this changed overnight. I hope that one day I will have interest in all of these things again!

Hiker:

I'm doing my best to tell PAWS to pound salt. Every ounce of anxiety that rolls through is met with a withdrawal thought that weakens it. I appreciate your response and your care! Sometimes it is extremely difficult. Other days, it is as if it never happened until it throws a haymaker and sucker punches us out of no where. Keep on fighting the good fight man. Stay strong!
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#7

Postby NoProblem » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:31 pm

Hey all,

I wanted to provide an update and see if anyone can relate. Since my last post, I've had one or two waves of anxiety that were manageable, but enough to irk or bother me, leaving me almost hopeless at some points. As of today, I am 75 days clean.

Overall, I have weeks and days where I feel like I can tackle anything. But the one thing that bothers me is the lasting effect of the anxiety and panic experience. I'm yet to have a full blown panic attack throughout this whole process (besides the precursor to the one on my flight); however, Everytime I'm in a new situation or away from home, I have these automatic negative thoughts about having a panic attack. They do not stop me from doing things, but they remove enjoyment from simple tasks such as hanging out with friends, travelling (thought of it) or simply driving around as a passenger in another car. These thoughts produce the feelings of anxiety until my thoughts change or I forget about the idea of a panic attack.

I'm curious if anyone has been through this? It almost seems like panic disorder; however, I have never had this pre-withdrawal. I'm hoping this is just a matter of my brain repairing and desensitizing the feelings of panic.

Thanks!
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#8

Postby HikerOfTheSoul » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:19 am

Hi NoProblem!

I'm curious if anyone has been through this? It almost seems like panic disorder; however, I have never had this pre-withdrawal. I'm hoping this is just a matter of my brain repairing and desensitizing the feelings of panic.


I know what you're talking about, and it's not panic disorder... it's called being scared! And I think it's completely normal. I don't like the fact that nowadays everything has to be labeled. :roll:

Of course if you have been trough anxiety and panic attacks you are gonna be scared as hell to get back there - it's completely normal. It's not a "disorder". In fact, Panic Disorder is successfully treated by CBT, without medication, in most cases. Considering that CBT is a way of changing how you think (or better, how you perceive your thoughts, since you have no real power on their content) you can easily see that it all comes down to psychology.

You already experienced that: you said

These thoughts produce the feelings of anxiety until my thoughts change or I forget about the idea of a panic attack


That's exactly the key, but to really make progress you have to go with the flow. Instead of waiting for your thoughts to change try to do what you are doing and be fearless. You are gonna feel anxious but it's gonna pass - it always does - so why bother? I know it's easy to say, and I can tell you all these things and still be very scared sometimes, but I also know that we have to do this. The only way forward is through.
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#9

Postby NoProblem » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:08 pm

Hiker,

I appreciate the detailed response! It's comforting to know that my mind isn't the only one playing tricks on me during this process. I find it remarkable that we can think ourselves into a panic if we wanted to. The mind is truly the most powerful tool in the world.

As you've suggested, going with the flow is the most appropriate method to live through those situations. I've read a lot surrounding the idea of 'floating by' or 'accepting' the feelings or thoughts and moving on. My issue with this is actually learning how to do that. I have meditated in the past and felt rather refreshed after each session, but I have a hard time 'accepting' or 'floating by' when these occur. I know this will get better with time as this whole experience has shown.

I've mentioned this in a previous post, but it feels like my brain learned to be afraid of all of these situations because of what happened over the near 3-month period. But just as it learned, it can unlearn and desensitize to these thoughts and feelings rendering them useless. It's almost like a dent on a car that will repair itself.

I will keep updating periodically. Thanks for popping by Hiker!
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#10

Postby Happiness4life » Fri May 18, 2018 12:34 am

Hi mate

I am going through the same process

It’s been exactly six weeks I am starting to feel slightly better but I have lost my happiness in the process

Is this normal?

Do u feel unhappy even now?

Sometimes I wish I could rewind to 3 months ago but now I feel like mentally f***ed because of all this

Do you think I’ll get back to my normal self eventually?

Thanks
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#11

Postby NoProblem » Fri May 18, 2018 1:02 am

Hi Happiness,

It’s been about 2 years and a month since I quit and went through the hell I described above.

To answer your question: yes, you definitely will go back to normal. Yes, you’ll feel happy again. Everything will be alright. But you need to be patient. It will take a lot of will power and positive thinking.

Over the last 16 months, I have been in therapy to assist with the anxiety and phobic issues I developed as a result of the withdrawals. Neurobiofeedback was part of the process which has helped me.

I’ll reply more detailed soon, but give me some details about what you’re going through and I’ll try my best to help out.

Keep hangin’ on mate. You got this.
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#12

Postby Happiness4life » Fri May 18, 2018 8:20 pm

I came out of it with severe mood swings but not anxiety my mood swings were severe and I had lost my confidence which is coming back slowly.

But I am not happy anymore I feel like I’ve lost my old self which is really sad and I am thinking about life a lot which is really sad

How long did it take you to feel happy again and enjoy the things u used to love in the past.

It’s really sad this part as I’ve lost my happiness now.
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#13

Postby Chronic Chronic » Sun May 20, 2018 12:37 am

This post is invaluable at showing how erratic withdrawal can be. @Happiness4life it simply takes time for your mind to heal, just know that every day is 1 day closer to true healing. Its also important to understand that people who don't do drugs at all can still have anxiety, depression, mood swings, etc. it all depends on outlook on life. For example being sad at the mistakes you've made and time lost due to addiction is a natural thing, these are emotions which were suppressed before but are now allowed to flow. This isn't completely a bad thing of course, accept these emotions, then use them as a driving force to create happiness for yourself. Also at 6 weeks you are most likely undergoing the Post-acute withdraw symptoms stage of withdrawal (PAWS). Do a little research on it, it just means your brain chemistry is trying to re-balance itself and your making progress!

In my case i didn't feel happy playing video games anymore. But that was because i felt that i had already wasted enough time, i felt like i had to make progress and i wouldn't be happy until that was the case. The only times i enjoyed the things that i did was when i felt like i deserved it. Of course i'm not saying this is how you should think, but it may be how your subconsciously thinking about things. You control how fast you heal and at 6 weeks your doing great, good luck and you have my support!
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#14

Postby Happiness4life » Tue May 22, 2018 12:04 am

Hi

Is it normal to feel moody and depressed at this stage of six weeks?

I mean I didn’t know it was going to be this tough I wouldn’t have quit otherwise I would have cut down instead but I had a paranoia kick in the last time I smoked and went to the docs.

The reason why I stopped was that.

Now I feel like it’s gonna take so much more time to recover from this

I hope I am not going through depression
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