Is this THC withdrawal? Need some assistance.

Postby Rusty123 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:27 am

First of all, thank you to anyone who reads this and replies. I posted this on Reddit but it seems that the cannabis withdrawal forum over there doesn't allow discussion like this. I am hoping someone or multiple people here can help me.

Good evening all,

I as of late have been having some bizarre experiences with quitting/reducing cannabis and CBD capsules. I assure you I will leave a Tl;Dr at the bottom.

I am a veteran who unfortunately served in Afghanistan about 11 years ago. I was diagnosed with PTSD in about 2009. I had some pretty terrible anxiety associated with my PTSD in about 2012 which slowly left me due to lifestyle modifications and CBT. I never felt that I quite got back to my baseline personality at any point in time nor was I ever free of the somatic symptoms I had developed due to anxiety such as muscle twitching, a chronic headache, and a low startle threshold.

Fast forward to about a year ago I was offered a cannabis prescription here in Canada. I was naive to what type of cannabis I should be using but eventually found that high THC strains amplified my stress ( I wouldn't use the term anxiety as I feel I rarely experience it). I began using a strain called "Shark Shock" which is relatively high cbd low thc. The THC in it was still quite noticeable but I found the combination tolerable. I would vapourize the cannabis before sleep. During this time period my supplier also started offering decarboxylated high CBD powder. It usually works out to be around 12-13% CBD and 0.4% THC. I started taking one capsule at night.

Fast forward to about 2.5 weeks ago and I started to realize that over the past few months my psychomotor skills such as typing were becoming problematic, I was also not as mentally sharp as I normally was. I felt that due to no other changes in my life physically, psychologically, or pharmacologically that I should assess my use of cannabis and possibly augment it.

I stopped vapourizing the Shark Shock before bed and began having more fulfilling and restorative sleep the next few nights. I then had a few nights of wild dreams which I expected due to REM rebound. After that, I began to feel my old somatic symptoms of anxiety begin to grow but not conscious psychological anxiety.

All last week I was feeling really lethargic and detached from my surroundings. This came to a peak on Thursday where I felt extremely "spaced out" for lack of a better term. My vision was blurry and I felt as if I was having some kind of psychological breakdown. This spawned a panic attack which I haven't had in years.

Since that night I have had a constant flow of anxiety that has peaks and valleys throughout the day but is none-the-less always brewing under the surface. This is extremely frustrating as this past year I have made so much progress with meditation, CBT, and really putting as much effort into curing my PTSD as possible. My last assessment from the VA was a diagnosis of "PTSD in remission" which is the best I can do as the VA and the DSM deem it a chronic illness.

I am currently sitting on a 3.9 GPA which I am incredibly nervous will evaporate if my anxiety stays the way it is. I haven't been able to study effectively for the past week.

I stopped taking the CBD the night of the panic attack. I can't tell at this point if it's helping or hindering, I took a tablet this morning and one this evening and I think it is alleviating some of the anxiety.

What would be an educated assumption from some of the more experienced individuals here. The timeline seems to indicate that the anxiety is likely from my system getting used to not having THC. Should I continue with CBD? I am interested in the benefits of CBD repairing atrophy of the hippocampus which seems to be commonly experienced by veterans such as myself.

Tl;Dr; Took cannabis for a year to treat PTSD, was working well, started noticing cognitive problems from it's use, stopped, now experiencing a lot of anxiety which is atypical for me.

Thank you.
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#1

Postby Haabefuld » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:41 pm

Hi Rusty

Sorry to hear about your situation.
I've been a chronic user for the last 17 years, have had some breaks though lasting from 3 weeks up till 2 years.
I havent experienced anxiety when quitting apart from one time, where I had been smoking skunk and using benzo's for a short while, that was really scary.
I'm used to smoking hashish and garden pot (which are not as strong in THC as skunk.)

When you vaporise you get a much higher percentage of the THC in your system, than if you smoke. The combustion ruins a lot of the THC.

In my opinion skunk is also often more sativa (the high feeling) than indica (the calm body feeling) and in my opnion it's the sativa high that can make you more paranoid along with the fact, that skunk is much stronger and mostly grown in an artificial way, which cant be good for the mind in the long run.

It's also common that if you on beforehand have issues with your mind, cannabis tends to make it worse.

My advice to you is to take a break from anything cannabis related. After some time you can try it again, and if you feel anxiety or paranoia from one time of using, then stay away from it for good.

Maybe you could look into some alternatives. Theres a page called: reset me where someone with PTSD found a way to work with the issues in another way.

Best wishes from Haabefuld
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#2

Postby Rusty123 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:44 pm

Thank you very much for your kind reply.

In response to your post. Do you think I should continue using CBD for the next few weeks and then taper it off slowly? I feel that the CBD has the potential to help with some of the anxiety until my CB1 receptors are back to normal from getting used to no THC.
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#3

Postby Haabefuld » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:49 pm

It's difficult for me to say. If you feel like the CBD is helping the anxiety, I would keep taking it and taper slowly as you suggest.
The CBD supposedly works against the psyhoactive THC.
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#4

Postby Rusty123 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:28 pm

It gives me something to consider anyways.

Thank you.
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#5

Postby Sightblack » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:56 pm

I don't want to tell you to keep using, but I am a firm proponent of medicinal marijuana. I don't think marijuana is evil even though it has ruled my life for a decade. As asgoodasitgets had mentioned in one of his posts, some folks are capable of using in moderation. I am not one of those people. It sounds like marijuana is bringing you some much needed relief to your mental state.

Furthermore, in my 10 years of smoking, I have had one nervous breakdown from not having weed or spice or some other substance to emulate the effects of THC on my body. Looking back to that time, I think my current self would tell my old self that I probably needed to keep using weed. I don't think my dependency was necessarily a bad thing back then because it really did bring my mood from "high-strung prick" to "laid back dude".

My wife has said to me in the past many times: "You are being a huge a-hole, you need to go smoke." and she sends me away to get high. Even she realized the benefits of smoking and the fragility of my mental state.

If I can offer you support in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here for you.
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#6

Postby asgoodasitgets » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:43 am

@Rusty123

Greetings, amigo! Hope this finds you very well.

To respond to your question, in my humble non-medical opinion you could probably taper off the CBD's slowly if you prefer attempting that route. As Haabefuld pointed out, CBD will allegedly counteract some of the effects of THC: paranoia, etc. I myself thought of purchasing a CBD oil pen with 0% THC prior to quitting, but I eventually abandoned the idea. The idea of a stepping-stone down as opposed to complete and utter cold-turkey withdrawal is a very comforting one. That said, if you wanna get it done quick and dirty, just cease it all immediately. The first few days are rough but as you progress you will feel better and better. I come here at least 10x daily now to read and comment for inspiration.

Please keep us posted and reach out if you need motivation.
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#7

Postby Rusty123 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:03 pm

Thank you for your reply.

The last week was quite rough. Once I sat down and plotted out when I had actually stopped using THC and also gained some knowledge of CB receptor density, etc things became a lot more clear.

I had always been working under the assumption that THC was rather innocuous and that any "withdrawal" I may have would be purely psychological. It would appear that based on people's anecdotal experience and some literature I have read on PubMed and Proquest that I was misled.

If I think back to when I quit THC, now that I think of it dating back probably 3 weeks now, I realize I was experiencing bizarre physiological symptoms before I was even cognizant that THC may be the culprit. I had muscle twitching from head to toe and just felt zoned out all the time. This was while still taking my normal CBD dose so I believe that this is some form of evidence that this whole process actually started some weeks ago.

My anxiety is down to almost nil these past three days. My mind is still somewhat hyperactive compared to normal but I suppose that is to be expected for the next couple days.

To anyone else suffering from the brewing underlying anxiety that I experienced this past 8 days and is stuck in that horrid state that our mind subjects us to, making us believe that this is the new norm and that we shall never return to normal, I can offer my anecdotal experience that it will end eventually.

I believe I am fortunate in that I didn't use strains extremely high in THC and which also had a healthy dosage of CBD to boot. For those of you who are withdrawing from extremely high THC usage, you have my sympathies. I hope that you all receive the help that you deserve regardless of the stigma of THC withdrawal being purely psychological.

Have a wonderful day.
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#8

Postby Rusty123 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:44 pm

Sightblack wrote:I don't want to tell you to keep using, but I am a firm proponent of medicinal marijuana. I don't think marijuana is evil even though it has ruled my life for a decade. As asgoodasitgets had mentioned in one of his posts, some folks are capable of using in moderation. I am not one of those people. It sounds like marijuana is bringing you some much needed relief to your mental state.

Furthermore, in my 10 years of smoking, I have had one nervous breakdown from not having weed or spice or some other substance to emulate the effects of THC on my body. Looking back to that time, I think my current self would tell my old self that I probably needed to keep using weed. I don't think my dependency was necessarily a bad thing back then because it really did bring my mood from "high-strung prick" to "laid back dude".

My wife has said to me in the past many times: "You are being a huge a-hole, you need to go smoke." and she sends me away to get high. Even she realized the benefits of smoking and the fragility of my mental state.

If I can offer you support in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here for you.


Hi Sightblack.

I just read your post on here about your own situation and I can see the parallels between our lives.

I couldn't do the withdrawal thing right now and I gave in and began using cannabis again about two days ago.
I think when I do decide to give up cannabis I need to use a more pragmatic approach and taper and maybe even sacrifice some of my dignity and see if VA will offer me an inpatient detox.

I would like to keep in touch with you if at all possible but I am not yet able to send PMs. I am not sure if you know a way around this.

Have a great day.
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