Weed detox and high blood pressure

Postby Brokethehabit » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:44 pm

To all struggling with weed-induced high blood pressure...

I am male, over 40. I don't think I have had any serious issues: family good, job fine, social life OK, do loads of sports, no problem with sex, everything cool, plenty of ambition, balanced and all. I started smoking weed simply because I liked being stoned.
After more than a decade of casual blazing I got hooked more seriously on weed for about five years. That meant up to 5 grams per week. It varied though, some weeks more, some weeks less. I smoked standard spliffs, no vaping, etc. I can't really tell how potent the MJ was, certainly not the lab-grade stuff you can get these days.

As my weed abuse was getting more and more excessive I started blazing up in the mornings, during the day and in the evenings, whenever I could. As far as I can tell, I could go through the day being normal, nobody suspected anything. My improved THC tolerance naturally made me increase the amount of weed per spliff as well and the whole experience just ended up in me being numb and fatigued instead of joyful and high. It was about a year ago, gradually though, that I started experiencing strange things:
- I got snappier, grew more impatient and less tolerant
- developed an ever more frequently occurring odd buzz in the brain
- upon waking up I felt crap
- when late evenings on my way home from my smoke-buddies I felt so cold I thought I would simply freeze to death
- started smelling smoke (firewood smoke).

MJ has quite good publicity and feeling the veteran stoner I was I didn't have a single doubt: "you cannot get addicted, it has healing properties, it's good for epileptic fits, it can treat high blood pressure, it's effective for pain management" and so on and so forth. But the truth of the matter is that I was terribly ignorant. I genuinely believed that these strange symptoms had nothing to do with my weed (ab)use. I tried to shrug it off, I thought it was just a bad phase of some sort and I tried to develop coping strategies. Of course I would not see reason and was really busy explaining things away...as you do. Naturally I had my suspicions but reasoned that even if it was not completely healthy the benefits outweighed the drawbacks. After some more time the negative effects of weed consumption on my life could not be denied. This is perhaps the point when quitting was not just a distant alternative looming on the horizon any more, it slowly but surely formed itself into a plan, a plan that took me an awful lot of time to carry out.

I admit that the decision of quitting resulted in rather my not being able to enjoy weed rather than having those odd symptoms. Nevertheless, I went on telling myself the same old lies...only this bag, only this spliff, next week I'd quit, next month, tomorrow, pathetic really. So after having planned to quit weed for a prolonged bs period of some years I eventually quit cold turkey October 2019. I think I have a great deal of mental integrity, but boy, it was not easy to get to the point of no return. It was like trying to get rid of a nasty, insistent parasite...like the black goo that possessed Spiderman in a movie.

Anyway, two weeks in I got really sick one night. I woke up and my BP was badly off the scale at about 190/90. I told my wife to call an ambulance and I spent the night in an ER ward just to be released the following morning as there was nothing wrong with me. They suspected I had had an episode of bad panic...nothing strange about it as this is getting so frequent these days with so many people, life can be so stressful after all.

From this night on I had to cope with daily hypertensive spikes accompanied with some really weird kind of sickness. I still find it difficult to describe the general sickness that took complete control of my life...it was like suffering from food poisoning: a nasty headache, nausea, a bad stomach, muscle spasms, alternating hot-cold spells, brain-buzz, a heap of sensations I was unfamiliar with, and on top of all the ever omnipresent anxiety. First I thought it was all part of the high BP sensation. The accompanying panic was tough. I could feel the anxiety attacks coming and cranking up by BP in like 20 seconds.

I spent the oncoming days arranging appointments, medical tests, scans, etc. All tests came back negative; theoretically I was a healthy person. At this point I accepted the medical narrative that I was simply old enough to have high BP and coupled with my weed abuse (that no doctor new about) I had developed essential hypertension. Within a few days after my ambulance night I got proper medication to counter my high BP. I sort of accepted the thing but I new it was more than "just" high BP. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me, I don't know, brain tumour and of course I did not even for a second entertain the possibility that I was suffering from getting off weed. Anyway, what followed was probably the most challenging two months I have ever had in my life...similar to Renton's bed scene in Trainspotting. I was badly f***ed up...I could barely scrape myself together to take care of stuff. At nights I would wake up multiple times, which is nothing surprising if you know that you are going through an acute phase of weed detox. Whenever I woke up during the night I woke with a start, feeling as if I was being electrocuted. I simply attributed this to the hypertensive urgencies that were plaguing me and I thought "Here we go, another hypertensive event...let's get over with it!". I could give a more detailed account of my sufferings but it was nothing that you wouldn't know of so let's move on with the BP topic.

It was only after buying a professional wireless BP monitor that things got a different perspective. I could wear the thing with little discomfort all day and during one such hypertensive night-rush I managed to measure my BP and guess what, it was normal. I was feeling crap without having high BP! It was at this point that I realized that the hypertensive crises and my episodes of sickness were completely unrelated. This was also the point when I understood what a complete idiot I had been. A manic research stage ensued and after some time - just like you guys - I found this place. Alas, let there be light! Wow, the level of ignorance concerning the risks of weed consumption is just astronomical. It took me bloody two weeks to find this forum amongst all the related sites and finally figure out the obvious. Thanks to all the people who had shared their stories here, by mid-November I already knew what was happening to me so practically I have been soldiering through the withdrawal phase ever since with as little whining as possible.

Naturally, the whole thing was totally unexpected as I had had offs longer-shorter before with no difficulties whatsoever. My hypertension was raging, my anxiety attacks were unrelenting and my withdrawal-induced sickness made me miserable but at least now I knew why I was feeling so dreadful and it made all the difference, it made it a whole lot bearable. One of the lasting memories is when I was lying in the CT scanner for my chest scan and I had to fight a nasty anxiety rush all the while through. Or when sitting in the dentist's chair feeling totally panicky as the amphetamine in the anaesthetic I had been administered triggered a hypertensive episode mid-procedure. Or when I wanted to do some sports to quicken my healing but I was unable to get started because of the crippling anxiety that took hold of me...I cannot but smile now, but then I was completely flattened by these experiences.

Judging by what I have read here, I consider myself lucky as my symptoms have been mostly physical rather than emotional. My BP meds took care of my elevated BP and the spikes, and soon I learnt to manage the anxiety spells by not fighting them, allowing them to wash over me. When I had my sickness episodes I could not really function so I simply lied down and rested until they were over. Slowly I got better, the anxiety and sickness spells became shorter, less intense and less frequent. Two months in I left my compound BP treatment behind and switched to a single-component one. It was risky but I was feeling recovered enough to give it a try. I was concerned about the side-effects of the BP pills as well. It worked. The anxiety, the high BP peaks and the sickness started consolidating and by January I was feeling pretty good.

It is the end of February, I'm four months in now and recently I have stopped taking my BP pills. I still experience the waves but they are rare and completely manageable. I have no hypertensive spikes and my BP has returned to normal. I know my journey getting off weed is not over but I am optimistic that no crippling symptoms will return. I'll try to figure out how I can upload photos to share some of my BPM app charts and show you how my daily readings over time changed from red to yellow and eventually to green. My experience is that there is really little information as to how people experience and can get through weed-induced BP complications so I sincerely hope that my story will give relief and hope to those who are affected.

Take care people and heads up, blood pressure down :)
Brokethehabit
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#1

Postby CaliGrown » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:27 pm

Omg this is soooo me....31 year old female. Smoked flower but switched to vaping for convenience. Only vaped for like 3 months but had no idea the % of thc is much more in the oil/cartridges (I was smoking 60-70%) than the flower (10-20%). I ended up getting this 91% thc cartridge in aug 2019 that totally put me over the edge and when I quit I had all your symptoms. Not so much the physical symptoms of nausea, headaches and such. Mine were more psychological. I had High Bp, put on meds for it, emergency room visits, heart monitors for the heart palpitations, put on anxiety meds, you named it they tested it and couldn’t find anything.
Bp and panic attacks were finally managed at the 4-5 month mark. But then I had a random panic attack out of no where in Jan Bp was 170/104. I thought I was through it alll but no. My BP has been steady since. To the point I halved my meds now because I’m trying to get off them completely. But then last week I added the gym (I couldn’t do it before with the anxiety and racing heart and high Bp, but felt good enough to try it) and now I’ve been having heart palpitations every couple of days. Like 90 + bpm. I’ve only gone to the gym once. During workout I got it up to 170bpm (normal for exercise I believe) a couple hours later got it down to 90 and then jumped up to 120 and I was lying down doing nothing. It’s so discouraging but I know my body still just needs time to heal. I just added magnesium because I’ve seen others on this forum swear by it. So hopefully it will help calm the heart and anxiety a bit. I’ll try to update as I just tried it the first time last night and heart is doing ok. I would love for it to be less than 80 bpm but I’ll settle for 80s (sometime 90) for now. Thanks for sharing and hope you get better, PAWS sucks balls...
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#2

Postby Brokethehabit » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:14 pm

Hello CaliGrown, sorry to hear that you are still struggling with your BP. Sounds counterintuitive but you should try to surrender yourself to anxiety. Give it a decent try, it might work for you. If you get rid of the stress pattern, you might get rid of your high BP as well.
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#3

Postby CaliGrown » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:50 pm

Thank you! It’s so hard to do as I’m sure you know. In the midst of the panic it’s so hard to find a grip. But my therapist has said the same thing. Congrats on your journey and I know we will get through this. My therapist says it will take appx 18 months. It’s month 8 for me now. I’m doing ok. I would be doing better if it weren’t for this pandemic right now. My anxiety is through the roof...
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#4

Postby Brokethehabit » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:11 pm

We're all apprehensive. Stay positive and try to concentrate on the good vibes!
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