3 months after last cannabis use

Postby blvck » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:49 pm

Hello all,

I found this forum today while searching for general help for PAWS especially. I've been a cannabis user on and off for about 14 years. Light use between 17-22. When I was around 23-years-old I started using more frequently. For the most part I was an active user between 2013 and summer of 2017. Sometimes very high amounts and almost daily for multiple years. During this time I was a healthy eater (no gluten, dairy, sugar for the most part. Not a huge drinker). Back in July of 2017 when I stopped cold turkey, the withdrawal as to be expected was quite bad. I think since enough time has passed since then, some of the specifics faded, but needless to say I was a physical and mental mess for a number of months and things slowly improved over time.

Between the end of 2017 and summer of 2020 I molded myself into a brand new person. I worked to shift my cannabis addiction into a healthier obsession for exercise. I wasn't addicted to exercise, but it was the main pillar of who I was between these years. I was in extremely good shape physically and of course that only contributed to a better state of mind. Despite going through a number of hardships during this time, I remained strong and never ingested the slightest bit of weed.

Fast forward to covid/quarantine. A few months a pass and the summer is underway. A conversation with a friend and a moment of weakness lead me to taking my first hit in nearly three years. Despite the dispensary grade, the hit completely knocked me off my feet. The burning heat in my lungs and watering eyes made me almost want to throw up. After it subsided, I was sucked back in just like that. I was high again. Ahh, how good it felt. And don't get me wrong, I felt guilt the same exact night. One hit turned into daily use, upwards of 10-15 vape hits per evening with high potency edibles mixed in. The thing about cannabis is that when I use it, I function quite well socially and physically. Despite my workout routine, sleep pattern and eating habits becoming worse, I managed to wake up with enough zest. But over time I knew it was dampening my spirit. This past December I just wasn't feeling right. A number of times I took a hit and my chest was just bugging me. I felt like I had gotten hit by a truck and thought I had covid. So I made the decision to stop cold turkey again and face the music.

The first 5-7 days, total hell. All of the things one would expect to happen certainly did. Insomnia, night sweats, loss of appetite, disassociation from reality, extreme anxiety, multiple panic attacks, total fatigue and lethargy, stomach and chest pain, constant hacking of mucous, etc. I was a wreck. I hated myself for ever having taken that one hit back in June. After the first week every week was up and down for a couple more. Right when I felt maybe I was feeling a little clearer or getting on a better routine, the panic would return. My stomach would churn and burn or I would just feel run down.

About 30 days in I ironically had to get drug tested for a new job and at that time I was feeling alright. Certainly not good or great but I had resumed more of my exercise routine. I passed the drug test, started my new remote job in Feb and things were looking up a bit. I shored up my diet even more and started pushing myself to sleep much earlier, between 10-11 instead of 12-2am.

There has always been this pain in my chest that has bothered me. At first I thought my lungs, but I was breathing alright. Then I figured my digestion and stomach. That brings me more up to this last month or so. Over this time it has become increasingly depressing to find that I am dealing with quite severe stomach and digestive issues again. I have been plagued with issues for nearly a decade and I found that I have GERD, especially. The nagging, gnawing, burning pain that irritates my chest, esophagus and sinuses has become so debilitating. To the point where I have to be so careful eating, careful moving and exercising (even abdominal crunches seem to set it off). I have done a lot of research on the lower esophageal sphincter, stomach motility, cb1 and cb2 receptors in our GI system and how cannabis affects it.

To be honest, I remember telling my friend I felt it took my 6 months to even feel "better" when I quit smoking in the middle of 2017. I didn't have the same severity of gut problems, but I'm also turning 32 soon instead of 28. I consistently have dealt with globus sensation in my throat over the last couple of months. I get annoying chest pains which I find to be reflux.

I recently was tested for h pylori to rule out stomach ulcers, which came back as negative. My free t3 is low, which also signals GI imabalance. Most of my other blood markers such as d3 look OK. Over a longer period of time last year I was also accidentally consuming smaller amounts of gluten quite frequently eating a product I thought was safe. This raised my secreatory iGA levels through the roof, signaling insane amounts of mucous production in my gut. Anyone who has or knows a bit about leaky gut knows how it affects the entire system. My joints ache, mainly my left knee. I have lower back pain to complement the gut pain. I have had to remove grains entirely at this point and focus as hard as I can on consuming foods nurturing to my entire GI system.

I have noticed an improvement with less sinus pressure/throbbing and a few other good things, but for the most part, 3+ months post cannabis use, my body is still a complete fraction of what it was. I am having trouble doing heavy lifts or even short periods of cardio without being out of breath. I still feel a significant amount of brain fog, depression, anxiety and rapid mood swings. I have such anhedonia that I don't really feel that alive or excited about what is going on, even if it's something I generally really like.

I hope that moths 4, 5 and 6 treat me better. I hope my cb1 receptors in my gut start waking up and functioning properly and my stomach starts to produce acid properly so I can fix my gut to then heal my cloudy mind. The body is incredible, but sometimes patience feels like one year instead of 6 months. When we are constantly worrying and stressing about our health, not only does time seem to go by more gradually, but we perpetuate and intensify the issues we are dealing with.

Sometimes it's hard waking up to the reality of who you truly are after cannabis numbs you for so long. Even heavy usage daily for less than a year can put you in a pretty deep and dark state. The important thing is to forgive yourself. To realize that there is nothing you can do now to change the past and you have to move forward to keep making the right choices and changes to heal. I want to be really fit again. I want to progress my life and find happiness through living in those moments of excitement and inevitable change. I want you to know if you are going through the same thing and resonate with what I shared, that you and I will do it together and keep getting better. It may be scary and uncertain at times, but hopefully sooner than later we will all be able to look back and remember the days we were feeling desperate, posting on a forum anonymously sharing all of our struggles.

For anyone who has recently gotten past that hard point and feel they have climbed out of that deep, dark hole, I'd love to hear from you. Any words of encouragement or even echoing my words and empathizing. It's hard to express to people who care about you how you feel when they don't understand or if you don't even want to go into any detail. I know this is quite long-winded but there's a lot to get out and share in hopes more resonate with how I am feeling. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read and best wishes to you in your journey to recovery.
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#1

Postby bawdyheated » Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:21 am

Welcome to this forum, we are here to try our best and help. Carry on mate, everything will be great soon.
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#2

Postby Brokethehabit » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:01 pm

That's one hell of a story. After I gave up pot 18 months ago it hit me so hard I ended up in an ER ward. I was so f***ed up physically that there's no way for my system to tolerate weed any more. I've been around smokers a few times since, the thrill's definitely gone...just reflecting on your relapse.
Anyway, I needed 13 months to get through. The doubt is the worst part. You come across as the medically conscious type, which makes recovery even more gruelling as you constantly believe that your suffering is more than withdrawal. Just soldier on, you'll get better. For your acid reflux try DR. SCHUSSLER SALTS no. 9. It reversed my pretty chronic condition in 2 months and I haven't had it again ever since.
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#3

Postby john5:6 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:34 am

Brokethehabit wrote:That's one hell of a story. After I gave up pot 18 months ago it hit me so hard I ended up in an ER ward. I was so f***ed up physically that there's no way for my system to tolerate weed any more. I've been around smokers a few times since, the thrill's definitely gone...just reflecting on your relapse.
Anyway, I needed 13 months to get through. The doubt is the worst part. You come across as the medically conscious type, which makes recovery even more gruelling as you constantly believe that your suffering is more than withdrawal. Just soldier on, you'll get better. For your acid reflux try DR. SCHUSSLER SALTS no. 9. It reversed my pretty chronic condition in 2 months and I haven't had it again ever since.


Which physical symptoms persisted more in your experience? I’m at 4 months almost 5, and I’ve been in literal physical pain for the last 3 weeks. I feel like if I had the worst flu ever but without any respiratory symptoms. I tested negative for all kinds of flu even covid. My joints and bones hurt really bad, and my lymph nodes get randomly inflamed. My digestive system is out of wack. And all that is just a fraction of all the total stuff bothering me. Been so many times to different doctors and nothing comes up...
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#4

Postby Brokethehabit » Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:37 am

Most of my symptoms appeared and stayed for 2-5 months. Sometimes they overlapped and sometimes they gave me some break in between. Issue&duration: Symptoms of allergy, fits of cough with literal balls of phlegm: 2 months. General malaise, as if I had been down with some sort of food poisoning (including head buzz, headache, dizziness): 7 months. Fatigue: 5 months. Destroyed sleep: 12 difficult months. Unprovoked unilateral knee pain: 6 months. Body spasm: 3 months. Muscle and bone pain: 4 months. Phantom smell: 5 months. Eye issues: 4 months. Extremely high blood pressure: 4 months. Extreme sensitivity to coffee and such stimulants: 8 months. Digestive issues: 2 months. This is not the complete list. The first 4-5 months were full-time doom. The first real let-up took place around months 7-8. The symptoms lessened in severity over time but they could amplify tremendously in waves for shorter periods (from some days to 1-2 weeks). The most significant change happened in month 13, after a nasty wave all symptoms vanished for 5 complete months. I’m in month 19 now. For the last half a year I’ve been back to completely normal. At times I still sense something PAWS-related but these are mostly hardly noticeable and definitely not debilitating, at most annoying. More than a year ago I decided to leave doctors alone as my symptoms resolved by themselves. I took some meds from my high BP for some months, occasionally painkillers, sleeping tablets 30-40 times since quitting. In my experience only time and patience helps, for me nothing else has worked: no meditation, no food supplements, no exercise, no vitamins, etc. I mean these can be totally necessary, I do sports on a daily basis but nothing really alleviated the agony at the time. Coming off weed sucks!
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#5

Postby tokes » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:52 am

Welcome to the battle with the beast, the journey to the underworld, being stuck in the belly of the whale or defeating the dragon once and for all. You are right in the thick of battle right now and the decision you make now are the most vital which will lead to your victory.

I quit once, it lasted a year, I relapsed - I lost that one. I quit again 3 years ago and have never touched it since. You have time on your side here and every day gives you power, even if it feels you are getting weaker. Every day closer to the 1 year mark is a day closer to feeling better.

It's unimaginable the havoc that PAWs that wreck on the body, that mimic debilitating illnesses. I went to countless doctors convinced something was wrong with my heart, I had ECG's, Ultrasounds, Holter monitors, blood tests, therapy sessions and it was concluded my heart function is fine. I am not a doctor, so I can't specifically say if your GI issues are only temporary being made worse by PAWs but its worth getting it checked out by a doctor and getting the right treatment.

Whatever decision you make in this regard, is better than going back to smoking weed, because let me tell you life is so much better without it.

Well done on getting your new job, you've got the strength to do this and be a better man at the end of it all.
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#6

Postby john5:6 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:27 pm

Brokethehabit wrote:Most of my symptoms appeared and stayed for 2-5 months. Sometimes they overlapped and sometimes they gave me some break in between. Issue&duration: Symptoms of allergy, fits of cough with literal balls of phlegm: 2 months. General malaise, as if I had been down with some sort of food poisoning (including head buzz, headache, dizziness): 7 months. Fatigue: 5 months. Destroyed sleep: 12 difficult months. Unprovoked unilateral knee pain: 6 months. Body spasm: 3 months. Muscle and bone pain: 4 months. Phantom smell: 5 months. Eye issues: 4 months. Extremely high blood pressure: 4 months. Extreme sensitivity to coffee and such stimulants: 8 months. Digestive issues: 2 months. This is not the complete list. The first 4-5 months were full-time doom. The first real let-up took place around months 7-8. The symptoms lessened in severity over time but they could amplify tremendously in waves for shorter periods (from some days to 1-2 weeks). The most significant change happened in month 13, after a nasty wave all symptoms vanished for 5 complete months. I’m in month 19 now. For the last half a year I’ve been back to completely normal. At times I still sense something PAWS-related but these are mostly hardly noticeable and definitely not debilitating, at most annoying. More than a year ago I decided to leave doctors alone as my symptoms resolved by themselves. I took some meds from my high BP for some months, occasionally painkillers, sleeping tablets 30-40 times since quitting. In my experience only time and patience helps, for me nothing else has worked: no meditation, no food supplements, no exercise, no vitamins, etc. I mean these can be totally necessary, I do sports on a daily basis but nothing really alleviated the agony at the time. Coming off weed sucks!


This is 99% exactly what I’ve felt so far. Your PAWS symptoms and duration are extremely similar to mine. I’ve had to use Ativan a couple of times so far for massive panic attacks, and my whole body became so inflamed at one point that I had to take prednisone. Thanks for sharing this!
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#7

Postby Brokethehabit » Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:37 pm

john5:6 wrote:This is 99% exactly what I’ve felt so far. Your PAWS symptoms and duration are extremely similar to mine. I’ve had to use Ativan a couple of times so far for massive panic attacks, and my whole body became so inflamed at one point that I had to take prednisone. Thanks for sharing this!


You're welcome! Yeah, all kinds of crap can find you with PAWS but the panic attacks can top them all. I didn't have too many panic episodes but the few I had were enough thank you very much. I would advise you against taking meds but sometimes you need some otherwise the whole ordeal becomes intolerable. I remember going through the worst of it, I was curled up on the living room couch most of the time f***ed up big time, unable to do anything remotely proactive. It was not about surviving the day, it was about making it to the next bloody minute! Hold on and try to endure whatever PAWS throws at you, you'll get better! It is a character-building experience :!:
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#8

Postby john5:6 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:49 am

Brokethehabit wrote:
john5:6 wrote:This is 99% exactly what I’ve felt so far. Your PAWS symptoms and duration are extremely similar to mine. I’ve had to use Ativan a couple of times so far for massive panic attacks, and my whole body became so inflamed at one point that I had to take prednisone. Thanks for sharing this!


You're welcome! Yeah, all kinds of crap can find you with PAWS but the panic attacks can top them all. I didn't have too many panic episodes but the few I had were enough thank you very much. I would advise you against taking meds but sometimes you need some otherwise the whole ordeal becomes intolerable. I remember going through the worst of it, I was curled up on the living room couch most of the time f***ed up big time, unable to do anything remotely proactive. It was not about surviving the day, it was about making it to the next bloody minute! Hold on and try to endure whatever PAWS throws at you, you'll get better! It is a character-building experience :!:


Thanks man. I hope this gets better soon, I recently hit the 5 month mark (160 days today). The last wave hit me hard with full time malaise and bone/joint pain and impending panic. I had to take Ativan for a week and just came off it. Right now I’m having good days with horrible nights. It’s like an internal clock. Once the clock hits 7pm, symptoms progressively escalate until it peaks at midnight, and then goes down slowly. My sleep is destroyed because of this. If I try to sleep, I get jolted back awake with bad chest pain and slow heart beat (it used to be tachycardia during the firsts months). I used to vape carts heavily at night so maybe the body is still looking for that heavy THC shot and goes on a short circuit. My memory is almost non-existent right now, I feel brain damaged. I’m trying to hold on as best as I can...
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#9

Postby Brokethehabit » Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:15 am

I remember this phase very well, it was very similar to yours as far as the sleep disorder, the brain fog and the panic go. The nights were dreadful as I kept waking up every other hour for no particular reason (before that it had been every 45 mins). I woke with a start as if I had been smacked in the face, heart racing, fighting for air. I needed some minutes to calm down and another 15-30 minutes to go back to sleep. I was sleepy, I wanted to get some decent sleep so bad but it was impossible and these cycles of interrupted sleep totally defused me during the day. I literally had to string together whatever I wanted to say in advance so that people wouldn't notice that I kept losing the plot in a dialogue. This changed for the better around months 7-8, by then I had already developed coping strategies and the awakenings during the nights were fewer and not so rude. Anyway, well done! 5 months is very good, you're slowly through the worst of the worst. Hopefully your waves will be more tolerable soon. Fight on man!
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#10

Postby john5:6 » Tue May 04, 2021 11:25 pm

Brokethehabit wrote:I remember this phase very well, it was very similar to yours as far as the sleep disorder, the brain fog and the panic go. The nights were dreadful as I kept waking up every other hour for no particular reason (before that it had been every 45 mins). I woke with a start as if I had been smacked in the face, heart racing, fighting for air. I needed some minutes to calm down and another 15-30 minutes to go back to sleep. I was sleepy, I wanted to get some decent sleep so bad but it was impossible and these cycles of interrupted sleep totally defused me during the day. I literally had to string together whatever I wanted to say in advance so that people wouldn't notice that I kept losing the plot in a dialogue. This changed for the better around months 7-8, by then I had already developed coping strategies and the awakenings during the nights were fewer and not so rude. Anyway, well done! 5 months is very good, you're slowly through the worst of the worst. Hopefully your waves will be more tolerable soon. Fight on man!


Thanks man! I had a short break from the malaise and flu/sick feeling. I also had a break from the joint/bone pain, and was also able to sleep better for around 2 days. My appetite all of the sudden came back and I started eating a lot, which I think is a good thing since I’ve lost so much weight in these 5 months. Today, the malaise and most symptoms are slowly coming back, so I had like a 2 or 3 day breather... Did you get short lived breaks too? I’m grateful I got this small break from the full time doom, I just hope this soon passes. 5.5 months today!
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#11

Postby Brokethehabit » Wed May 05, 2021 5:52 pm

john5:6 wrote:Thanks man! I had a short break from the malaise and flu/sick feeling. I also had a break from the joint/bone pain, and was also able to sleep better for around 2 days. My appetite all of the sudden came back and I started eating a lot, which I think is a good thing since I’ve lost so much weight in these 5 months. Today, the malaise and most symptoms are slowly coming back, so I had like a 2 or 3 day breather... Did you get short lived breaks too? I’m grateful I got this small break from the full time doom, I just hope this soon passes. 5.5 months today!


Yes, I had some days off but I needed a lot of time to discern how PAWS waves and breaks worked on me.
Firstly, the severity of my symptoms was indeed decreasing over time but with the unwelcome tendency of flaring up randomly.
Secondly, my set of symptoms changed in phases. Each new phase brought new issues that started strong and improved over time but old issues could still emerge to torment me with a tendency of anything flaring up randomly.
The first 8 months did not offer me too many good days just "not so bad" days.
Initially these breaks gave me false hopes of recovery and the ensuing symptoms were really disappointing.
To avoid disappointments I simply convinced myself not to have any expectations. It has worked so far.
Too much food was a problem for me too but with some effort I have managed to lose the extra kgs.
Congrats on the 5.5 man!
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