2 years free of cannabis and feeling great!

Postby Brokethehabit » Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:35 pm

Hello UF!
Today I am celebrating my 2-year anniversary of being clean so here is my progress report on my journey.

I started smoking weed in my early 20s and quit a little over two decades later. Though there were some shorter-longer gaps, I gradually progressed from smoking occasionally to weekly, from weekly to daily and during the final years I used all day, every day. I quit because toking wasn’t fun any more and I had more and more miscellaneous health issues emerging: strange body aches, feeling extreme cold, often choking on food, concentration issues, headache, irritability, respiratory issues, etc. I was a functional addict so otherwise life was generally good but I could feel that things could and eventually would take a very unfavourable turn if I went on with my addiction. After about two years of hesitation and postponing I had mustered enough guilt and momentum to quit cold turkey. For a month nothing happened but one night I woke up to a hypertensive crisis (extremely high blood pressure) and ended up in the ER. This was the beginning of my acute withdrawal phase. Until I found this forum 2 months later I was convinced that I was down with some dreadful disease so I went from doctor to doctor to figure out what was wrong…nothing was wrong.

Considering some of the stories here on UF I believe PAWS has been generally merciful to me. Quitting hasn’t affected me socially or mentally. Except for some initial anxiety I had no depression, anhedonia or dissociative issues. The physical symptoms however were plentiful, long and weird. The first 4 months were 24/7 doom, months 5-13 were full of shitty PAWS waves, the second year was very much uneventful with only a few issues. The miscellaneous problems I had had before quitting ALL disappeared within the first couple of months, high BP and PAWS-induced anxiety resolved within 4 months, weird withdrawal-related physical sensations plagued me with lessening intensity for about one and a half years, proper sleep returned in month 16. I used some meds when I was really desperate. I needed BP meds during the first 3-4 months and I have used up a small bottle of low-dose Frontin during the 24 months when I needed a good night’s sleep (half a pill each time).

I had had no health issues pre-cannabis but in all honestly I have no idea how I should generally feel now had I not been a pothead for so long…I’m far from being in my 20s after all. All I can say is that mentally, intellectually, socially and physically I feel great and have little to complain about. I have no PAWS triggers, I can drink coffee and alcohol, consume sugary foods without any whiplash. I haven’t relapsed in these two years and I haven’t taken any other drugs either. Right now my PAWS-related episodes are very rare, short and totally tolerable. I can go months with absolute normalcy and then there is a restless night, the odd body chill (being cold) or some brain fog for 1-2 hours but that’s all.

During the first year I had so much pain and for so long that I don’t crave weed or feel like rolling a joint at all, the thrill is definitely gone. I bear no grudge, I mean I blame nobody else or nothing for what has happened to me, becoming an addict was my choice no matter how misinformed I was about the consequences of smoking cannabis. There is a lesson to learn of course, mine is about moderation. I have made my peace with weed, I simply feel disinterested about the whole issue now. When people/friends light up around me I discreetly leave the room and rejoin them later. I cannot stop feeling that I am an outsider when this happens and of course there’s a tacit agreement among my weed-buddies that I’m not a member of the pack any more. Naturally I’m never on about quitting weed, I don’t want to be a spoilsport when others want to chill so I just STFU and try to be happy with them.

I wish I had known more about PAWS, I might have been more moderate with cannabis – it’s not in my nature to self-impose agony – and I could have totally found better things to do than suffer big time from withdrawal for a year. But all in all I am more than pleased with where I am now and expect some further fine-tuning in the future. When I was down I tried many things to alleviate my pain but no diet, exercise, supplements or meditation made a real difference. The only thing that helped me was this forum, the stories here about quitting that confirmed that I was not mental and PAWS can be beaten…so for those who are struggling now, look at the bright side of things as each day takes you closer to feeling healthy and happy again!
Brokethehabit
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#1

Postby MambaMentality24 » Tue Sep 28, 2021 12:50 am

Hello. Im 25, been smoking since i was 13ish. Woke up one night to get my son food because he was hungry. Went back to bed to lay down and upon laying down got super dizzy. I was uncoordinated, had a warm feeling shoot through the side of my head, and just pure panic. Hands felt clammy, i was super cold, and kept feeling as if i was going to pass out. (Which is what really caused me to quit smoking). I thought i was dying.. went to doctors and they thought it was a response to eating too much sugar before bed. Just went again last week and was told by one doctor i have high blood pressure. Has been sorta high everytime, because ive always had bad anxiety. So high heartrate and bp are kinda normal. This time was higher than normal. But ive quit smoking weed for about 2 weeks now. Schedule doesn’t really allow it anymore. Im dealing with dizzy feeling, heavy limbs, cold feet, was having a few panic attacks and waking up with night sweats, my heart throbbing ect.. they are trying to tell me now they think i have sleep apnea.. i have yet to be tested. I know that’s not the case. But i was wondering if your high blood pressure caused any of these feelings? Should i be worried about my blood pressure. It was 180/90 last time i was at doctors. Think i also have symptoms of PAWS. But it’s very hard to differentiate PAWS and high blood pressure. And obviously i dont want to die from a HBP caused thing. Im really trying to quit, so far this forum is the only thing saving me. But trying to not constantly worry about my heart and HBP is getting the best of me.. did u have signs of hbp other than them just telling you that you had it? Thank you so much for this post btw. It is saving me tremendously. congrats on your sobriety
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#2

Postby Brokethehabit » Tue Sep 28, 2021 7:06 am

@MambaMentality24

I often read here about THC-induced panic episodes (as opposed to withdrawal-induced ones) so you might want to look into the quantity, quality and the potency of the weed that you used to smoke. Too much THC can cause overdose like this. Quitting was the right decision but be warned, you’re in for a rough ride.

The episodes you’re describing are very similar to the ones I used to have at the beginning…high BP, pounding heart, impending doom sensation, etc. The sleep apnea idea appears to be totally spot on but if it is what it should be you’ve got nothing to worry about in that department. My sleeping pattern was totally upended when I quit and I used to wake with a start – in panic, choking, heart racing – many-many times (initially multiple times a night). My apnea symptoms gradually disappeared and by month 16 they were gone (haven’t returned ever since).

I think the BP anomaly is the consequence of your weed abuse and it should resolve by itself within some months. You may have PAWS-like symptoms but the standard course of events is that you quit, you have acute withdrawals and if you get unlucky you go on with PAWS (hence the expression “post-acute”). But like I’ve mentioned I often read here about THC overdose induced panic episodes (as opposed to withdrawal-induced ones). If you want some reassurance I suggest you rule out other medical causes of high BP. I did that too but nothings showed up.

In the meantime it is not healthy to walk about with extremely high BP and your panic attacks midday can totally make you look like a weirdo so you might want to obtain some over the counter or prescribed meds to alleviate the crisis if the whole thing gets intolerable. In the first 3-4 months of my quit I always had some fast-acting BP meds on me as I never knew when I would run into another episode of hypertensive crisis. I used Tensiomin (Captopril in some other countries maybe) as an instant antihypertensive agent. It reduces extremely high BP in 5-10 minutes. My high BP resolved in 3-4 months and in that period I used Tensiomin 4-6 times altogether. You may want to use something mild to counter your anxiety but be very moderate, you can get addicted to benzos in no time and quitting that is no joke either.

Word of advice, if you’re suffering from weed abuse it is just the accompanying panic that tells you that you’re dying, so try to find ways to calm yourself! Get busy, find somebody to talk to, you can reach out to me – to anyone here on UF for that matter – to get some consolation/relief! Go girl, you can beat this!
Brokethehabit
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