Cannabis withdrawals after 5 months clean

Postby NateTGreat » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:06 pm

Hello all,

I just wanted to post a quick description of my struggles with cannabis withdrawal. My hope is to gain more understanding of what my outlook may be, as well as to help anyone else struggling with quitting cannabis.
My relationship with cannabis has been on-going for nearly 20 years. I had been using daily for 10 years high grade products. The past 2 years I had been strictly vaporizing flowers, hash, and oil extracts multiple times daily. Towards the end of my use, I noticed increased anxiety and overall malaise from using. My reason to quit was the worst experience of my life, in which I fainted for 15 seconds, fell, and proceeded to have the worst panic attack for 6 hrs. From that point on, I called it quits. That was June 18th, 2014.
I have been to the ER twice since then and many other doctor visits to see if the re was any disease linked to my symptoms. So far nothing has been found wrong with me. I have had thyroid and general blood work done. I have had my adrenals tested. None of the tests have come back abnormal. I have an appointment with a neurologist in two weeks.
So, to this very day this is what I am going through. The first 6 weeks of withdrawal were the worst. Sever anxiety, shakes, no appetite, no sleep, headaches, panic attacks, numbness in my extremities, etc. The worst of it was waking up 1 hour after dosing off each night in a panic in which I was shaking, was spinning in my bed, and had numb hands and feet. Thankfully, those days seem to be behind me. Unfortunately, the symptoms I'm experiencing the past month are still making me miserable. I still can't sleep more than 5 hours each night, usually waking 4-5 times a night. If I do sleep decent, I wake up feeling almost paralyzed or out-of-body. I seem to get dizzy spells that can last anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. I am chronically fatigued and demotivated. I have pressure in my head that comes and goes. Headaches aren't as bad as they used to be, but still come and go. I experience depersonalization and depression pretty regularly. Anxiety still exists, but not as bad as the first 2 months. Panic attacks are almost non existent. Nonetheless, I feel like I'm only 50% functional at best and have lost lol semblance of my spirit and enthusiasm.
Anyway, it seems these symptoms come and go in waves lasting from a week to a day. I have actually had a few days where I feel pretty good or even 'normal' but eventually it is back to feeling terrible again. I have taken no prescription meds other than a few benzos in the early stages when the panic got too unbearable. I use no other drugs or alcohol, and avoid caffein and sugar at all costs. I am just trying to allow my brain and body heal after what was obviously years of trauma that have made me this way. I eat healthy and try to exercise if I'm not feeling too dizzy or fatigued, which hasn't been too often these days. I know that I have a long road ahead and I accept that. I just need to know if others have gone through this much misery after 5 months. I have read others accounts on this forum and am grateful for their testimonies. They have been more helpful than the doctors I've seen, who only push me more benzos and anti depressants, not knowing what I am going through. I still am in disbelief that I could still be experiencing withdrawal symptoms this severe after 5 months. Why!?! Thanks for listening.
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#1

Postby Salsa » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:05 pm

Hello nate! I just want to let you know that you are not alone in this sh**. Here are plenty of users who went through the same torture. I am almost 11 months quit (with few relapses which are not important) and still deal with anxiety and occasional socially-induced anxiety attacks. I still avoid some places and spent too much time isolated. That doesn't mean that I haven't improved. I have. At 5 months I was constantly feeling that choking feeling inside my throat. I was feeling the chest pressure. My general anxiety was few degrees higher as it is now. The progress is very slow. Try to read some stories of long-term quitters (olskoolru, justin92, bobthebuilder, amoeba, brother bob, biggiesize, bvl, shodan, netty ...) and you'll see that there is a hope in the end of the tunnel. It's only a process for us to become better. Stay strong and hang in there!
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#2

Postby ThedayisToday » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:43 pm

Hi NateTGreat,
Although I don't have the same background as you, I want to commend you on your decision to quit and the progress you've made! Reading your story and others who've been able to quit for months at a time are inspiring, please keep it up and focus on the positives. Good luck
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#3

Postby NateTGreat » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:14 pm

Thanks for the replies salsa and theday. I know from reading others struggles like Oldskoolru and biggie size that i am probably in the beginning stage of paws. I have searched far and wide for all the information regarding cannabis withdrawal and recovery timelines and have found that there are absolutely no consistencies. It seems that there is very little understanding in the medical community and literature regarding how long someone will have symptoms of withdrawal from cannabis. To hear people still say that cannabis is not addictive or withdrawal forming is ludicrous. I mean, two doctors I've seen so far thought that my symptoms had nothing to do with withdrawal and that I just needed to be on anti anxiety meds and benzos the rest of my life (no kidding, docs actual words). I know that isn't true as I never had issues with any type of mental problems until this. The truth is that I do feel like I am improving overall, but the process has been slow and bumpy to say the least. Nothing in my life has even come close to testing my faith, gratitude for life, or positivity as this withdrawal process has, and I made it through cancer when I was 17. Honestly, this is much more difficult than that. I know that there will be a bright, more normal existence for everyone going through this struggle as time goes on.
On a different note, has anyone ever tried amino acid therapy to correct imbalances with neurotransmitters from withdrawal. I would estimate that this is the root of many of the symptoms experienced. I have been using 5-HTP, tyrosine, cystine, theanine, taurine, etc for about 2 months now and haven't really noticed improvements. I'm just wondering if it really works, or if I'm just using then wrong. Thanks again, and peace to all.
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#4

Postby Salsa » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:32 pm

I went to my psychiatrist 1 month ago and he told me that it is very likely that my brain is still healing from cannabis use. He said that the brain is going through biological changes and that implementing an antidepressant would be like putting a bandage over a scratch. Well, I still didn't take them. In my opinion quitting cannabis is very similar to serotonine discontinuation syndrome or as some people call it antidepressant withdrawal.

At your stage I still had moments when I thought I'd be needed to be put in a mental hospital, so you are doing great.
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#5

Postby Broken stoner » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:51 am

Hello Nate, my story is extremely similar as yours I didn't vape like you did but I was smoking 8-10% but all day everyday for the last almost year of my use, i quit due to a massive panic attack that came from no where never felt that way from weed I had been smoking almost 4 years but anyways I'm 2 days from 6 months sober and in the 5th month I noticed little improvements and I'm generally feeling better still have distorted vision dpdr or whatever this is have no panic attacks have anxiety before bed can't sleep had head pressure like you and the headaches are almost gone, I hope you notice some improvements like I did in month 5, the dizzy feeling I get it all the time still, but listen to me try to be happy no matter what when you're sad tell yourself you're happy it will make you recover faster and ignore all the symptoms, it may be hard but try to be as normal as possible, never take any meds the doctor gives you them ssri pills are horrible, you need to stay clean you're not going crazy this is all withdrawal make sure you drink plenty of water. And take multi vitamins. Try to exorcise. Stay sober and think your happy man be patient your brain will rewire it's self. You're not alone my friend.
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#6

Postby netty28661 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:47 pm

Hi Nate, I'm one of the people Salsa mentions in the post made 20th Nov. i've been clean just over 2 & a half years & HONESTLY - life could not be better, I'm so happy & grateful for the life I have now thanks to quitting weed, which I used & abused for around 10 yrs.

I aggree with salsa read as many threads by the people he quotes & you will see you are going through withdrawal/PAWS, you have seen doctors so you know nothing is physically wrong with you.

This forum is fantastic for support & from someone that has reached the other side of all that crap you are going through I think it's important for me to give you my view. I totally know how you feel & you are still in the stage where you are literally OBSESSED (understandably) with wanting/needing to feel better. You HAVE to be patient it will happen in time, but it can & did for me take 2 years to feel "normal", sorry but you need to hear that! There are definately things that help which I will explain in a bit.

The whole process is literally like a rollercoaster. I entered the worst stage of the process at 3 months & this went on at its worst till I was 12 months clean. After a year clean things really started to improve right throught to 2 years clean. The lack of sleep was so debilitating & I was severly depressed/anxious etc.

Things that helped & still does is excercise & lots of it, no matter how bad you feel. I started with just a walk which immediately helped, I listened to very loud music! I graduated to very long walks then joined a gym & still go 5 - 7 times a week & I cycle, granted I'm lucky that I enjoy it. Meditation is mega but dont look into the mechanics too much - just do it, sitting & hand position is NOT important. A great book is "I want To Change My Life, A Guide to Addiction, Depression & Stress" its by Steven M Melemis (I think its only available on line), it wasn't until I read this book that I came to terms with the fact it could take 2 years to recover, it's an exellant book & explains meditation/relaxation. Even now if I haven't meditated for a few days I feel anxious/stressed when I wake up so I know it works! I find cardio excercise also helps enormously. You sometimes literally have to drag yourself about, sometimes you can't I know.

this is a link to a website that is very good aswell http://whatmesober.com/paws/

Good luck, the hard work & pain is soooooo worth it!

Jannette
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#7

Postby NateTGreat » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:45 pm

Wow, thanks, broken stoner and netty for the response. Your words of reassurance, advice and personal experience mean a lot. I am grateful that there are people out there who take time from their lives to help others.
I have been seeing a therapist for the past two months and was told that 18months to 2 years should be expected before a full recovery. I guess what gets me is the fact that I'll be feeling half way decent only to go back into the pits of misery again. I know it's part of the process, but when I have a week straight of feeling dizzy and horribly depressed I can't help but question if something else is really wrong. Nonetheless, it is always great to come on this forum to get my head straight and realize it's just going to take time. So thanks all again.
I have been trying to goto the gym the past 2 months and I love it, but some days it's difficult just to leave the house. I also noticed lately my inability to push myself at the gym, as anxiety symptoms seem to get worse, such as tingling hands and feet and a wobbly feeling. Anyways, I am very strong-willed and have made every effort to push myself out of this box of misery. I have just been doing very light exercise and swimming which I love. Also the sauna is a great tool for relaxation.
Peace
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#8

Postby netty28661 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:59 pm

Hi nate, there is only so far you can push yourself, so long as you are, that's the main thing. Pushing yourself further will come with time. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow & be kind to yourself. I know how frustrating it is to be so up & down but you will slowly notice you are having more ups than downsdont forget you dont know what normal is for you yet.

Jannette.
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#9

Postby johnrlivingston » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:18 pm

Nate...

You're right on course, my friend. You're healing. Don't let the ridiculously long time-line of recovery put doubts in your head. You recognize you've improved since this battle started. All you need is more time.

I can relate to EVERY SINGLE THING you mentioned. And I know reading through the many stories of those here and on other forums that many others can too. The symptoms you relate are all hallmarks of cannabis addiction. The physical stuff are all manifestations of anxiety, the one thing everyone quitting marijuana here experiences in one form or another.

Science has yet to catch up with the reality of marijuana withdrawal, but healing takes a long time for those of us who have used heavy and/or high potency for years. chronic use desensitizes our brain to the effects of dopamine, and likely other neurotransmitters to boot. Our body needs time to undo these changes, during which we encounter the 'waves' of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, etc. I know it all seems random, but if you were to plot a line through all the ups & downs it would still represent a postiive trend.

Personally, I try not to focus on the time. I just work to improve myself - in the ways I can - every single day.

BTW - I've gone through this all before (going through it again now), and I healed completely - all the time thinking I was messed up for life ;)

You should be VERY proud of your 5 months! Keep on going.
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#10

Postby NateTGreat » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:00 pm

Just wanted to post an update.

It seems I am experiencing the first waves of severe depression from this withdrawal process. Granted that I was definitely depressed in the first few months of withdrawal, but not like this. This depression is like nothing I've felt in my life. To describe it, I am TIRED! Physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am also very lethargic. I have close to no energy to do anything. I tried going to the gym to swim today, swam a few laps and started to have serious depersonalization symptoms; I felt out of body, absent from the task at hand, and questioning life and my mood and everything like that, essentially stuck in my head. I had to get out of the pool and go home cause I also found that I was not getting that jolt of good feeling from swimming like I always do. It just felt mundane and meaningless. I would also like to make it known that I am always woozy. I want to emphasize this point as it seems to be a main contributor to my suffering. Not off balance like I'm going to fall over, and not vertigo like the room is spinning, but a lightheaded fainting feeling is about to hit me or I have rocks in my head that move me more in whatever direction I'm moving. I almost feel as though most of my anxiety symptoms have gone, but now I'm on the other spectrum of severe lifelessness for the past week straight. Granted, I am still not sleeping too well, getting only 4-6 hours a night, but I awaken feeling like a stiff, paralized body just lying in bed waiting to escape the dream world. It has taken me some time just to get out of bed this past week. This bed ridden in the morning symptom I thought was gone after 2 months withdrawn. Again, I wouldn't say I'm suicidal as I have too much to live for with a beautiful wife and 2 year old boy, but life just seems incredibly meaningless at the moment, more than it has ever been for me.
I am now 160 days without cannabis or any other toxic substances. I really have been trying to "get out of my head" and leave the house and interact with friends and society. And I really make an effort to exercise, but I just cannot seem to due to extreme physical tiredness. If anyone can relate to these symptoms after 5 months withdrawn I would appreciate any advice. Thanks for listening and peace to all.
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#11

Postby netty28661 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:56 am

Hi nate, honestly it's all about patience & just keeping on going. I know in my last post I said how important it is to get out & excercise, well clearly you are trying - you went swimming, ok so you didnt stay long but you'd made the effort & tried, that's all you can do., try walking, I found it very beneficial. Sometimes you just can't do it! Even after 2 & a half years clean I have periods where I cant be bothered - I had such an episode last week, I was off work & didnt go out of the house or get dressed for 3 days, you sometimes just have to go with the flow, I'm fine again this week & motivated again & back to the gym!

It's like I said before because you feel so bad you become completely obsessed with how you feel & obsessed with when you will feel better, but you can't rush it, you will start to see longer periods of feeling "ok" a day instead of hours, a few days at a time, then a few weeks. It will come & when it does you WILL enjoy & appreciate life.

Jannette
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#12

Postby lynne66 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:59 pm

Jannette -

Thanks again for the reminder that I am still probably healing. I am at about 8.5 months and really hit a down spell and a roller coaster ride too where some days I am better than I used to be, but mostly not very high functioning as I was at first. It could be seasonal as well. I actually hit a big depressive spell that I am just now working out of. Will keep hanging in there, though.

Thank you!
Lynne
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#13

Postby netty28661 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:45 pm

lynne you're doing incredibly well, especially with the difficult circumstances you've had with re-locating & making a new life. I have to say you seem as impatient as me if not worse, lol.

Patience my love, patience. As I say the big changes for me was after 12 months - you ARE getting there girl.

I had a crap week last week, no motivation, back on the ball this week though - phew! It's definately seasonal with me, cant stand winter & all the dark, I do try to embrace it though.

Sorry for any bad spelling - not got glasses on!

Jannette
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#14

Postby lynne66 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:01 pm

Jannette -

I will remember - Patience and self-compassion too. Did you feel fatigued a lot and like you just couldn't process things brain wise at times for the first year? If I'm not depressed at times, I just feel incredibly fatigued and unable to process. Thanks! So glad things have gotten better for you. So happy.

Yes, I do think some of this is winter stuff too. Been getting out in it as much as possible, using my light box, and taking vitamin D. There is maybe a little less light here than I am used to, but really it is not as bad as I thought it would be either and I'm getting used to it.

I have to say too, that it is really nice that I am meeting people who are not pot-heads here and seem to have so much more heart-centered energy than what I was used to back where I was. People I am meeting here are pretty open, authentic, and on some kind of healing path or another. I can see how not being mired in addiction, naturally helps people with self-individuation process and personal evolution.

Thanks,
Lynne
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