Detoxing from Marijuana
What is Detoxing?
Detoxing is the way in which your body gets rid of the toxins accumulated from years of using. It happens the first few days or weeks after getting clean and/or sober. It is also the very beginning of getting used to dealing with reality and real feelings with no numbing agent.
Can there be physical effects from quitting marijuana?
In spite of numerous years of being told that there are no physiological effects from marijuana addiction, many of our recovering members have had definite withdrawal symptoms. Whether the causes are physical or psychological, the results are physical.
Others have just had emotional and mental changes as they stop using their drug of choice. There is no way of telling before quitting who will be physically uncomfortable and who will not. Most members have only minor physical discomfort if any at all. This pamphlet is for those who are having trouble and wonder what’s happening to them.
Why do some effects last so long?
Unlike most other drugs, including alcohol, THC (the active chemical in marijuana) is stored in the fat cells and therefore takes longer to fully clear the body than with any other common drug. This means that some parts of the body still retain THC even after a couple of months, rather than just the couple of days or weeks for water soluble drugs.
Can this affect a drug test?
The experiences of some members have shown that if you quit marijuana and expect to take a drug test you should not go on a crash diet at the same time. Fasting, or a crash diet, can release the THC into the bloodstream very rapidly and can give a positive reading. This has happened to several of our members, but each time only with crash diets and major weight loss, not with just eating less than usual.
What are some of the more common symptoms?
By far the most common symptom of withdrawal is insomnia. This can last from a few nights of practically no sleep at all, up to a few months of occasional sleeplessness.
The next most common symptom is depression (that is, if you’re not euphoric), and next are nightmares and vivid dreams. Marijuana use tends to dampen the dreaming mechanism, so that when you do get clean the dreams come back with a crash. They can be vivid color, highly emotional dreams or nightmares, even waking up then coming back to the same dream. The very vivid, every night dreams usually don’t start for a about a week or so. They last for about a month at most and then taper off.
“Using dreams” (dreams involving the use of marijuana) are very common, and although they’re not as vivid or emotional as at first, they last for years and are just considered a normal part of recovery.
The fourth most common symptom is anger. This can range from a slow burning rage to constant irritability to sudden bursts of anger when least expected: anger at the world, anger at loved ones, anger at oneself, anger at being an addict and having to get clean.
Emotional jags are very common, with emotions bouncing back and forth between depression, anger, and euphoria. Occasionally experienced is a feeling of fear or anxiety, a loss of the sense of humor, decreased sex drive, or increased sex drive. Most all of these symptoms fade to normal emotions by three months.
Loss of concentration for the first week or month is also very common and this sometimes affects the ability to learn for a very short while.
What about physical symptoms?
The most common physical symptom is headaches. For those who have them, they can last for a few weeks up to a couple of months, with the first few days being very intense.
The next most common physical symptom is night sweats, sometimes to the point of having to change night clothes. They can last from a few nights to a month or so. Sweating is one of the body’s natural ways of getting rid of toxins.
Hand sweats are very common and are often accompanied by an unpleasant smell from the hands. Body odor is enough in many instances to require extra showers or baths.
Coughing up phlegm is another way the body cleans itself. This can last for a few weeks to well over six months.
One third of the addicts who responded to a questionnaire on detoxing said they had eating problems for the first few days and some for up to six weeks. Their main symptoms were loss of appetite, sometimes enough to lose weight temporarily, digestion problems or cramps after eating, and nausea, occasionally enough to vomit (only for a day or two). Most of the eating problems were totally gone before the end of a month.
The next most common physical symptoms experienced were tremors or shaking and dizziness.
Less frequently experienced were kidney pains, impotency, hormone changes or imbalances, low immunity or chronic fatigue, and some minor eye problems that resolved at around two months.
There have been cases of addicts having more severe detox symptoms, however this is rare. For intense discomfort, see a doctor, preferably one who is experienced with detoxing.
How can I reduce discomfort?
For some of the milder detoxing symptoms, a few home remedies have proven to be useful:
- Hot soaking baths can help the emotions as well as the body.
- Drink plenty of water and clear liquids, just like for the flu.
- Cranberry juice has been used effectively for years by recovery houses to help purify and cleanse the body.
- Really excessive sweating can deplete the body of potassium, a necessary mineral. A few foods high in potassium are melons, bananas, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
- Eliminate fat from the diet until digestion is better.
- Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine until the sleep pattern is more normal or the shakes are gone.
- The old fashioned remedy for insomnia, a glass of warm milk before bedtime, helps some people.
- Exercise not only helps depression and other unpleasant emotions, it helps the body speed up the healing process.
From “How it Works”:
Do not be discouraged, none of us are saints. Our program is not easy, but it is simple. We strive for progress, not perfection. Our experiences, before and after we entered recovery, teach us three important ideas:
- That we are marijuana addicts and cannot manage our own lives;
- That probably no human power can relieve our addiction; and
- That our Higher Power can and will if sought.
Detoxing from Marijuana What is Detoxing? Detoxing is the way in which your body gets rid of the toxins accumulated from years of using. It happens the first few days or weeks after getting
Why Some Experts Say Cannabis Can Be Effective in Treating Menopause Symptoms
Share on Pinterest A new survey reports that over one in four female veterans use cannabis to treat menopause symptoms. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images
- A survey indicates that more women may be using cannabis to treat menopause symptoms.
- Some experts say cannabis can be effective in treating menopause while others express concerns about the drug’s side effects.
- One expert recommends using hemp-based products as an alternative.
Over one in four female veterans say they’ve used cannabis to address symptoms of menopause.
That’s even more than the percentage who report using more traditional types of menopause symptom management, such as hormone therapy, according to a study being presented today during the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
“This study highlights a somewhat alarming trend and the need for more research relative to the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use for the management of bothersome menopause symptoms,” said Dr. Stephanie S. Faubion, NAMS’s medical director and a clinician who specializes in women’s health.
Other experts, however, said there’s good science behind the connection between menopause symptoms and the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, even if direct research on cannabis’s effectiveness in addressing menopause is currently lacking.
In the new study, researchers examined data on a sample of 232 women in Northern California who took part in the Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey.
About half of the women, whose mean age was about 56 years old, reported menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats (54 percent), insomnia (27 percent), and genitourinary symptoms (69 percent).
Of these, 27 percent said they currently use cannabis (in any form) to manage their menopause symptoms or have done so in the past.
Cannabis products were most often used to address hot flashes and night sweats, researchers said.
“These findings suggest that cannabis use to manage menopause symptoms may be relatively common,” said Carolyn Gibson, PhD, a psychologist and health services researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Administration (VA) Health Care System and lead author of the study.
“However, we do not know whether cannabis use is safe or effective for menopause symptom management or whether women are discussing these decisions with their healthcare providers — particularly in the VA, where cannabis is considered an illegal substance under federal guidelines.”
The study didn’t differentiate between use of cannabis products containing the full spectrum of cannabis ingredients, including psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and those containing therapeutic doses of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabioids but not THC.
An additional 10 percent of the female veterans expressed an interest in trying cannabis to manage their symptoms.
By comparison, just 19 percent said they used hormone therapy or other, more mainstream interventions to manage their menopause symptoms.
“This is disturbing because hormone therapy is the most effective therapy we have for menopause symptoms, and the benefits typically outweigh the risks for women in their 50s and within 10 years of menopause,” Faubion told Healthline. “Cannabis, on the other hand, is not a proven therapy for menopause.”
Cannabis use for menopause symptoms was consistent across demographic categories, including age, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and mental health conditions.
Smoking cannabis or consuming gummies or other products containing the full spectrum of cannabis ingredients, including psychoactive THC, could have mixed results for women seeking relief from menopause.
“Cannabis is known to have a sedating effect, so it may have a positive effect on sleep disturbance and reduce symptoms of anxiety, but there is also evidence that cannabis use can result in lethargy, increased anxiety, and can provoke serious psychiatric illness,” Samantha Miller, spokesperson for Drug Helpline, told Healthline.
“Menopause is associated with cognitive changes, feelings of ‘brain fog’ and difficulty concentrating. These are also side effects of cannabis use, so using cannabis might actually make these symptoms worse,” she explained.
“Mood changes and irritability are often prominent features during the menopause, which may be counteracted by the euphoric feelings produced by cannabis use. However, there is evidence of a higher incidence of depression in cannabis users.”
Miller also pointed out that there are “no reliable clinical studies looking at cannabis use to aid menopausal symptoms.”
She notes that cannabis products may be illegal in some jurisdictions and are unevenly regulated.
“It would be advisable to obtain these products from a reliable source and start at a low dose to assess any adverse effects,” she said.
Anecdotally, however, many women have found cannabis products to be effective in treating menopause symptoms — particularly insomnia and hot flashes — according to Dr. Junella Chin, the chief medical advisor at CannabisMD.
“Hot flashes are due to the hormonal ups and downs of menopause,” Chin told Healthline. “Estrogen is involved with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and CBD binds to those receptors.”
She added that both CBD and THC are known for their sedative effects, which could explain their reported effectiveness against insomnia.
“It makes sense that some women find relief with plant-based therapy,” said Chin.
Dr. Felice Gersh, an OB-GYN and medical director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, California, told Healthline that beyond hormone replacement therapy, mainstream medicine offers little in the way of relief to women suffering from menopause symptoms other than opioid or NSAID-class painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
“Cannabis products do offer an alternative to what’s out there,” she said.
A new survey indicates more women may be using cannabis to treat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.