Sorry, fereitica- I'm going to have to debate what you've written.
It's not that unusual to have withdrawal symptoms from weed- you only have to read through this website for withdrawal stories. And while the greater belief is that the withdrawal symptoms are psycho-somatic, it doesn't make them any less real. It's a layman's belief that psycho-somatic symptoms are "all in the head"- they are very physical, but the core of the cause is mind/ brain related. For example, mental stress can cause changes in the endocrine system, which ultimately has an effect on health. The mind & body are connected, thus, what stresses the mind, stresses the body.
In your case Constantine- there are changes going on in your body and while it's initally because you have stopped smoking- they can easily be controlled by changes made in your lifestyle.
I've been 'coming-off' weed for the past 5 years. I stop- I get the withdrawals & then go back to smoking, because I can't handle them. The last withdrawal was different though- mostly because I've learnt from past mistakes.
You will sweat a lot- I haven't got a remedy for that one! But sweating is a good thing, anyway. The physical 'stuff' is that the THC is coming out of your system. THC is stored in fat cells & when you sweat, body fat is broken down & in effect, 'liquidized'. Body fat has a lot of uses, but importantly, it keeps the body warm when needed & can break down in to sweat to keep the body cool. When you're smoking, different parts of the brain are reacting to the cannabinoids & THC in your weed. One of those parts of the brain is the hypothalamus- this controls body temperture & appertite among other things. When you're withdrawing, your hypothalams is no longer playing with large amounts of 'High' chemicals. Thus changes take place in how it controls your body temp & appertite.
Your energy levels will rise. This is actually one of the things I love about my latest abstinence. I am up early in the morning & I sleep so well these days, because I'm wearing myself out during the day. I'm not loving the dreams though. I find I dream more now I'm not smoking- or at least, I remember them more now. What about you?
The biology of your energy rise is down to the effects of THC mostly. That 'chilled-out' feeling associated with being stoned has a physiological basis. The THC relaxes the sympthatic nerve system & induces the opposite of a 'Flight or Fight' response, i.e; your muscles relax, your gastro system relaxes, sugar levels drop (this means you get the munchies & start craving rubbish food), heart rate slows, etc.
When you stop smoking, you no longer have that stream of THC relaxing your body. Thus, your energy starts to rise, sleep is interupted & your body starts to work on what can be deemed as 'nervous energy'.
If your feeling like this, the best thing you can do is wear off the energy. Do a sport for an hour every day- start walking everywhere & anywhere, clean...wear off the energy & you'll find that you sleep much better & wake up ready for the next day. Keep going to bed at the same time every night- this helps a lot. Read before you go to sleep to wear out your eyes (this also slows down the 'energy' neurotransmitters in the brain) & keep away from electricals for about 20 minutes before sleeping (tv's, radio, computer are all brain stimulating).
The symptoms don't last very long TBH. I cut down on the weed before I completely stopped & the worst of it was over within a few weeks. Some people on withdrawal report having anxiety attacks, but I must admit, I've had none. I had so many panic attacks while smoking, it's a total relief that I no longer have to go through them.
Eat healthily & keep drinking water throughout the day- this is vital when sweating a lot. Also cut back on the meat & eat lots of nice fruit & veg- this helps with too much sweating (the gastro system needs more energy when digesting meat, thus you sweat more, when producing the energy). I'm eating loads of bananas (good for digestion problems with withdrawing), tomatoes (an anti-oxident, so helps clean the blood) and corriander (good for relaxation). Plus I'm drinking the herbal teas & staying away from caffiene & fizzy drinks- these make the energy rushes really bad!
Keep fat in your diet to a minimum. The reason for this is that because THC is stored in fat, if you add to the fat- it makes it harder to get out of your system.
Withdrawal & how bad it is really depends on a few factors: the person- how determined they are & what changes they make to their lifestyle; the weed- how much, how often & what grade weed was being smoked- and how long the person has been smoking.
It appears that most problems with weed come from people who have smoked quite a bit every day, for years. There's also the fact that there is still the common belief that weed isn't addictive, doesn't cause any mental or physical health problems, blah, blah, blah. There's a lot of evidence out there that says otherwise. In the UK, over the past 20 years or so, psychiatric hospital admissions have risen quite dramatically. Since the 1970's, there's been a high rise in the numbers of people using weed. From psychological studies, it can be seen that a lot of those admitted to hospital with psychiatric problems throughout the past 20 years have had some experience with weed- mostly in adolesence.
A theory- which has a great deal of support, so far- is that it changes the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. The brain is more vulnerable to these changes in childhood and adolescence. Thus, if someone smokes heavily in their childhood/teen/early adulthood, they are more likely to experience some effects from smoking.
Additionnally, as you've already said about the grade of your weed, Constantine- you have an idea that the strength of it is a factor. Over in the UK, we have genetically modified skunk that hasn't ever seen true daylight. It's not the once considered harmless weed that was knocking about in the 70's and prior to that.
Good luck with your abstinence & remember- don't give up. It won't last long & you will be healthier for the experience.
Thanks for the chewey toy- I LOVE a good debate.
"I didn't mean that something psychosomatic couldn't matter, because I know that the mind is powerful enough to cause physical conditions."
Good, good...a lot of people don't get that. And while you've stated it clearly, your other words are contradictory. You've stated through your advice to the the original poster that either he/she was taking something else or it's psychosomatic- yet you have cast doubt over the physical effects of marijuana and didn't offer any other advice except to find a counsellor or someone who deals with the mind.
While you've stated your knowledge on the mind & body being connected- you didn't demonstrate this in your words.
My point was that the effects of marijuana may be seen as psychosomatic, yet they are very physically real- thus, they can be relieved in a physical manner. Additionnally, as the mind is a tricky phenomenon to heal, it can be beneficial to view it in a physical sense in order to get relief from the withdrawals.
"I still laugh at the OVERWHELMING withdrawal stuff about marijuana, however, because the majority of people I have EVER known or heard of having these kinds of issues, didn't JUST smoke marijuana, either... I have done my studying as well..."
Again- good & well done for your studying. However, if you are proficient at your studies, you should know that you judging your 'facts' on people in your social circle is poor research. Just because all the people you have ever known in your life didn't have an adverse effect to marijuana doesn't mean it isn't very real. There are over 7billion humans on the planet- all the people anyone will ever know in a life time is a very small fraction of that. Thus, to judge anything we know on the experiences of people we know is not a good foundation for 'fact'. Furthermore, people are not entirely truthful characters- what your friends say to you may adhere to such a thing as 'social desirability'. If you are as good as at your studies as you say you are- research that term.
However, we all do it- personal & peripheral experience is the first contact of a 'fact'.
Laugh all you want, your giggles won't change the 'fact' that marijuana withdrawal is very real & happens to a lot of people. I did my studying too- I did college (a number of times), 2 years on home-study & part time courses & 6 years at university. I now teach people- probably of your age- and I too, giggle at the thought that they think they know it all. I am also a psychological researcher & have had studies presented at 2 prestigious UK conferences this year alone. Next year, I'll be releasing a journal article on the cognitive deficiencies in drink-driving & am currently in talks to do a paper on only-child attachments & social deprivation.
I'm also an ex-cannabis smoker, with over 24 years of smoking experience. For four of those- in my early teens- I never touched another drug. Cannabis was ok, because it had a 'Hippy' stigma attached to it- there was no effects (apparently) from smoking weed. However at the time- the social perception was that weed was relatively harmless & it was something kids got bored with. I smoked regularly for around 7 years before only smoking periodically. Then I stopped for 3 years when I had a child. However, I have a mental health disorder- one I started suffering with at age 11- the same time I started smoking weed- and after my child was born, I went through a mental breakdown. I've seen a number of psychiatrists, counsellors & eventually, I saw a psychologist (hence, why I went on to study psychology & work in the field) and I spent years on medication.
Weed was my saviour! I was going through anti-depressants & anti-psyc med's as often as I was getting my hair cut. My social circle was full of weed smokers, so it was easy to get hold of. Despite my position in life now, I come from a working-class background & am only 3 out of my year at school who has attended university. I've lost too many people to count to other drugs- the most recent was in March, this year. Ironically, we all, at one time, smoked weed together, before they ventured on to other stuff. With the experiences of the 'people I know'- I could conclude that marijuana is a gateway drug, yet I don't even drink alcohol.
I stuck to the weed & coffee. I'm not a fan of other drugs- not even pain-killers (I have too many suicide memories of pills!).
I spent years using weed as a self-medication. Yet the psychologist, educating myself & my changing circumstances ensured that I was developing the skills to deal with my mental health problems without the use of medication. However- trying to stop smoking was the hell and the side effects from long-term, heavy smoking were worse than the symptoms of my prior mental health problems.
For over five years, I went through the same stop-start pattern. I couldn't simply 'stop'- I would suffer with physical effects, such as a dodgy stomach & sickness; tiredness, yet being unable to sleep. This would go on for days. Yet no matter who I saw about it- mental health charities, my GP, drug addiction agencies- I was fobbed off with "Cannabis is not physically addictive, etc".
Yet my mind screaming "It's all in your head", while I'm sitting on the toilet at 3am & screaming blue murder (because my stomach feels like it's about to explode)- does not help. Neither can my 'positive thoughts' stop the excessive sweating & complete lack of appertite or lethergy.
When I first started going through my first withdrawals (nearly 6 years ago, now), I started to look for others on internet message boards. I also started doing research in to it, because I was sick of hearing that it wasn't addictive. In my social circle, only two people had decided to 'change their ways' and stop everything naughty, within a few years of me. One turned to drink to compensate for her heavy weed habit & the other way- she started doing more physical activities (running, mostly).
However, I learned a lot about MJ withdrawals when I ran a message forum on AOL in 2006. At the time, I too was doing a paper on the legalisation of cannabis. At the time, I was definitely a 'Pro-supporter' and there had been a lot in the news regarding the classification of it in the UK (but then you'll know this, with your report, I expect!). I wanted to understand the current idea of reefer madness and whether there was a present day 'madness'. The research I had found regarding the physical effects of marijuana were mostly rat studies and mostly indicating that marijuana was a gateway drug (rats who ingested a regular amount of THC were more likely to afterwards eat food with opium in when the cannabis was taken away-most of the studies went along these lines).
Obviously- rats & humans are different, but then there was the human- clinical studies in Australia & Sweden, amoung a few. Now I won't patronise you- I'm sure you know about them, if you have already done your research.
However- as a big Pro "Cannabis saved my life!" supporter- I set up the messageboard, intending to find other 'fans' of Mary Jane & people who thought the same way I did; the studies were wrong- I thought. After all- it was the person that mattered- not the drug.
What I got was a completely different view. I read stories of the good face of Mary, but also read about people who couldn't live without it- The Withdrawal Stories. I asked a lot of questions- about the different physical & mental effects; good & bad.
A few interesting factors that came up for heavy smokers were the lack of dreams- or at least, the lack of being able to recall dreams; the lack of a regular, healthy eating & sleeping routine; feelings of apathy & sometimes, getting confused or having 'mind-blanks' in social situations. Panic attacks & an adversion to spending time with non-smokers was also a common factor.
Withdrawal stories were also similar; stomach problems, sleep & appertite problems; periods of social anxiety, etc & yearnings to smoke. The yearnings to smoke were mostly due to wanting to stop the physical symptoms- like any other addict.
Now, I'm not saying I necessary believe everything I read on one message forum, but I keep coming across these stories- usually amoung people who have smoked a lot for a good while.
This is exactly what I have experienced myself, each time I have tried to stop smoking. However, on my last occasion- I tried a different strategy. I spent several years trying a lot of different things- from the psycho-dynamic approach (i.e; coming to terms with my addiction & analysis of it; Why? Where did it start? Parental issues, ect, etc), cognive approach (chaging habits, thought-schemas, etc) and now, I'm going down the physical route. It's the physical- somewhat combined with the other two- that is keeping me from relapsing this time.
Thus, with social experience, pro-longed personal experience AND research, I've come to my conclussions that marijuana DOES have an effect on long-term and/or heavy smokers. I also believe that weed is very different to what it was and while you Pro's don't like your drug being knocked- it's time to clear your rose-tinted classes and see the soberiety.
I was young once & I recall being as clueless, but then I had a child of my own & had to eventually grow up and smell the maturity.
"I have a 14page paper I wrote for college about legalization... and I have been someone who smoked a lot, daily, for years... yet the only "withdrawal" issues I've had is that when people start c**p, I don't just stay mellow, I actually get upset with their bs."
And I really get fed- up with the bull I read when people who are still 'chilling-out' claiming that everything is absolutely fine & their not addicted. If it's not addictive- or at least, you are not dependent on it for some kind of feeling you can't incite by Life- then why are you still doing it?
You obviously haven't withdrawn, if you are still smoking a lot and have been for years, so how can you comment on withdrawal, if you don't actually know whether it exists or not?
I never used to just stay mellow either- I would flare up arguments without checking my 'facts', but then adequately structuring your arugment is also something that comes with maturity, age & wisdom.
Good luck with your studies & if you are a good student, you will remain objective & check your 'facts'. If you have only written your paper from a 'Pro' view, you have completely ommitted half of the 'facts'.