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Liz Benton recently quit weed after smoking it at least once a day for seven years — and the first week was especially brutal.
Within two days of quitting, she experienced a panic attack. Her head throbbed with a dull, persistent ache, and her stomach felt queasy. Her symptoms finally subsided roughly three weeks later, but it took a full month for her to feel like her normal self again. Benton may have been experiencing cannabis withdrawal syndrome, which medical professionals are only beginning to understand. According to this edition, the DSM-5, s of cannabis withdrawal can include anxiety, depressed mood, irritability, lowered appetite, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, and various uncomfortable physical symptoms.
Cannabis withdrawal syndrome can be triggered by not only quitting weed altogether, but also ificantly decreasing your use of it.
The minimum reduction needed to cause withdrawal varies from person to person, though, reflecting our individual biological differences, Fong says. When you heavily use cannabis, you drastically increase the levels of the high-inducing compound tetrahydrocannabinol THC in your bloodstream. To restore balance, your body alters its natural levels of THC receptors, as well as neurochemicals like serotonin and adrenaline. Removing cannabis or drastically reducing your intake of it throws off this balance, which your body has to restore by once again altering THC receptor and neurochemical levels.
Abnormal serotonin levels can lead to nausea, for example. But this timeline, as well as particulars about the onset and duration of certain symptoms, again, differs from one person to the next. And not everyone who quits cannabis, or drastically reduces their consumption of it, experiences withdrawal.
But frequency seems to be more important than potency; Lin notes that consuming weed every day, even at low doses of THC, can result in the biochemical changes that might, in turn, lead to withdrawal. Health issues like a lack of sleep, dehydration, and poor nutrition can render you even more vulnerable to the stress of restoring normal body function, Fong notes.
Your risk might increase if you smoke high-potency concentrates like wax or shatterbut again, only if you do so every day. Quitting weed has its upsides, though. The moment you stop using it on a regular basis, your body starts reverting back to what it used be before you started smoking weed, Fong says.
And if you struggle with cannabis addiction, or you want to quit for other reasons, getting through withdrawal is the first step to foregoing cannabis for good. While it might seem intuitive that quitting smoking weed would restore your lung function, it may actually result in little, if any, respiratory benefits. Tobacco and nicotine are clearly terrible for your lungs, but whether the same holds true for cannabis is still up for debate, Fong says. Vaping cannabis can lead to lung injury, but because of other stuff in e-juicenot THC. After her withdrawal symptoms faded, Benton found that she had more energy for exercise and other activities than she did when she was still smoking weed.
She ate and slept more consistently, too. The biggest benefits of quitting, though, were mental and emotional.
Her mind felt clearer, and she renewed her commitment to therapy. She realized how heavily she had relied on weed to self-medicate her anxiety. Cannabis withdrawal sucks, but you can survive it, and you may even gain a few powerful insights about yourself along the way. This article was originally published on Jan. When you quit weed, here's what happens to your mind and body. By Melissa Pandika.What happens when i stop smoking weed
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