Citation: Anti-Phaton. "Reasonable Comments on THC Withdrawal: An Experience with Cannabis (exp88849)". Erowid.org. Dec 28, 2010. erowid.org/exp/88849
I’ve been interested in cannabis withdrawal for some time; I’m a lifestyle smoker, and while I do not have any seriously debilitating illnesses or disorders I treat with cannabis, I do think it is a profoundly important substance, physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually.
Life history: I started smoking cannabis when I was about fifteen; I enjoyed the hell out of it for reasons good and bad: Getting high is fun. Dealing is badass, etc. The usual. (To diverge, for a moment, from an irreverant tone, slowing down to smoke a joint and enjoy the weather is one of the best ways to get a sense of what really matters in life and what is just ridiculous bullshit. Not only have I had a lot of “fun” being a “badass” but cannabis has been the occasion of many third-eye-opening experiences.) Besides that, I have had a longstanding interest in entheogens and related stuff (which predates my drug use). I believe in the Holy Trinity--DMT, THC, and, MDMA. My parents, on the other hand, are quite narrow minded when it comes to drug use—long story short, I was busted by my parents, who found a bowl and thought I had turned into a junkie. My parents would have “sent me away” if I didn’t cool out. I’m the oldest of several kids, all pre-teen siblings and I didn’t want to stir up the home life like that, so I behaved (almost all the time).
I left home after HS to attend one of the Seven Sisters and got right back on my grind, as they say. I dealt, so I had a constant supply. Weed is good; you smoke it if you have it.
Blah blah blah. It was never, in any way, a problem: financially, socially, interpersonally, etc. Of course, tar in the lungs. Big whoop. You might get hit by a bus, too; so fuck it! If I get cancer, well, then goddammit it’ll be on my own terms! (By the way, I’m a runner and a smoker--pot and cigarettes. It’s really no big deal people. Am I gonna run in the Olympics anytime soon? No. But do I wheeze? No. So there.) I successfully graduated from my fancy pants liberal arts school, and now I’m a grad student in a fairly prestigious program pulling a huge academic work load. And I’m a stoner. Whoever said it couldn’t be done is a damned liar.
Anyway. I did come home from college during the winter break every year, and I spent a lot of time home over the summers. This brings me to what I’m really interested in.
I’m super fucking sick of hearing about cannabis “withdrawal” stories. Now, for a disclaimer: What I have to say will certainly piss some people off, and certain “medical experts” might denigrate my anecdotal reports--but fuck you guys.
I’m “home for the holidays” and in the middle of cannabis withdrawal right now. Again, to be clear, I smoke all the time. I don’t put a piece of food into my mouth unless I’ve smoked (I don’t smoke in order to eat breakfast; I just generally smoke before breakfast). I don’t go to sleep without being full of THC. I smoke very high-quality east coast hydro or, seasonally, whatever rolls in from Cali in the fall.
I don’t smoke anything at all when I’m at the ancestral ranch.
So, how bad is it actually? Not bad at all--this isn’t heroin, after all. It’s not coke.
The worst of it?
Body odor: I smell like a goat right now. Aside from night sweats, I don’t sweat more than usual, but my sweat is about four times as potent--if I get a good whiff I can damn near taste it. For the record, I do not use antiperspirant. Just Toms, which works fine all the time; but it is not strong enough for this stuff. This tends to linger for a few weeks--probably the longest lasting symptom I show. It’s annoying, but fuck it; people are animals, animals smell. If it bugged me, I’d just wet-nap my pits and re-deodorize myself.
Night sweats: The first few nights I’m away, relative to about how long I’ve been away, I get night sweats. At their worst, I’ll soak a shirt as if I’ve been running. It’s kind of gross, yes--but big deal. If it’s too annoying, I just get up and change my shirt. I wear a sweater to avoid getting the sheets wet. Common sense stuff makes life easy; I just have to launder shirts and not sheets. This time around, I’m five days in, and my collar is just a little damp when I wake up.
Insomnia: This is probably the most obvious symptom. It’ll start to get late, I won’t get tired. But--common sense! If I’m not tired, and I go to bed, I probably won’t sleep (duh). So, I just stay up and read a book until I doze off. If the body needs sleep, it will take it. When I was just an ignorant little freshman, I’d lay in bed all night, all pissed off because I couldn’t fall asleep. Eventually I realized that was terrifically silly, so now I just lay down, read a book--or whatever--doze off. Wake up maybe, read some more, doze off. I might wake up the next day having only managed a series of four one-hour naps, but so what? That’s what caffeine is for. This subsides after about two weeks, and that’s a long guess--and it’s only bad for the first five days to a week, then it recedes into a sort of mild restlessness. Tips: Work out hard and eat well (in the sense of “good” and not “a lot”). Tire yourself out.
Loss of appetite: This perhaps the most annoying symptom because (as with body odor) it’s hard to hide. My parents kind of wonder why I don’t really want to eat my dinner for a couple of days. As with insomnia, if the body needs food, it will take it (and enjoy the shit out of it, too). Loosing an appetite is like loosing a cat; you don’t chase the goddamn thing around the neighborhood worrying about it, you just wait for it to wander home. It’s smart and it knows where the food is. Loss of appetite and insomnia is, I think, only a problem if one forces it: you can’t sleep when you ain’t tired, and you can’t eat if you ain’t hungry. Trying to do either without the desire is uncomfortable and irritating. Loss of appetite will, of course, fuck with digestion down the line; if the way you eat changes, the way you shit changes to. But it’s all quite obvious, and it not a big deal.
Restlessness: I tend to wound up during withdrawal. Again, the dominant theme here is that withdrawal is only “WITHDRAWAL--dun dun duuuun!” if you sit and suffer through it. Restlessness can be wonderful. Just get up and do shit, read books, make shit, go for walks, clean the house--whatever. Restlessness + Insomnia = Productivity. Some people like this shit so much they never go back to the good weed!
“Anger” / “Irritability”: I do not believe this is a real withdrawal problem. If a person has something he likes, and that thing is suddenly taken away from him, he is going to be a bit pissed about it. But that is not problem of chemical dependency, per se. If I cut our cable, my little sister would throw an unimaginably huge fit, and she’d probably be a bitch about it for days--does that mean she has a physiological dependency on T.V.? Does she need rehab? I don’t think so. Admittedly, cannabis chills a person out. If that person happens to be a generally irritable person anyway, his irritability will come out if he quits smoking cannabis--but, again, these are not problems of chemical dependency.
[I note, by the way, I do get quit pissed when I stop using nicotine. Nicotine might be more subtle, but it is far more related to irritability than THC, I think. If I stop smoking cigarettes, I tend to be very, very easy to piss off.]
I’m scraping my mind now--I can’t think of any other nasty “withdrawal” like symptoms I have ever experienced. The main point: If you think THC withdrawal is bad, maybe you should go work up a nice opiate addiction and then try coming off that shit...
So, is cannabis a nasty evil DJRUG! that will turn you into an addict and force you to go to rehab to deal with withdrawal: No. Some alternate possibilities, if you disagree with me?:
A. You might just be a little bitch. Get that checked out.
B. You might have psychological issues, which you pass off on your supposed “drug addiction.” This is bitch move, but not necessarily the same as actually being “a little bitch.” Get those checked out.
I hear a lot of bullshit spoken about the Healing of the Nations, and the real purpose of this little note is the un-spin some of the garbage “facts” I hear people mouthing:
This is unrelated to the main topic, but as it concerns money: If you don’t have money to buy pot, and if you’re too dumb to hustle, then you don’t get to smoke pot. Sorry, dude. Sure, you could rob liquor stores or max out credit cards--but if you do that, you do that because you’re a sorry piece of shit with no self-control. You are not a drug addict. I am tired of hearing these kids say, “Waaah, I spent $10,000 I didn’t have on weed and now I regret it!” The moral of that story is not “Drugs are bad, mmkay,” but rather, “You’re a dumbass.” People do that shit for shoes and handbags just as well as drugs. (And if your “psychological problem” is being a chronic dumbass, my condolences--I mean no offense. But you gotta admit: It’s not the drugs, it’s the dumbassery. And if you weren’t being a dumbass about weed, you’d be being a dumbass about something else, anyway.) Again, pot is not coke: If you rob a liquor store, or roll somebody, for coke money while seriously fucked up on rock--that’s a different situation. Coke-fiends and crackheads are sick. Stoners are just stoners--or, if you want to call them sick, they have a little tiny case of the sniffles. I feel totally comfortable telling a “withdrawing stoner” to quit bitchin’ and deal with it. I don’t think the same line applies so easily to cokeheads and junkies.
If you lay in bed saying “Waah, I can’t sleep!” you might, as suggest above, be a little bitch. Just get up and do some shit. “But I WANNA sleep!” Tough shit. I want a Benz and blowjob. But I have no disposable income and my girlfriend dumped me recently.
If you sit around saying “Waah, I have no appetite!” Then put the XBOX controller down and, assuming your arms haven’t atrophied already, do pushups or lift weights until you get hungry.
At this point, you probably either disagree with me, in which case you've probably stopped reading, or you agree with me, in which case what I say probably isn’t that edifying.
Final tips: Drink water all day. Work out until you’re tired. Don’t be whiner.
Drugs are wonderful, wonderful things. Beautiful, wonderful things. But--you’ve heard of Phaëton? Don’t get in the chariot if you don’t know what’s good. And if you do anyway, and you wreck your dumbass, it’s no one’s fault but yours. Finally:
To those who struggle with serious and debilitating addictions to alcohol, opium, and cocaine and amphetamines: Take it seriously and get some serious help before you kill yourself. If you get in that deep, you’ll probably need someone on the surface to throw you a rope, and if you see one, take it and get the hell out of that hole while you can.
To those of you hyping the myth that “cannabis addiction,” comes even close to being a legitimate problem of chemical dependency, cut it the fuck out and stop being such an embarrassing little shit. Life is too short for you to be occupying your time by fabricating problems for yourself.
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