Developed Rare CHS and On Journey To Quit

To start I’d like to thank Weedless and users on this forum who have shared their experiences. It has become an incredibly helpful tool for me on my journey.

I started casually using weed in my 20s. Would smoke a few times a year socially through my 30s and into my 40s. During my 40s, I experienced personal challenges to a greater degree and struggled with worry, shame and guilt which led to anxiety and depression. I turned to more frequent use of marijuana to numb the pain - but all my pains, not just the persistent ones.

I had done my research and thought it was relatively ok. I knew the methods I was consuming it had other possible implications, but I was willing to accept those, because I told myself I had it under control. I began to develop an “all or none” approach to it, and was using to get through my work days - sun up to bedtime.

Fast forward to me now being 46, and I have developed cannnaboid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). It took about 3-4 months to figure out that this was going on. It’s been a journey and I’d like to share a little about my journey to hold myself accountable - to remember - and to offer perspective and experience to others.

I woke up one morning not feeling great. Was nauseous and GI upset. Thought to myself, it’s a bug or you ate something bad. However, those symptoms began occurring every day and would escalate at various times for several days at a time.

Each time they would escalate I would be forced to quit marijuana by the sheer virtue that I was too nauseous to even put it into my body. I realize that sounds counterintuitive which reinforces for me how badly my body was beginning to reject it.

After a few days the symptoms would go away temporarily but then return and would get worse each time. This was happening because after I started to feel better I would start using again, not knowing it was causing the symptoms.

Three trips to the Emergency Department, a CT scan of abdomen and chest, EKG and US of my heart, stress test and blood pressure monitoring. We were trying to figure out what was going on. Full bloodwork was fine with a few blips, but nothing indicating anything major…yet it was apparent I was not well. These GI and vomiting events then led to me passing out and I would wake up sweating profusely. It happened 5 times one day. I started to get confused and experience intense “brain fog” and couldn’t remember things, and my recall was off. These events would cause my blood pressure to sky rocket then plummet which presented its own separate unique medical challenges.

We couldn’t make the connection. I was convinced I had something serious wrong with a major organ or possibly even cancer and it was being missed. The challenge with CHS is that the symptoms are vague enough to present as a host of possible conditions so you need a full work up to determine.

When I discovered it was CHS, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, followed by a flood of shame and guilt. I knew this would be a challenge because the very thing I was relying on to manage my mental health, was now disturbing my mental health. I’ve since seen a psychologist, have been prescribed pharmaceuticals for the mental health and will be enrolling in cognitive based therapy.

I am on day 5 of quitting. Obviously the realization I have CHS means I have to quit. CHS can become life threatening. I am a wife, Mom, career professional, and someone who considers myself to be able to juggle and manage a lot, but the CHS and then having the symptoms with detoxing the past 5 days have been very humbling.

This experience the past 3-4 months has affected my family. My husband took time off work to be with me, my daughter had to drive me to the cardiologist, and I had a cardiac/blood pressure event driving in a car with my son alone, an hour from home. Typing those words are so difficult for me. That’s the hardest part, how my past decisions on this impacts my family.

The detox process itself has not been nearly as bad as the CHS. Think about that, the marijuana itself was making me more sick than the detox process. That’s the thought I go to when I crave it.

My detox symptoms have been exactly as Weedless has described. If I could offer advice, it would be to slow down your days if you can, just a bit during this process to give yourself the time your body will need. I didn’t need to skip work or lay in bed all day but I did need to try to get more sleep and wanted to lay down in bed rather than do normal things like eat and watch TV. As it’s been stated, this is so much about managing the mental and physical aspects at the same time and I’ve just found I can’t expect myself to do in a day what I’m used to. I remind myself, my energy will rebound!

My reason for sharing this story is that I wanted to offer a perspective and experience to consider in helping you achieve your goals. To fellow former or soon to be former marijuana users…or as a nod to this awesome site, a fellow “Weedless”, I wish you success on your journey. Remember you are not alone.

Godspeed.

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Hello HereComesThe Sun:

I appreciate your openness in sharing your experience with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. It’s truly important to share personal journeys like yours, as they not only provide a sense of solidarity for those who might be going through similar challenges but also offer valuable insights to others who may not be familiar with this condition.

Believe it or not, CHS is growing increasingly common, and despite this, most physicians and the scientific community still know very little about the condition!

At Weedless.org, we have received ~9,000 responses to a survey exploring stomach upset following cessation (GI Upset and Marijuana Use - Anonymous Questionnaire Survey). We are collaborating with the University of Toronto to explore this data set. Our hope is that we will raise awareness of CHS and that people will begin to recognize the symptoms earlier, to avoid unnescessary pain and uncertainty. We will post the results here as they become available.

So glad you found your way. The upside to CHS (for better or worse) is that you really have no choice but to stop using. Look forward to staying apprised of your journey. You got this!!

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Thank you so much for sharing, great read! CHS seems like no joke and just downright scary… I’m so happy that you made the decision to quit. It’s almost a blessing in disguise that your CHS is worse than your detox symptoms. It really emphasis the “why” for you. I can’t imagine going through that amount of time and not knowing what is wrong with you, incredibly scary. One of the many reasons I quit weed was I was beginning to become paranoid that I would one day overdo it to the point where serious health issues would arise. I’m glad I stopped when I did, I’ve never even heard of CHS until I stumbled across this website. From what you’ve said about CHS, it makes me even more thankful I decided to stop when I did.

All the research says weed is basically 100% safe, I think with it becoming more readily available as well as more socially acceptable that there definitely needs to be more awareness and focus on the side effects. If more people knew about the negative side effects, especially something like CHS, it would keep a lot of people away from the drug.

Your post has really opened my eyes to how my drug use affected those around me, and it really does weigh on me from time to time. At first, I was doing this for myself, but the World is so much bigger than just myself. I can’t dwell on the past, but only learn from it. Since quitting, I feel like it’s given me a greater purpose and that my future is in much a better state than it was just a couple weeks ago!

Anyways, wanted to say welcome to the forum! I may be done and over with the worst of it, but it’s still truly inspiring to me when new users on here share their story! I like the idea of us being called fellow “Weedless” too! So, from one Weedless to another, thank you so much! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait for you to experience what I’ve just now begun to!

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Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your story. I also developed CHS after several years of chronic use. It’s so frustrating to feel helpless before you know what’s going on. I had never even heard about it before my psychiatrist told me about it. So I commend you for highlighting it for everyone to read and learn.

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Thanks for the encouragement and words of support. Today is day 16. All GI, abdominal and cardiac issues have resolved themselves. Mental fog, fatigue and excessive worry still dominate neurologically, however, I can feel improvement each day.

I am eager to rid my system of THC completely and purchased test strips indicating what level of THC is still present in the body (urine strips measuring 15/20/50/200/300 ng/ml). After 16 days of zero usage and using no detox supplements, just old fashioned abstinence, hydration, healthy diet and daily exercise, and I am measuring above 50 ng/ml but below 200 ng/ml.

If I can offer any advice to others, it would be to set small incremental goals each day. For example, I found days 3-10 to be overwhelming difficult, particularly nausea, vomiting, GI distress, fatigue, fast heart rate, sweating and heat intolerance. I found setting small goals such as, attend this meeting at work and get A, B and C done but leave D and E for tomorrow, was a method that I felt challenged myself while not putting myself in danger. I simply could not produce what I was used to. Day 11 it began to lift and today, day 16, is the best day yet.

My goal today is to be patient with myself. My body will eventually rid itself of all the THC. Tomorrow may be the same goal…it may be different…but when I get frustrated or intolerant of symptoms, I remind myself of my goal to distract my mind - to stay the course, and as others have said, I close my eyes and go back to days 3-10, and am quickly reminded how patience will pay off.

I am enjoying reading others stories on the forum. I am cheering and praying for each of you. God bless.

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As you continue on this journey, know that your commitment and willingness to be patient with yourself will undoubtedly lead to the positive outcomes you’re striving for. Keep reminding yourself of your inner resilience and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. You’ve got this, and your patience will indeed pay off. Sending you strength and encouragement!

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Having a rough go this morning and need to feel connected to my Weedless friends. I feel so defeated today. I don’t physically feel like I want to use because I don’t want to feel sick, but I want to crawl into a hole and not come out for months. I know that marijuana can take those feelings away, which would still be there when I got sober again, along with nausea, vomiting, etc., so it’s not the solution, it makes things worse.

I try to redirect my thoughts to possibility but I’m struggling to overcome the negative thoughts to remind myself that I will be ok. So, rather than sit and stew in bed, I got up, drew a bath, added epsom salt, put on some spa music, lit a candle and am forcing myself to breathe.

Six months ago it felt like everything was fine when in reality, I was burying and hiding all that is now bubbling up.

Trying to slow things down in my brain. Immersing my head under water, listening to the silence and calming the noises. I had a really good cry, acknowledging my sadness, anger, fear, disappointment…giving myself the outlet to let it all go.

I recently heard from an old friend, someone who had a very significant and positive impact in my life during a tumultuous time, who tried to commit suicide and in doing so, survived the attempt, but hurt themselves badly and ultimately they are not going to make it. It feels so unnecessary and unfair. It’s overwhelming. You’d never guess from the outside looking in they were struggling. And it reminded me, we never know what someone is going through, so we need to try to consistently be kind, accepting and understanding.

I continue to be inspired by each of your stories. Thank you for opening up so that on these really tough days, I can be reminded that I am not alone. I find great comfort in hearing about others and knowing although we may each be in different places across the globe, that we are connected in solidarity to improve our lives for ourselves and those we love.

Before this journey, I never viewed marijuana as something you could get addicted to or that was even substantially harmful. Now, I will advocate for abstinence for anyone in my life by sharing my story in the hope that it helps others find the true path to peace directly, wholly and without dependence.

I will be thinking and praying for each of you today.

God bless.

<3

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Today is day 23, and I feel I’ve achieved a mental clarity that I haven’t experienced in years - and it’s so refreshing. My brain feels young again.

I continue to test positive for THC, normally above 50 and below 200 ng/ml, with a lot of ups and downs throughout the day in numbers. So it definitely takes time to detox if you’ve consumed for a longer time period. I’ve got many factors contributing to how long it’s taking including; long term usage, high dosage usage, high frequency usage, vape and edibles, high BMI and poor diet/lack of proper hydration historically. Having to learn to be patient.

I’ve deployed as many organic detox methods as I can Google (and validate as legitimate websites and publishers for content integrity). Complete abstinence, water with lemon, decaf herbal teas, cranberry juice, hot/cold showers, Epsom salt bath soaks (glorious and highly recommend!), dry brushing, exercising, eating healthy, cutting caffeine/sugar/processed/high fat foods (hard!), regulating sleep schedule (harder!), supporting mental health (Weedless friends), and journaling (Weedless forum). Steering clear of detox kits or pills as I cannot afford nor desire another GI spell, I’m still healing from that aftermath.

I am astounded by my CHS and detox journey. So much literature indicating weed is not addictive. I called my brother tonight and shared my story and asked him to consider at least a tolerance break to check-in with his body and brain and see how he does without THC. I don’t want anyone else to ever have to experience this and I want everyone to know quitting is worth it because your body needs you to help it. Your body can most definitely develop a dependence, just like alcohol, cigarettes, or any other drugs.

Keeping my fellow Weedless friends in thoughts and prayers always.

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. Reading your post and your additional replies, you are doing everything so well! I’m currently on day 4 and having the GI problems, sweats, some anxiety. I read in your initial post about starting CBT. I have been doing CBT for 7 years and it changed my life. I think I am not having so much anxiety right now because of the signs and years of controlling my anxiety. If you haven’t started I definitely recommend!

Thank you again. As I write this the sun is coming out from behind the clouds and your username became a sign.

Bless you and take care!!

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Your openness and vulnerability resonate with me. It takes immense courage to share your struggles and emotions, especially on tough days. You’re not alone in feeling defeated, and reaching out to connect with this community (however small but MIGHTY) during moments of difficulty is a powerful step. Your experience with the past six months paints a vivid picture of how emotions can be buried beneath the surface, only to resurface later. Addressing our feelings head-on is vital for mental and emotional well-being.

The news about your old friend’s situation is undeniably heavy. Your perspective on the importance of kindness and understanding is so true – we often don’t know the battles others are facing.

You are in the thoughts and prayers. Take care and stay strong!!

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Thinking of my Weedless friends this morning, inspired by our growing group! It’s so refreshing to hear others stories and to know we are in it together. It’s so powerful, comforting and supportive.

My husband now knows when I’m immersed deeply in my phone, that it is likely the Weedless Forum and to give me time and space. I find no one can truly relate to this experience unless they’ve been or are going through it, which I respect. I feel like I have found “my people” here.

Had a strange experience the other night and wanted to get others perspective. I am hyper focused on eliminating all THC from my body. I’ve purchased the test strips and test myself once a day at varying times. I used to check multiple times but recognized it was becoming an obsession. Is it true most addicts have an “all or none” approach to things in their life? If so, check that box for me, I’ve recognized it and have to work at it.

When I did check multiple times a day I noticed a lot of fluctuation. So, now I just test in the morning when it’s likely highest. I’ve been actively pursuing organic methods to detox, which I outlined in a previous post.

The other evening, I immersed myself in a variety of detox methods throughout the evening. My way of distracting myself and practicing good self care - rather than my past go to for comfort, weed. Lemon water, dry brushing, Epsom salt bath, followed by a series a hot and cold showers. I felt euphoric! It was a similar sensation to feeling high, without the brain fog. I was blissfully happy, so much so my family noticed. It wasn’t silly or gitty, it was a calm and peace, a “present” happiness.

I remember when I smoked I used to think, why do I never feel a sense of calm or peace? My husband when he feels relaxed will say, “push the pause button”, and I used to be jealous of that statement (although I agreed), because when I smoked I felt the worry ceased but I could never truly relax. I chocked it up to, life is hard as an adult and that’s just the way it is.

So when I had this euphoric high feeling, without smoking, I immediately jumped to, the THC detox is raising levels and giving me the high. Maybe so…I don’t know for sure how it works. But then it dawned on me. Maybe this is what being sober happy feels like? It’s been a bit since I’ve been sober or detoxed long enough to truly feel life.

It doesn’t matter. What matters most is that my brain, logic, ability to process emotions, it’s all working differently and I like it. I feel young again. I’m reinvigorated and assessing aspects of my life that I know were troublesome and I managed with weed, and am tackling slowly what doesn’t feel right or good sober, one step at a time, giving myself time to adjust. It’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

This past week, was the hardest for me in way of cravings. I thought multiple times a day about using…I thought to myself…I can handle it. Then I take the good advice of my Weedless friends, close my eyes, and think about the squad trip to the emergency room, with my daughter and son terrified and think to myself, why in the world would I go back? Weed was my crutch, my way of avoiding taking a real look and dealing with what I don’t like in my life, and that part of me is changing. I’m taking accountability and responsibility rather than escaping.

Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers always!

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What an amazing share! Your openness, honesty and the bearing of your soul was so inspiring.

Getting in touch with oneself, less the numbing and fog, can be very difficult, but also quite beautiful.

I hope and pray that your personal journey will bring more of those small and not so small miracles your way!

Thanks for your share​:pray::hugs::pray::hugs:

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And we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers​:pray::hugs::pray::hugs:

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CBT and DBT can truly be life changing ways of leading one’s life! It is so inspiring to hear how you are better able to deal with your anxiety through the practices of CBT.

When I went for intensive out patient therapy for 8 1/2 weeks, many years ago, I learned a lot about practicing DBT and the positive impact on those who embrace it!

Good luck with your personal journey, one day at a time​:pray::hugs::pray::hugs:

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Thank you for this amazing share.

Yes, we can never know what someone else is dealing with, unless we have walked in their shoes. And always being kind to anyone, everyone, we come into contact with, is the best way to be.

So very sorry to hear that the person you mentioned, who survived their attempt, is not going to make it☹️ I had my own personal battle with the thoughts of ending my life, but sought out, received the care I desperately needed and I am here to attest to a temporary situation, does NOT require a permanent solution.

Wishing you peace of mind, body and soul​:pray::hugs::pray::hugs:

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Good Evening Weedless friends,

Feeling grateful today. Amazing how quitting weed forces you to take a close look at your life.

For me, it has also uncovered opportunities to improve my health. Blood pressure has been normalized, tackling improving my mental health, making food decisions to improve my GI and gut health, and then I discovered I had a large kidney stone, too large to pass.

Had a procedure Tuesday to have it removed and have a stent placed to help heal my kidney and bladder which were both quite inflamed and it’s been a rough go. Spent a few unplanned days in the hospital and haven’t been this ill ever before, closest thing was CHS. Good news is I am getting better and stronger each day.

At my lowest points, I realized that I can overcome anything. To Stutaz’s most recent post, we can overcome the impossible. As I am home and continuing to heal I am grateful that I quit weed, because it’s possible I was masking this medical issue which could have become progressively worse. Quitting helped prepare me to be stronger than I would have been for this procedure, had I not.

I found myself feeling sorry for myself a few times and quickly resolved to, what will that accomplish? Only a psychological state that led me to rely on weed in the past. So, I had a tough talk with myself and reminded myself that each of these decisions are mine, and I must be prepared to take complete responsibility for each of my decisions. I will not allow my mental and physical health to decline, and when I smoked, I smoked too much to be able to check in and see what was going on with my body.

In a weird twist, I am still testing positive for THC after being weedless for more than 30 days. Blown away it’s taking this long, but encourages me to continue to fight the good fight. I now think of everything I put into my body as intentional - food, drink, vitamins, medication - to cleanse, nourish and heal, my body, soul and mind.

I am working to find the words to put down into a letter to express my gratitude for the amazing medical staff who helped care for me. I’ve never felt so safe during a scary time.

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers, as always.

<3

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It’s so crazy to read through your last post as it seems to so closely mirror my experience as of late. We’re very similar in our timelines, and I’ve noticed a lot of the same things while being sober. From having a couple wake up calls regarding my health and tackling them, to feeling like I can overcome anything now. The one that really made me do a double take was being intentional of what you put in your body. I’m now on a vitamin regimen and track my meals. I kind of want to take a THC test now, just cause I’m curious.

Anyways, you should know that you’re such a huge inspiration to countless people on here. Myself included. I’m so happy for you and I’m excited for where life is going to take you!

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Wow!!! Thank you for bearing your soul, for your openness and honesty🙏

Yes, victory does begin in the mind and we are truly capable of many wonderful achievements if we fight tooth and nail to get there!

So glad your procedure went well, that you had excellent care and you decided to end the insanity before things got much worse!

What you are doing is NOT EASY, but nothing is permanent with the journey you are on, stay the course buddy, one days at a time, easy does it, come back often​:pray::hugs::pray::hugs::pray:

I’m a 52yo woman and also have CHS. Today I quit. I’ve actually known about it for a while - couple years. I’m suffering so badly every day. I don’t even get high anymore. It’s just a terrible (expensive!) cycle that’s ruining my life.
I take heart to see your story. I’m scared to death of the next few weeks but it’s got to be better than this. At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

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