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.