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The first time I went to him, I was high, and my experience with acupuncture was amazing. He stuck a needle in my head, a few others in my arms, my hands, and my feet, and I felt like the concept of a "third eye" was totally real and mine was open. He gently pointed out that my weed use was probably contributing to my problems.

And although I agreed, which is why I just confessed to him, all the good times I had with weed flashed across my mind like memories of a lover immediately preceding an inevitable break-up; in my head, I was holding onto a "dank nug" that had arms and we were spinning around in slow motion. Outside of my reverie, Max was saying that he was going to stick some needles in my ears to make it easier for me to say goodbye to my beloved drug, and I nodded. It was time. The auricular treatment was extremely unpleasant, and I sort of felt like I was hanging upside down for an hour.

When Max finally took the needles out, I earnestly felt rescued. I left feeling optimistic and insane. I was quitting weed! Outside on the street, I called my boyfriend, Rion, and told him I was leaving my stoner lifestyle behind, at least for a good chunk of time.

He was shocked, but also happy; he seemed to always hate when I smoked, which was all the time. When I got back to my apartment, I took my weed and bowl off of my nightstand and tucked it into a dresser drawer. It didn't occur to me to throw it away as some sort of grand gesture. It was February. I would quit for a month, maybe two, and then check in with myself to see how to proceed, I thought. I saw my therapist on Tuesday and told her the news.

I think I said something about how I wanted to "try to have a better relationship with weed.

The Deeply Unchill Things That Happened When I Tried to Quit Weed

She smiled and replied that it typically didn't work like that, implying that I should consider dropping the habit altogether. Weed isn't so much a treatment for depression as it is an avoidance of the treatment of depression, she said. I told her I planned to stop for a month and then see how I feel.

She said that was a good idea, and she was proud of me. Now, she added, I would be "feeling feelings"; I was taking a step in the right direction. I nodded, and started to consider what my life would look like without weed It seemed unfortunate and unbearable because weed makes everything so much more fun. Like, that's basically a rule of nature. But maybe that's why she was right. When I got home from work that day, I craved weed vaguely. I was triggered, I joked to myself, by the memories of my old routine. Instead of smoking, I looked at the Reddit page for people who are trying to quit weed—which was a mistake!

Horrifyingly, there were all these posts that said the symptoms of weed withdrawal—which I was already experiencing big time—would last for months. My sleep had been poor. My throat was sore and it seemed like I had the flu, or something. My lungs hurt periodically and I was cranky. On the third day of being sober, I woke up to Rion prodding me at AM, making extremely urgent facial expressions and arm movements.

For some reason, we had masochistically decided the night before to try and get to the gym before work. Reluctantly, I sat up in bed and made a big show of unhappiness.

I had hardly gotten any sleep in between strange dreams, though it was better than the first night, when I had a panic attack. The melatonin I started taking, in lieu of a fat bowl, helped. I got up, walked to the bathroom, and, when I got to the doorway, turned on the lights. As I acutely felt the electromagnetic radiation burning holes in my eyes, I recoiled and flipped the switch back. Then, in the dark, I proceeded to walk into the tiled wall near the shower, headfirst, and collapsed to the floor crying.

It didn't even hurt. Still, I made it to the gym and then to work, but the rest of the day I felt tired and bad. At the time I just thought it was because I woke up too damn early in order to go workout during Real Achievers Hours, which I certainly had no business doing. The place was swamped with blondes in eerily match-y, and expensive, workout clothes, carrying those big leather totes. I feel confident that even if I stop identifying as a stoner, I will always identify as a slacker.

I don't think I desire to become ambitious. I'm just trying to have peace. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure that it was a withdrawal side effect, because the next day I felt equally exhausted. I dragged myself to a DSA meeting after work when all I really wanted to do was sleep. I met up with my comrade, Andrew, who smokes as much as I used to. I told him I had quit weed a few days ago and his face dropped a little. But when I thought about the current moment—I was outside my apartment, with a friend, getting ready to discuss tactics to resist the president and protect and improve our communities—I had to give being sober its due.

Before Sunday, if I was tired, I would probably just flake on whatever plans I had and go home and smoke. These impressions resemble several anecdotal reports from marijuana users, who told the IOM team that marijuana did not take away their pain but helped them cope with their discomfort.

In a subsequent study the same researchers compared the effects of a single potent dose of THC with that of a relatively weak narcotic pain reliever, codeine. They found that 10 milligrams of THC gave the same pain relief as a milligram moderately strong dose of codeine and that 20 milligrams of THC worked as well as milligrams of codeine.

The two drugs produced similar side effects, but THC appeared to be more sedating than codeine. On the other hand, patients tended to have a greater sense of well-being and less anxiety after taking THC than they did under the influence of codeine. Another group of researchers compared two conventional painkillers, codeine and secobarbital a short-acting barbiturate , with a synthetic compound similar to THC. This THC analog had previously been shown to block pain in animals, so it was being tested for its ability to relieve moderate to severe pain in cancer patients.

Both comparisons were conducted in cancer patients who suffered moderate to severe pain. In one trial 30 such patients were given three different treatments, in random order, on consecutive days: a moderately strong dose of codeine, a standard dose of the experimental cannabinoid, and a placebo. Patients then rated the intensity of their pain on a three-point scale none, slight, moderate every hour for six hours. The second trial, which compared the cannabinoid with secobarbital in 15 patients, followed the same procedure. On average, participants found that.

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In addition to the clinical trials already discussed, a handful of case studies and surveys have addressed the ability of marijuana or cannabinoids to relieve pain. The case studies are generally unconvincing, but survey responses suggest that marijuana—and by extension cannabinoids —can ease certain chronic pain syndromes.

For example, in a recent survey of more than regular marijuana users with multiple sclerosis, nearly every participant reported that marijuana helped relieve spasticity and limb pain see Chapter 7. Yet the IOM team located only one scientific report on that subject published since It consists of a description of three cases in which people suffered migraines after quitting their daily marijuana habits.

Exploring the possibility of using marijuana-based medicines to relieve migraine pain will require rigorous clinical experiments designed to control for factors that can bias the results. A possible link between cannabinoids and migraine has been revealed, however, in studies of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors occur in abundance in the periaqueductal gray PAG region, an area where migraines are suspected to arise. But it remains to be determined what effect cannabinoids exert on the PAG and whether they might prevent migraines from occurring.

Such research would be worth doing since the best medicine currently available for migraines, sumatriptan Imitrex , fails to provide complete relief for more than one in four of the patients who use it. An estimated 11 million people in the United States suffer from moderate to severe migraines.


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Much of what medical scientists have learned about marijuana's pain-relieving potential warrants further study, according to the IOM team. A logical next step in basic research. But some of those side effects may make marijuana an especially useful pain reliever. Cannabinoids appear to reduce nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss as well as pain. And the euphoric lift that attracts recreational users to marijuana could benefit people with anxiety-producing disorders such as AIDS or cancer.

In fact, for that reason the IOM team recommended that researchers undertake clinical studies of cannabinoid medications among cancer patients on chemotherapy and AIDS patients suffering from wasting or significant pain. The IOM also recommended that the following groups of patients be included in such studies:. Surgical patients. In this case, cannabinoids should be administered along with opiates to determine whether cannabinoids reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with opiate painkillers.

All of the above patients are currently treated with opiate drugs, which produce tolerance and dependence as well as undesirable side effects. Could lower doses of opiates give these patients the same degree of relief when supplemented with cannabinoids? The answer lies in carefully conducted clinical experiments. Clinical trials could also determine whether THC is the sole—and, if not, the best —pain-relieving compound in marijuana. If additional cannabinoids relieve pain, researchers must then consider which cannabinoids or combinations thereof work best.

Although there has been very little clinical pain research on marijuana, the findings support positive results from animal and other basic experiments. Further clinical research appears to be well worth pursuing if it leads to a new class of drugs to complement existing painkillers or medications that could simultaneously relieve pain and nausea or appetite loss. The latter would be especially useful to people with AIDS and cancer, as described in the next two chapters.

But these future prospects offer little comfort to people with chronic pain that defies conventional treatments. Accordingly, the IOM researchers recommended the creation of an individual clinical trial program that would allow such patients to smoke marijuana under carefully controlled conditions for a limited period of time.

Note that this is not the same as reopening the marijuana Compassionate Use Program that was closed in see Chapter As described in the IOM report, individual trials would be used to gather information to help develop alternative delivery methods for cannabinoid medications. Participants, who would be fully informed of their status as experimental subjects and the harms inherent in using smoking as a delivery system, would have their condition documented while they continued using marijuana.

By analyzing the results of such trials, medical scientists could significantly increase their knowledge of both the positive and the negative effects of medical marijuana use. Institute of Medicine. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Dunn M and Davis R.

‎The Joy of Quitting Cannabis: Freedom From Marijuana on Apple Books

El-Mallakh RS. Some people suffer from chronic, debilitating disorders for which no conventional treatment brings relief. Can marijuana ease their symptoms? Would it be breaking the law to turn to marijuana as a medication? There are few sources of objective, scientifically sound advice for people in this situation. Most books about marijuana and medicine attempt to promote the views of advocates or opponents. To fill the gap between these extremes, authors Alison Mack and Janet Joy have extracted critical findings from a recent Institute of Medicine study on this important issue, interpreting them for a general audience.

Marijuana As Medicine? This empowering volume examines several key points, including:. These include the principal ingredient in Marinol, a legal medication. The authors also discuss the prospects for developing other drugs derived from marijuana's active ingredients. In addition to providing an up-to-date review of the science behind the medical marijuana debate, Mack and Joy also answer common questions about the legal status of marijuana, explaining the conflict between state and federal law regarding its medical use.

Intended primarily as an aid to patients and caregivers, this book objectively presents critical information so that it can be used to make responsible health care decisions. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website. Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book. Switch between the Original Pages , where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

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Page 81 Share Cite. Page 82 Share Cite. Page 83 Share Cite. Page 84 Share Cite. The IOM also recommended that the following groups of patients be included in such studies: Surgical patients. Patients with spinal cord injury or other pain caused by nerve damage.