Detoxing from Marijuana
What is Detoxing?
Detoxing is the way in which your body gets rid of the toxins accumulated from years of using. It happens the first few days or weeks after getting clean and/or sober. It is also the very beginning of getting used to dealing with reality and real feelings with no numbing agent.
Can there be physical effects from quitting marijuana?
In spite of numerous years of being told that there are no physiological effects from marijuana addiction, many of our recovering members have had definite withdrawal symptoms. Whether the causes are physical or psychological, the results are physical.
Others have just had emotional and mental changes as they stop using their drug of choice. There is no way of telling before quitting who will be physically uncomfortable and who will not. Most members have only minor physical discomfort if any at all. This pamphlet is for those who are having trouble and wonder what’s happening to them.
Why do some effects last so long?
Unlike most other drugs, including alcohol, THC (the active chemical in marijuana) is stored in the fat cells and therefore takes longer to fully clear the body than with any other common drug. This means that some parts of the body still retain THC even after a couple of months, rather than just the couple of days or weeks for water soluble drugs.
Can this affect a drug test?
The experiences of some members have shown that if you quit marijuana and expect to take a drug test you should not go on a crash diet at the same time. Fasting, or a crash diet, can release the THC into the bloodstream very rapidly and can give a positive reading. This has happened to several of our members, but each time only with crash diets and major weight loss, not with just eating less than usual.
What are some of the more common symptoms?
By far the most common symptom of withdrawal is insomnia. This can last from a few nights of practically no sleep at all, up to a few months of occasional sleeplessness.
The next most common symptom is depression (that is, if you’re not euphoric), and next are nightmares and vivid dreams. Marijuana use tends to dampen the dreaming mechanism, so that when you do get clean the dreams come back with a crash. They can be vivid color, highly emotional dreams or nightmares, even waking up then coming back to the same dream. The very vivid, every night dreams usually don’t start for a about a week or so. They last for about a month at most and then taper off.
“Using dreams” (dreams involving the use of marijuana) are very common, and although they’re not as vivid or emotional as at first, they last for years and are just considered a normal part of recovery.
The fourth most common symptom is anger. This can range from a slow burning rage to constant irritability to sudden bursts of anger when least expected: anger at the world, anger at loved ones, anger at oneself, anger at being an addict and having to get clean.
Emotional jags are very common, with emotions bouncing back and forth between depression, anger, and euphoria. Occasionally experienced is a feeling of fear or anxiety, a loss of the sense of humor, decreased sex drive, or increased sex drive. Most all of these symptoms fade to normal emotions by three months.
Loss of concentration for the first week or month is also very common and this sometimes affects the ability to learn for a very short while.
What about physical symptoms?
The most common physical symptom is headaches. For those who have them, they can last for a few weeks up to a couple of months, with the first few days being very intense.
The next most common physical symptom is night sweats, sometimes to the point of having to change night clothes. They can last from a few nights to a month or so. Sweating is one of the body’s natural ways of getting rid of toxins.
Hand sweats are very common and are often accompanied by an unpleasant smell from the hands. Body odor is enough in many instances to require extra showers or baths.
Coughing up phlegm is another way the body cleans itself. This can last for a few weeks to well over six months.
One third of the addicts who responded to a questionnaire on detoxing said they had eating problems for the first few days and some for up to six weeks. Their main symptoms were loss of appetite, sometimes enough to lose weight temporarily, digestion problems or cramps after eating, and nausea, occasionally enough to vomit (only for a day or two). Most of the eating problems were totally gone before the end of a month.
The next most common physical symptoms experienced were tremors or shaking and dizziness.
Less frequently experienced were kidney pains, impotency, hormone changes or imbalances, low immunity or chronic fatigue, and some minor eye problems that resolved at around two months.
There have been cases of addicts having more severe detox symptoms, however this is rare. For intense discomfort, see a doctor, preferably one who is experienced with detoxing.
How can I reduce discomfort?
For some of the milder detoxing symptoms, a few home remedies have proven to be useful:
- Hot soaking baths can help the emotions as well as the body.
- Drink plenty of water and clear liquids, just like for the flu.
- Cranberry juice has been used effectively for years by recovery houses to help purify and cleanse the body.
- Really excessive sweating can deplete the body of potassium, a necessary mineral. A few foods high in potassium are melons, bananas, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
- Eliminate fat from the diet until digestion is better.
- Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine until the sleep pattern is more normal or the shakes are gone.
- The old fashioned remedy for insomnia, a glass of warm milk before bedtime, helps some people.
- Exercise not only helps depression and other unpleasant emotions, it helps the body speed up the healing process.
From “How it Works”:
Do not be discouraged, none of us are saints. Our program is not easy, but it is simple. We strive for progress, not perfection. Our experiences, before and after we entered recovery, teach us three important ideas:
- That we are marijuana addicts and cannot manage our own lives;
- That probably no human power can relieve our addiction; and
- That our Higher Power can and will if sought.
Night Sweats and Alcohol
Can alcohol cause night sweats?
You probably don’t think of being sweaty as a good thing, but it serves an important function. Sweat is a vital part of our body’s cooling system. Our sweat glands work hard, even when we’re sleeping. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat? If so, you’ve experienced night sweats.
Menopause, low blood sugar, and fever can cause night sweats. So can certain medications, including antidepressants and steroids. If your clothing or your bedroom temperature causes you to sweat, it’s not considered night sweats.
Night sweats are unpleasant, but most of the time they’re harmless. However, a more serious cause of night sweats is alcohol consumption. It can happen if you’re an alcoholic, a binge drinker, or even if you’ve only had one drink. If you’re physically dependent on alcohol, sudden withdrawal can result in night sweats. If you experience frequent night sweats due to drinking, you may have a drinking problem.
Alcohol affects the central nervous system, the circulatory system, and virtually every part of your body. Drinking can increase your heart rate and widen blood vessels in your skin. This can trigger perspiration.
Can you sweat alcohol out of your system? Yes and no. A small amount of alcohol is broken down in your stomach lining, but your liver metabolizes most of it. According to George Washington University, only about 10 percent of the alcohol you drink leaves your body in urine, breath, and perspiration. The rest of the alcohol you consume is broken down into byproducts through metabolism within your body. Having night sweats or making yourself perspire won’t expel alcohol from your system any faster.
Night sweats can also be caused by alcohol withdrawal. This symptom of withdrawal, along with most others, is temporary.
If you have night sweats but you haven’t consumed alcohol recently, and you’re a regular drinker, it may be a sign of alcohol withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as a few hours after your last drink or within several days. Some symptoms may take several weeks to completely disappear. If you have night sweats along with some of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that you’re going through alcohol withdrawal.
Sweating, clammy skin, and night sweats are common symptoms of withdrawal. You may also feel anxious, depressed, or moody. Other symptoms include:
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- body aches
- muscle pains
- rapid heartbeat
- heart palpitations
- high blood pressure
- changes to respiratory rate
Symptoms of delirium tremens
Delirium tremens, or DTs, is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. It can cause severe sweating, fever, hallucinations, and seizures. This is a life-threatening event requiring immediate medical care.
Symptoms of DTs typically occur within 48 to 96 hours after your last drink. In some cases, symptoms can occur up to 10 days after your last drink. Symptoms of DTs can quickly worsen, and may include the following:
- body tremors
- changes in mental function
- confusion, disorientation
- decreased attention span
- deep sleep lasting for a day or longer
- increased activity
- quick mood changes
- sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
If you experience these symptoms along with regular night sweats, you may be going through alcohol withdrawal.
Occasionally, alcohol-induced night sweats can be due to alcohol intolerance. Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic mutation. When your body has this mutation, it can’t produce the enzymes that break down the toxins in alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition is most commonly seen in people of Asian descent.
Additional symptoms of alcohol intolerance include:
- facial redness
- worsening of preexisting asthma
- runny or stuffy nose
- low blood pressure
Because alcohol intolerance is a genetic condition, there is currently no cure for it. The best way to relieve the symptoms of alcohol intolerance is to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption.
Your body loses a lot of moisture when you sweat profusely. It’s important to replenish fluids by drinking plenty of water. You should also:
- Rinse your skin to remove excess salt from dried sweat.
- Change your sheets before you get back into bed.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid using too many heavy blankets.
See your doctor if you’re not sure what’s causing your night sweats and if you have accompanying symptoms. Getting night sweats from alcohol consumption may indicate that you’re developing a drinking problem.If you consume alcohol or experience alcohol withdrawal, you may have night sweats. Learn how alcohol triggers night sweats and how to reduce your sweating. ]]>