I Quit Weed and Had Withdrawal Panic Attacks: Jake’s Story

I quit weed

How I got Addicted

Like everybody else on this blog I have decided enough is enough. Marijuana has had a grip on my life physically and mentally. I’m 26 and started smoking weed when I was 16. I smoked everyday from the age of 18 until the day I decided to quit. The most extreme I did was an occasional bong rip, maybe once a year which always lead to a bad high. I was a casual smoker, hitter box in my pocket. Just riding out a constant low level high all the time.

My group of friends are all pot smokers so socially it was great. We always had a good time as long as we were together and getting high. Some of my best memories have had weed somehow related to them. For the ten years I smoked I can honestly say it was a great ride. Luckily I’ve stayed out of trouble with the law and really haven’t had any issues other than a bad high here and there.

During my ten years I’ve quit a couple times. Due to an impeding drug test for work. So not using for a couple of weeks left me irritable at best but in the back of my mind I knew once that cup of pee was submitted I’d be firing up on my way back home. It was manageable because I was working out (trying to clear my system) and I knew I was gonna go back smoking as soon as the test was done.

Never in my life would I have thought quitting weed altogether would be the toughest obstacle to overcome.

Why I Stopped Smoking Weed

So with the back story taken care of I’m going on 4 weeks sober. I’ve decided to quit because I want to start fresh. Have a new beginning at life. This past year I’ve gotten engaged to the most wonderful woman I could ask for. We have been together for 7 years. She has put up with my pot smoking since day one.

Not once has she criticized me for smoking all the time, she even laughs at my forgetfulness and dorkyness when I was high. One day I sitting think about my future, our future and decided enough is enough. Not only does she deserve my sobriety but so do I. I was tired of being lazy and just plain boring. Weed crippled my desire to go out and do things. At the time I was completely okay with that. Weed helped me disappear from all the stress that the world brought on. It even made my aches and pains go away.

Somewhere in my ten years of smoking it turned from a social activity to a dependence. My body and mind needed the drug. Up until the final few days I was oblivious to my addiction. I was a full blown addict. I saw this a decided to end it. With a bright future in head of me (wedding, her finishing school, and plans to move out of state) essentially start a new life I knew I needed to drop my addiction. Commence absolute hell.

I’m four weeks sober.

Like I said before I have quit multiple times for drug tests so the first couple weeks were not so bad. Just the usual irritable mindset, occasional headaches and the relentless desire to get high. Week three I started to get concerned. Now mind you this entire time I had no idea that marijuana withdrawals was a real thing.

The third week in I started having minor chest pains. Right around my heart area. During this same time I stared running again after a 5 year break. I pushed myself too hard and thought that these chest pains were caused from that. So I wrote it off being just a workout injury. My chest pains weren’t constant at first. It usually hurt with deep breaths only. By the end of week three I started to develops more symptoms. Twice my left arm went cold and tingly. And I was staring to feel anxious. Like mini panic attacks.
Mini Panic Attacks from Withdrawal

Both times my arm went numb I got scared and couldn’t stop thinking that maybe I’m having signs of a pre-heart attack. What made matters worse is there is heart disease in my family. But being the stubborn sob I am I wrote if off as being a one time thing. I’m 26 I can’t be having a heart attack that’s too young. So with a few more chest pains and small anxiety attacks I roll into week four.I start the week off like normal. Monday I have a pretty average day at work. When I’m working I have my mind off of my body so I don’t really feel my chest tightness or the anxious feelings that come with it. But the job ends and I load the tools in the truck. I have an hour and half drive I head of me (my partner is driving) and as we get underway I start to feel my chest pains.

But something is different this time. Now my heart is starting to race, the same way when you have a bad high. With that comes the shortness of breath and thoughts of impending doom. Before I know it I’m in a full blown panic attack. Feeling like a bad high but I haven’t smoked in 3 weeks. My neck gets tight and I get the cold sweats. Here I am stuck in a van for an hour and I’m having the worst panic attack in my life. I thought I was having a heart attack. Going back to my stubbornness I didn’t want to cause a scene so I just rode it out. Taking a couple sips of water here and there and thinking about the happy things in life. I made it back to the shop. I got in my truck and headed home. At this point my anxiousness has dropped quite a bit. I get home and try to relax. Now it’s about 4pm and I’m not expecting my fiancé home until about 10pm. I didn’t want to worry her about what had happened so I decided to wait to tell her. From 4pm to 10pm was rough. My chest pains were constant and so was my anxiousness.

I tried pacing around and doing small chores to get my mind off of it but had no success. So convinced I’m having heart problems I begin reading symptoms of a heart attack online. Wouldn’t you know it the symptoms I’m experiencing fit it perfectly. Now I’m really concerned. She can’t get home soon enough. When she does I tell her everything even the things over the past few weeks. She convinces me that we should go to the ER. I get checked in and put in the waiting room because it happened to be a busy night. Just being in the hospital made a sense of calmness come over me. I guess I knew that I would be okay. They finally get to me and take my vitals and draw some blood. My vitals come back good. Nothing out of the ordinary. I even tell the nurse about the history of use of marijuana. I wanted to be honest because I was so nervous.

During the whole checking in process the nurse had asked me a couple times if I had any history of anxiety problems. I said no because I really never have. They get me to a back room where I wait for the blood work test to come back and take some chest X-rays. I take my X-rays and wait for the doctor to come in and give me the news. When the doctor finally got to me and overlook all my tests he gave me a clear bill of health. I was amazed and worried all at the same time. I thought to myself that I’m glad my heart and lungs are normal but I know there is something wrong with me. I’m not crazy there is something internally wrong. The doctor diagnosed me with chest wall pain (costochondritis). Usually brought on by emotion stress.

I get a script of some muscle relaxers and sent on my way. The next day I finally get some sleep with the help of one of these muscle relaxers. I wake up around noon and feel better. Almost back to normal. Fast forward a few hours and I’m back in a full blown panic attack again. This time I’m confused and scared. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. Even tho I have my loved ones around I feel helpless and the suicidal thoughts set in. I try taking some deep breaths and go for a small walk around the backyard. It helps. I calm myself enough to clear my head and gain my composure.

I still have no real appetite going on two days now. After I calmed down asked my fiancé if she could give me a message. I threw on some tunes lit some candles and let her get to work. Almost immediately I felt calm and back to normal. During this time I talked about what I’m nervous about or what may be stressing me (wedding, work, moving,etc.) I found this to help a lot also. I’ve always been an independent person and tend to keep things bottled up and deal with it myself. Talking about some of these things that were on my mind helped clear my head. So that night I started looking into what could be causing all this.

It dawned on me that maybe it’s possible I’m going thru withdrawals. That’s when I found this website. Reading all your posts about the troubles of quitting solidified my issues. I’m going thru withdrawals. It has brought great comfort to me knowing that I’m not alone in this and I thank you all for sharing your stories. My emotions have been all over the place. I guess what’s happening is my brain is trying to come back to reality.

Finding the normal ways of dealing with stress and emotions. I know that this depression or altered state of mind will pass. It’s all been caused by that herb. I can beat it and so can you. We are in this together. I’m seeking help from my loved ones. I’ve found that talking with people about anything or reading a book helps a lot. Just trying to keep your mind busy is the trick. Just these past few days has been the toughest thing I’ve had to go through. And I know it’s far from over. Never in my life would I have thought marijuana would have such a solid grip on my emotional well being. I will be sure to keep up on this feed and anybody that needs help overcoming their addiction because I know I need help.

With love — Jake

10 Comments

  • Ron Patterson

    Reply Reply October 28, 2016

    are you still having the withdrawals? mine are really bad and I just wanted to know what other symptoms you have

    • Morgan

      Reply Reply November 8, 2016

      Hey I’ve never written to anyone or blogged online before but i thought maybe someone else could understand. I’ve been smoking at least a half quarter to a quarter a day for ten years now and last summer was diagnosed with CHS. Doctors and specialists laughed at me and said i was being a hypochondriac. Constantly going to the doctors suffering from never ending nausea, cycles of vomiting (every morning at around 5am for a good year) cold sweats to the point of my skin stinging when its touched, vertigo that makes me feel very similar to drunk spins,and unbelievable chest and abdominal pain which was so bad i would randomly drop to the ground unable to breathe the pain was so bad and then a few mins later it would stop (or hrs if the episode was a bad one). I also thought i was having some kind of internal malfunction and ended up on the side of the road having an ambulance come. The paramedics treated me like a child and made fun of me saying it was just a panic attack and to calm down. Eventually after a stomach scope the surgeon asked me if i smoked pot and after explaining my symptoms which had been occurring for three years being misdiagnosed.. he explained about and diagnosed me with CHS. I know it sounds stupid but i get really mean and frantic when i don’t smoke and i know i use it as a crutch to deal with whats happened to me in my life. For this reason i couldn’t stop smoking even if the symptoms got bad. Guess my body had other ways to get me to listen because then came the cystic acne and small sebaceous cysts. The body has ways of making you listen if you don’t hear it the first couple of times lol.
      I also just got engaged and my life is about to change for the better. So i quit two days ago and i feel stupid saying this but the withdrawal has been unreal. I am soaked in sweat and freezing cold even after several hot showers, my skin stings, and i feel so dizzy i feel like being sick. Im losing my temper on everyone and everything in my path and im coughing up the resin that has been weighing on my lungs for ten yrs. I know im making a good choice and im not having too much trouble with cravings (a bit) but the withdrawal makes me feel like a crack head (pardon my language) but its embarrassing and i feel very alone. Anyways.. thanks for listening to whoever reads this and i hope my story helps clarify symptoms for others unsure of whats happening to them.

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply November 21, 2016

    I’d very much appreciate a small update entry by the author (‘Jake’). Please, be the hero… Our hero!

    PS: The poll lacks the actual answer: The hardest part about quitting THC is neither going through WD nor being around friends who smoke. Not even combined.

    It’s the realisation of being sober and NEVER EVER getting high again!

    • John Mckee

      Reply Reply December 2, 2016

      THEY SHOULD! I will look into this and fix it.

  • MIchele

    Reply Reply November 28, 2016

    Thank you sharing your story. I am in beginning stages and the cravings are so powerful. I am going to buy a book and try to keep my mind busy.

  • Miss A

    Reply Reply December 7, 2016

    I too have smoked weed since I was about 16, the everyday since 17 and I’m now 26. I’ve only quit pot a couple of times, but when I did cut down it was the wrong timing as I’d have extra stress from work etc. I’ve slowly cut down the last 3 years, I used to smoke all day, before work & as soon as I got home. My social circle was full of people who smoked. But now, I’ve done it alone more then anything and my boyfriend smokes all day, and his friends etc. seeing all of them and how their life circles around it so much, has turned me away. I don’t enjoy being high, as I have also suffered extreme panic attacks having to leave work etc if I’m already stressed weed would just bring on a panic attack. I never had anxiety before but no doubt long term use has had its affects. I don’t want to suck out of a bong everyday, so I cut down to about 2 cones a night for the last couple of years. I am now on my 6th day smoke free, only symptoms are lack of appetite but still eating healthy. Some anxious feelings at work under pressure due to Christmas but no sweating. I have been dreaming a lot tho, and they haven’t all been bad. I just know, it’s gonna get better. It has too! Dealing with reality, putting your health first & being able to sleep without it is a positive. It’ll take time, I’m sure symptoms will get worse but I’m willing to fight it. My uncle has had half of his lung removed and he has smoked weed for so many years, basically lung cancer and he has to eat weed now because he’s so adjusted to having it. Everyone’s allowed to enjoy it, but it’s so easy to abuse without recognising it. I wish you all good luck on your journey of being weed free.

  • mikib

    Reply Reply March 1, 2017

    So good to hear off these comments when going through your own withdrawals,having smoked for 37yr,im now 53 i believe its now time once and for all for this to come to an end,i have been fortunate early in life to start and run a successful business,high and lows ,children,marriage,great social life,money etc,although im told i did have a bit of an ego!,well i did not know it,then things came to a crash!,divorce,bankruptcy,incarceration,i put this down to excess drink and herb,which i actually stopped for 5 years,going through AA and counselling etc.,unfortunately went back on it gradually as i believed i could now control my habits?,what a joke im an ADDICT,been diagoinsed bi-polar and suffered depression hit an all time low, realising if i could control my vices i would have been able to by now!.
    So im taking what jake said earlier,I WANT A NEW BEGINNING IN LIFE,even at my age lol,i will be amazing to be clear headed going into my next birthday and staying clean.
    I feel so much better writing this,im 2wks into stopping,symptoms vicious cold sweats,no energy, low mood,no appetite,guilt,getting it from the wife saying i told you so!,but she is so supportive at this time and time and strength by the grace of god will get me through this i do not want to smoke again ever!,and i have said this 100s of times,everyday over the 4wks being stopping!
    I know its not going to be easy but at least i know clearly realise
    Good luck everybody on their journey to quit

  • Tyler

    Reply Reply October 20, 2017

    Jake I just wanna day that your story is just like mine. I have been smoking marijuana every single day since I was 17. I’m 25 now. This past year I been smoking really potent weed along with drinking a lot as well and over eating. I had no problems until one night out the blue as I was almost done smoking a fat j, I had bad sharpe pains in my chest. And then I panic and my hearts starts beating out of my chest. I have been to the hospital more than 3 times from this because it literally feels like something is wrong with me internally. Like I have a blockage in my heart or something. I quit smoking and smoking cigs and drinking on October 4, 2017. I have been having “withdrawals” like panic attacks. Over thinking. Anxiety. Etc. my brain even hurts some. I even went to a mental health place to get out on anxiety and panic attack medicine just so u won’t have any more attacks cuz I can’t pay doctor bills. After taking the medications for a few days it wouldn’t let me sleep. So I quit taking them. Then a couple days later I have another bad panic attack that feels like a heart attack. So I start taking them again. It’s been 16 days that I have had no cigs, weed, or alcohol. And I feel like these “withdrawals” will never end. Can you give me any advice? How long could these withdrawals really last??

  • P. J.

    Reply Reply November 17, 2017

    Hey guys,
    My english is quite bad, but i want to tell you my story.
    I started smoking when i was 18.
    After a half year of smoking i began smoking weed every day, like 1-3 joints.
    I always practice sports in this time (Gym/Football).
    After 2 years of strict smoking, i telled my self that i was addicted.
    So i decided to stop smoking for 1 to 2 month.
    The first 2-3 weeks all went nice, just confusing dreams/ problems to fall asleep.
    But after 3 weeks, one evening i lay in my bed and thought about that i could have a heartproblem. (Palpitations like that).
    So i started to get cold sweat and adrenaline kicks combined with heartrace (like in panic attacks)

    Before that point i dont have this type of problems.

    After this expierence i decided to use my last 3 or 4 g of weed with my friends, so i wouldnt smoke for a longer therm of time.

    It went bad, realy bad i thought i would die, cause od my heart beat.
    I couldt even walk to the next hospital.

    The next weeks i stopped smoking.
    I went to the doc and ask what it could be.
    I left some blood and got an EKG for short and longtime.

    They said that my body is healthy af but i couldnt belive it cause the the pain next to my heart.

    Now im 1 1/2 month out and it wont get better.
    I dont have panic attacks any more but im anxious cause i feel my heart beating the whole time and must think about this…
    So i try to keep my sports up, cause im addicted to it.
    Since the panic attacks i also stopped my sports cause i dont know at this time that i was “just” addicted in a psycholigic way.
    Even if its just my psyche i feeling physical pain

    I hope that could help someone
    Im just make the process

  • tony

    Reply Reply November 17, 2017

    +1 . . .

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