Monthly Archives April 2013

The Psychology of Quitting Marijuana

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 22, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News

The thought of quitting weed forever can feel terrifying, impossible, and overwhelming. In most cases, previous failed attempts at quitting weed add to the lack of confidence that this attempt will be any different. Having been there myself, I can say with confidence that these thoughts are counterproductive, but more importantly, unnecessary. Free yourself from these suffocating thoughts right now.

First of all, banish the idea that you must quit forever. Framing it this way adds far too much pressure to the situation. Secondly, you must believe that this attempt to quit is different and you will be successful.

The Experiment

I like to look at these types of life decisions as experiments. Within the context of an experiment, you can do just about anything, including abstaining from your marijuana habit for a period… even just a day if that what feels right to you. AA and MA will tell you “one day at a time” and that’s fine. However, I like to chunk things. So, I prefer to commit to a week or two weeks or even a month. When it comes to breaking your marijuana habit, or rather “taking a break” from your marijuana habit, a week is a good chunk of time to mentally prepare for.

All of our lives are in a constant state of flux and change. If you can go a day or a week, you’ve proven that you can go a year. Concentrate on today. Plan for tomorrow. Leave the contemplation of future events to Nostradamus and the like.

Participating in your own experiment gets more exciting and the longer you go, the more resolve you will have, and the more ownership you will take over your mounting triumphs. Before long, the positive results of your experiment will become apparent to yourself and those around you. Eventually, your quit weed experiment will become the new normal and you can begin to experiment with improving some other aspect of your life.

Ready, Mindset, Go!

There is simply no good reason you should fail at quitting again. Accept your pot habit for what it is – something that has become a destructive force in your life. There is no room for denial on this. Overcome all objections. Now is the time to abandon all of the reasons you might harbor as rationale for continuing to smoke weed. All that matters is that your inner voice has spoken loudly, pleading for an end to your current lifestyle, and you’re ready to begin the experiment.

This is not the death of a dear friend or a secret lover, this is you gaining your freedom. If you’re reading this, then your habit has become a python, squeezing tight around your chest, restricting your breathing and your movement. Your decision to quit is not about losing something, it is about gaining control, self-confidence, and the ability to live your life untethered. This is perhaps the most important adjustment to your thought process you’ll need to make over the coming days and weeks. Wave two fingers in front of your face and Jedi mind trick yourself into believing it if you have to… either way, it’s the truth.

Fear Not Withdrawal

Educating yourself about potential marijuana withdrawal symptoms is one of the most important aspects of preparing yourself mentally. Understand that marijuana withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to moderate. I hesitate to say severe, because marijuana withdrawal cannot be compared to withdrawal from heroin, cocaine, or meth. While the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can be uncomfortable, they are not life threatening. If you rolled joints with tobacco, your nicotine withdrawal symptoms will likely overshadow your marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Once you understand the possible range of withdrawal symptoms, you can mentally prepare yourself and take steps to mitigate any discomfort you might have. After the first 2-3 weeks, you should be in the clear.

Persistent anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are more complex issues associated with ending marijuana dependency. Consult your physician if you’re struggling and need help.

Your First Chunk of Sobriety

Could you go 24 hours without food? Of course you could. In fact, you could survive weeks with no food and only water. So, you can go 24 hours without getting high. Lucky for you, a day without marijuana is going to be far less unpleasant than a day without food. In fact, you can do it easily. A week is also easy. The reason I like a week rather than a day to begin the experiment is because at the end of the week you have traveled a significant distance. You’ve begun to notice some change in yourself and can begin to fine tune your approach. A week is enough time that you won’t want to just throw it away during a weak moment. A week is also easy. Believe it.

Into the Unknown

Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can go one day, one week, you’ll be leaving the comfort of your sheltered cove for open ocean. Now that your sails are up and you’re trimming nicely, point your boat on the course that seems most interesting and challenging to you. Embrace the small hardships you’ll face as the wind and waves batter your little boat. Take time to reflect on the journey you have undertaken and how far you’ve come. The pride you’ll feel in your accomplishments as you bite off bigger chunks of sobriety will begin to redefine and invigorate you.

Believe that this time is different. Expect but do not fear withdrawal symptoms. Manage your commitment to quit by completing small, successive chunks of sobriety. Say goodbye to chest crushing pythons. Regain your self control, your confidence, and self worth. You are a brilliant scientist living in your own experiment and you cannot fail.

Blink 182 Drummer Travis Barker Quits Marijuana After Health Scare

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 16, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News

By: Dyllan

I remember when Blink 182 first came out… They kind of took that SoCal punk rock sound and made it sweet, with singable choruses worthy of the radio. Driving riffs, bratty voices, and of course Travis Barker driving the pace with speed fills and fast trotting rhythms on the kick executed with robotic precision. Somehow, Blink 182 hit the mainstream in a way that bands like NOFX and the Descendents never did. I grew up playing in bands, and I remember thinking “these guys are doing what we’re doing, only way better.” I am sure there were plenty of other kids out there who thought the same.

The early Nineties were the heydays of Blink 182. Concurrently, I was starting to smoke weed regularly and loving it. I’m sure I can remember being stoned with Blink 182 in my headphones. If I do some quick math, my run as a chronic had to be at least 10 years shorter than Travis, and it looks like that extra 10 caught up with him. Doctors found six ulcers in his throat and diagnosed Barker with Barrett’s Esophagus, caused by heavy smoking and severe acid reflux from poor diet.

By: Dyllan

After receiving the diagnosis, Travis said that he loved smoking pot, but when it comes to health, “you don’t mess around”. Now, he’s on a health kick and preparing to overcome his fear of flying so he can tour Australia.

I remember when I quit smoking pot, one of my greatest fears had to do with my relationship with music. As a musician, I smoked weed to get the inspiration and focus to write music, play live, and record. Listening to my own recordings was also done best high. I was terrified what it would be like to do all these things sober. The truth is, it was a bizarre and uncomfortable transition. I almost stopped playing for months after quitting. It actually took me a really long time to find my groove again. When I did, I must admit that my relationship with my own musicality had changed. I could not deny missing that heightened sensory perception that makes music palpable, transforming tones and textures into a warm fuzzy blanket of sounds that massage your brain. That part was gone, but I still had plenty of songs to write and I still loved playing.

I’m sure Travis is facing some of the same feelings. I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope he continues to enjoy playing just the same without weed. And here’s a little ego boost for you Travis, Check out what kind of sticks I still use… look familiar?

travis barker sticks

The Cannitrol Guinea Pig

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 15, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News

Yesterday a package came in the mail from Amazon. Not remembering that I had ordered anything, I gave it a couple shakes. Like a lot of the stuff they ship, the box was too big for its contents and the item inside jostled for position against inflatable plastic packing. I shook the package again, this time a little harder and in varying directions to get a better fix on the muffled audio emanating from the passenger inside. Beneath the easily audible and obvious dull knocking came the unmistakeable rattle of hundreds of capsules. A tiny spark of excitement ignited inside me as my memory jogged. Cannitrol. At last, I was to to become the Cannitrol Guinea Pig.

I like using keys to open Amazon boxes, and packaging in general. The teeth bite into the packing tape easily and then it just takes a swift motion to rip and claw a line running the full length of the box. It’s the sort of technique that would make my mom cringe, causing her deep emotional and physical discomfort, inciting protests and pleas for me to wait while she fetched a pair of scissors; the right tool for the job. But today is my day, and unlike my mom, I won’t be saving the box to add to an already absurdly large and unnecessary collection of boxes and packing material.

So basically, the story starts like this:

I have met hundreds of people since starting QWAS, and thousands more visit my site every year for help with quitting weed. Fear of withdrawal is almost always a concern for people, and I get asked regularly about sleep aids, anti-anxiety meds, and something to help improve moodiness after quitting. A product named Cannitrol is one of the products I have suggested that people try. I don’t endorse Cannitrol, just point people in the right direction and have them do the research. Well, today, that’s changing. I’m officially on Day 1 of my 90 day Cannitrol experiment.

Why Am I doing this?

After smoking weed almost every day for more than 15 years before quitting, I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to just slip quietly out the side door and resume normal life without some sort of lingering prolonged consequences. In my case, anxiety and depression have been long time companions since quitting more than 10 years ago. I manage well in my professional life for the most part, but at home I can be moody bitch, or just a plain downer. At times anxiety has been literally paralyzing for me. As the years have progressed, overall I would say that I’m great. Weed isn’t even on my radar, but depression and anxiety are two blips that maintain an erratic flight path; popping up, disappearing, and then popping up again.

I’ve yearned for something to “smooth me out” but have never taken any affirmative action until today. I’m long overdue to at least try something, and the combination of ingredients in Cannitrol makes sense to me. I believe it will be mild enough that I will still feel like “me”, but effective enough to keep depression and anxiety at manageable levels. While I am not going through marijuana withdrawal, I will be cutting way back on drinking (I typically have 1-2 glasses of wine in the evenings). So, at least until I’m able to measure a response, I’ll leave the grapes alone. Here is a closer look at my new stimulant of choice:

cannitrolSt. John’s Wort (150mg) is widely used to treat minor depression in children. A dosage of 300mg 1-3 time daily would be common for major depression.

5-HTP (5mg) is an amino acid which helps in the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. It is available over the counter in the US, Canada and the UK as an appetite suppressant, sleep aid, and antidepressant.

Eleutherocus Senticosus PE (15mg) or Ciwujia Extract is gaining popularity as a treatment for stress.

Passion Flower (2.5mg) is an herbal treatment for anxiety and insomnia.

L-Tyrosine (1mg) helps improve alertness and mental arousal.

Valerian Root (6mg) purportedly helps with sleep disorders and increases the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.

Rather than go into more detail about how I choose to open packages, or provide more in depth descriptions of the ingredients listed above, I am just going to tell you how I am feeling. Each week, I will add to this blog post with my report.

Week 0

Depression: Present on and off this past week. Mostly lamenting the amount of responsibility I find myself buried under. Tax time doesn’t help. Being a new father requires a lot of time and patience. Have gone to bed without brushing a couple times. Slept in my clothes one night.

Anxiety: Not much of this. I’m able to identify the source of any mild anxieties… nothing too unreasonable.

Irritability: I am generally irritable if I get interrupted during work, and especially if I can’t do what I want, when I want. It’s possibly only child syndrome gone horribly wrong. I’m hoping that this experiment will help me mellow a little in this respect.

Withdrawal: To soon to report.

Mental State: I can’t say I really feel positive or overly optimistic about anything. I know that by all measures I live a very rich life with a beautiful wife and child, the people I love are in good health, but my outlook is sort of unenthusiastic nonetheless. I would describe my emotional state as “flat” with a few manic peaks and valleys. I hope this will change.

Week 1

Depression: So far I haven’t really had any spells of depressions which is what I am used to. Usually at least once or twice per month i find myself feeling melancholy for days at a time. Male period? Maybe. So far no spelss of depression.

Anxiety: No anxiety to speak of.

Irritability: I think I feel positive in general about this experiment, so to soon to tell. I haven’t been too much of an asshole this week.

Withdrawal: None whatsoever. Granted I am abstaining from alcohol since I have been MJ free for almost 15 years.

Mental State: I’m so conscious of my experiment, and I feel uplifted by the possibility that maybe my overall mental state will improve. Early results are that I think I feel better. I’ve had a cold this last week, and also put my back out, so that has definitely affected my ability to even feel normal. We’ll see next week.

Week 2

Depression: None. Which is a unusual for me. I usually am prone to spells as I mentioned earlier. It’s a pattern with me.

Anxiety: No anxiety to speak of.

Irritability: I must say – I feel much less irritable. This is a big improvement. I am not snapping at people, and I have been fixating less on the things that bother me. Tonight I did snap at my wife when she reminded me that I hadn’t done something she had asked for. But that was really the only incident like that this week.

Withdrawal: No withdrawal symptoms. However, I had three glasses of wine at a friends birthday party, so my abstinence wasn’t perfect this week.

Mental State: Definitely there is an improvement with my outlook on life. I am still overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility in my life, but it isn’t penetrating that way it used to. I feel somewhat more hopeful about some of the things I am working on.

Week 3

Depression:

Anxiety:

Irritability:

Withdrawal:

Mental State:

Week 4

Depression:

Anxiety:

Irritability:

Withdrawal:

Mental State:

[Guinea pig photo by: José Carlos Cortizo Pérez]

Marijuana Subculture Sucks

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 08, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News

marijuana leaf tattoo

I used to love getting high. But, I always hated the subculture of weed. The t-shirts, the magazines, the terminology, the 50 year old women wearing circle rimmed holographic pot leaf sunglasses, all of it. These things felt exclusive, not inclusive to me, and never represented my own personal relationship with the plant. Mostly though, it all just felt tacky. I could never relate to the culture of hippies, gangstas, frat boys, surfer types (even though I ‘m a surfer of 25 years), or the “legalize it” crowd.

Identity is incredibly important for just about everyone as you go through high school and college, and throughout life. I’m not special, I have an identity – a way I perceive myself to be – and it’s by no means squeeky clean. So the fact that pot is illegal never had anything to do with why I could never identify with it. Partly, I think I watched too many of my friends and acquaintances latch onto the culture of pot as a way of belonging, and more importantly, defining themselves. Getting high alone is not an achievement, but rather an escape of sorts, and often a shared bonding experience. For me personally, that was not enough. If I was going to get high, I needed to be writing songs in my studio, or practicing a surfing move, or drawing, or working on a new skateboard trick. Weed on its own was never satisfying to me. I hated sitting on a sofa with a bunch of paralyzed dudes watching a movie with belly full of pizza and carbonated sugar.

Red hairs and resin and stinky smells were never a topic that could hold my attention for more than 30 seconds. The individual characteristics and potency of any given marijuana varietal were never more interesting to me than that of my mother’s tomato plants, or my dad’s rhododendrons. And yet, I listened to my friends hold hour long conversations about a particular color of green or a crystal covered bud they once smoked back in ’89. I just never envisioned myself as a guy that talked a lot of bullshit about a stinky green plant that gives you a headache and makes you pass out every night. It all seemed so esoteric, so microscopic, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I’m not saying that hobbies and interests aren’t a good thing, or even that there’s something wrong with reminiscing, there isn’t. I’m just saying that as a topic, weed is pretty fucking boring. Too often, it’s just all you really have in common.

Let’s face it, the subculture of weed sucks. The clothing and accessories are tacky and hideous. The magazines are repetitive and boring – I could never jerk off to the “Bud of the Month”. Pot inspired tattoos are even lamer than the dolphin on the ankle or barbed wire biceps. The beards, pony tails, , and dreds scream “I don’t wanna work!”… and the hemp tunic wearing hippie chick with unshaven armpits scares me. Weed inspired art? 99% Garbage. And where does all this subculture find a home? Twitter. Twitter at the best of times is painfully mundane, but search “weed” and you’ll be amazed at the amount of nonsensical “smoke weed” twattering that goes on. I under 5 minutes counted like 50 personal twitter profile backgrounds depicting scenes with “buds”, or “buds on a girls ass”, or “buds next to a bunch of blunts”, etc… as if to say “Hey everyone, I love weed!” and “I’m also really smart and good at smoking weed!” And finally, it’s those damn armchair philosophers – they’re are everywhere, waiting to kill your natural buzz with 20 minute long gibberish rants. Uh-oh – here they come to leave some nasty comments!

PS – You’ll notice I mentioned nothing about weed + music. There is far too much incredible music created by alcoholics, potheads, heroin junkies, opium addicts, etc. I Love OZZY, Snoop, Bad Brains, Steel Pulse and all that (too many to list). And, some of the paraphernalia is beautifully designed and inventive, leaps and bounds better than meth and heroin gear.

Can Weed Cure the Crazies?

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 07, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News

It is well know that THC can produce negative effects and worsening symptoms in people that suffer from schizophrenia. However, another substance found in marijuana, Cannabidiol (CBD), is proving to have positive effects.

A study led by Markus Leweke of Germany’s University of Cologne tested 39 people with schizophrenia. 19 patients were treated with amisulpride, an antipsychotic medication. The rest were treated with CDB, which is known to have anti-anxiety properties. The study found that CBD was equally as effective but without any adverse side effects.

Don’t expect to see CDB available anytime soon though. There are three big problems standing in the way of developing CBD as a treatment. First, we’re talking about an illegal drug – so expect push back. Two, the extraction process is costly. And three, pharmaceutical companies can’t patent a natural compound like they do with new drugs.

Read the full article here: http://thecyn.com/blog/marijuana-as-treatment-for-schizophrenia/

Does Your Addiction Have an On/Off Switch?

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 06, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News

Scientists participating in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have found that stimulating a key part of the brain can reduce cocaine seeking behavior in rats. Based on defecits in the prefrontal cortex found in brain imaging studies in humans who suffer from addiction, the scientists surmised that stimulating this part of the brain could produce an effect.

“This is the first study to show a cause-and-effect relationship between cocaine-induced brain deficits in the prefrontal cortex and compulsive cocaine-seeking,” said NIDA’s Dr. Billy Chen, first author of the study. “These results provide evidence for a cocaine-induced deficit within a brain region that is involved in disorders characterized by poor impulse control, including addiction.”

While the study is focused on cocaine addiction, the implications for all types of addiction, including marijuana addiction, are obvious.

Read the full article: http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2013/04/nih-study-sheds-light-how-to-reset-addicted-brain

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