How2Quit : Cannabis
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Use the following guidelines alongside our How to Quit Action Plan in Part 4 of the How To Quit book.
Please note all page and chapter references in this article are from How to Quit.
- One week before you quit, start taking the Basic Supplements.
- Don’t quit cannabis and cigarettes at the same time. Quit one and then quit the other. See Chapter 21 for how to quit cigarettes.
- Take the Mood Prescription (see pg 416). Amongst other things this contains essential fats (especially omega-3), essential for normal mood, motivation and memory (see Chapter 29).
- Most of the withdrawal symptoms have to do with neurotransmitter depletion and imbalance. Since acetylcholine is affected you need more phospholipids, especially phosphatidylcholine. As well as taking the Basic Supplements, which provides some phospholipids, we recommend adding either 2 teaspoonfuls of lecithin or a 1,200mg capsule of lecithin each day for a month and include an egg yolk in your daily diet.
- If you do feel dopey, tired and unmotivated after quitting, we recommend the Stimulant Prescription (see pg 403) . Among other key nutrients, this contains tyrosine (the amino acid precursor of dopamine and noradrenalin). You’ll need 1,000mg twice a day, taken on waking and either mid-morning or mid-afternoon without food.
- If your main symptoms after quitting are anxiety or irritability and an inability to sleep you may benefit from more 5-HTP or tryptophan, which is in the Sleep Prescription (see pg 397). If you suffer from overactivity, restlessness, poor concentration and impulsivity, take 10mg NADH, 1g of fish oil twice a day, eat unfried oily fish three times a week, and consider hidden (IgG) food allergy testing (see Chapter 14).
- Cannabis affects your blood sugar balance – hence feeling hungry (‘the munchies’). Therefore, it is vital for you to become a master of keeping your blood sugar level even by following our low-GL How to Quit Diet.
- As you are smoking less, it’s important to stimulate your lungs with some clean air, as well as getting some endorphin-boosting, cortisol-reducing exercise. So, go for walks or jogs outside, gradually building up your endurance.
The most important keys for you to follow are:
- Rebalance Your Brain with Amino Acids (Chapter 7) – here you will find out how your symptoms are all to do with dopamine and opioid shut down and which specific amino acids will get your brain back on track.
- Rebuild Your Brain with Essential Fats (Chapter 10) – by optimising your intake of the brain’s essential fats you can help to undo the damage and get your memory and concentration back.
- Balance Your Blood Sugar to Gain Energy and Reduce Cravings (Chapter 11) – by learning how to eat to keep your blood sugar, and your energy level even, you’ll have less cravings for cannabis.
What to expect 30 days later
It takes, on average, about 30 days to recover and normalise your brain’s chemistry and blood sugar balance. If you’ve been using a variety of addictive substances for years, our advice would be to stick to this kind of recovery programme for at least 90 days.
Otherwise, provided your Scale of Abstinence Symptoms Severity score has dropped by two-thirds (see Chart Your Progress on page 26), stop the Stimulant Prescription (see pg 403) and the Sleep Prescription (see pg 397), but keep taking the Basic Supplements. By now you’ll know the effects of the other temporary supplements such as tyrosine and 5-HTP. Reduce or stop these according to your need.
For more information read my book How to Quit Without Feeling S**t.
The advice given here is not a substitute for the advice of your doctor or other suitably qualified person. For any serious addiction it is vital that you do have professional support. The recommendations given here help to ensure you are optimally nourished after stopping an addictive substance which may have had a negative influence on your nutritional status.
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Cannabis And Serotonin: Can This Relationship Treat Anxiety?
As cannabis consumers, we’ve all experienced how it can improve our mood and help us relax. But nowadays, we’re starting to see how these qualities may truly help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety – and it seems serotonin plays a major role.
WHAT IS SEROTONIN?
The human body uses neurotransmitters to perform various functions. These “chemical messengers” communicate throughout the central nervous system. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter made in the brain and intestines. It works to regulate mood, nausea, appetite, bone health, sleep, emotions, and even sexual function. The vast majority can be found in the gastrointestinal tract.
Serotonin is produced through a conversion process from essential amino acid tryptophan and tryptophan hydroxylase. Tryptophan can be found in common foodstuffs like cheese, red meat, and nuts. A lack of this amino acid in our diet will result in a serotonin level reduction. This, in turn, is linked to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. It’s because of factors like this that our diet is so closely linked to our mood and emotions.
HOW DOES CANNABIS INTERACT WITH SEROTONIN?
The relationship between cannabis and serotonin is very interesting. Not only are cannabinoid receptors found  on serotonin neurons, they’re also apparent in the corresponding inhibitory receptors.
This leads to the conclusion that cannabinoids may increase serotonin levels in certain conditions, and reduce them in others. A migraine, for example, is a condition that correlates with increased serotonin levels in the brain. In this situation, the activation of inhibitory receptors would be the best solution to the problem. When one consumes THC in high doses, it triggers the inhibition of serotonin receptors. Just a few puffs of a jay will actually worsen your migraine. Once one recognises the importance of serotonin in mood disorders and the impact of cannabis on serotonin production, it’s easy to see how cannabis can really help patients suffering from certain mental illnesses.
HOW CANNABIS CAN HELP
In 2016, a study  was performed where mice were administered a chemical that mimics CBD. This led to the antidepressant effects one might expect from this calming cannabinoid. The interesting part was that when the researchers blocked the serotonin receptors, the effects were no longer noticeable. This further suggests that cannabinoids and the serotonergic system are in fact linked.
5 years before this, a paper  was published that showed how increasing endocannabinoid levels in the body made antidepressants more effective. The study also found that blocking CB1 receptors would completely stop the antidepressants from working.
This demonstrates how the endocannabinoid and the serotonergic systems work together in helping us achieve homeostasis. It also shows that if there is going to be a medicine developed, these two systems will have to be stimulated in a way that is balanced and supportive to the other. So is cannabis the future of antidepressants?
MARIJUANA FOR ANXIETY
When comparing anxiety levels of 50 individuals who smoked cannabis regularly and 50 who didn’t smoke at all, a study  showed some interesting results. The patients who smoked marijuana experienced much lower levels of anxiety than those who didn’t. A 2012 paper  sought to assess multiple studies that looked into CBD as an anti-anxiety medication. Even though dosage and consumption mechanism are still factors that require more research, they concluded that CBD is an effective treatment for this psychological condition.
Before you embark on a healing journey with cannabis, it’s important you know what you’re doing. Not every strain will have the same effect on different people. It’s essential to keep track of how you feel in a “weed journal” of sorts. This will help you know which are your favourite strains as well as your ideal dosage and intake frequency. Another factor you need to pay attention to is THC. It isn’t always the best medicine to combat anxiety; CBD is what you really want. Look for strains that have a balanced THC:CBD profile or are CBD-dominant. Euphoria, Painkiller XL, and Stress Killer are three fantastic CBD strains from RQS to consider trying. The first two mentioned only have 9% THC, and Stress Killer has a manageable content of 11% THC.
As long as you stay informed and keep track of how you feel, you may very well feel a reduction in anxiety over time. Like many other scientific queries related to cannabis, so much more research is needed to confidently provide advice on the exact way to use cannabis as a treatment for various psychological disorders. What is encouraging, however, is that cannabis is a non-toxic substance that also seems to clearly interact with serotonin. In the future, we’re bound to see this relationship fleshed out further.
Find out how the relationship between cannabis and serotonin may help fight various psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.