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Crisis of Opiates: Fighting Withdrawal


Very few people understand what it is to be dope sick, even fewer people care to understand what it means to be an addict, and what exactly is out in the world right now. Fake pills, synthetic drugs, and analogues of popular drugs that can result in overdose, all brought to you by people who don’t really care if you live or die. It is a product and you a potential consumer, so have some empathy if living in, or with somebody who has an opiate issue. To give years of your life and everything you have, possibly even a few times, that is the fear of anyone taking any drug, be it prescribed, street, or natural. Our generation knows a sickness as the rise of fentanyl in the form of fake Percocet pills being smoked on aluminum foil; resulting in overdose and death. Over fifty thousand were busted at Arizona Mills Mall just recently making news headlines. I cannot offer solace to those locked into a habit or fighting it, but to those willing to take that step, cannabis can help your withdrawals.

Opioid withdrawals can be short intense bursts that flush through every few hours for a few days, or it can be about a week of steady symptoms felt in a variety of ways while you kick the habit. These symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, body aches, fever, sweating, chills, insomnia, and fatigue. It is basically a gauntlet of the absolute worst feelings that you have to get passed before you start again at normal. Drinking water and staying hydrated along with bed rest will be advised. A warm home with some thin blankets is ideal for recovery. Cannabis can come into influence in many ways to deal with symptoms and make the environment in which you find yourself more comfortable. My first and foremost advice is to identify the reason you feel the need to use or abuse opiates, try to be at peace with it, and if or when there are healthy alternatives to pain management, pursue those. As a chronic pain user, and opioid user for many years, it isn’t easy to walk away, especially if it is back into daily pain, but cannabis can help.

My first time fighting withdrawals, I found that cannabis flower was always a help with most of the issues I faced while sick. A blanket to my symptoms, I could often smoke a joint, or several to help cope with what I am dealing with. The feeling of reversed or dual sensations of hot and cold, your whole perception of the environment will be a challenge. I will often stay in my pajamas and a hoodie with at least a quarter oz. of flower (a heavy indica, like a few packs of OG Kush by Dutchie) nearby, find a warm space, and spark up until I am ready to rest. Drinking water and having a blanket nearby is also recommended as hot and cold changes will begin in waves against you. I also find the fatigue, and reintroduction to your mind will come easier with the use of flower, forgiving yourself is priority one. A person will slowly regain their memories, so as you regain your mental wellbeing, it can help to stay positive to keep fighting by hitting the bong for a sesh or more. The desire to dab in the beginning is low, as it is mostly bed rest and starting your road to recovery. You then need to prepare for the far more intense physical ramifications.

The stomach issues when coming off of any opiate can be intense, but fentanyl is another beast. Vomiting of yellow bile (aluminum/additives) being flushed from your system, and the inability to keep any food or water down becomes constant. This will normally begin when coming off on the first day or longer, and it will last until your body has cleared its system. I found that I was so fatigued that I couldn’t smoke, so I thought to alleviate my stomach issues and compensate for not being physically able to smoke, I would turn to edibles. My stomach wouldn’t hold down everything, so I’d drink some water and get hydrated, eat a meal as a test. I would then sit up to start digestion, followed by eating a steady 1500mg in edibles and my stomach would grab on. Being able to know I can hold it down. I would then relax staying warm or take a nap, laying on my left side to aid in digestion. I was often able to find relief from almost all symptoms when eating super high 1000mg+ dose of any edible (Highern Chef 1100mg Chocolate Bar makes this easier) to alleviate the major digestive issues which are closing in on being finished when my old familiar aches start to come back.The body begins to lock up at the end, and the final stretch of hot/cold temperature perception is at its worst. I also find that this is when it is hardest to sleep, as your mind returns to you with all of your memory, as well as the last pains of withdrawals. Being that I can’t sleep and my mood is at its worst, I will often turn to dabs at this point along with my entire edible/flower regiment. I will balance the pain relief and heaviness of the indica flower, with a sativa concentrate. A terpene heavy sauce (Golden Ticket Live Resin from Aeriz) is a must, as I will get my terpene intake up while finding motivation again with its sativa heavy energy. A heater nearby and a few good nights of sleep will work wonders, as well as a good ol’ Mary Jane. I can’t advocate it enough, this plant has helped me to face some of my most challenging days, only to win. Ultimately, it is a choice to use any drug, but not healing unknown trauma might cause you to derail while taking opiates. Until you heal, addiction is a constant threat. I hope your fight is swift and painless, so that you may heal whatever deeper wound is holding you back, resources are available and stay vigilant.

Stage 1 – Within 12 hours of last use

Symptoms:

  1. Tiredness

  2. Constipation

  3. Body Aches

  4. Anxiety

  5. Stress

Advice:

  1. Have some indica flower, or better yet, pre rolls available and nearby

  2. Drink lots of water, infuse with lemon if you like

  3. Set up a warm environment with a thin blanket, have extras

  4. Stay away from bright lights, loud noises, or hard surfaces

Stage 2 – Lasting 2-4 days

Symptoms:

  1. Nausea

  2. Cramping

  3. Diarrhea

  4. Vomiting

  5. Fever + Chills

  6. Cold Sweats

Advice:

  1. Use potent edibles in addition to indica flower

  2. Lay on left side to aid digestion

  3. Drink lots of water, in small doses

Stage 3 – Lasting an additional 3-5 days

Symptoms:

  1. Insomnia

  2. Fatigue

  3. Mental Stress

Advice:

  1. Add Full Spectrum Concentrates (sativa) to Edible / Flower regimen

  2. Stay positive, you’re almost there




Adrian Ryan was born in New Mexico and attended school since elementary in Arizona, his time growing up split between the two states. He hopes to work towards recreational cannabis, enjoys reading, writing, film, music, and also writing music.

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