By Jurriaan Plesman, BA(Psych), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr
In the drug subculture there is a strong belief that smoking marijuana is simply a recreational activity and is non-addictive. It is true that not all potentially addictive substances leads necessarily to addiction. For instance, alcohol is an addictive drugs, but not everybody who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic. Only people with an addictive personality may become addicted to either alcohol or marijuana, if the drug is used to relieve stress. This may explain why some people become addicted to smoking marijuana – also known as Aunt Mary, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, weed and a host of other street names – and others do not.
I believe that depression is usually the forerunner of addiction. See Hemat.
Marijuana, Cannabis sativa, has about 400 chemicals, the most important of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which affects the brain. It is also linked to an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.(13 Pubmed Studies) Ironically Cannabis also contains a substance called Cannabidiol (CBD) which has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Wikipedia
We need to know why some people become addicted and others not. From a psychonutritional point of view the answer is simple. Most addictive people are hypoglycemic, that makes them vulnerable to addiction.
You may ask why should hypoglycemic people have an addiction problem. Again the answer is simple. Hypoglycemia – a term not recognized by conventional medicine – is a pre-diabetic condition caused by insulin resistance. It takes about 20 years for pre-diabetes to develop into full-blown diabetes. Thus both diabetes and hypoglycemia have insulin resistance as a common underlying disease. Most addictive people have been shown to have insulin resistance (or hypoglycemia) marked by unstable blood sugar levels. Stephen Gyland. This can easily be tested with a special Glucose Tolerance Test for Hypoglycemia as explained here. Insulin resistance is one example of a silent disease, meaning the person having it, is not aware of it. There are many other silent diseases that can be responsible for mood disorders. The first step in the treatment of addiction is the adoption of the hypoglycemic diet.
Insulin resistance interferes with the conversion of sugars (carbohydrates) and other food substances into Biological Energy called (ATP). That energy is necessary to convert certain nutrients in food such as Tryptophan into serotonin – our feel good neurotransmitter. If the brain is starved of energy it will trigger the release of stress hormones – such as adrenaline. This helps to convert sugar stores – glycogen – back into glucose so as to feed the brain with energy again. (See image) But internally driven stress hormones cause us to experience fear without an external object of fear, in other words ‘anxiety’.
People with insulin resistance tend to feel depressed – although they may not be aware of it. The first experience of smoking marijuana is usually remembered as a “high”, which is the opposite of how they feel usually. Hence they want to use drugs to feel high again (or non-depressed again). Unfortunately the more they use, the worse they start to feel and the more they want to use drugs to feel high (or normal) again. Addiction to marijuana often leads to the use of much powerful drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. Non-hypoglycemic people usually have a choice to leave the drug or not and do not usually experience a “high”. On the contrary, they may feel ill at the first encounter with the drug. Of course because of our unique biochemical make-up our experiences with a drug use may be different from others and unique.
The usual symptoms of withdrawal from marijuana are anxiety attack, insomnia and depression. These are seen as the precursors in milder form that gave rise to relief when using the drug for the first time. Studies have shown that substance abuse is more common among teenagers with depression, than those without depression. NIMH
If we want to treat our addictions, we FIRST need to treat the underlying biochemical abnormality that is responsible for our addictive personality. Withdrawal from the drug is only secondary to this! Most addicts withdraw gradually from their drug of addiction. Thus relapsing should be considered the norm, rather than a failure. Sticking to the treatment by sticking to the hypoglycemic diet is more important!!
Your success in abstaining from the drug depends on the treatment. Furthermore, it also depends on the damage done to brain cells. It may take up to six months to rid the body of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the active ingredient of marijuana. As a fat-soluble chemical substance it remains lodged in the fatty tissues of organs, such as in membranes of brain cells. This explains also the amotivational syndrome associated with marijuana addiction.
Other more heavier drugs including alcohol may damage the receptors for neurotransmitters in the brain. This may take up to a year to repair with a high protein diet. Some damage may be permanent in rare cases. Volkow ND et als. PuMeds and PMID 11717374
One way of speeding up THC detoxification is by way of regular strenuous sweat-producing exercises or having sauna bath. If you become addicted to these daily exercises it means that you are producing natural endorphins, which may help you to withdraw properly. To fight the cravings it may help to use Glycerine, which will also stop anxiety attacks, insomnia, wild mood swings.
. See also: Nature’s Road to Recovery: Nutritional Supplements for Recovery.. by Bet M Ley Jacobs and other articles mentioned below. Another recently marketed product goes by the name of Maritox, that should be tried out.
Thus treatment is a long process, but provided you stick to the hypoglycemic diet, ultimately the cravings for the drug will disappear. It is not a question of will-power, but of biology!
and discuss this with a Nutritional Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist or a Nutritional Psychotherapist, if self-help therapy fails. But most people can help themselves by going on a hypoglycemic diet.
And there is no such thing that you can continue to use your drug of addiction occasionally or recreationally after treatment. You will always be vulnerable to trigger the addiction when using the drug or the wrong diet! Sorry!
SELF-HELP PSYCHOTHERAPY COURSE
Once you start to feel better with the hypoglycemic diet, it may be worthwhile to study the self-help psychotherapy course, which will help you to regain self-confidence, understand other people’s personalities, learn to communicate at a more intimate levels and clarify your values system and that of others.
Please discuss this article with your health care worker, doctor or nutritional doctor or therapist.
Conquering Anxiety, Depression and Fatigue Without Drugs – the Role of Hypoglycemia by Professor Joel H. Levitt
Other treatments for Depressions here