timeframe

The run down

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So about two years ago I smoked weed for the first and only time, I had no previous experience using drugs. I passed a joint back and forth with a friend. After a couple minutes of that, I wasn't feeling anything, mainly because my friend had held onto the joint for the majority of the time. So a mutual friend grabbed a little pipe of sorts, and stuffed a wad of weed in it. Two or three good sucks on that thing something snapped. Next thing I know, I was standing up, and the world was spinning and shifting around me. The next morning, I woke up to find my vision blurred, and discontinuous. I felt like I was in a dream. I would look at something, but not really see it. Over the next couple months, I picked apart the different things wrong with my vision. How I could see little moving dots if I looked at the sky, or a light rain-like haze if I looked at something dark, or trials behind anything that moved, or how little blurred halos encircled lights at night. About a year in, I talked to a doctor about it. She said she had heard of such symptoms with people who had used LSD, and that it did not sound like I had anything dangerous, like a tumor, but that there was nothing that could be done to improve my state. So slowly, as time progressed, and as I became more accustomed to the abnormalities, as well as my eyes improving ever so slightly, I started to feel my sense of reality return, and I started living a "relatively" normal life. Anyway, I know plenty of you are thinking, "no way, weed can't cause HPPD" and I would love to agree with you. However, as far as I can tell, my symptoms are pretty close to HPPD, albeit possibly less severe than usual. As to if I smoked something different, it's possible, there could have been something in, or on that pipe that I was unaware of, but I couldn't tell you, since I don't know what a normal marijuana high is like. Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions would be awesome.

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Hey timeframe, welcome to the board :)

As for cannabis causing HPPD; You'll never hear me dispute that :) My HPPD was mainly caused by different hallucinogenic substances, but it was greatly exacerbated by a synthetic cannabinoid.

Your symptoms sound like typical HPPD, not fun at all. How well are you able to function?

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Thanks. It's nice to know what is wrong with yourself. :) When I first got HPPD I sat in my room and did nothing, this went on for two months before I decided to not let HPPD control the rest of my life. So I went back to college, I started working out, started eating well, I forced myself to meet new people and try new things, which greatly boosted my mood. At this point, I can do most things without a problem. I get overwhelmed in groups of lots of people, or walking around the city, but otherwise I am usually fine. Wearing glasses has helped, they are only for a small astigmatism, but they help me focus on one thing at a time. They also cut down on glare. I keep my apartment organized to an almost OCD level, that way I can quickly and easily find things without the use of my eyes. Also, I have been able to talk to a couple people in my family about it, they don't really understand, but a least they know, which helps me not feel so alone. And this site has been great.

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i dont want to sound like the doubter but it sounds more to me like you had an underlying issue that weed exacerbated and not particularly hppd... i know that pot is stronger than it used to be even 10 years ago but i have a very hard time believing a single use, even if laced with something which doesnt happen as often as the urban myths would have you believe, would cause a permanent or even semi permanent disorder like hppd.

 

bring something out that was always there.. yes. cause enough damage to permanently change your brain with one use. i just dont see that happening. 

 

i dont want to sound like im doubting you have these issues or anything like that because i know how being on the receiving end of that feels, but to me it sounds more likely that you need to follow up with neurologist to track down other potential issues. there are things like floaters and even schizophrenia which pot can make you notice where you wouldnt have noticed it before. but there is nothing in the chemistry of marijuana that should be able to cause long term damage with one use. it takes years upon years of constant usage for it to start should up as a melange of lingering chemicals within your fat cells. a single use of marijuana and any chemicals it put into your system are out within i believe 18 days max. unless your brain was already chemical offset then there should be no way that a single use caused hppd. the idea of that to me is like trying to tell me the movie reefer madness is the total truth. 

 

again. im not trying to say you have nothing wrong with you, or that talking to the guys here couldnt even help you as we're all in a similar boat whether its hppd or something else. i just personally think hppd is not the case here and that you have to watch in that self diagnosing that or accepting that as the case because the symptoms match, that you limit yourself from possibly being able to solve the problems with proper treatment that relates to the real issues at hand. there are many neurological issues out there with overlapping symptoms, and even if you think to yourself "but i was completely fine before i touched marijuana so that has to be the cause" .. keep this in mind. The mind that is diseased cannot diagnose itself. The world you live in is normal to you. Only by changing that world view, often times by the introduction of drugs, do you ever notice that something was wrong to begin with. A schizophrenic does not know he has a problem because to him it is real. Until that person is treated with medication that helps offset the damaged chemistry they have no way of knowing something is schizophrenia related when the people around them may. That's why so many end up dropping off the medication, because to them being on that medication now makes them different from the reality they knew. To them being on medication is the damage. 

 

So yeah... All i'm saying here is i wouldnt point to hppd as being the cause here until you rule out issues that may have existed beforehand. if the cause were something with more psyechedlic or hallucinogenic properties like acid mdma or shrooms... or even coke. something that can cause a permanent change in brain chemistry in a single use, it would be a completely different story to me, but contrary to what most government propaganda would have people believe, marijuana just doesnt cause that kind of damage in one use. in fact most studies now show if anything it prevents that kind of damage,caused from other sources,  from being permanent. Which is along the lines of why i feel there may have been something underlying that the marijuana caused you to become aware of and was not caused by the marijuana in and of itself.

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Hmm... ok, I get what you're saying, I put my experience in detail, so that I could start getting some answers, because, quite frankly, I am pretty confused about the issue as well. It would be awesome if I could fix, at all, what I have now, although the idea that I might have something else I have not taken care of for two years is a bit disconcerting. I am not quite sure if you asked, but I had no observable issues before the incident, and there was no progression afterward. Just one moment I was fine, and the next I was not. I do know that mental illness runs in my family, so that is a possibility. Where would you suggest I start? Were you saying I might have a form of schizophrenia?

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If you are predisposed to it cannabinoids can certainly trigger HPPD. There are plently of stories on this site alone of peoples' symptoms either being caused, or exacerbated, by cannabis. To quote a study posted by someone else:

 

“Two key players in the processing of light information in the retina are photoreceptors, which catch light and turn it into a signal that can be interpreted by other cells, and bipolar cells, which are next in line in the flow of information,” said Straiker. “Communication between the cells requires the release of a neurotransmitter called glutamate, triggered by calcium currents passing through a specific calcium channel. Cannabinoids are known to inhibit calcium channels. If you shut down the channel, you shut down the release of glutamate, and profoundly alter the cell's ability to signal.”

 

"Some of the reported effects of the use of marijuana and hashish include the perception of a snowy visual field, increased light intensity and altered vision. In fact, Straiker said his interest in seeking CB1 receptors in the retina was sparked in part by accounts of dramatic alterations in visual perception following marijuana use."

 

It sounds like you have HPPD, albeit a very mild form. I'm fairly certain you do not have any kind of psychosis or schizophrenia.

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Thanks Chris. I might not be a horrible idea to see a neurologist. But like I said, I did already describe my situation to my doctor who said it was similar to cases she had seen with people who had used harder drugs. She didn't seem to be worried that there was something else wrong, but I had her call a optometrist to be sure, and they didn't seem to be worried either. The annoying thing with it all is spending a bunch of money, and then being told that you are in "excellent condition". As far as being genetic, I know my younger brother told me he quite smoking weed after doing it lightly for several months because he was having trouble with his eyes. My theory is that cannabis can do the same damage that some of the harder hallucinogens do, but only in large amounts, and that people who are predisposed stopped using it early enough that there is relatively little damage done, and it never gets reported. Anyway, I have heard that HPPD from cannabis has a good recovery rate, anywhere from three to ten years, so fingers crossed :)

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I totally think I exacerbated the effects of my HPPD early on by continuing to smoke pot. Mushrooms (and lots of the) were definitely the catalyst, but marijuana definitely gave the hppd symptoms a big boost. My recovery took about 5-6 years. I found the hppd mentally could be coped with after about a year, but the visual anomolies persisted much longer (the whole 5+ years). I just noticed the visuals start rapidly declining one summer when i had moved to a new city to attend law school. Now i have to actively try and notice the visuals...they no longer just run roughshed through my field of vision. Early on i couldnt avoid the visuals, and now i can hardly pick them up at all unless i sit there and try to. Things will get better for you, i truly believe that.

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