How To Stop Smoking Weed: 7 Crucial Steps
With marijuana being legal in many states across the United States, it is one of the most commonly used substances among the population. Due to its legality and even the ability to use it medically, many people assume it is harmless.
While it might not be on the same level as heroin or meth, problems can still arise with compulsive and persistent marijuana use. If you or a loved one want to quit marijuana, it might be harder than you thought, especially if you depend on it.
Not everyone who smokes weed will become dependent on cannabis use, but that doesn’t mean bad habits can’t form. To learn more about the steps you should take to help you quit smoking marijuana, read below!
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana, also known as cannabis and weed, is a psychoactive drug in multiple derivatives. Many people will use it by smoking the flower from it, but it can also be smoked as a vapor and consumed as edibles.
The main mind-altering chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Everyone reacts to marijuana differently; some people can become increasingly paranoid after using it, while others feel their anxiety being released. How you take to the drug might influence the habits you form with it, so understanding how to use it in moderation can be key to avoiding a dependence.
The Effects of Marijuana Use
When you smoke marijuana, the THC gets into your bloodstream. Most people that smoke can feel the effects almost immediately afterward. People that struggle with dependence on marijuana need a higher quantity of the drug to feel the same effects.
You never quite know how you’re going to react to weed that you smoke, but some of the common side effects, ranging from good to bad, are:
Laughter and giddiness
Heightened sensory perception
Impairment of motor functions
How you feel the first time you try weed might differ from the second. Though many people use it safely, you have to understand your needs and boundaries to keep yourself safe.
Marijuana and Addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that marijuana can be an addictive substance. You can’t really weigh how bad one addiction is compared to another, and if someone is struggling with an addiction to marijuana, they need just as much support.
Not everyone that uses marijuana will end up with a weed addiction or substance use disorder. Still, for those who do, the physical and psychological symptoms of Marijuana Use Disorder might not be clear that it’s a problem until it's too late.
The brain and body will begin to adapt to weed, and once it does that, it is hard to properly function without it in your system. People that develop a dependence on it need to be able to sleep, eat, and get through their days. If you get to the bottom of some of your underlying issues, you might be able to see how negatively weed is impacting you.
How Do I Stop Smoking Weed?
Stopping smoking weed can be difficult, especially if your life has revolved around it for so long. Your friends might all smoke, you might live in a place where it’s very legal and very common, or it might be something you’ve done for so long that you can’t think of a life without it. Marijuana use can have a negative impact on your brain. By quitting, you can help to repair any damage that has been done.
If you recognize that weed is doing more harm than good and you want to quit, there are some steps you can take to make the process easier.
1. Recognize Your Patterns
Start to take note of your weed usage. When are you smoking? How many times in a day? In an hour? How much are you spending on marijuana in a month?
When you start to do the math, you might realize that more of your time, energy, and money goes into your weed usage than it should be. When you aren’t thinking about your patterns, you don’t notice how negative they might be.
You might be using marijuana as a way to cope with the stress or sadness that you are feeling. Take note of when you get the urge to smoke. You might not be using weed for the reasons you think you are.
Many people say they use it to expand their creativity or relax. Are you being productive when you're high? Or are you stressing yourself out and getting panic attacks? Once you see the problem, it’s easier to begin treating it.
2. Treat Underlying Issues
With addiction to marijuana usually comes other mental health issues. Many people who struggle with anxiety and depression will self-medicate with weed to ‘treat’ their illnesses. For many, you must treat your other disorders to overcome an addiction to weed. If you aren’t in a good place mentally to use substances, you can do more damage than you think.
While weed can provide you with some temporary relief from your issues, it doesn’t treat the actual problem. This means that the problem never goes away, and it can get worse.
3. Get Rid of Marijuana Paraphernalia
One thing that can make marijuana use difficult is the absence of the paraphernalia you usually use to smoke it. Get rid of pipes, bongs, and rolling papers so they aren’t in your face all day. Don’t have weed in your house or on you, so you don’t get the urge to smoke.
4. Taper Your Use
Quitting cold turkey is not for everyone. You might want to consider tapering your weed use so that you can avoid terrible symptoms of withdrawal. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms can keep many marijuana users from seeking addiction treatment options, even when family members and other support systems are urging them to seek professional help.
Smoking less and less each day is still something to be proud of and can lead to you quitting. You should do what’s best for you and your recovery process. Don’t think that you are failing just because you still occasionally smoke. You’re making progress, and that’s worth celebrating!
5. Gather Support
You will benefit from a lot of support when trying to quit smoking weed. Having people around that want to see you successful can make quitting easier. Whether this is a treatment program, health professionals, or your loved ones, support systems can help keep you on your journey to sobriety and well-being.
You won’t feel peer-pressured or overwhelmed by someone if they are supporting you to become sober. Community is essential when overcoming addiction, whether you’re getting over smoking cannabis or trying to eliminate other drug use.
When communicating with people who also struggle with substance use issues, you can feel understood and learn different ways to help yourself cope. Feeling alone can make recovery difficult, but when you have an army of people pushing you forward, your motivation is likely to stick around for longer.
6. Identify and Avoid Triggers
If you want to quit cannabis use, you need to recognize your triggers. What makes you want to smoke weed? What stresses you out and feeds your cravings? Once you can figure this out, you can begin planning how to avoid and overcome your triggers.
Soon you will better understand what situations you need to avoid and how to handle situations that might lead you to smoke. It will become easier to avoid and ignore these triggers as you progress in your recovery.
7. Try New Healthy Hobbies
You should try to replace your smoking habits with new healthy hobbies. Some may turn to vaping to get over cannabis withdrawal, but this is not a great way to stay on track. Instead, when you feel the urge to smoke, try to redirect it.
If you like to read, pick up a book. If you like to write, start journaling whenever you want to smoke. You can learn to play an instrument or pick up a new skill. However you choose to spend your time is fine, as long as it’s distracting you from your cravings.
Seek Out Marijuana-Free Spaces
Trying to find places that are drug- or alcohol-free is not always the easiest. Smoking is so common that it becomes a social thing that groups do together. People smoke together just like people drink together.
Finding a space where you can talk about your struggles with marijuana will help you to build up your confidence in being sober. Online communities like Sober Sidekick allow people to anonymously support one another and get feedback from people struggling with substance use problems.
When you download today on an Android or iPhone, you can gain access to medical professionals that can provide assistance and answer any question you might have. You can also meet people who need support just like you, creating bonds with people who want to see you get better, just as they want to improve themselves.
What Is Marijuana? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Is Marijuana Addictive? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)