In recent years, more and more countries have legalized the use of medical marijuana. That has resulted in a lot of patients getting much-needed medication alternatives by using CBD oils and other cannabis products.
But stoners often get used to the mind-numbing effects of THC (one of the cannabinoids in weed) and increase their doses to get more intense effects, which leads to weed addiction. The problem comes to light after users try to decrease their doses and figure out they have developed a cannabis dependency.
Moreover, substance use has also increased among young adults as the number of cannabis use disorder (marijuana addiction) cases is increasing exponentially. Marijuana use has been on the rise in countries like Canada and the United States, and in Europe, with even more young people hitting the bong. (Alexandra M E Zuckermann, 2018)
If you’d like to stop smoking weed there is a way to quit even if you’ve been smoking weed regularly for a long time and have developed an addiction. Read on to learn about the different steps you can take to stop smoking marijuana, as well as the withdrawal symptoms you can experience on your road to detox.
What Are Your Reasons to Stop Smoking Marijuana?
In order to have a higher chance of success, you should first figure out your reasons for quitting, including your reasons for starting to use drugs in the first place. You may even research what happens when a stoner stops smoking weed, so you can have a better understanding of what your next steps should be.
Marijuana dependence can be easier to overcome if you have a strong “why” for seeking treatment for marijuana use. This can help you get right back on track if you ever feel an extreme need to slip into smoking weed again while on your detox journey.
Different methods and treatment trials for substance abuse have been done over the years and a lot of them focus on the effects of marijuana and how users can overcome this drug addiction. (Alan J. Budney et al, 2007)
You have to keep in mind that this is not an impossible task, since quitting cannabis is not as hard as quitting opioids or other hard drugs. In order to set yourself up for success, you primarily need determination, but also a reliable support system.
How to Quit Smoking Weed?
The first thing you need to do after you decide you want to stop smoking weed is to decide on the approach you’re going to take. You might want to be quick about it and quit cold turkey, you might opt for a gradual approach, or you may even decide to get professional help.
Quitting Weed Cold Turkey
If you decide to use this approach to quit using weed, you need to know that your body will need time to adapt to a state without the presence of cannabinoids. Since THC can produce feelings of euphoria, excitement, as well as other heightened emotions, your body may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms when you quit abruptly.
Some things you can do to set yourself up for success if you decide to quit this way are:
- Getting rid of your cannabis paraphernalia (your stash, grinders, rolling paper, etc);
- Avoid getting together with people who use drugs;
- Enlisting the support of family members and loved ones,
- Trying new sports and hobbies and keeping yourself busy (reading books, watching movies, going out with friends, meditating, trying a new sport);
- Spending more time with people to avoid overthinking and other behaviors that may have previously been a trigger for drug use;
- Maybe trying melatonin if you’ve been using weed to help you sleep better;
- Getting help for withdrawal symptoms from a healthcare professional or a support group.
Trying a Gradual Approach
With this approach, you have the benefit of lowering your THC doses gradually and maybe avoiding some of the more intense side effects that can happen as a result of quitting abruptly. You should define a quit date and plan how you will lower your doses up to that date. In the meantime, you may need to look for other activities that you can do in order to take your mind off of using cannabis, which can additionally help you with your withdrawal symptoms.
Getting Professional Help
There are also many treatment programs for weed addiction if you feel like you would benefit from having someone else accountable for your addiction treatment. Substance abuse treatment clinics can help you go through your detox period as well as help you with possible withdrawal symptoms. You can also benefit from calling helplines that are available for consultation if you feel like talking to a licensed therapist or psychologist about what you’re going through.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Marijuana users often experience side effects on their journey to cure cannabis dependence. The most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms include physical symptoms like:
- Night sweats;
- Stomach pain;
- Sleeping difficulties;
- Loss of appetite or weight gain.
Other manifesting symptoms of withdrawal can be psychological:
- Mood swings;
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms are often short-term and they tend to disappear after a week or two, although this also depends on how long you have been smoking weed, and how much you have been consuming. Frequent users who have been smoking pot on a daily basis can experience these side effects for up to a month.
During this period, you should aim to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, eat a balanced and nutritious diet, and try to incorporate a bit of exercise so you can keep yourself on the path towards recovery.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Smoking Weed
Depending on the method you want to use to stop smoking weed, you may decide to quit cold turkey, or do it gradually. Whichever method you choose to follow, you will benefit from reorganizing your environment to help you on the road to recovery.
You might want to get rid of all your marijuana paraphernalia, as well as spend more time with people who don’t consume marijuana compared to people who do.
Trying new sports and activities, as well as spending time outside, can help take your mind off of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
And if you feel like you can’t do it alone, you may want to ask for help from a professional or enlist some of your family or friends for support.
You may not succeed in this process initially, you may slip up. But it’s important that you don’t get discouraged and start the process again. Because in the end, quitting marijuana will benefit both your physical and mental health and what’s more important than that when it comes to taking care of ourselves?
Zuckermann AME, Battista K, de Groh M, et al Pre Legalisation patterns and trends of cannabis use among Canadian youth: results from the COMPASS prospective cohort study BMJ Open 2019;9:e026515. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026515
Budney, A. J., Roffman, R., Stephens, R. S., & Walker, D. (2007). Marijuana dependence and its treatment. Addiction science & clinical practice, 4(1), 4–16. https://doi.org/10.1151/ascp07414