How to stop smoking weed has become a common trouble for most people as marijuana is getting increasingly more popular, both as a recreational substance and for its alleged health benefits. While some of these claims are true, many potential users seem to overlook the fact that this is still a psychoactive drug that affects human’s cognitive abilities.
Even though it’s less dangerous than heavier drugs, habitual weed smoking can negatively impact your life quality. This article will give you some insight into the problem, as well as tips to help you overcome it.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The first step about how to stop smoking weed is identifying the issue. Studies show that people who start smoking weed before the age of 18 are seven times more likely to begin abusing it. Many use it as a way to escape problems, avoid stress, or even treat depression, anxiety, and other underlying mental conditions. Due to the potential long-term effects, it’s important to recognize early warning signs:
Built-up, Constantly Increasing Tolerance
As with any other psychoactive substance (caffeine, alcohol), the body builds up tolerance to it with prolonged use. This means that you have to consume an increasingly higher amount of it to reach the needed high, which significantly increases the chances of withdrawal symptoms appearing.
Using Weed to Escape Reality
Life can be very difficult at times, but smoking marijuana to cope with it is only a short-term solution. It’s very dangerous and quickly develops into addiction, which only creates additional problems.
Inability to Reduce Consumption
If you regularly think about cutting down on the use but fail to do so, it’s very likely you already have an addiction. Anxiously awaiting the next high is a sign that you need to seek help immediately.
Missing out on school or work due to smoking weed, as well as the inability to keep up working relationships with people is one of the most common symptoms. When your previous ambitions start to lose meaning, or you notice lack of interest in anything other than smoking, it’s time to take action.
Realizing that you have a problem is usually one of the more difficult steps. Many believe that they can stop at any time due to not being ready to face the truth. Once you get past that point, the next step is finding the most suitable method with which to solve the issue.
Dealing with the Problem
Even though there are specialized marijuana rehab centers, most people can stop on their own. The best method of how to stop smoking weed varies from person to person, so you’ll have to experiment a bit at first. Two of the most popular ways are either quitting cold-turkey or gradually decreasing consumption, each with their respective benefits and disadvantages.
If you’re a long-time smoker and can’t imagine a day without getting high, this is probably the way to go. When you quit gradually, your body has more time to adapt, which in turn decreases the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Following a few guidelines will help you get started and reduce the chances of relapse.
1. Setting goals and timelines. While the process shouldn’t take years, it’s also important to be realistic with your plans. Giving yourself only a week to quit when you’ve been smoking for years is very difficult to achieve. Failing to do so is only going to discourage you and decrease your progress. Set your timeline forward for a week compared to how long you think you’ll need.
2. Find a hobby. If there’s a specific time of day when you smoke the most, you’ll have to find an activity to replace it with. A sport or any other form of physical exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce addiction cravings. Additionally, it’s one of the best ways to get rid of stress that you’ll undoubtedly feel once you start smoking less. Besides exercise, you can pick up other healthy habits such as reading a book, learning a new skill, or even hanging out with your friends – anything to get your mind off smoking.
3. Get rid of bad influences. Probably the hardest as well as the most crucial step. Anything that increases your chances of relapse should be avoided – this includes people, places, events, or activities. If you’re in a group that smokes weed, make them aware of your goals. Instead of going to a party where you know there will be easy access to marijuana, organize a sober event such as a movie night. This is a must, at least in the beginning, when you’re most vulnerable.
4. Be patient and forgiving. Getting rid of an addiction is a long process that’s well worth the reward. You’re bound to stumble upon obstacles. Maybe this will be a friend that you used to smoke with or an old picture that will increase your cravings – it’s up to you on how you’ll deal with it. Keep your end goal in mind. Try your best to stick to the limitations that you set, but also learn to forgive yourself. Even if you broke your daily limit, don’t let it discourage but instead do everything to prevent it from happening again.
This is the method that requires iron will, and you’ll have constant temptations in the first couple of weeks. It gets much less overwhelming over time, but the main difficulty is getting to that point. Those that haven’t been smoking for long might find this method the most appropriate. Still, you’ll need to keep some things in mind and follow a few steps if you decide to attempt this.
1. Prepare mentally and physically. The withdrawal symptoms will likely be pretty intense. These include dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, and sometimes even depression. You’ll feel both physical and mental effects, and you might be overwhelmed by them. Most people fail at this point, but try to hold on to your initial motivation and remind yourself why you’re doing it. Even writing it down can be of huge help.
2. Throw away the supplies. You’re far more likely to relapse if you have immediate access to marijuana. As soon as you’re set on quitting, throw away the weed, get rid of the lighters, bongs, and, most importantly, remove any ties through which you can acquire new supplies.
3. Acquire support. Whether it’s family, friends, or anyone close to you, having someone by your side to help you through the cravings can be a differentiating factor. With a strong support group, you’ll always have a person to lean on when things get difficult. Make sure to share every thought that goes through your head, whether good or bad. Sometimes all you need to succeed is a word of support.
4. Drink water. Your body needs to be hydrated at all times. When you quit cold turkey, the organism flushes the toxins constantly, which requires a lot of energy and fluids. If you have a splitting headache or just feel weak in general, dehydration could be the culprit. Another good alternative is sports drinks such as gatorade, as well as anything that contains a large number of electrolytes and minerals.
Knowing When to Seek Help
Quitting an addiction is supposed to be difficult, but sometimes it might get so overwhelming that you’ll have to seek professional help. Counselors, treatment programs, and rehab centers have years of experience treating the exact issues that you’re facing. It’s not embarrassing to not be able to go through it without help. Some of the signs that you should contact a professional are:
– Inability to reduce intake even by the slightest amount
– Severe mood swings
– Constant signs of depression and other mental disorders
– Suicidal thoughts
Numerous benefits can be noticed after quitting. Since weed impacts cognitive condition, your brain function will improve considerably. You’ll find it a lot easier to focus your concentration on specific tasks and remember certain details. Mood changes that you might have previously considered reasonable will be replaced by a stable state of mind. Additionally, you’ll be able to cope with stress and problems much more quickly.
Alongside many mental health benefits, you’ll notice a lot of positive physical changes. Your body won’t have to work hard to process all that THC, which will render you much more energetic and lively. More energy translates to increased productivity, so it’s no surprise that you’ll perform a lot better at your workplace.
Studies also show that fertility massively increases once users stop consuming marijuana. Not only will you have more free time, but also save a lot of money which you previously used to buy weed.
Quality of life is massively improved after quitting.
Believing that you can do it is half the job done. Set smaller, achievable goals that will motivate you to push through to the end. Even though it might seem silly, be proud of yourself for every achievement, no matter how small it is. You smoked 0.2 grams less weed than yesterday? Pat yourself on the back. Keep your mindset focusing on the right spot and getting rid of any doubts. After all, you can do anything you set your mind to.