In 2015, 4 million Americans met the diagnostic criteria for marijuana use disorder. Of this number only 138,000 sought treatment. While many weed producers perpetuate the myth of marijuana being completely safe, studies have shown that 30% of all users develop a dependence on the drug.
This means they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t take it. The signs include mood disorders, irritability, sleep disorders, decreased appetite, impaired short-term memory, respiratory issues, increased cravings, restlessness, and elevated blood pressure. It also affects brain development and is especially dangerous for teenagers as it may destroy their brain cells.
For other advice and tips, check out how to quit smoking weed by Kevin Bryce for more information. If you want to quit smoking weed, here are a few tips:
How To Permanently Quit Smoking Weed
Once you realize that smoking weed is bad for you, you’ll want to quit but find may find it is easier said than done. Here are a few things you should do if you want the change to be permanent and long-lasting.
Change Your Mindset
Your first battle is to change your mindset. You may try to rationalize your marijuana use or procrastinate in making any adjustments. But this is the hardest step. You must commit to quitting. Set a date and plan as to how you’re going to go about it.
Some people say they’ll quit when their stash runs out or when it’s the right time. There’s no right time. And you’ll likely only end up buying more. So set a date, a few days or weeks from now. Your overall health has to become your priority to ensure you will change your mindset.
Discard Your Stash and Paraphernalia
Flush your stash. If you save it, you will end up using it. If you’re keen on permanent change, bin your lighter, pipe, grinder and whatever else you use to help you smoke. Don’t give it to friends from whom you can take it back later. Discard it.
This also means deleting your dealer’s number and refraining from forums or friends who continue smoking weed. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or need to defend your actions. If your friends lash out at you for quitting, they’re not your real friends. It may be best to chuck them out of your life.
You have to understand how marijuana dependence works to be able to handle withdrawal. And you will experience withdrawal symptoms. The active chemical in weed is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It acts on the cannabinoid receptors in your brain to give you a “high.”
As someone who’s been smoking weed regularly, you may find it difficult to function without this high. That’s when withdrawal symptoms usually occur. Handling withdrawal will take practice. Exercise can also give you a similar high as it releases powerful endorphins. So does chocolate. Try alternatives to give you that euphoric feeling. It could simply be walking in the park or throwing a frisbee with a pet. Find natural ways of increasing the endorphin release in your body.
Prepare for Withdrawal
Plan regular meals and snacks throughout your day to counter appetite issues. Protein shakes, nuts and fruits are good for quitting weed. Drink lots of water and tea that is high in antioxidants. For insomnia and other sleep disorders, use meditation, relaxation techniques, and exercise. This will be hard at first, but once you settle into a routine, it will get easier.
Remember that THC remains in your fat cells long after you’ve quit so this may trigger your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Once you weather this period, it will get easier to withdraw completely from weed. If you have crippling anxiety or depression, it may be best to see a mental health counselor.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
You may think that while you’re working to overcome your dependence, it’s better to stay at home. However, abusing weed and isolation often work hand in hand. A better course of action is to spend time with other people. Go bowling, dance with friends, enjoy a swim at the beach or get a pet. These activities will help you get out of the house.
You must reset your social system and make socializing your new normal. This will also reduce any depression you may experience when you’re alone.
Take One Day At A Time
Don’t think about a lifetime of quitting. Think of it as a day to day strategy. Early on, it’s going to be hard to simply make it through a day without feeling the need to be stoned. Focusing too much on long-term goals may make quitting feel like a daunting challenge and can even make someone throw in the towel.
You will have to reframe your thoughts to get through the day without the drug. Once you’ve made it through many days, then weeks, then months, it won’t seem too challenging to make it through a year.
Dealing with Relapses
Since THC remains in fat cells, you may feel as if your cravings are impossible to control at first. This may lead to triggers that may cause you to relapse into old habits.
If you do relapse, don’t beat yourself up. Identify your triggers—was it at a party, did one of your friends bring some weed home, was it a joint that someone gave you. What was the trigger that made you relapse?
Once you identify these triggers, eliminate them completely from your routine. Ask ahead if weed will be at a party and don’t attend if it will be. Inform your friends about your decision to quit and ask them to refrain from bringing it to your home. Refuse any items or gifts related to weed. Just say no.
Build A Support System
Regardless of the type of addiction, people who are dependent on a substance need a support group. This doesn’t have to be an AA setting. It could be your family, closest friends, colleagues, and well-wishers. Surround yourself with these well-meaning people. Talk to them about your decision and how they can help you.
If you do want to interact with people who understand your struggles, visiting Marijuana Anonymous may help. It is a confidential twelve-step recovery program that has been documented to be successful in helping people sort through their emotions and problems as they quit weed.
If your cravings are uncontrollable or if you experience severe mood swings, think of committing suicide, feel extremely depressed or hopeless you may need to seek help. Meet with a qualified mental health counselor or therapist to help you control your withdrawal symptoms.
Occasionally, your therapist may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you adjust your thoughts, emotions and subsequent behavior. CBT can help you deal with the issues that are preventing you from completing your rehabilitation successfully.
Change your Mood
If you’re in a good mood, withdrawal symptoms may be less severe. Use guided imagery, music therapy, meditation, deep breathing exercises and relaxation to change your mood.
Reward Your Achievements
Set milestones for yourself. A week. A fortnight. A month. Two months. You get the idea. Every time you meet a milestone, reward yourself. Eat out, buy yourself a gift or do something special to celebrate. No matter how small, every milestone is a victory.
When good behavior is reinforced by rewards it is called positive reinforcement. This approach conditions individuals to perform desired behaviors and with repeated reinforcement, these behaviors will become second nature to you.
Independence from weed is possible once you commit to making a seismic change in your life. Your mind is precious, don’t let weed destroy it!