For millions of Americans — approximately one in seven — smoking weed is a common and appreciated recreational activity. Used to relax, treat pain, party or simply relieve temporary stress, marijuana is seen as a lesser drug due to its mild symptoms and medicinal uses. However, just because marijuana lacks the dangers that heroin and meth, for example, may offer, this doesn’t mean a chronic weed habit is necessarily a benefit to you, either physically or emotionally. If weed is standing in the way of your normal life, or if you feel as though you can’t function without the influence of marijuana, it may be time for you to quit smoking weed.
Signs of a Problem
Weed is believed to be fairly unproblematic, in large part due to its less addictive nature, its acceptance by the medical community and its growing legality. Regardless, these common opinions don’t stand in the way of the truth: Frequent weed use can turn into an addiction and may require help to resolve. If you see these signs, it may be an appropriate opportunity for you to learn how to quit smoking weed.
- Anxiety and stress without weed: Marijuana can be a good way to relieve stress, particularly for those with anxiety disorders, but too much can take you over the top. If you can’t function or feel normal without weed, you may have a problem.
- Hiding the extent of use: If you feel the need to hide your activity from those who generally approve, you may be smoking too much.
- Stealing or lying to secure weed: If you are so desperate for marijuana that you have resorted to lying or stealing to feed your habit, your smoking may have gone too far.
- Disinterest in life without weed: If marijuana is standing in your way of living a full and enriching life when you’re not high, your habits are indicative of a problem.
- Using weed at inappropriate times: If you find yourself smoking during your shift, at your children’s activities or during religious services, for example, reconsider your drug use.
It may be possible to correct your habits after initial signs of problematic behavior, but for those who use marijuana recreationally, any of these factors may indicate a sign to quit.
The Best Way to Stop Smoking
For those with a long-term smoking habit, the idea of stopping can be fairly troubling. When marijuana is at the center of your life — your hobbies, your friends, your nighttime activities — imagining a life without it isn’t easy. However, this line of thinking is exactly what can help you break the habit.
Whether you realize it or not, your use of drugs that are illegal on a federal level is going to hold you back in one way or another. Maybe that means failing a background check for your dream job or wasting time that could otherwise be invested in creative endeavors. Perhaps your appetite after smoking is standing in the way of your weight loss or fitness goals, or your grades are sliding because you’ve been smoking instead of studying.
You may not have even realized the extent of your challenges so far, but when you really stop to think about it, you’ll likely identify at least one area of your life that could be improved by sobriety. From achieving the GPA you need to get into medical school to testing clean for drugs at your next job interview, quitting can help you break away from a toxic lifestyle and open doors to new opportunities. The sooner you realize this, the more motivated you will be to quit.
Tips to Quit
So, you’re ready to quit. Now what?
While quitting marijuana is often seen as safer and easier than cessation of other substances due to the minimal physical effects, quitting any addiction isn’t easy. Some people are afraid of the effects on their day-to-day habits, while others are worried about withdrawal side effects. However, these concerns shouldn’t stop you from taking the leap. All things considered, withdrawal symptoms from marijuana are milder than for virtually all other abused substances, including headaches, mood swings, irritability and trouble focusing. Further, there are no risks when quitting cold turkey like there are for alcohol or benzodiazepines.
In many ways, detoxing from marijuana is mental and related to habits rather than physical, and the right mindset can make a difference. These tips can help you do what’s right for your health and your life.
1. Get Rid of Your Supply
If you have weed around, you’re going to want to use it. As soon as you’ve decided to quit, don’t keep your drugs around; instead, get rid of them and don’t look back.
2. Plan Sober Events
If you spend your nights at parties with other pot-smoking friends, breaking your routine will be particularly difficult. Instead of putting yourself in temptation’s way, organize sober events, or at least weed-free events, to avoid the urge to use. In addition, having fun without getting high can help you find joy in sobriety.
3. Enlist a Support System
In most cases, if you let your friends and family know that you feel you have a problem and are trying to quit, you will be met with support and compassion. When you’re feeling weak, lean on your support system to help you get through the tough times.
4. Set Goals
What do you want to accomplish with life after marijuana? By setting goals that are incongruous with a substance use disorder, you can put yourself in a mindset to succeed.
5. Get Professional Help
If your own efforts aren’t working and you feel that outside help would be beneficial, there are plenty of rehabilitation centers that handle marijuana detox and treatment. You may also want to consider working with a counselor or therapist with experience in addiction medicine.
How to Get Rid of Marijuana
Getting rid of your marijuana is an integral part of quitting, but actually doing so may be more difficult than it sounds. Be aware that some states have distinct policies surrounding disposal, so follow all area rulings as closely as possible. In some locations, amnesty programs allow you to turn drugs in to be destroyed with no personal consequences, while states with legal recreational marijuana may employ specific disposal policies. If there are no clear laws in your area, flushing is sometimes suggested as marijuana is a natural substance that will disintegrate without clogging pipes. Do not sell your drugs to friends; depending on the quantity you possess, this could quickly become a felony.