Marijuana is amazing. That’s why we use it. It helps us to relax, to sleep, to eat, and to overcome fears. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Whether you are trying to get a job and need to pass a drug test, or you are just looking to cut back and raise your tolerance, there comes a time when any smoker needs to take a break–and quitting is not easy.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Although it is not addictive on the same caliber as narcotics, studies show that up to 30% of regular marijuana users have some dependency on marijuana making it hard to quit. When faced with stopping, regular users may experience irritability, decreased appetite, cravings, mood and sleep difficulties, restlessness, or various physical discomforts. These withdrawal symptoms peak during the first week of quitting and may last up to 2 weeks.
Everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to quitting. That’s why knowing a variety of quitting strategies can come in handy.
Cold Turkey – An Oldy But Goody
By far, cold turkey is the most common method because it requires no extra money nor time to implement. Quitting cold turkey refers to pure abstinence fueled only by your strong will. This plan is usually for those who want to quit fast. You may experience the most substantial withdrawal with this method, but you will be considered “drug-free” quicker than by other methods.
You’ll want to prepare your mind and your house. If your willpower gives in, you do not want anything in your house to tempt you.
- Throw away (or gift) any lighters, matches, bongs, grinders, etc.
- Give away or flush (do not smoke) any weed you may have left over.
- If you throw things in the trash can, be sure to take out the trash, so you will not be tempted to retrieve it later.
- Any shirts, posters, or marijuana merchandise should be stored out of sight, so it does not trigger a craving.
- Remove your dealer from your phone and social media.
Enlist help from Friends and Family
As with any big decision, it is easier to quit when you involve your friends and relatives. Do they know you want to quit smoking? Chances are, they will be happy to support you by helping you cope with any withdrawal symptoms. Having them by your side will assist in ensuring you stay busier and feel less lonely.
- Ask your friends and family to help you remain confident about your decision to quit.
- When you feel tempted by cravings, have them encourage you to do something else.
- For your smoker friends, ask them not to pressure you into using or even smoke around you.
- You may avoid friends that you smoke with for a while.
While the famous 12-step program is most notably recognized for helping alcoholics overcome their addiction, weed smokers have also found it helpful. Marijuana Anonymous is a group support system with sponsors who guide you through the emotional process of fighting addiction. It requires no membership fees. Addicts may attend in person, online, and by phone. Although the program is open to all faiths and non-secular persons, it is considerably spiritual.
“To some of us, it is a God of organized religion; to others, it is a state of being commonly called spirituality. Some of us believe in no deity; a Higher Power may be the strength gained from being a part of, and caring for, a community of others. There is room in MA for all beliefs. We do not proselytize any particular view or religion. In MA each of us discovers a spirit of humility and tolerance, and each of us finds a Higher Power that works for us.”
- We admitted we were powerless over marijuana, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- The program is not for everyone, but many users have successfully quit forever and sworn by the process.
Make sure you are committed to quitting before enlisting this option. Doctors can be pricey. Like Marijuana Anonymous, this method is more about seeking emotional support and healing than dealing with the physical side-effects of quitting. While some smokers tend to avoid therapy because of the stigma associated with counselors, they have very practical advice for coping with addiction. The important thing to note here is that you want to find a therapist who specializes in addiction.
Some therapists may couple the individual sessions with groups therapy. This allows you to rally support for one another and celebrate successes. It also gives you an outlet for sharing your thoughts and difficulties with others who relate to you.
- Call your insurance company to find a provider that is covered by your plan.
- Look at different modalities: in-person, phone, and group.
Talk to your Doctor
While many smokers are afraid to talk to their doctors about their marijuana use, there are virtually no consequences. Health insurance companies typically do not care about marijuana use, and your employers do not have access to your medical record. If you are still worried about talking to your doctor, ask him or her not to put it in your chart.
Currently, there are no drugs approved for treating marijuana dependence. However, there is a multitude of medications that may help with side-effects of quitting. There are also some medicines that may help with the cravings. If you are looking to quit cold turkey and do not mind the extra cost, talking to your doctor is a great option to make the process more smooth.
- Make sure your insurance will cover your visit before you go.
- Check with your doctor to make sure your insurance will cover any prescriptions.
- Come clean about your smoking history.
Hypnosis for Cannabis
Hypnosis is commonly used to treat all types of addictions, including food addictions. This is because marijuana dependency and many other addictions tend to be equally mental as physical. Hypnosis can curb the withdrawal in addition to addressing the physical habits.
Hypnosis works by sending messages to the subconscious parts of the brain, training your body to make automatic changes. The treatment can address cravings, anxiety, or the loss of a past-time. When the mind has reached a point where the feelings of addiction start to emerge, the treatment reacts by initiating a calm or serene response and a desire to replace marijuana with something else.
- Find a certified hypnotist near you.
- Check prices and number of sessions for addiction therapy.
Rehabilitation for Cannabis Addiction
Typically marijuana users do not experience substance abuse and withdrawal so strong that they require rehab. This option is both expensive and extensive. It combines medical cessation with therapy and a methodical program.
- Try this option only after exhausting other solutions.
- Find a program covered by your insurance.
What to Expect When You Stop Smoking Weed
While withdrawal from marijuana is not nearly as intense as other drugs, there is still discomfort and sometimes physical pain related to quitting, especially for heavy users. While quitting, you may experience irritability, sleeping difficulties, depression, night sweats and loss of appetite. The most common side effects are anxiety and fatigue.
The good news, once you make it through the first week, the worst is usually over.