While marijuana is less addictive and physically safer than many other illegal substances, marijuana can still become a harmful habit that is difficult to control and interferes with everyday activities, social interactions, and physical abilities. This is especially true for long-term users who have been smoking for years. If you or a loved one is one of these, you should know that it is perfectly possible to quit weed, and in fact, much easier than most other addicting substances - it starts with step 1 below.
Part 1 of 5: Make the decision
Step 1. Know how marijuana affects you
Cannabis use often causes a lack of initiative or laziness, an unwillingness to participate in many social situations (especially when it comes to interacting with non-smokers), and damage to internal organs such as the heart and lungs. These are the reasons why the number of people choosing to quit smoking is constantly increasing. How did it change you
- Addiction not only destroys physical health, but also makes one more susceptible to psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders.
- Marijuana use increases the body's release of serotonin, a chemical messenger produced in the brain that creates a feeling of comfort. The longer you smoke weed, the less serotonin is produced, the less you will feel happy, and the more your cravings increase.
Step 2. Have an honest conversation with yourself
Save a few hours (or even a full day) of your schedule and find a quiet, peaceful place - an environment that you enjoy and where you can be alone. Turn off your cell phone so you won't be disturbed or distracted and think about your cannabis use. A few helpful questions to ask yourself are:
- When did you first try marijuana and why did you do it?
- How long have you been smoking and how often do you do it?
- How do you feel before and after you smoke (especially trying to determine if you are trying to relieve negative thoughts or avoid problems by smoking)?
- Have there been times when you have neglected your duties (involving yourself, family and friends, school or work) because of smoking?
- Are there activities that you want to take up or in which you want to achieve something but haven't tried them yet because you didn't feel very motivated?
Step 3. Find your motivators
The closer you get to this, the easier it will be to stop. Once you know what your motivators are in making you quit smoking, you can figure out what might motivate you to quit. Think of associated goals - something that will motivate you to give up the habit. That can be anything like applying to a good college, or taking better care of your family, or achieving something in a sport or a craft.
- If you want to quit smoking cannabis, knowing your motivators is essential - the stronger they are, the better your chances are.
- Replacing smoking with something else is also helpful. For example, you could have a piece of gum or a glass of water every time you feel like smoking. Find something you like to take as a substitute, it will help you quit.
Step 4. Realize that the decision is final
Most people with an addiction feel like they want to quit every time they smoke. They make an agreement with themselves every time to quit, and they end up doing it again and again. Know that your decision is final this time. To stop, you have to first accept that you have a problem.
- In this case, accepting that you have a problem doesn't stop there - you also have to accept that it is a problem and not a pleasure. Problems must be faced before they get worse - which is exactly what you are doing.
- Remember, smoking weed is not something that belongs to a good life, it is your own choice. If your comrades want you to have a joint again, don't just say "no thanks, I'll try to stop". Let them know the reason you don't want to smoke anymore! Say: "No thanks. I stopped because I am feeling much better physically and mentally" or "No thanks. I stopped because my brain can now think much more clearly again and I have more fun in life" or "No." thanks. I quit because my job is drug testing and you never know when it will take place. It's not worth it to me."
Step 5. Don't blame anything or anyone else
Another important point is to avoid blaming the substance, other people, or your life situation. To be successful in quitting, you must try to take responsibility for your own actions - whether they are positive or negative. This will help you in the process, and you will be more likely to attribute the success to yourself and work harder at it if things don't turn out the way you imagined them to be.
Blaming others will only give you an "easy way out" when things get tough and will make you more likely to start smoking again. While being honest with yourself is the first step in quitting, you don't have to go through the entire process on your own. Some techniques, especially psychological help, can be wonderful ways to help you in your endeavors
Step 6. Know the side effects
While weed is a great experience, it leads to serious side effects that can last a long, long time. Knowing what else could happen to you can help you consolidate your decision. Here are some effects you may have to deal with after a long addiction:
- Increased pulse
- Lack of coordination of the sense organs
- Mood swings
- Decreased fertility
- Suicidal thoughts
- Aggressive behavior
Part 2 of 5: Giving up the habit
Step 1. Take it slow
It is incredibly troublesome for people who have been addicted to drugs for a long time to quit. Suddenly stopping the drug once and for all will only worsen the withdrawal symptoms, and you may lose hope to move on. It's a lot easier if you decide to reduce them initially and then eventually eliminate them altogether. Don't try to turn everything around overnight!
If you've smoked weed at least twice a day, try to limit yourself to once a day for the next week. This will get your body used to the decreased serotonin in a healthier and easier way
Step 2. Don't forget that you want to quit
Giving up an addiction can be incredibly difficult, so you need to keep reminding yourself that you made a promise to change for your own good. Write on a piece of paper or write a note on your phone that says "I want to quit". Make sure you can always see it.
There may come a time when you want to break all chains and set this thing on fire, but then this note will help you remember the decision you made for your own good
Step 3. Remove all de-motivators from your life
To do that, you should get rid of anything that reminds you of marijuana - your accessories, posters, music, movies, etc. This is an important step because even if you think you have solved the problem and the things above Keeping them only as souvenirs are more likely to induce you to start smoking again.
Imagine that you love cake and know that you should never eat one again, but still have your favorite cake on the counter where you can always see it. It's an unnecessary trigger that will only torment you
Step 4. Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms
These include irritability, lack of sleep, decreased appetite, exhaustion, and maybe even a couple of headaches. Fortunately, marijuana withdrawal isn't a very long process - it only takes about 10-15 days, depending on your age, health, and length of use.
It gets harder afterward, however, when you have to stay away from the weed for the rest of your life. There are many factors that can trigger it back into use or make it very difficult for you to cope with life without smoking. We'll discuss the long-term power to quit in a moment
Part 3 of 5: Finding the strength
Step 1. Get a strong support system
Make sure you are surrounded by the right people as peer pressure is one of the most influential factors in starting drugs. As you quit, surround yourself with the friends who encouraged you to quit as they will be more understanding of your situation rather than being with your pot pals who might bring you back to it. They may have their hearts in the right place, but being exposed to drugs while you're quitting will make you want them even more.
If you think you have achieved your goal of quitting, you can contact them again; only if you think you are strong enough not to give yourself back to the addiction should you consider doing so
Step 2. Talk to others around you about your decision
You need friends and family who love and understand you. That is why it is essential that you talk to loved ones about your decision to stop. Explain to them that it is difficult for you and that you really need their support. When you state that you plan to take action and you are very serious about your decision, it will help your loved ones get on board and do their best to support you.
While it is better to stay away from people who smoke weed, at least initially, you may have valuable relationships with them. If so, explain to them that you have no plans to change their behavior (otherwise they may feel attacked and want to talk you into your decision).
Let them know your reasons for quitting and ask them not to smoke or engage in other smoking-related behavior while they are with you. If they are true friends, they will do what you ask of them
Step 3. Find a support group
There are many support rehabilitation groups that have proven to be a great way to stop an addiction if you think you can't do it on your own. A good rehabilitation center is a good place to do this. There you will not only have a greater sense of responsibility, but you will also be surrounded by people who are going through the same things as you.
Some people have to be restricted or threatened by those in authority in order to keep their balance. These centers ensure that you do not start your addiction again and even help you sober up with medical and psychological assistance, mostly cognitive behavioral therapy, which is the primary treatment for cannabis addiction
Step 4. Finding Therapies
Therapy can be very useful with such problems because it will help you understand your underlying motives for smoking and help you cope with challenging life situations that would otherwise set you back. Experienced and certified therapists can act as objective observers who can show you a different perspective that you have not seen before and further motivate you to quit smoking marijuana.
In addition, these professionals have experience with people who have a hard time quitting weed, so they can craft a tailor-made approach for every personality and lifestyle. While there are many methods in psychotherapy and even more therapists, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. We'll discuss that next
Step 5. Know the types of therapy that might be effective
When entering therapy it might be useful to learn a little about the most common and successful methods when it comes to quitting weed. Here are the essentials:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy relies on the belief that your thoughts and behaviors are closely related; therefore you change your negative behaviors by changing your negative thoughts. This approach can be very useful when you are about to quit smoking, as it will examine the thoughts that trigger you to smoke and therefore affect the behavior itself.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy. This therapy is especially useful for people trying to quit cannabis, alcohol, or nicotine. It is based on the fact that people with such problems often realize that their actions are harmful to them but still feel comfortable continuing with them. The purpose of therapy is to examine your motivation for change in a very positive, unbiased, and non-confrontational way. In this therapy, you will not be told why you should change, but will be helped to find your own arguments and reasons. The therapist will help you evoke positive statements and empower yourself to strengthen your inner motivation.
Step 6. Realize that the right solution depends on you
There is no one universally correct behavior when it comes to helping you quit smoking marijuana - every person is different and their motivations for acting in a certain way are very specific. That is why the type of therapy you choose should appeal to you. If you have an uncomfortable feeling with the method, you are more likely to fight it, even unconsciously, and thus reduce your chances of success.
- Additionally, your therapist will construct a method based on your unique personality, further increasing the likelihood that you will quit.
- Consult with your family doctor about choosing a therapist. He will recommend some good options in your area. It is essential that you do not forget to be as honest with your therapist as possible, as in this way you will meet him or her halfway and favor success in achieving your goal.
Part 4 of 5: Changing Your Routine
Step 1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Eating good, healthy diet while you quit not only helps keep your hydration levels high, it can even erase the need to smoke. Stock up on these foods to combat these urges.
- Smoking makes the person crave more sweet and artificial tastes. 2-3 apples a day can help combat these cravings. The crunch while chewing also occupies the mouth and makes it tired. Bonus!
- Vegetables that are crispy also help counteract addiction. Vegetables like garlic and ginger leave a taste in your mouth that makes the smoke taste worse. Chop these two up into very small and chewable pieces and add them to your everyday meal.
Step 2. Consume more milk and cheese
Incorporating these foods into your diet may help you get through the withdrawal phases faster. They also make you look healthier and better than before as they beautify your hair, skin, and nails. Here's what you need to know when it comes to dairy products:
- A glass of milk an hour before you start smoking makes your stomach feel full; therefore, you will no longer feel the need to smoke weed. The milk also leaves a taste in your mouth that no one wants to mix with drugs!
- Cheese is very useful during quitting because it has a salty taste that lingers in the mouth. Use it sparingly, however, if you think you are already consuming more than the necessary amount of fat.
Step 3. Eat the right amount of fats and sugars too
While you are quitting drugs on your own, it is important to keep track of your nutritional values as you may otherwise always feel drained. But you still need a few tonics! This is how you follow the matter:
- Dark chocolate has always been known as a remedy for mood disorders and will help you cope with any depressive episodes you may experience.
- Dried fruits and potatoes also help curb cravings.
Step 4. Eat enough protein and carbohydrates too
At least 10% of your diet should be protein and no more than 1/3 carbohydrates. Here are some good sources:
- Lean white meats, tuna, and laughs are known for quitting addictions as they leave a taste in the mouth that isn't good when mixed with weed.
- When it comes to carbohydrates, look for things that are crispy. They are more filling and contain strength that gives you the energy to move on with your mission.
Step 5. Be physically active
Exercise is a healthy way to let out all of the energy that has been dormant in your body. It helps keep your body fit and focuses all of your energy on positive activity. It also helps against cravings!
- Yoga is known as an exercise that relaxes the mind and therefore helps during withdrawal as the body sometimes just wants to scream. You know the feeling.
- Running for 30 minutes every day is a good, healthy activity to help stop addictions.
Step 6. Be busy
After you've chosen a method and talked to loved ones, consider taking up a hobby - something that will take up your time and act as a distraction from smoking cravings. To do that, think about the things you enjoy and ask yourself questions such as:
- Am I good at crafting?
- Are there any sports I like (even if you don't play sports, think of the ones they love to watch and consider trying one of these)?
What do my friends like to do?
- You can think of other questions that fit your lifestyle and personality and help you find something to fill up on your free time. Additionally, having a hobby will help you increase your motivation to quit, knowing that if you smoke weed, you won't feel like it too much.
- You will also meet new people who have no connection to your old habits when you take up a sport or other social hobby. This will help you create a new lifestyle that doesn't involve cannabis.
Part 5 of 5: Stay motivated
Step 1. Consider taking medication
Addicts who have used drugs for a long time find it especially difficult to give up the habit, so they often seek medical help. There are several medications that can help make you feel the same as we did when you consume weed, but are less harmful to the body. These drugs help the person minimize cravings and ultimately sober up completely.
Nicotine medication, patches and chewing gum are available in stores and can be bought without a prescription. Nicotine helps decrease cravings and reduces feelings of irritability and headaches that you may experience during withdrawal.
- Chewing gum every 2 hours while you are awake will help reduce cravings. If you're using 4mg of chewing gum, make sure you're not chewing more than 20 of them a day, or if you're using 3mg, no more than 30.
- A patch should be changed every 16 or 24 hours. The dosage you need depends on your level of addiction. It can be removed while you sleep and put back on when you wake up. It causes some soreness where it sticks, so it's a good idea to change the spot every time.
Step 2. Do not rely on other addicting substances
Make sure you don't rely entirely on these drugs (and other substances like alcohol) as they can be addicting too. They should be screwed back over time which is why you're using them in the first place!
These nicotine substitutes should not be used if you have not quit smoking completely, as they can be combined with serious problems
Step 3. Know your nicotine-free treatments too
There are other nicotine-free medications available with a doctor's prescription. These are mostly Xanax, Zyban, Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, and Varenicline. These drugs tell the brain to stop craving for the drug when taken in proper amounts. However, they do require a prescription from your doctor.
Most will help with symptoms of depression and may cause restlessness, frustration, and unusual behavior at times. If you think a negative change is occurring (more than one feeling that you only have temporary) it is best to speak to your doctor as the dosage may not be right for you
Step 4. Defeat your inner demons
The process of quitting drugs goes hand in hand with serious mood swings, depression, and frustration. Don't let these temporary affect disorders get you down! Low self-esteem and falling back on yourself is normal as you have tried to fight your cravings. Have faith and make sure you are reminding yourself that you can do better. You can do it!
Talk to yourself out loud in front of the mirror and tell your reflection in front of you that you are a beautiful, strong person who has the strength to overcome this hurdle. But if you think you'd rather write than speak, grab a journal and start writing it all down
Step 5. Write down everything you've gotten better at since quitting weed
In fact, keep a journal of your entire process. Keep this journal in a prominent place so that you will always be reminded of how well you are doing and so motivated to keep up the good work.
One day, when you can overcome your addiction, you will read the journal and think back on all the suffering that you have overcome with your strength. This will be a wonderful moment full of true satisfaction for your motivation in your later life or for upcoming crises
- Squeezing your pressure points while feeling a desire can alleviate that feeling. Know which part of your body is craving the drug - for example, you may feel a slight sensation in your chest and press that area with your fingers. This helps relax the muscles.
- If you are lucky enough to have great friends, let them help you through this crisis, not turn them away.
- Watching movies or documentaries may encourage you to aim to quit.
- One thing you have to know and believe is that the day will come when it gets better. Desire won't eat you up like it used to. And nothing is better than the moment when you prove to yourself that you are sober.
- Even if you've thrown away anything that reminded you of your previous habits, it's likely that you will feel the cravings every now and then. In these situations, speak to a friend, relative, or therapist you trust and explain how you are feeling.