As cannabis advocates and educators, we still believe that certain occasions call for you to quit cannabis. Even if for a few days. We know the idea might sound terrible at first, but what’s the harm in a break? Give your body a chance to hit the reset button. We should never become dependent on a substance, whether it’s cannabis or alcohol or cigarettes.
DISCLAIMER: We are not doctors, addiction experts, therapists, psychologists, counselors, or anything of the sort. This is an opinion piece based on internet research and personal experiences. It does not apply to everyone. Everything in today’s article should be taken as ADVICE and SUGGESTIONS. Not facts.
When To Quit Cannabis
As the experts say, addiction is a slippery slope. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) claims one in 10 people become addicted to cannabis. For people who begin using younger than 18, that number rises to one in six. You always hear that the first sign in getting help is to admit that you have a problem in the first place. The Addiction Center notes the following signs that you could be addicted to cannabis.
- Weight Loss
- Impaired Judgment
- Nervous/Paranoid Behavior
- Lack of Motivation
- Poor Coordination
- Delayed Reaction Time
Figure Out Why You Want To Stop
Have you ever tried to motivate someone to work out or eat right? In many cases, if that person is not self-motivated to do so, they won’t continue without your influence. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So, we believe the first step to quitting cannabis is determination from within.
Most importantly, figure out why you want to quit cannabis. Has it changed you in a way that you dislike? Has it negatively affected your personal life? Has it triggered health issues? You hear this from life coaches all the time: your “why” is more empowering than your “how.” If you want to do something badly enough, you will find a way to do it no matter what.
“Our ‘why’ is an important piece because it provides information that anchors us,” says Kim Egel, a therapist in Cardiff, California. “Clarity on why we want to change can validate our decision to break habits and motivate us to seek out new coping methods.”
Step Two: Decide On Your Approach
You have two options here, but neither one is the “right” one or a “one size fits all” model. You can either quit cannabis cold turkey or take a slow and steady pace. Maybe you know a friend who quit cannabis at one point in their life? What worked for them may not work for you, so keep that in mind.
As for the very real concern of withdrawal symptoms, research shows that not everyone experiences them. We know people who quit cigarettes in 24hrs and never looked back. If you’re worried about withdrawal, talk to a substance use counselor, or call an addiction helpline for guidance. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help.
“I Want To Quit, But Cannabis Helps Me!”
We hear this dilemma a lot. Someone wants to quit, or significantly cut back but cannabis helps them in other ways. For example, you had a recent injury and your doctor prescribed medical cannabis—but you don’t want to use it in the long run.
If cannabis helps you manage physical or mental health symptoms, we recommend that you continue with it but in lower doses and quantities. Gradually, choose a strain with lower and lower THC concentrations.
If You Want To Quit Cold Turkey…
Our best tip? Purge everything and anything that might tempt you to smoke again. Get rid of all your gear from your lighters to your pipes, even your cannabis-using friends (at least for the first week). You don’t want others to influence you.
Next, make a plan for potential withdrawal symptoms. Triggers might include disrupted sleep, jittery habits, and work stress. Once you feel a trigger come on, something you’d normally alleviate with cannabis, distract yourself with a different task. Get your butt out of the house and get moving.
Do You Care About Speed?
If yes, then cold turkey might be the path for you. Though, many say this is the harder way to go as you might shock your system.
If no, then consider a slow and steady approach. This method is less likely to bring up withdrawal symptoms.
We’re All On Different Journies
Some of us have all the time in the world to quit cannabis. Others, however, could be on a time crunch if they have a work-related drug test coming up, for example. Once again, we have to say that everything you read today should be taken as advice—not a fact. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to quit cannabis. If you need it, professional help is just a phone call away!