It’s estimated that up to 30% of marijuana users will develop a dependency. Which may lead to these users wanting to quit smoking weed. The good thing is cannabis, in general, is non-addictive so it could make quitting not as difficult.
How To Quit Smoking Weed: The Highlights
- Prolonged cannabis use can have effects on mood, short term memory, and respiration.
- There are multiple avenues through which to quit smoking cannabis such as rehabilitation, counseling, cold turkey, and medical intervention.
- CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, can be used as a treatment for addiction of many different substances including THC.
- Quitting weed usually comes with short-term withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, vivid dreams, and irritability.
- Weed is a non-addictive drug, which should make quitting the habit, not as strenuous
Why You Should Quit Smoking Weed?
With all the media presence in the cannabis industry about why weed is so good for you, it might create conflicting feelings about why to quit.
In fact, one of the hardest things about quitting is confronting the ongoing and increasingly popular though that cannabis is good for you. And while cannabis is good for people, it doesn’t mean that it has no risks or no threat of addiction.
Constant, everyday use of cannabis can lead to the following problems:
- Drastic mood changes which over a long time can have psychological implications.
- Respiratory problems from constant inhalation of cannabis.
- Impaired short term memory of marijuana use.
- Elevated heart rate from the constant smoking of THC products.
However, for most people who really wish to quit smoking weed, the biggest incentive is that they have realized that they are, in fact, addicted.
For most people, being addicted to something is worse than the “side effects” of prolonged cannabis use.
The point is that prolonged cannabis exposure simply doesn’t come with many of the physical and social repercussions of other substance abuse such as alcoholism, amphetamine or opioid addiction.
For this reason, it can often take a person a long time to realize that they are addicted to cannabis.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
It’s a huge controversy in the cannabis world to say that marijuana is addictive.
Most cannabis enthusiasts do not believe that it is addictive, and this can be credited to the fact that marijuana addiction looks very different from other kinds of addiction.
Many people who have cannabis dependency issues can still hold a job, have great relationships and perform quite well. Many do not even need to use cannabis all day but rely on it in the evenings, or rely on it to get to sleep, for example.
For this reason, it can take a cannabis user a long time to realize that they even have an addiction. In all fairness, a cannabis addiction doesn’t have to ruin someone’s life the same way that other substances can.
This is because THC is simply not potent enough to drastically affect a person’s ability to perform everyday functions like cooking, cleaning, work, and leisure activities.
But there are still many people who are deeply afflicted by their cannabis addiction because there is simply something “not nice” about needing something every day.
So while marijuana addiction might not be as devastating as other forms of addiction, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist!
How To Quit Smoking Weed
There are a few different ways to tackle a weed dependency issue and each person responds to different methods differently.
But before we get straight into different methods for quitting weed, we should probably talk about some of the things which cause addictions. This is often left out of the conversation when it comes to addiction, and physicians want to focus solely on making the addiction go away.
This probably has something to do with the fact that we don’t really know what causes addiction. But there are some hypotheses about it.
In the discipline of neuroscience, it is generally accepted that addiction is a constantly repeating neurological pathway that relates to pleasure and reward. As the drug triggers this pathway, it continues to cycle, causing a person to want to use more.
In turn, using more triggers the cycle again. But if it were really that simple, drug addiction wouldn’t affect over 160 million people worldwide.
A more psychological view reveals that substance abuse is not so different from behavioral abuse.
The common ground between them is that people seek a repetitive set of experiences and that deep down, it has nothing to do with the behavior or the substance.
Rather, the behavior or substance is a doorway to a specific experience. And whether it is a shopping addiction or a tobacco addiction, it’s the relative experience which is sought – not the object.
There are tribes in South America using psychotropic plants such as Ayahuasca and Datura to heal addiction.
Their knowledge is more deeply rooted in psychology than neuroscience (for obvious reasons), and they believe that finding out the underlying desire cures the addiction.
It is particularly interesting that these tribes use substances to cure substance abuse, and it can be seen as some sort of medical intervention.
However, at the root of their practice is the belief that some emotional or spiritual trauma has caused the desire for a specific experience. Becoming aware of that emotional or spiritual trauma and working through it fundamentally stops the desire and therefore stops the addiction dead in its tracks.
Going Cold Turkey
Going cold turkey is for some strange reason, one of the most celebrated ways of quitting something. Despite the fact that many of us know it doesn’t work most of the time, it is seen as an exercise of “willpower” and “overcoming” that terrible addiction.
But actually, it’s one of the least successful methods of quitting anything.
This is because fundamentally, a mental process has power over someone who is addicted. It is not about willpower.
Sometimes, all the willpower in the world doesn’t overcome addiction because the mental process is impulsive, barely giving a person enough time to make a decision of willpower.
Getting Medical Aid
Most people will not turn to medical aid to quit smoking weed unless they have tried virtually everything else. This is probably because it seems counterintuitive to most people to use another substance to quit their current substance abuse (fair enough).
But this method can work quite well. CBD is one such example of a medical aid to quit smoking weed.
Although there is no medical aid that can miraculously cure someone of a weed addiction, certain substances can supplement an already strong desire to stop.
There is no prescribed pharmaceutical for quitting weed as there is for quitting heroin, but most medical aids to stop smoking weed are herbal (such as CBD, for example).
Joining A 12 Step Program
The 12 Step Program is the same model used by Alcoholics Anonymous groups and is a spirituality-based method for shedding all addictions.
Unlike other methods, the 12 step program is done with the ultimate goal of complete abstinence for life. Most 12 step programs are designed to make a person sober forever, which removes the possibility of a recreational joint or glass of wine.
This is generally an extreme step taken by those who believe that their lives are seriously detrimentally affected by their addiction.
Arguably, one of the most important aspects of the 12 step program is that it is done with a group of like-minded people, providing those overcoming addiction with a support network. This is one of the fundamental aspects of healing through a 12 step program.
Going To Rehab
Rehabilitation is generally not required for those whose addictions are not severe. It requires taking time away from normal life and normal relationships, and it can take months before a person is properly rehabilitated.
For this reason, people don’t generally agree to rehab unless it is imperative for them to continue living their lives in a productive way. Rehabilitation incorporates medical assistance, support, and psychological counseling into a single setting.
Many people make a recovery this way, although it can be unsuccessful for those who are not fully committed to the process.
Finally, there is the option of counseling. This involves seeing a psychologist or otherwise qualified counselor to guide you through the process of quitting.
Psychologists and counselors are trained in the different psychological mechanisms which play a role in addictive behaviors and are therefore able to guide a person through those mechanisms and provide tools for overcoming them.
Using CBD To Quit Smoking Weed
It is becoming increasingly popular among THC cannabis users to turn to CBD as a means of quitting weed. The truth of the matter is that despite the fact that people are addicted to weed, there are still some benefits from the plant that they would like to retain.
CBD offers a happy medium, where people can continue to receive the benefits of cannabis without the addictive quality of THC.
Essentially, CBD targets parts of the brain which deal directly with pleasure and reward and affects neurotransmitters involved in the pleasure/reward process such as serotonin and dopamine.
Science has supported the hypothesis that CBD can help to treat addictions.
In a 2018 study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, CBD was considered as a treatment method for alcoholism, and the results were impressive.
Overall, researchers found that CBD reduced impulsivity of alcohol-addicted rats and attenuated stress-induced drug seeking.
In another study conducted in 2013, researchers experimented with CBD as a treatment for nicotine addiction. CBD use reduced overall cigarette consumption by about 40% in this study, suggesting it as a unique treatment for cigarette addiction that warrants further research.
We can also consider the many ways that CBD affects mood disorders, which are often underlying drug addictions. It is not uncommon to seek out drugs in circumstances of anxiety or depression, for example.
And while many treatment methods aim to cure the addiction, underlying factors such as anxiety or depression are neglected. CBD can help to reduce anxiety and depression and this may be significant when talking about the ways that it can help to treat addiction.
Should You Stop Smoking Weed?
Taking the decision to stop smoking weed is a personal one, and the controversy surrounding cannabis use doesn’t make it easier.
Ultimately, recovering from any addiction can be a profoundly enlightening experience. Those who are addicted to cannabis should be encouraged to take the steps toward recovery — whatever they may be.
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